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What to do at your first REAL® Run

You’ve signed up for your first REAL® Run, congratulations! Here are some tips to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable experience.

You’ve signed up for your first REAL® Run, congratulations! Here are some tips to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable experience.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

Whether you’re a seasoned competitive runner or someone looking to get in shape with the family, the 27th edition of the REAL® Run promises to offer a fun day out with friends, family and fellow enthusiasts. Here are some easy ways to ensure you enjoy your run.

EAT A PRE-RACE MEAL

You’ll need energy for your run, so don’t start on an empty stomach. You don’t want to stuff yourself, but a snack or a light meal at least one hour before your race helps.

Stick to easy-to-digest, nutritious options, such as a salad with grilled chicken, clear noodle soup or brown rice with stir-fried meat and vegetables. (Need more tips on eating healthy? We got you.)

DON’T USE A BRAND-NEW PAIR OF SHOES

A brand-new pair of shoes may sound like a good idea, but it could cause blisters. If you’ve already treated yourself to a fresh set of kicks, be sure to break them in at least two weeks prior to the REAL® Run.

HEAD TO THE RACE VENUE EARLY

If you plan to reach the race venue just in time for flag-off, you run the risk of being late, or having to rush to make the start on time. This means you won’t start the REAL® Run in the right frame of mind.

You want to factor in time for baggage check-ins, so you can reach the start line early enough to prepare yourself mentally for the race.

STRETCH AND WARM-UP BEFORE THE RACE

It’s important to stretch and warm up your muscles properly before the race. The idea is to slowly raise your heart rate in anticipation of the run.

If it’s been a while since you focused on your fitness, here are some simple exercises for getting back into the swing of things.

DON’T LINE UP AT THE FRONT

Not unless you’re serious about setting a new personal best or competing for a win in your category, anyway. If your aim (like most participants) is to enjoy yourself, start near the middle or back of the pack so the serious runners don’t have to weave around you at the start.

WATCH YOUR RUNNING FORM

Don’t start the race too fast – build your pace gradually to reduce the risk of stitches. Keep your running form smooth and relaxed. That means leaning forward a little while maintaining an upright torso, and avoiding landing on your heels. Instead, try to land on your mid-foot, which minimises impact.

RUN WITH OTHERS

Encourage your friends and loved ones to join you for the race. Running in a group beats running solo anytime, and everyone can trade stories after the race over a refreshing drink. And whether you end up running with friends or by yourself, it’s usually a good idea to…

CURATE A KILLER PLAYLIST

It doesn’t matter if you’re into rock, hip-hop, dance or pop: Curating a running playlist with your chosen feel-good tunes can help to lift your spirits should you hit that proverbial brick wall.

In addition, a research study found that runners who listened to music ran four to eight per cent faster than those who didn’t.

HYDRATE BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER

Bring along a small drink bottle with water or an isotonic drink so you can stay hydrated during the run. Take advantage of water points along your route as well, so you don’t risk succumbing to heatstroke. This is always a concern, especially given our unpredictably hot weather.

COOL DOWN

You’ve completed your distance, congratulations! Remember to stretch those muscles so you don’t feel too sore the next morning. Stretching is an important aspect of post-race recovery and shouldn’t be overlooked.

TRY THE NEW FUN WALK CATEGORY

Participants can choose from four adorable Otah and Friends plushies.

This new 2.4km category is ideal for multi-generational families or anyone looking to bond with their friends and loved through an easy, stress-free walk. Bonus: You can collect an Otah and Friends plushie as a REAL® Run souvenir. (There are four adorable plushies to choose from, each inspired by a furry or feathery native animal.)

For a visual reminder of the event, make your way down to the Otah mascot photo-taking session – just one of the fun post-race activities that you can check out on the REAL® Run 2023 microsite.

Like our stories? Subscribe to our Frontline Digital newsletters now! Simply download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App, and update your communication preference to ‘Receive Digital Frontline Magazine’, through the App Settings.

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