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9 Helpful Tips for Your First Charity Race

Cross the Finish Line with Flying Colors

-- By Nancy Howard, Certified Running Coach
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Cool Down and Refuel
Once you have crossed the finish line, don't stop abruptly! It is very important do some light jogging or easy walking for 10-15 minutes after you finish. This helps keep the blood from pooling in the lower extremities while helping the body remove the built up lactic acid within the muscles. And don't forget to do more thorough set of stretches while your body is still warm. Be sure to stretch the hamstrings (back of thighs), quadriceps (front of thighs), calves and upper body.

Once your cool down is complete, you need to rehydrate. You may also want to change into the dry clothing you brought in your bag. As your body's core temperature begins to drop, wearing damp, sweaty clothes can cause chills.

Drink plenty of water now and for the rest of the day. The best determination of your hydration level is by monitoring the color of your urine. The desired color is a pale like lemonade; a darker color means you may be dehydrated and lighter means you may be over-hydrated (and need to drink a sports drink such as Gatorade or PowerAde, both of which contain electrolytes to allow for proper sodium and potassium replacement).

You also need to make sure you get in a nice recovery snack as soon as possible after your race. Consuming a post-run snack containing carbs and protein will aid in muscle recovery as well as replenishing the glycogen stores within the body. Something as simple as a banana and peanut butter or low-fat chocolate milk will suffice.

Be sure to enjoy the festivities after the race is over. And be proud of yourself—you did it! HAPPY RUNNING!
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About The Author

Nancy Howard Nancy Howard
Nancy is an avid runner and health enthusiast. A retired pediatric nurse, she received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Texas Woman's University and is also a certified running coach and ACE-certified personal trainer.

Member Comments

  • Great article. I don't run because of my hip. - 8/29/2013 8:01:49 AM
  • It is very important to overdress or underdress. Yes, it does say that in the article. I'm pretty sure it should say to NOT. I had to go back and look at that twice. lol - 5/29/2013 2:08:45 PM
  • Great info! I wear a Road ID on my shoe...the kind with a pocket to hold my key, but I had not considered creating an ICE contact entry on my phone. As soon as I finished the article, I created one. - 5/17/2013 1:46:21 PM
  • Thansk for the great article. A few of my friends and I are planning to run a 5K in December and these are some great tips. I was sort of wondering what to pack/bring and I'm the kind of person who is always nervous about something til I do it at least once or twice. - 8/16/2012 9:58:44 PM
  • What a great article, Nancy! This will sure help anyone who is new to races. - 8/16/2012 8:16:17 PM
  • 20-25 minutes warm-up! Ha ha that is funny. I do not know if I would be able to run 48 minutes after that! - 11/28/2011 12:33:44 PM
  • Yeah to all of us getting rady to run our first 5ks! This was a great article, I saved it also! Good luck everyone! - 10/11/2011 12:42:59 PM
  • I am definitely saving this article. I am runing my first 5K in October, so I am sure it will come in handy! - 8/18/2010 7:56:06 AM
  • Thanks for this article. My first 5K is next Sunday and I found the tips very helpful. - 2/7/2010 7:02:43 PM
  • JILLLIGHT
    wonderful article. full of good ideas, I am doing a 5k charity walk in a few weeks and I'm so glad I came across this advice. Jill - 1/30/2010 2:01:50 PM
  • Nice article, but I stopped running YEARS ago because I felt it was bad for my knees. - 1/30/2010 12:47:59 AM
  • I am running a day after Thanksgiving 5K for a local Hospice organization. Anyone have any experience or suggestions concerning getting through the big feast day knowing that there is a race the next day? Foods to pay special attention to include or avoid? I appreciate any insight anyone may have. - 11/17/2009 9:09:54 AM
  • Nice how-to Nancy! Wish I'd had this on my first race.
    Keep in mind that any layers you wear that you might want to take off during the race should be something you're willing/able to tie around your waist or carry. (The sleeveless overshirt doesn't work well for this reason). - 11/17/2009 8:38:51 AM
  • Love it, this inspires me on. Not only will I use this as a personal , but I will use it as a team challenge for the coming new year. Thank you for all you do.
    Nancy - 11/17/2009 4:19:14 AM
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