Just a smidgen over two years ago, I glanced at my map of Central Park and wandered inside looking for the starting line of my first race. To say I was nervous was an understatement of epic proportions. Flush with second thoughts, what had seemed like a good idea at the time of registration suddenly seemed like a major mistake. While I knew I could cover the 1.7 mile distance, albeit slowly, it was not knowing what to expect that fueled my anxiety.
In the weeks before this first race, I had carefully studied photos of previously races on the organization’s website, taking note of the types of clothes participants were wearing. “What to expect at a running race,” had become my go-to Google search. Like an anthropologist studying an anchient culture, I consulted and consumed as many resources as I could to gain an understanding of precisely what to expect.
I knew I’d be running slow; it was everything but the running that kept me awake and worried the night before. Two years and dozens of races later, I can only laugh at my OCD. In this season in which we are reminded to not only make a list, but to check it twice, it occurred to me that if I had taken a page from Santa before my first adventure, I’d likely have felt much more at ease. I certainly would have spent more time actually training.
The folks at fix.com have compiled a fantastic, user-friendly infographic, “The Ultimate Pre-Race Checklist,” which they’ve graciously allowed me to republish below. It’s a list I wish I could have relied on before my first event. I’d like to think that one day when another new runner is nervously searching out information on what to expect before their first start, this compilation might serve as a nice antidote to their pre-event anxiety.