I just got home after doing the 6 km race at the city run today.
I did not train for this race and I was skeptical about whether I could run for 6 km at all. I went back and forth these last few days and even this morning about whether I should do it at all. But I did and I am so glad! 😃
I prepared everything last night, even though I was still not sure if I will go, and I set the alarm to 7 am. My race was supposed to start at 10 am so I had plenty of time to get ready.
I’m not sure if it was because of the nerves, but I woke up at 6 am. I had my coffee, prepared a pb&j sandwich for breakfast and waited idle for the time to pass. This is the worst, the waiting. During this time I was trying to decide if I will do this or not.
I checked the timetable for the public transportation and I decided spontaneously around 8:45 am to get ready. I foam rolled and got dressed and was out of the door by 9:10 am to catch the tram to the city. I was starting to feel excited for the race as I was coming closer and the people on the tram were looking at me like I was some kind of badass. That gave me some confidence boost and I was finally looking forward to the run!
I arrived to the place around 9:35, ate my pre-run banana, checked the sponsors’ booths, used the little girls’ potty and got to the start line 10 minutes before the race was about to start. The race was 6 km distance for runners, walkers and nordic walkers; we had to get in line in this order and I was at about the middle of the crowd.
There was a podium at the start line and they made a great show for everyone, the moderator kept the crowd and runners entertained and distracted so I barely noticed when it was race time!
The countdown started from 10 and as soon as the countdown got to 0, the runners started moving. It went slow at first because it was a huge crowd of runners but I planned to take the first km slow anyway to get my body warm for run.
We ran on the street for the first 2 km and it went by so fast I barely noticed, I managed to keep a steady pace at around 6:30 min/km. We took a U turn and went into the park where a water & ISO station with volunteers was waiting for the runners at the 3 km point. I picked an ISO drink, had two sips and continued my run.
The organisers had a “fun” surprise for us, we had two hills to climb around km 4. I ran up the first and was slightly out of breath but the second hill came so at once after the first that I ended up having to walk up the second hill because I could not run it up. I knew that if I continue to walk it will be so much harder to get back to my running pace so I started running as soon as I was up the hill.
We entered the city center at around km 4 and it took us on the main pedestrian streets. Here I got another nice surprise, I expected to run straight through the city center and make a U turn for the finish line but the organisers set up a nice zig-zag labyrinth through the inner city for us.
We were approaching the edge of the inner city when I passed the 5 km mark and it was going great so far, I was feeling amazing. We ran along the wall of the inner city and it went slightly uphill, this is where my mental and physical power started to go downhill. Lots of people started walking instead of running at this point but I refused to let myself walk because I was so close to the finish line and I wanted to run through it.
The crowd was cheering us on and I somehow managed to gather enough power to just keep running. We reached the U turn and the finish line was in sight. I increased my speed a little more and I happilly passed the finish line at 42:07.
I walked it out for a few more minutes, did some stretching and then headed for the snack booths to recharge with water, bananas, apples, Hipp fruit juice, Alpro drinks, Multipower bars and Erdinger alcohol free beer.
I got my first Finisher medal!!! I am so proud and happy. 6 km in 42 minutes. I kept a steady pace of 6-6:30 min/km but two hills slowed me down so my final average pace is 7 min/km. I am happy with my time, my goal was to take it slow and steady, to stay around 7 min/km and to run the entire race. Goal achieved! 😃
Here are my top tips on how to prepare for a race:
On the night before
- Prepare your clothes and other things for the race on the evening before. Don’t forget:
- Good shoes that you have run in before, don’t wear new shoes that are likely to give you blisters during the race.
- Check the weather and temperature and prepare running leggings and top accordingly.
- Compression socks.
- Your race chip and number.
- Sunglasses or race glasses, this will also keep the insects out of your eyes.
- A hat, this will keep sweat out of your face.
- This is a bit controversial but have a carb-loaded dinner the night before. Some people say it doesn’t help but I found that it does.
In the morning on the race day
- Sorry if this it TMI but it’s important: make sure you go to the bathroom at home and get everything done. You don’t want to be searching for one during the race.
- Have your usual breakfast 2-3 hours before the race, typically some carbs and nothing high in fat. This is not the time to experiment with a new recipe.
Shortly before the race
- Foam roll before leaving the house, this helps loosen up the muscles.
- Leave your house on time, keep in mind that streets will be blocked. Going by car will be difficult. The public transportion will likely be full.
- Have a banana 30 minutes before you’re on. This gives you energy exactly at the right time when the race starts.
- There are usually drinks and snacks at the start and finish line and also on the race track. Drink and eat only what you have already tried before to avoid tummy issues.
- Do some dynamic warmup right before the race.
- Use the potty one last time before heading to the start line.
During the race
- Don’t start out too fast, you will likely burn out fast or injure yourself. Let your body warm up.
- Watch your environment, keep an eye out for faster or slower racers and let them through.
- Keep your breathing under control during the race.
After the race
- Walk it out after the race, don’t stop right after the finish line, and do some stretching.
- Have a post-workout snack, typically some protein and carbs.
- Foam roll when you get home.