I am running my first 10K in two days. I have only been running for about 3 months...and don't run very fast. I only can run a 10 minute mile for more than 3 miles. Under 3 miles, I can maintain around 8.5-9.5 mph. I'm just having a lot of anxiety about this race. Obviously, I don't expect to finish first....I just don't want to finish last. The last time I ran the 6.2, I finished in just under 60 minutes. That course is rather hilly and it was a very windy day...(I live in Oklahoma). The course for the race brags that it's very flat....I should think I would do well...just very nervous. Are these types of jitters normal for a first race?
It is perfectly normal to be nervous before your first race; heck, I still get nervous before races. Here are a few tips:
Take it easy for the next couple of days leading up to your race. Just do some light jogging to stay loose.
Eat foods you are used to eating over the next couple of days. On the morning of your race, have a light, simple breakfast (something like a bagel with a little peanut butter or a bowl of oatmeal with a banana).
When the race starts, don't get caught up in the excitement and go out too fast. You will have a much better experience if you try and run an even race and have a little left for a nice finishing kick.
Being nervous is not such a bad thing. It's good for race day if you can learn to control it. It heightens your senses elevates your heart rate giving you that little bit of adrenaline. However it can become bad if you let it take over you, like not being able to sleep, or makes you tighten up. Just remember that you've done all your training for better or for worse to this point. All you have to do now is put all that training into action. You know what this is suppose to feel like, visualize it in your head the night before, and put it into action. Best of luck.
I'd be worried about you if you weren't nervous. For me, those nerves show me that I really care about doing well and that I've put in the necessary work. If you pace right and turn those nerves into energy you will probably do better that you think. I am not an expert and I know there are lots of good opinions out there but I like to break up a race into three sections...run the first one relatively comfortable (hard but still feeling like you have more), the second section a little bit harder, and the third section increasingly harder until you are at your max and don't stop until you get to the finish. When I am able to follow through with a plan that's when I feel like a success.
Having said all that,.... anything you are able to do in your first race should be good enough, even if you are last (which you won't be) and you should celebrate the bravery it takes to try something new.
I hope you really enjoy it. Good Luck!
As everyone else has said, having some nerves is normal and a good thing. And you shouldn't worry about your finishing time, if you can maintain a 10 min/mile pace you will be more toward the middle of the pack. Just don't go out too fast and try to get into a rhythm early in the first mile.
Similar to Jen, I too break up my runs into segments, but I use 1/4's instead of 1/3's. I think it goes back to my freshman year in high school when I ran the mile. My coach explained how the first lap was the start and you needed to hold back, the 2nd lap you needed to maintain pace, the 3rd lap is the most difficult and requires the most concentration, and the last lap is the finish and give it all you've got. To this day I still use that philosophy in just about all my runs including 16 miles on a treadmill last Sunday because it was raining outside.
Ditto what everyone has said.
Best advice ever? Don't start out too fast! Your nerves will want you to, and seeing all the faster runners take off will make you want to speed out there also--don't give in!!
Ok....so I'm headed to bed. I'm hoping and pray that I do not embarass myself tomorrow. Thanks so much for all your help and encouragment. It really has helped, and I feel a lot better about the race tomorrow. Well, off to bed for me! Thanks again, I love this site!