New Year’s Resolution: Choose & Run Your First Race

31 December 2014   Category: Featured, Wellness   Tag: , ,

by PagePink’s Stylemaker Dr. Derek Li

Running in Singapore has really taken off in the last couple of years. It was not too long ago that there was maybe seven or eight running events interspersed throughout the year.

In 2014, there were over 30 races. So, make 2015 the year you run your first race! You want to get involved but the idea of taking part in your first race can be an intimidating prospect. Everything’s new, and you don’t really know what to expect. Add to that the competitive nature of running racers and the Kiasu-mentality of Singaporeans and the initial going can be rough.

PagePink - Running MarathonYour first race can be intimidating (source)

Here are some tips on how to make sure your first race is an enjoyable one.

1. Choose a race distance that you can comfortably train for, given your work schedule and time constraints

While it is tempting to jump right in and try for a really long race, if you cannot adequately prepare for it, race day can turn out to be a long and miserable affair that puts you off doing other races in future. I would recommend something in the 5-10km range as a first race. The distance is not overly intimidating, and requires relatively less preparation time. It also leaves you less worn for wear at the end of it. There are many training plans out there that can prepare you for a 5-10km run with commitments of little more than 2 hours of running a week. (Bear in mind that national health promotion guidelines recommend 1.5 hours of high intensity, or 2.5 hours of low intensity exercise a week as a minimum for everyone)

PagePink- RunningHigh Intensity work out (source)

2. Do the race with company

Things are always more enjoyable when you have company. Rope your friends, co-workers, or family members in to do the race with you. It is always helpful to have familiar faces with you at the start (and finish) of a race, especially so if it’s your first one as it helps calm the pre-race nerves. You can then plan to train together for the race and keep each other motivated during runs. For example, as a group, you can take turns to lead one another around your neighbourhood trails or running routes each weekend. That way, your running routes become more interesting as well.

PagePink-running with friends

Rope your friends, co-workers, or family members in to do the race with you (source)

3. It can be helpful to choose a charity run or a smaller race as your first running race

Charity runs tend to have a less competitive atmosphere as the aim is merely to have a good time and finish the run, and this often makes it less intimidating at the start line. As a bonus, they also tend to have really good lucky draws at the end! In a similar vein, smaller running races tend to have less people taking part, and have a more relaxed atmosphere. One thing to note though is that since charity runs and small races tend to have much lower entry fees, one should not be surprised that facilities at the race may not be on par with the more prestigious races. E.g. toilet facilities, hydration support during and after the race, and race SWAG may be more Spartan. If the design or finisher’s Ts and finisher’s medals are important to you, then small races may not be your cup of tea.

PagePink-Charity Run

Choose Charity runs tend to have a less competitive atmosphere (source)

 I will readily admit that the very first race I did was the now defunct Nike REAL Run back in 2002, held in Sentosa. I chose the shortest, non-competitive category and walk-jogged most of it, because I really liked the finisher’s T-shirt. It can be as simple as that.

Women Races in 2015

There are 3 women-only races in Singapore, and they have generally earned reputations as well organized events: The Venus Run, the Shape Run and the Great Eastern Women’s Run. These may also be good options as the race facilities, race memorabilia and fringe activities have a more woman-centric focus.

PagePink - Great Eastern Run

 Great Eastern Women’s Run (source)

Incidentally, the 2015 Venus run, which is organized by the Singapore Athletics Association, has open for registration.

PagePink - Venus Run 2015 Sign Up

2015 Venus Run (source)

Final Tips

Finally, when you get to the starting line, make sure to stand closer to the middle or back of the group. There is a strong tendency to start off the race too fast anyway, and then slow right down only a few minutes later. For a first race, your aim is to start comfortably, and finish feeling like you could have gone another kilometre. The last thing you want to do is get sucked into starting out too fast and regretting it later. Starting farther back in the group ensures that you don’t get in the way of the more competitive runners, and you get to jog your way across the start line and slowly build your momentum throughout the race.


PagePink -Derek Li


Dr. Derek Li is a family physician by profession. His interests include taking part in marathons and triathlons. Derek has a marathon personal best of 2hr 42min at the 2014 Boston Marathon.




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