There was a season in my life that I ran. I ran a lot. On purpose. Weekly mileage totals in the 50s and 60s were the norm, and a total in the 70s wasn’t uncommon. I got kind of snobby about it (if I didn’t say it, Leah would), and I wouldn’t go out to run unless I could run at least 8 miles. Sometimes I would run a 5K or 10K race as part of my Saturday long run.
That was a long time ago. The last time that I pinned a race bib to my shirt was the Statue to Statue 15K in April 2007. That changes tomorrow when I will run in the No-Longer 5K.
I used to have a ritual – almost a set of rules – that I would go through before a race that started a few days before race day and continued right to the starting line. The ritual governed what, when, and how much I ate and drank. The ritual took me through selecting my race day attire and packing my bag with towels, after-race shoes, and everything that I’d possibly need at the event.
As I mentioned, that was a long time ago. There will be no such rules in place for tomorrow’s 5K. Not because I don’t think that they helped or that they were important, but because that was a long time ago and I don’t remember most of them. One, however, has stayed with me beyond that season of running and racing. I’d love to give credit to whoever introduced me to the concept, but it was a long time ago. Nevertheless, it’s a great rule, and it applies whether this is your first 5K or your hundred-first, so I wanted to share it with you. Here it is:
Nothing new on race day!
Some of you may be saying, “Jammy, this is my first 5K, everything is new. How can you say nothing new on race day when everything is new?”
What it means is that you don’t eat, wear, or do anything on race day that you haven’t eaten before, worn during, or done in your training runs.
Here’s the reason: the goal, for most participants in a 5K, is to complete the race. There are a few who want to set a new PR (person record) and are trying to win the race, but most of us are just looking to complete the race, have some fun with our friends, and help raise money for a great cause. (Did I mention I was running in the No-Longer 5K?) You’re committed to covering the distance.
So what happens when your commitment to covering the distance collides with your body trying process something new? Either your body’s discomfort wins and you don’t cover the distance, or you are miserable for most of the race.
For example, what happens when, at mile one, you realize that the new shoes that you debuted at this race are a half-size too small? You committed to running the race, your friends are there, everyone’s having a great time, the cameraman is asking you to smile, but you’re developing blisters and losing a toenail because you’re wearing new shoes on race day.
Nothing new on race day!
It’s early, so I won’t get in to how your body might feel about dietary changes before a race. Suffice to say, nothing new on race day (or the Friday night before when it comes to eating).
Have you been saving those new running shorts and technical shirt for the race? I’m sure they look awesome, but nothing new on race day!
Tomorrow is going to be an incredible day. Some light rain is supposed to pass through Birmingham this evening and wash away the pollen and tomorrow morning is going to be perfect! I know the folks with No-Longer would be happy to help you register for the No-Longer 5K in the morning. Great day, great course, great cause!
I’ve gotta go. Have an awesome day and a great weekend! Nothing new on race day!
Saw this last night and wanted to share. I still dream of running Boston again. (If the video doesn’t appear below, you can see it here.)
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