You registered for your first race. Congratulations! Maybe one of your friends convinced you to join them. Maybe you were inspired from a TV show or article. Or you received your inspiration from another source. Whatever caused you to do it, you took the plunge. Let’s narrow down the "essentials” of what you will need!
Shoes are your most important piece of equipment. It’s time to go to your local running pro shop and speak with a qualified sales person. He or she will ask about your experience, your goals, your mileage, your races, your injury history, and other questions to help the sales person guide you to a pair of quality shoes that best matches your needs.
Your shoes are the link between you and the ground. Take care in deciding on a pair and don't shortchange yourself.
Clothing and Gear
Most run clothing is made from high tech fabrics. At first glance these may appear expensive. However, the materials help wick moisture away from your body, which helps you stay comfortable on your run. Running clothing and gear serves a practical purpose. It helps keep your body warm or cool, depending on conditions, and dry. As with shoes, your local running store professional can help you pick the right clothing for your particular needs.
Unfortunately, there's no "one size fits all" answer. Assuming your first event is a 5k or 10k, a good goal would be to run at least 3 days per week leading up to your race. This will allow your body to adapt to the stress of running; while at the same time giving you time to recover between runs.
One run is typically the "long run" for the week and is the most important. Over time you should build up to running at least the race distance (3-6 miles). The other runs during the week can be shorter, with the main goal becoming more comfortable on your feet and allowing your body time to adapt.
Begin each run hydrated and fueled. Part of your pre-race practice will be learning how much food you can tolerate and how far in advance of running you must finish eating in order to avoid stomach problems. Some people experience stomach distress if they eat solid food within 1-2 hours or more of running. You want to stay hydrated during your run, but excess water can often give side aches.
Congratulations on entering your first race. This is the first of hopefully many, so enjoy the process and have fun. You won't know it all right away, so don't pressure yourself. Prepare as much as you can for the first one, learn from it and you'll be even more excited for the next one!
I'm here to support you, so please contact me with questions as they arise.
Bob McEnaney trains triathletes, cyclists, runners and other endurance athletes. These athletes encompass all ages, genders, ability and experience levels. Learn more about Bob on his website. You may contact him directly at: Bob@totalcyclingperformance.com
4/28/2011 at 7:22 PM