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Feb 15, 2013

Some things I've learned from racing

3 miles on the schedule today.  Besides cold and windy, it was pretty uneventful.


I was talking to someone on Twitter yesterday who mentioned about his excitement after each race to sign up for the next one.  I feel the exact same way.  I love racing being in races and I'm always thinking about the next race.  That being said, I've also learned a few things that I think will help anyone who is thinking about racing.  Nothing special here but helpful tips.
  • Set everything up the night before.  It helps you so you won't forget anything.  I put everything I'm taking in one spot.  When I walk out, if everything is gone from that area, I've got everything.
  • Drink your water and eat something at least 1.5 hours outside of the race time.  It will help you at  the race.  You don't need to fill your stomach with water right before the race.
  • Leave your home early.  It sounds simple but races get crowded quickly especially when you have 1,000 or more participants.  I leave early.  It helps me usually get a close parking spot and I'm not rushing to get there worrying if I'm going to miss the race.  This gives me plenty of time to use the bathroom too.  Usually I'll check in on Facebook or Twitter so see if others are already there or update my status.  Sometimes I'll read the newspaper while waiting in the car but it helps keep my stress levels down.
  • Go with a friend.  You can still go your own pace and meet up after the race.  It makes for a much more fun experience.  Also, don't forget to bring your camera.
  • If at all possible, pick up your packet the day before.  I hate picking up my packet the morning of the race.  I'm happy it's an option but if I don't have to drive too far, I'll get it early.  Again, it's one less thing to worry about that morning.
  • Get used to running with a water bottle.  It does not have to be big one but sometimes races have aid stations spread out way too far.  I love being able to get water when I want it.  At my last marathon, there was a guy that desperately needed water so I shared mine with him but be prepared.  If not, at least find out where the water stations will be so you will know if you can wait.
  • Keep an open mind.  Things don't always go as planned when racing and the easier you can adjust to it, the better time you will have.
  • Don't wear the race shirt at that race.  I don't not wear it because its new(although you shouldn't). I don't wear it because I feel it's bad luck.  Of course, many race directors might disagree with me on this one and also many runners since I always see the race shirt that day on many people.
  • Usually I only do this in the winter but, pin your number on your pants.  If you need to remove your jacket, the race can still see your bib.  It also helps the photographers too.
  • Turn off your Garmin after you cross the finish line.  It will make for much better photos. Nobody wants a photo of themselves grabbing their watch.
  • Make sure you are in the right area at the start.  There is nothing worse than having to run around slower runners and/or walkers.  Not that I'm super fast but nobody faster than you wants to run around you.  Also, walkers should walk at the back and also to the right side just like on the roads for cars.
  • Keep in mind, I'm not racing you - I'm not a pro.  I'm racing against the clock.  I've seen many runners start off so fast that two miles up, they are walking.  Of course, this is even more important, the longer the race is.
  • Thank the volunteers and police for helping out - they appreciate hearing that you appreciate them being out there.  Also, thank people that come to cheer for you.  Yeah, they are probably there for someone else but it's nice to get a cheer anyway.
  • Look behind you before you spit. Come on now!
  • Don't take several of the same things at the finish line.  I'm not saying you can't take an apple and a bagel or two orange slices but I think it's rude when I see people taking tons of food and/or giving it to family members that did not race.  Everyone should have the same at the finish whether you finish in the top or bottom of the times and the food is typically for runners only.  Save some for the slower runners/walkers.
  • Keep moving through the finish line.  It will help keep the finish from getting backed up.
  • Finally --- HAVE FUN!  After all, you signed up for this, remember?.  You might as well enjoy it.
Have a good day and....Keep Running!!!!


  1. That is some good points there. Some can be part of the "Racing for Dummies" book. Have a great weekend!

  2. the biggest one for me is making sure people start with other runners of comparable speed. it's inconsiderate and annoying when people running 3+ minutes/mile slower than the lead pack cram themselves up to the starting line.

    i'm not winning races, but at small, local races i'm usually able to run near the top pack so i try to get in the first few rows at races. every time there are walkers, kids, or uninformed newbies fighting to get to the front only to have the trained runners dodge them for the first quarter mile.

  3. Don't spit into the wind or pull on Superman's cape.

  4. That's all very simple, solid advice. I'm on board with everything you said.