Things You Learn At Your First Race

Ah, the evolution of the runner. When we first begin, we browse running magazines, search the internet, and ask friends who are “real runners” for guidance. As we progress, we begin to develop the notion that maybe we should actually run a race. We hear stories about 5Ks and 10Ks. We learn about the “runner’s high” and “hitting the wall.” We see the finisher’s medals displayed on the walls. And we want this epic adventure for ourselves.

But as every runner knows, that first race can be a slightly different experience than we expect. Here are a few things we learn at our first race:

Get there early, if for no other reason than to be first in line for the porta-potties.

Porta Potty Line

Not only will getting there early prevent a highly pressurized bladder, but you’ll avoid the aftermath of the army of people who came and went (literally) before you.

Eddie Murphy

When you see runners lining up in shorts and uniforms like this… just go ahead and line up behind them.

Runners in Uniform

That way you won’t go out too fast, and you won’t have to watch them fly by later.

Runners Flying By

Besides, the start of a race is a stampede of the masses. Why risk getting trampled? Better to lay low.


You also learn the dangers of overdressing. Too many layers = more problems than they solve.

Overdressed Ralphy

The course description said rolling hills. Rolling hills. Obviously, the race director's idea of a “rolling hill” is Mount Everest.

Rolling Hills

You also learn to keep your eyes peeled for any cracks or holes that might trip you up along the way.

Runner Trips

Oh, and make sure you don’t cut any corners too tightly.

Runner Hits Pole

Wait, should drinking and running be this hard? The pros make it look so easy.

Professional Run Drinking

When it actually looks a whole lot more like this.

Chocking on Water

Only when you cross the finish line do you see why nip guards were invented.

Why Nip Guards Were Invited

Sure, running is great, but in the end, we all do it for the bling.

Race Bling

And the camaraderie of running with people as crazy as we are.


But, oh, that feeling we get when we're done!

Giddy Post-Race Feelings

Good Luck and Happy Racing!
Coach Cary

Tim Cary is FLEET FEET's Assistant Training Manager, coach of the FLEET FEET-sponsored Runnababez Elite team, and manager of the FLEET FEET Racing Team.  Over his 20 years of coaching, Tim has coached athletes to three national team championships, five national individual championships, two national records, and numerous All-American and All-State honors.  Click here to receive Tim's weekly article via email.

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