First Race Do’s and Don’ts

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

By: Karley Zinsmeister, Charm City Run Events Manager

So, you’ve signed up for your first race and race day is approaching fast! We’ve all been there! The panic is starting to set in and you’re rethinking everything.

I’m here to tell you to take a deep breath because it will all be okay. The hardest part was signing up for the race in the first place. Taking that first step, waking up for morning workouts, going on countless number of runs, and trying new gear and fuel. You’ve already put in the hard work and the race is the celebration of it all.

I know firsthand the nerves and stress that comes with race day. I have all my race day do’s and don’ts that will come in handy as you get ready for your very first race!


  • Don’t try anything new on race day. This might be tempting as you could have seen a new shirt or a cool pair of sneakers when you picked up your race packet. The golden rule here is, if you didn’t train with it, don’t race with it. You never know how your body could react to a new item and that could impact your race.
  • Don’t start the race too fast. Race day energy is an amazing feeling but don’t let the energy and adrenaline get the best of you. You will need the energy later on, especially if you are running a longer distance race.
  • Don’t let the weather control your race. We all want perfect weather on race day but that doesn’t always happen. It might be warmer, colder, or even rainy. Ultimately, it’s just weather and you might need to slow down or even take in more fluids. 
  • Don’t forget to be nice to yourself. Race day might bring up negative thoughts but don’t listen to them. Remember WHY you signed up for this race in the first place and remind yourself of that.


  • Do trust your training. You put in weeks or even months of training for this day! You are ready and you are capable of racing the distance!
  • Do plan for race day logistics. Plan how you will be getting to the race, where you will be parking, and how far you will need to walk to get to the start line. Check out the race website or the pre-race email for any parking or road closures. 
  • Do plan to arrive at least an hour before the start of the race. This will give you plenty of time to hit the bathroom, do a warm-up, stretch, and shake out any nerves as you approach the start line.
  • Do plan your water stops. If you are carrying water with you, you can skip this one. If you are not carrying your own water, look at the race map and see where the water stops will be so you can be prepared for them.
  • Do eat breakfast. You might think you’re too nervous to eat but you will need that fuel. Make sure you are eating something that is carb based and something you tried during your training.
  • Do have fun and do sign up for your next race!!


Wednesday, May 15, 2024

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