Running your first race? Here’s what you should know

Attention all runners: The Comrades Marathon is hot on your heels! If this is your first race, listen up. Here are a few tips to help you with your training as well as on race day.

Get into the right gear

It seems like such an obvious tip, but for all you newbies, if you’ve been training in the wrong type of shoes, invest in the correct pair now!

Before running a long distance, new shoes have a “break-in” period, so your feet can get used to them. By your third or fourth run, you can start increasing your kilometres, and get ready for race day.

When you are buying new shoes, make sure they:

  • are lightweight
  • have a snug fit
  • are well cushioned
  • support the shape of your foot

You should also consider:

  • insoles for extra cushioning and support
  • running socks made of breathable fabric to help prevent blisters and absorb sweat

A GPS watch is a fantastic accessory to gauge your progress. You will be able to measure your heart rate, pace and distance.

Find support

Dedication and consistency is key to your training. Are you lacking motivation? Then ask a family member, friend or even a colleague to support you. They’ll be able to keep you on track.

The taper

Never heard of this? Here’s the run down: the race is only a few days away and you’re probably thinking, “I need to do a few extra sessions so that I can be at my best.” Don’t. Do exactly the opposite: each day, reduce your distance and intensity – your body needs more rest as race day approaches.

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Get enough sleep

When you run, you are breaking down body tissue. This is repaired when you sleep. It also strengthens and conditions your muscles so that your body is ready for your next workout.

Race day tips:

The day has arrived! You’ve put in the hours and are ready to go. Remember the following tips while you’re running and you’ll be able to enjoy your first race to the fullest.

a) Sustain your energy levels

Drink fluids to refuel on-the-go. Your body is using every bit of energy to keep you going and so you need to stay hydrated. If you become dehydrated, you may experience:

  • Headache
  • Cramping
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness

We recommend that you also keep small packs of energy gels in your pocket. They will resupply energy quickly.

b) Pace yourself

Remember this isn’t a sprint. You need to start off slowly and gradually increase your pace. This is very important. If you run too fast, too soon, you’ll run out of energy fast – you’ll throw away all the hours of training. It’s not worth it.

c) Trust yourself and focus on the finish

If you feel your energy and motivation fading, dig deep down and trust that you can beat the odds. A positive mind-set is one of your strongest tools.

For the final push, think about the joy you’re going to feel when you cross the finish line. It will be a moment that you’ll never forget! Good luck for your first Comrades!