I started running a few years ago. With no experience, or clue for that matter, I commited to run the Duke City Marathon. I couldn't back out once I said it on the air, so I got help from Coach Mark Mico and Terri Redman and trained on the Bosque and at Defined Fitness. Since then, I've run another Marathon and a bunch of 1/2 marathons, 10ks and 5ks.
TIP: STRETCH THE RIGHT WAY
Stretching means different things to different people. Some do little or none, while others have a strict regiment for before and after running. I believe that if you are only running and not stretching, you are builing your lungs, heart and muscles, but, are not as healthy as you may think. I stretched after every run, just doing the basics; calves, quads and hamstrings. But, I also ran into health problems including a torn menuscus that required surgery. I may have avoided most of the aches and pains if I was flexible. Always warm up before stretching. Stretch until you feel resistance. Don't go for pain, that is bad. Hold the stretch for :30 seconds. My Physical Therapist taught me this and has the reseach to show why. Breath while stretching and don't bounce. Just relax and repeat each stretch 3 times. Here is a page with Lots of stretching info.
TIP: WATCH WHAT YOU EAT
Eat early enough so that you don't feel like hurling during the run. Depending on your event, you should eat about 2 hours before you start. If you are doing the 5k, you may get away with not eating at all. I don't advise it, but, you could get away with it. Marathoners, if you don't eat, you will be hating life. Stay away from dairy. Eat something that you know you can handle. Bananas, toast with peanut butter, bagels, Gatorade or whatever sports drink you prefer, are all good options. By the way, don't eat beans and enchiladas the night before. Also, stay away from heavy proteins like a big steak the night before.
TIP: NOTHING NEW ON RACEDAY
Stay with the routine, gear, food and fuels that you trained with. I know someone who drank Propel for months while training and then switched to Powerade on the day of the Marathon. She had to make a ton of pit stops, starting at about mile 11, and had to run with her butt cheeks clenched the rest of the way. If you haven't trained with "Gu", don't try it just because the guy next to you says, "here, try this" You may be ok, but, you may ruin everything you've worked so hard for. Don't buy new shoes two days before the race. You need to be sure that they fit right and are well broken in. Blisters SUCK, so stick with the shoes that you know fit right.
TIP: DON'T GO OUT TOO FAST!
This one seems obvious, but, it's so easy to get caught up in the moment when the gun fires. Stick to your planned pace and know that as you conserve your energy, you will eventually be passing most of the runners that bolt from the starting line. You're better off with a nice kick at the end instead of bonking and just trying to drag your sorry ass to the finish line. Negative splits are the goal; finishing faster than you start.
TIP: GET THERE EARLY
Show up at least 30- 60 minutes before your event begins. This way you can deal with any last minute issues that may come up. i.e. broken shoe lace, can't find your safety pins to put on your bib number, need to take a dump...etc. You should warm up with some walking and light jogging for about 15 minutes before you start. You'll have time to relax, joke with others, sip water or sports drink and get ready.
TIP: ICE IS YOUR FRIEND
After long runs or a hard speed workout, you may think that a hot tub would be perfect to soothe those sore muscles. But, immediately after a workout, hot tubs are NOT your friend. Ice is the way to go. After runs of over 15 miles, I would take an ice bath to start my recovery. Put about an inch of warm water in your bathtub get in. Run enough cold water to cover your legs and hips. Then, dump in a bunch of ice. Tough it out for about 10 or 15 minutes and take a warm shower. I know it's sounds insane to actually do this, but, it works. Although there is significant "shrinkage". After I ran the full Duke City Marathon, I drove straight to Defined Fitness and just walked in the pool for about 15 minutes. You will recover faster and better. If you just want to ice a specific part of your feet or legs, use a bag of frozen peas or mix one part rubbing alcohol with 3 parts water and freeze them. Put a towel between your skin and the ice pack so you don't ice burn your skin. keep it on for about 10 minutes. You can re-ice throughout the day and evening. After the initial acute stage of your workout, after a day or two, hot tubs are good for keeping loose.
My wife Kelly and I were certified with The Scuba Company on San Mateo a few years ago and have dived in Grand Cayman, Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine, Cozumel and Florida. You may think it's too expensive, too scary or too difficult, or, you think because we live in New Mexico that it doesn't make sense to pursue it. Well, trust me, it's one of the coolest experiences you'll ever have and is easier than you think to do. Here are pictures Check them out!