After a long, cold winter of lonely runs and cross-training, it’s time to test ourselves at the local St. Patrick’s Day race. Runners will be lured by the promise of a festive race and a celebratory beer or two. But, something darker lies underneath the surface of all that lighthearted pleasure.
This race is a test of your fitness, an appraisal of your training, and a predictor of your upcoming racing season. Your age-group nemesis will likely be there. You know who I’m talking about. (And if you don’t, you will after this weekend.) People will see you run this weekend and decide whether you’ve still got it… always judging.
What can you do to prepare yourself at this late date? You can’t make up for lack of training, but you can try these four things to give yourself a fighting chance:
- Get there early. Pick up your race bib, use the bathrooms, and have some time to get yourself mentally and physically ready. Arrive at least one hour before the start time.
- Dress appropriately for the weather. Don’t wear too many layers. If you’re running a 5K as fast as you can, you’re not going to need a ton of clothing to stay warm.
- Do your research and check out the course, last year’s results, aid station locations, and anything else you can find including prior race reviews.
- Warm up. Run at least 5-10 minutes at a pace that will cause you to sweat lightly. This will work out the kinks and get your body ready to rock n’ roll right from the gun.
Nervous yet? Well, you are if you’re a true competitor. And, if you’re that type of runner, you probably like the nervous anticipation of a race. When the butterflies start buzzing around and your legs feel heavy and numb just before the race starts remember this: Don’t puke on your shoes.
If you are the other type of runner, the one who is there to have a good time and enjoy the race, I applaud you too. You’re probably smarter and will likely live longer. But, if you find yourself camping out in the beer tent the same goes for you: Don’t puke on your shoes.
May the good saints protect you
And bless you today.
And may troubles ignore you,
Each step of the way.