Make sure you know what you're getting into when you sign up for a race. Modern Manners Guy has 3 tips to avoid embarrassment.
Last weekend, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure held their annual 5K race in my hometown. My family and I have participated in this event before. It's a great opportunity for everyone to take part because you can walk, run, push a stroller, whatever. No matter what “level” racer you are, there is an option for everyone..
I use the word "level" to not only describe the type of event but also the level of understanding of what you’re getting into. How many times have you witnessed the competitive elite racer clash with the casual runner? So with that, on your mark, get set…and check out my top 3 quick and dirty tips for race day etiquette.
Tip #1: Are You Running Buddies?
It’s important to know where you fall in the racing world before you put on your complimentary t-shirt.
Case in point: A few years ago, a friend who regularly competes in running events invited me to join him in what he described as a “family friendly” 5K. My friend knew that running was not my thing, but for the sake of charity (and since he called it "family friendly"), I happily obliged. Well, it turns out that what I thought was a nice way to warm up my karma on a Saturday morning, was a real life lesson in humiliation.
When my friend asked me to join him he was apparently only talking about the car ride to the starting line. When the gun sounded to start the race, he was off like a bullet and I was left in a cloud of smoke (FYI: He won the entire thing). Within the first 3 minutes of the race, it was clear I was waaaaaaay out of my league.
I don’t necessarily blame my friend per se, but I would have preferred a bit more of a heads-up as to what he wanted from a running buddy. To me, it meant running together – call me crazy, right? As well, I would have liked to have known a bit more about the race, mainly regarding the level of the competitors. I mean, when I showed up, it looked like a casting call for a Marvel comics movie. Each person was more ripped, rugged, and buff than the next. Hardly the “normal” family run that I’ve been to where fellow soccer dads and Pilates moms get together for a leisurely jog. So here I was, eating the dust of a 13-year-old girl that I’m pretty sure was one of the X-Men. I was physically and emotionally defeated after the first quarter mile.
When you invite someone to join a race, it’s mannerly – and friendly - to make sure that person understands your plan. If you want to run ahead and go for the gold – more power to you. But if you invite someone to run “with you,” assume that you will in fact be running side by side. After all, I didn't have to do this race. I thought I was doing my friend a favor and getting in some quality bro time. Turns out, I was just chauffeuring a gold medalist to his next triumph.
Tip #2: Know Your Level
In the situation with my friend, Speed Racer, the blame falls on both parties. He shoud have told me that this was a race to decide who was the world's fastest person, and I should have asked more questions about the event. I mean, if I wanted a shot to my ego, I could have donated that $50 entry fee to any of my ex-girlfriends and asked them how they really felt about me (although there is no free t-shirt with that).
So despite my friend not doing is bro duty, the real blame falls on me. I didn’t gauge my level of athleticism before entering the race. Even though I work out regularly, I avoid the treadmill like the plague. So why would I think I’d enjoy running a hilly outdoor 5K in the dead of summer? As well, I should have figured that my elite running friend would probably only run in elite running events, right? Duh Richie!
See also: 6 Fitness Fads That Don't Work