12 Things I learned from my first Fargo Marathon 10K Experience

Fargo Marathon Week, my experience running a Fargo 10K

Fargo Marathon Week is Here!

My experience racing in the Fargo Marathon 10K

Fargo Marathon Week is here! As your training comes to and end and race day approaches, I wanted to share with you my first Fargo 10K experience so you can avoid making some of the mistakes I did.

Here are 12 things I learned at my first Fargo Marathon 10K experience

1) Training is important

I have only run two 10K races. I did not train for the first. I had only run 2-3 times prior to the race and on race day I could feel it. It seemed like hours between mile 3 to 4, 4 to 5, and mile 5 to 6.3 felt like an eternity.

Muscle cramps, side aches, soreness, gasping for air- what was I thinking signing up for this torture?

My second 10K I had been running consistently for about 6 weeks prior to the race and I remember it feeling so much easier than my first 10K, even though I finished at a slower time. It was more enjoyable, and I didn’t feel like I was going to die.

I repeat: Training is important.

2) Pace Yourself

The race started. It was early on and I was feeling great. My adrenaline was high. I got outside of the Fargodome and it was a beautiful morning. Like Forrest Gump, “I just felt like running”. I started out at a pace about 2 minutes quicker than what I would normally run. I kept up with this pace for approximately the first 2 miles. The rest of the race I had to alternate between running, jogging and walking because I was so worn out from pushing myself too hard right off the bat.

Try not to get caught up in the excitement of the race when your adrenaline is high and you’re fueled properly. Be cautious of your pace early on, you’ll thank yourself when you get to those later miles.

3) Don’t wear brand new shoes

This can cause blisters. It is recommended to have 40-50 miles logged on your new shoes before wearing them for a race.

4) Don’t wear worn out shoes either

As this can lead to increased risk of injury. Since I didn’t sign up for the 10K until right before the deadline, I didn’t have enough time to plan proper footwear. I had to choose between getting new shoes or wearing old ones. I am not a consistent runner, so I did not have designated “running” shoes. They were more like “multi-purpose” shoes. They were my running, walking, biking, basketball…you get the idea…shoes. My feet were sore for several days after the race. If your shoes are visibly worn or if they have more than 300-400 miles logged it is time for a new pair.

5) If someone coming to watch you, plan where they will be so you don’t miss them.

Ok, let’s be honest, no one came to watch me run a 10K. Although I have heard of people being disappointed they never saw their family/friends cheering them on during the race. Plan a location and know what they are wearing so they are easier for you to spot.

6) Wear proper clothing

Ahh the unpredictable North Dakota weather. Technically it’s spring, but maybe good ole’ North Dakota is feeling more like summer that day, or maybe even winter (let’s hope not). Here is where throw away clothes come in handy. Buy cheap outer layer clothing that you can toss during the race once you and/or the weather warms up.

It’s also a good idea to wear lighter colors. Lighter colors do not absorb as much heat, which will keep you cooler during the race. Yet another mistake I made. I tend to sweat a lot, so I decided on all black clothes so my sweat would not be as visible. Seemed like a good idea at first, until the sun came out and my clothes soaked up every last bit of the sun’s powerful rays.

7) Avoid Chafing

Do not wear clothing that is too loose or too tight. Avoid clothes with a lot of seams and choose clothes without tags. Apply lubricant such as Body Glide or Vaseline to areas that are common to experience chafing- armpits, nipples, around waistlines and sports bras, groin and between legs.

8) Hydrate

Do not wear clothing that is too loose or too tight. Avoid clothes with a lot of seams and choose clothes without tags. Apply lubricant such as Body Glide or Vaseline to areas that are common to experience chafing- armpits, nipples, around waistlines and sports bras, groin and between legs.

9) Don’t rely on apps for mileage

Maybe your app, Fitbit, Apple Watch or other device is accurate. Mine was not. My app was telling me I had gone about 0.7 miles farther than the actual distance I had gone. This may not seem like much, but when you see the Fargodome and think it is time to start sprinting (see #10) in addition to your app telling you you’ve reached mile 6 – talk about a disappointment when you realize you still have nearly three quarters of a mile to go!

10) The Fargodome is farther away than it appears.

I remember nearing the end of the race and finally seeing the Fargodome ahead. It was the light at the end of the tunnel. Between seeing the Dome and my app telling me I was farther than I actually was, I took off on a full-on sprint.

Horrible idea.

I had already burnt myself out starting the race at a quicker pace and now I was trying to finish the last mile of the race sprinting because I thought I only had about a quarter of a mile to go. Be cautious with your pace and pay attention to the mileage signs because the Dome looks closer than it actually is.

11) Be careful on the decline running into the dome

Luckily I didn’t biff it, but you gain some crazy speed heading down that incline to finish the race- be careful!

12) After crossing the finish line

Wow! I survived!  I headed straight for the cookie dough, pizza and chocolate milk then plopped my butt down and indulged because I deserved those calories.  Although you need to refuel, it is important to cool down, especially after those longer distances.

Do some light jogging or walking and stretching after crossing the finish line before sitting down to consume those post-race snacks.

Despite some of my mistakes and the results of my mistakes, it really was a great experience. I finally understood why someone would “pay money to run”.

Good luck to those of you running in a race this weekend! I hope you get those PR’s and stay safe. But if you do get injured, be sure to give us a call. Here are some of the most common running injuries we can treat here at Apex: Shin splints, Runner’s knee, Achilles tendinopathy, Ankle sprains, Muscle strains, Plantar fasciitis, and IT Band Syndrome to name a few.

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