Whether you’re running your first 5K or you’re a seasoned veteran of running competition, below you will find some common sense tips I’ve picked up over the years that could come in handy as we approach the 5th Annual Bobcat Bolt. Register here!
1) Stick to your routine. Don’t try anything new on race day. Avoid the urge to buy some new energy bar, shoes, socks, shorts in that I-want-an-edge last minute impulse. Stick with what you know worked during your training. It will work on race day too.
2) Warm up before the race. Create a pre-run routine that gets your body and mind in the right place. The starting gun will get your butt in gear, but better to be in an active place mentally and physically beforehand.
3)Eat a light and simple for breakfast a couple hours before the start. The Bobcat Bolt starts at 9am. Have your routine breakfast at 7am (see tip #1) and then a small snack at the start. (Note:The Bolt provides bagels, bananas and coffee for runners from 7am to 9am on race day.)
4) Be fashion prepared. Bring the right clothing. If it happens to be cold on June 22nd (unlikely) make sure you have an old long sleeve shirt or something you can wear right up until the start. If it’s raining (It wont be! But we go rain or shine) a light breathable waterproof shell is good.
5) Go with the flow. You never know what might happen on the morning of the race. The weather could be different, you could get a flat tire, have a stomach ache, or feel nervous. Relax and go with the flow. We’re out there to have fun. Keep calm and carry on.
6) Drink (water) Responsibly. When taking water from the aid stations (the Bolt has 5) – pinch the cup at the top to funnel the water into your mouth and avoid taking too big a swig or giving yourself a wet t-shirt.
7) Visualize Your Run. Familiarize yourself with the Bobcat Bolt course. If you happen to live locally – bike the course or drive it beforehand. This will let you know what’s coming up (like the last hill, 1/4 mile from the finish, on the 10k coming off Bucks Hill Rd! It’s a killer!) and help you mentally.
8) Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Start sipping water the minute you wake up on race day. Keep drinking water right up until the race starts.
9) Consistency – uphill and downhill. Run a consistent pace throughout the 5K or 10K. Your pace might slow a bit as you hit the hills (first big hill past Oyster River Middle school in mile 1). Use your arms (swing them) to help you top the hill and expect your pace to increase slightly on the downhill sections by lengthening your stride. If you want to mix it up, I err on the conservative on the first half of a race. This ensures I have some kick at the end to finish strong.
10) Stick around for the Oyster River Festival. After finishing strong grab some water and a plate of food from our longtime sponsor Bugaboo Creek Steak House and sit tight until 1030am when the Oyster River Festival fires up with music and craft exhibitions.