I have only managed to run a few 5ks over the last few weeks due to focus on cycling, work, rain, and generally me thinking that the race was weeks away….. opps! Poor planning and prep but fear not I have a plan!
First part of the plan is to man the registration desk to support Mr Rs running club. A responsible job that takes large amounts of focus at 7am on a Sunday morning…..what could go wrong!! I hand out numbers, direct folks to safety pins, point to toilets, wish everyone a great race, smile and offer words of encouragement…whilst trying to make sure everyone gets the right number. I get a kiss and a hug off a friend as I hand her number to her. She is rediscovering her fitness in her 48th year – all power to her. I chat with my neighbour who is doing her first ever 10k- it’s going to be great! My co-worker on the desk is going to go on to be the 3rd fastest lady with an awesome time of 38 mins and sacrifices her warm up time to make sure everyone gets registered. My warm up is – trainers on, tied up, good to go!
Here are some registration top tips:
- If you have had your number posted to you – pin it to your vest the night before so you don’t forget it! It happens
- Collecting on the day – you need to know some basics – your name (this seems hard for some) your date of birth. Ideally your real one! If you enter a false on for Data privacy reasons you could accidentally end up with an age group prize! The increase in 80+ year olds running may not be down to increased exercise participation in older age and just out inability to scroll to the right year…..
- Pins – safety pins….there will be some at the race so don’t panic. Just look for them.
So I hand out the last number and hop into the start pen. Making sure I am in the right bit ….if there are loads of folks with running club vests on around me I move back a bit. I look out for pacer flags or folks in charity t-shirts. I avoid those in fancy dress as these are usually amazing runners and being overtaken by a banana in the first mile does nothing for your confidence!
Part 2 of the plan is to run two 5ks as that is all I have trained for. My plan is to run the first 5k at my 5k pace then I can have a wee a little rest and run another 5k! Sounds a stupid plan but it gives you lots of options. These may be stating the obvious but they work for me.
- Keep going at the same pace for as long as possible and every step is a bonus. Just imagine it’s another 5k run.
- Jog 5k as a warm down ….I will still have run 10k
- Jog – walk if I feel bad it still gets me there
- I know I can walk 5k so if that’s what it takes that’s fine!
Things to watch out for on road runs ⚠️
- Cones….these can cause very nasty toe stubbing injuries and ankle accidents Boom had a very bad incident whilst watching Sir Mo fly past in the London Marathon and didn’t see the cone. Whilst comedy gold he was in agony! And being a bit behind Mo had a painful second half of the marathon.
- Cats eyes on the road ….these look fairly innocent however can roll an ankle very badly if you step on them wrongly – avoid!
I always watch Jo Pavey winning her Gold medal at 40 before a run. If only I looked like that when I run! Reality is none of us will but what we can do is make sure we have the best form possible to be as efficient and reduce our chances of getting an injury. I think of only two things
- Keeping everything in a straight line – feet, ankles, knees, hips, shoulders
- My feet 🦶🏼 rolling forward and pushing off.
More obviousness I know!
In an out and back race there is a hidden motivator in that the fast folks are going to start coming back towards you 2-3 miles into the race. I run near the side so I can see them. I shout encouragement and clap (coordination challenge for me to run and clap) it passes the time and before you know it you are another mile down the road. I look out for Mr R and others I know. Cheer each of them as loud as I can. In the London marathon with 40k + runners I saw Boom at Mile 13/22 the focus of looking for your people is a great mental distraction.
I have gone with option 1 and dig in for as long as I can. At 9km I glance at my watch and realise I can jog it over the line and get my goal time but as often happens a running fairy appears. These are people who seem to know when you need help. “Don’t look at your watch, dig in!” She says “power up the hill…she says….we can see the finish round the corner” my standard answer to a running fairy is “I am going to puke” the standard answer is back is “let’s puke together come on!!!
800m to go twice round a track. If I was an animal I would be a rhino 🦏 so at the end of a race I always think “charge” that’s what they do right! 400m the sick is coming up but the Running fairy is determined and wants to wind it up for a sprint finish. Charge. I see a photographer so try stand up tall so I don’t look like I am having a poo 💩
200m may as well give it all you have you can wobble that far if need be!
Finish line. Press watch. Puke to side …no one wants to run through that at the finish! Thank running fairy. Wear medal with pride.