Race Day: Toeing the line for the first time.

Updated: 05/29/2014 5:51 PM
Created: 05/29/2014 12:40 PM WNYT.com
By: Benita Zahn

A viewer reached out to me the other day looking for guidance. She'll be running her first race, ever on 5/31 - the Freihoffer's Run for Women. What could I tell her about running that race, about managing the stress of tackling the course ...

I shared some thoughts and then reached out to my running pals -- much of their advice was similar but there were so many other suggestions - some I've forgotten through the years, some I never considered - all will serve you well.

I'm happy to share the advice - you're welcome to use this in any way you see fit. All I ask is that you be sure to pay attention to the advice that talks about smiling and engaging - good advice in our every day lives.

And for those who'll be on that start line - here's to the wind at your back and the sun on your face! (and if you have any pointers not covered - please share!)

Suzee - Let your nervous energy work for you!

Kristen - Get there early, find the porta poty before the lines form, warm up, relax, have fun, enjoy the runners and spectators on the course, smile for the cameras and next year join the Freihofer's Training Challenge for a great training program to get you ready!

  • Tami: Do not start out too fast, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement. Keep your target pace and save your push for the end

     Michael- Look for the holes in the crowd and make your move.

  • Sue - enjoy every minute and save the bib. There will never be another first race. Be proud.

  • Helene- Double knot shoe laces. Don't let crowds getting up the hill overwhelm you. There will be lots of elbowing. Don't go out too fast.

  • Muriel- Hydration several days before.

  • Erin - Enjoy every step and don't worry about the speed of other runners. Run the race YOU trained for. Good luck runners!

  • Ryan- Just go out there looking for completion, not for time. Enjoy the race and the accomplishment!

  • Lori -Trust your body - and not worry about anyone else. See you on the course -

  • Douglas- Pace yourself considering there is an army of runners.

  • Kelly  Freihofer is a tough one to race, with all the crowds. Go with the goal of enjoying yourself: high 5 the crowd, encourage the other runners, run conservatively, but fully soak in the joy of being able to be out with all your sisters in running, knowing that a generation ago, women runners were not only rare, they were actively discouraged from participating in the sport.

  • Joan - Having run the Freihofer's 3x, and being a back-of-the-packer, I think my best advice would be to relax and enjoy the race. For your first race, your PR is built in, so relax and just EXPERIENCE it. The Freihofer's is also an incredibly crowded race, so resist the pressure to keep up with the group of runners surrounding you, if keeping up causes you to push yourself too hard too early. For middle-of-the-packers, the biggest frustration seems to be that they feel they can't move ahead very easily--that they're somewhat "stuck" in the pack they were in at the beginning. That may very well be the case in the first kilometer or so, but once you get past the first water station by the Lakehouse, the crowd does seem to thin out just enough to enable you to pick up some speed and break away.

    Unfortunately, I won't be running this year's Freihofer's, but I'm hoping to be standing on the sidelines in Washington Park, cheering on all of these amazing women--elite runners, recreational runners, first-time runners, and everyone who comes out to celebrate this day.

  • Keri - Don't blow it all in the first mile... Pace yourself and listen to your body

  • Joan - Oh, one more thing! Use good running etiquette (even if you encounter other runners who don't)! If you're slower, stay to the right. If you need to slow to a walk or stop, move to the right first. If you want to pass, pass on the left (just like when you're driving your car). And ALWAYS take a glance behind you before moving laterally, to make sure you're not cutting off someone coming up behind you. (In other words, show the courtesy you'd want other runners to show to you

     Regina- Freihofers has such a fantastic crowd - high 5 along the way, it's so energizing and the spectators love it.
    If you wear your name on your front or your back the crowd will cheer you personally, they enjoy calling out a name and clapping -

  • Dawn -Enjoy yourself. There is nothing like the feeling the first time you cross the finish line. It's your own race don't worry about anyone else's time just know you've got this one and go


Broken Clouds
83° | 58°
  • Feels like: 64° F
  • Wind: S 9mph
  • Humidity: 45%