The finish of the Hey Hey 5k. Photo by Len Villano.
Plus: 5K Race-day Mistakes to Avoid
Running season is far from over. It’s prime weather for those who love to pound the pavement, and Door County offers up some fall classics in the weeks ahead.
Hey Hey 5k
Sept. 24, 8 am
Kicking off Autumnfest Saturday in Baileys Harbor, the Hey Hey 5k starts and ends at the Door County Brewing Co. taproom. Register on site Friday from 6-9 pm or Saturday morning at 7 am.
Oct. 8, 9:30 am
A 5k run/walk or quarter marathon run, plus a third-mile distance for kids all in Potawatomi State Park. Register at runwild.org.
Run solo (good luck!) or in a team in this run from the tip of the peninsula to Sturgeon Bay that ends with a massive dance party and costume contest you don’t want to miss. Register at fall50.com.
If you’re stepping to the start line of Saturday’s Hey Hey 5K, chances are good that you’ve spent the past several weeks training for the race. Whether you’re preparing for a 5K or a half marathon, training is a huge time commitment, so make the most of those efforts by keeping these tips in mind to calm race-day jitters and avoid common race-day problems.
Avoid eating too much (or too little) before the race
This is likely the trickiest part about race day, especially if your stomach is sensitive to race anxiety. There’s a fine line between eating too much before the race and risking a side stitch, and eating too little and running on empty.
Your best bet? Eat a light snack one and a half to two hours before the start time, sticking to foods you know are safe for you. A banana and a plain bagel, cereal with milk, or even a turkey-and-cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread are all options that will provide you with that “just right” fuel.
Dress in layers
September mornings can be chilly and damp, so watch the weather and dress in light layers if needed. And whatever you don on race morning, make sure you’ve run in that clothing before. The day of a race is not the time to experiment with running in a new pair of shorts or shoes.
Take a step back
It’s tempting to position yourself at the front of the group at the start, but unless you’re seeded to win the race (think sub-20-minute time), you’re actually better off moving yourself back into the pack at the start. Not only is it good race etiquette, but it’s also to your advantage psychologically.
That’s because you’ll be more motivated during the race if you feel you’re running within your own pace versus being passed by faster runners the entire time. And don’t be shy: Ask other runners what their anticipated finish time is to get an idea of where might be a good place to start.
Plus, because most races, including the Hey Hey 5K, use chip timing, your final time – or net time – won’t dock you for the time it took to cross the starting line.
Yes, you do want to be well hydrated for any distance race, but being overhydrated can work against your performance just as much as being dehydrated. Drinking too much will dilute necessary electrolytes, which can lead to muscle weakness and cramping. So hit the water stations – or run with your own water – but just like your speed, pace yourself.
There’s no question that adrenaline is pumping at the start of a race, but curb the urge to take off too fast. The last thing you want is to feel great during that first mile and then be riding the struggle bus for the final two.
To avoid running out of steam, settle into your chosen race pace shortly after working your way out of the crowd, and challenge yourself to maintain that pace for the whole race. Or, turn the race into a game, making your first mile your slowest mile, then picking up the pace with each subsequent mile so that the final distance is your fastest.
The beauty of the 5K distance is that no matter where you are in your running journey, it’s an opportunity to put your training into practice.
The Hey Hey 5K will start at the Door County Brewing Co. taproom, 8099 Hwy 57 in Baileys Harbor, on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 8 am; weave its way along the backroads of Baileys Harbor; and end at the taproom. Each participant will receive a special Door County Brewing Co. Hey Hey 5K T-shirt, a Hey Hey 5K pint glass and a first fill free at the taproom! Learn more about the race at heyhey5k.com.
Sources: Runner’s World, Active.com