So, It’s Your First Race? {Guest Post}

It’s no secret that my first half-marathon is in 4 days. That’s pretty much all I have been talking about on this blog (and in real life too). Being a running rookie, with barely any knowledge of big races on one hand, and my life’s most challenging goal on the other, I’ll be honest, it’s getting pretty intimidating. So, I decided why not have one of the running pundits whom I have been following for a while now, tell me (and you) on her five pieces of advice for your first race. 

Suz, thanks so much for being kind enough to guest post on this baby blog. It’s all you now!

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Hi Everyone! I am so excited to be guest posting for Madhuri today. For those who don’t know me, my name is Susie, and I claim the little slice of internet called Suzlyfe. Suzlyfe is a running, fitness, and healthy life blog written with the intention to educate, connect, and inspire readers to live beyond expectation! I am also an RRCA Certified Running Coach and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Now, enough about me, let’s talk training!

Also, before I forget to mention, today is Running Coaches Corner, a weekly link up that talks all things running! Check it out and link up with myself and my co-hosts every Wednesday!

There is nothing like your first race. The excitement, the nerves, the exhilaration, the frustration. And hey–you know you will be getting a PR! Over the years, I have coached many runners to and through their first races, ranging from 5Ks to marathons, and in so doing have distilled my pre-race conversation to 5 major points to share with you! Of course, these are great reminders for each time we go out, so don’t one and done this list!

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1) Problems are speed bumps, not the end of the world
Problems are going to arise, no matter how well you plan. Trust me. Clothes that have never chafed before are going to chafe; rain will happen on days with none predicted; your shoe laces are going to become untied right as you hit your stride; you are going to need to use the rest room 1000x or not at all. Your race isn’t going to be perfect–nothing is–and trust me, the imperfections will make the experience all the better.

When something happens that goes counter to your plan, take a deep breath and deal with it. Ask for help if you need to–runners and the running community are awesome, and we take care of our own!

2) Trust your training, your strategy, and your gear
On race day morning, I want my runners to be on autopilot. No decisions race day morning. Know what you are going to be eating and drinking before, during, and after your race. Know what you are wearing before, during, and after. Who you are going to see before, during (as much as possible), and where you are meeting who after. After one of my marathons, my mom was asking me all of these questions, and I had to tell her (in very slow language) to treat me like a child; I was incapable of decisions.

As for your training… too late to change it now, right?

3) Always have a backup plan!
Decide your backup strategy and gear prior to your race. If I am traveling to a race, I generally take 2 pairs of everything with me, as much as possible. That way, if the weather changes quickly on me, or something happens (such as exploding Gu) I have a back up without even having to think about it.Again, autopilot on race day.

4) Run the Race You Trained for
You are not going to be able to nail 6 min miles in negative split, continuous run fashion if you are a solid and totally consistent 11 min/mi run walker. Be proud of the race that you are about to run, are running, have run. Don’t you dare question how awesome you are!

5) Qualitative Goals > Quantitative Goals
Your first goal? Make smart decisions. I wrote a post about this, and I really think that focusing on the experience over focusing on certain times is just the way to go. Think about it: you may not get the exact time that you want, but if you make good decisions and have an awesome time, do you really care?

Bonus: Read this letter to first time racers and repeat that mantra to yourself over and over πŸ˜€

Congratulations, I am already proud of you, and you should be proud of yourself. Come over to my blog and tell me how it went!

Want more? Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram and check out my coaching page for Coach Suz Training!

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 Still looking for more tips for your running journey? Head over to the Coaches’ Corner linkup to check out what Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs and several other bloggers have to say.

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64 thoughts on “So, It’s Your First Race? {Guest Post}

  1. Debbie Woodruff says:

    Number 4 to be sure! And not just for beginners. It’s so easy to get started, too fast of course because of the excitement, and think you can sustain that pace through the race. Nope, ain’t gonna happen! Definitely run the race you trained for. Great advice from Coach Suz!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets says:

    Wonderful advice! Trust the training, no new stuff! And #5 is so true…focus on the experience and enjoy. I’m so excited for you, Madhuri!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennifer says:

    Definitely, definitely have a back up plan!! Or, you’ll end up in Salt Lake City running a marathon in rainy and cold 40 degree temps when it was supposed to be 60-something and sunny and sharing gloves with your running buddy and wearing the free one-size fits the Jolly Green Giant shirt over your original running outfit. Luckily, Salt Lake City is beautiful and the fans/spectators still came out and the race was well organized so we were able to (#5) enjoy the experience for what it was. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Elaine says:

    Such great tips! Have confidence in the training you’ve done and enjoy the race! I’m guilty of focusing on quantitative goals which have led to disappointment so yes to qualitative goals. Best of luck to you Madhuri!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lisa says:

    Great tips! I agree its better to focus on the experience rather than a time. It can be so hard to pick an appropriate goal time anyway, and so many factors can come into play, so its all about enjoying the experience!

    Liked by 1 person

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