Lessons from my First Race

Those who live life to the fullest learn on a daily basis.

It is impossible to know everything. There is always something new to learn. This morning, almost a week after my first race, I sat down and reflected on the experience and what I learned from it.

The fact that I was not able to complete the distance without a couple of walking breaks needs to be analysed. During my preparation for the race I was able to run thirty minutes or more without stopping but why couldn’t I do this on race day? I have come up with some possible answers and solutions.

First, the race start time was 10:00 and I got up at 5:30, travelled to the race, registered early for the free t-shirt, and waited about 90 minutes for the starting whistle. This was the first time I had run after 8 in the morning and this may have been a factor in my dismal performance. Although, I prefer to run early I am going to vary my training times so that I will be used to running later in the day. Another solution might be finding a race with an earlier start.

Second, instead of concentrating on running, I was too busy looking at others, observing their attire, running shoes, and panicking because everyone was effortlessly passing me at the start. Next time, I am not going to pay attention to anyone or anything other than my watch.

Third, my clothes didn’t feel comfortable. Instead of wearing one of my usual running t-shirts I chose a blue one to match my new sneakers. The obvious solution is to try out my running outfit before race day to make sure it is comfortable and practical. Comfort before fashion and matching colors.

Of course, making a few changes may help me feel more mentally focused on the race but I still need to do more physical training to improve and cover the distance without walking. I plan to do things a bit differently for my next race. The race goal is still to finish in less than 40 minutes but without walking. Actually, if I can do this then my time should  improve.

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2 responses to “Lessons from my First Race

  1. I think all of those things you mentioned are possible factors and of course don’t discount how much nervous energy is sapped by just waiting and wondering about the unknown before the race. As you were up at 5:30 and then waiting around on your feet a long time this would contribute to depleting your energy stores. I always run poorly when I don’t know the course I am running even when I jog around the neighbourhood. I went out with a friend who runs faster than I but it was only a few miles, however we ran one of his routes and I lost alot of nervous energy wondering if we were at half way point, if we were on our way back etc?….Normally I could have run that pretty easy even though it was fast but I ran out of breath and uncertain. One final offering of encouragement for us both is this; Even professional athletes with their coaches, technology, phycology, altitude training, free sponsorship state of the art clothing and footwear still have those days when it just doesn’t all come together. If they can have those days……we are certainly likely to have them too! Hope you go from strengh to strength. Best wishes as you train for the 5k.

    • old rural runner

      I think you are right…I wasted too much energy standing around at the beginning. Some training days seem to be better than others and I manage to cover 5K. Anyhow, for now, I am going to try and focus on doing a little better each day so that I will be ready for my next race.

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