Runners starting a race!
Yes, I'm a clydesdale. Some running races and most triathlons have special categories for heavier participants. For men, the category is for those over 190 or 200 pounds. They also have a category for women called Athenas and that generally begins at 145 pounds. These categories are usually broken down further between those who are under 40 and those who are 40 and over. These categories are designed to encourage wider participation in races.
I enjoy nearly all physical activity and have run for years. In typical age group 5k or 10k races I am at best a middle of the pack runner. Races are fun and give you a chance to test your fitness level against others; however, I generally consider a race as a contest between the stop watch and me. I have a time a want to beat going into a race and consider the race a success if I better that time regardless of how many guys in my age group are ahead of me. All that being said, I do enjoy being compared with guys closer to my size instead of those 70 pounds lighter.
Thankfully, running doesn't require much in terms of equipment. A decent sports watch and some running shoes and you're good to go. The sports watch needs to have stop watch capability and most of them do. You need to understand your pacing and how fast you are going. You can't track progress without assessing how fast you run on a per mile basis.
Look Online for Races
Go online to look up local races. Active.com is a good source to start. Typical sign up fees range from $15 to $25. The entry fees are often less if you sign up earlier. When you do online entry you can see if they offer a clydesdale category. If not, enter in your age group.
Try to Find a Race with a Smaller Field of Runners
If you are new to races, I would suggest starting out with a race without too many runners. You can often get an idea about the size of the field by checking out online results from the same race in prior years. Try to find one with 500 or less entrants. Smaller entry fields are better because the start of a race can be very cluttered. I was once in a race with 10,000 participants and spent the first mile tripping over race walkers. Best race etiquette is to line up roughly in the order you expect to finish. Front of the pack runners should be right on the starting line. If you're new and a clydesdale, your best strategy is to line up towards the rear so that you aren't run over in the beginning stages of the run.
Before the Race
Don't Eat Much
Most races are run early in the morning. If you eat any kind of breakfast, be sure to keep it
Limit Your Warm Up
I've never been much for warming up prior to a race. The most I'll do is maybe a half mile of light jogging, which is just enough for a light sweat and being limber for some stretching. I've always figured that too much warm up running will wear me out for the actual race. I don't recall ever seeing a clydesdale runner doing a long warm up run.
Manage Your Expectations/Set a Goal
As a novice runner, you shouldn't worry much about where you finish in comparison to anyone else. Keep track of your pace when you're training and set a goal based on your training pace. If you have run the race distance in your training, then you should have some idea of what will be a good goal.
Better to Start Slow
Prior to the start of the race, your adrenaline with kick in hard. For me, I have to fight the urge to start out in a sprint. At the start of the race I am completely locked and loaded. Having the starting gun go off is almost a relief. If you're similar to me, you'll find it difficult to start slow. I have found over the years that starting too fast leads to pain and agony in the last mile of the race. Better to start a bit slower and build speed as you go than start fast and have difficulty finishing. You want to finish as a running clydesdale instead of a walking plow horse.
Middle of the Race
One thing I've done over the years is to find someone to help pace me. Get in behind someone who is about the same speed as you. You don't want to draft them like in NASCAR, but use their pace to help you along. As a novice runner, you may find it difficult to stick with a consistent pace on your own.
The last mile of my first few races seemed impossibly long. If you've started slower and monitored your pacing throughout the race, the last part should be comfortable. You might
Most organized races have a finish line with an overhead timer and a chute to run through. Once you move under the overhead timer, be sure to keep moving. Otherwise, someone may run into you as they sprint through the finish line. After you leave the chute you can finally relax.
Whatever the result of the race, do another one! Running can be contagious in a good way. Make running a good fitness habit. You can be a sleeker clydesdale!
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