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Gotta Run: A good time for your first race

I am writing this on the Saturday morning that hurricane Matthew passed by. I had the opportunity to go out for a morning run in the rain. I always tell my classes that running in the rain is fun, just as it was this morning. There is a certain euphoria that isn’t easily understandable until you head out the door with rain coming down. Imagine the feeling of a warm shower while exercising. So, while in the middle of that euphoria, here comes this week’s column.

October and November are the busiest months of the year for running and racing locally. There are plenty of good events coming up. More on that later.

If you have been thinking about entering one of our local 5Ks, here are some tips to make the process easier. First, begin by picking the 5K run/walk that appeals to you and lock it into your schedule. Get the info from www.salisburyrowanrunners.org on the race calendar and even consider pre-registering to lock in your goal and get the best price. Remember that with most of the races, the entire proceeds will go to the charity listed. Be sure of the starting time, even the correct day. All races are not held on Saturday morning.

Make sure that you have done or will do most of the race distance in training. There will be a certain amount of adrenaline on race day that will help your effort but the mental assuredness of knowing you have the ability to complete the distance makes for a better experience.

On the evening before the race, lay out your race clothes, especially if you have traveled to the event. I was once surprised that I had forgotten my racing shorts and luckily found a drug store open at the last minute that had a suitable substitute. Plan for the all possible types of weather and bring a dry change for afterwards. It is a wonderful feeling to slip those dry and comfortable clothes on after a good race effort.

Eat only tried and true things on the evening before and the morning of the race. Eat light and make sure you are hydrated on race morning. Make sure that your pee is clear, which means that you are hydrated. If it isn’t, drink more water until 60-90 minutes before race start.

Make sure that you arrive at the race in plenty of time to comfortably get registered and warm up, then make a last-minute pit stop before the start. Don’t be surprised if you need to make a couple of pit stops as nervousness speeds up the process. This is entirely normal. By warm up, I suggest that you run or walk enough to get your sweat started by about 10 minutes ahead of the starter’s gun or horn. Some last minute stretching once warmed up is a good idea too.

Pin your number on the front of your shirt. It is a sure sign of a rookie to have someone pin the number on the back. Finish line officials need to see your number as you complete the race. Watch what the more experienced runners/walkers do. Move toward the start line when they do, but beginners should line up near the back.

Run/walk the race easily to start with and then go harder if you feel like it as the race progresses. Always use the first race to experience the distance. I tell all my clients that the same holds true for any distance from 5K to a marathon. Savor the event and learn valuable lessons for next time.

Speaking of next time, you can race as much or as little as you want. Many runners/walkers enjoy the carnival atmosphere of the race experience and they love to challenge themselves. You will meet a group of people with similar interests and don’t be surprised if lifelong friendships develop.

With that said, two Halloween themed events are on tap for late October. The St. Matthew’s 5K, on Oct. 29, benefits two church members with medical issues. The fast, rural course will be enjoyable. The Rotary’s popular Spooky Sprint 5K is set for Sunday afternoon, Oct. 30 at Catawba College. The Halloween contests and the track finish are always big hits as the Rotarians raise funds for their many projects. Check the website for more details.

Have a great week with your running, just possibly in the rain! See you next week!

David Freeze is a nationally certified running coach and president of the Salisbury Rowan Runners. Contact him at david.freeze@ctc.net. Learn more at www.Ulearn2run.com



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