First of all, congratulations! If you are reading this post, you've already come a long way -- literally. Think of all the miles you've run. Races offers runners a chance to celebrate the training they've done.
If you haven't run a road race before, you're in for a real treat. You'll be running with hundreds or even thousands of other runners, there will be fans clapping and cheering you on, the roads will be safe and open to runners, and you'll have water and food along the way! It's no wonder that 19 million runners participated in road races last year.
Pick a race distance that you can finish comfortably and begin your search for the perfect race experience. There are lots of race listings online. You might want to start with CoolRunning, Running in the USA, or Runners World Race Finder. Many runners begin with local races, but some love the idea of a racing getaway.
Race Tips For Beginning Runners
Dress for Success -- Pick out your best gear or simply celebrate the experience by wearing a crazy outfit. Your body will heat up during the race, so a good rule of thumb is to start the race wearing something that would be comfortable if the temperature were 20 degrees warmer. Consider potential chafing issues, and never wear new shoes on race day.
Pace Yourself -- Divide your race into thirds. The first third should feel reserved, the middle requires focus to stay on pace, and the last third is a race to the finish. Strategies vary by distance, but you want to finish your race with a smile on your face and your hands in the air.
Enjoy the Experience -- Talk to other runners, stop at every aid station, enjoy the buffet after the race, and wear your race T-shirt or finisher's medal with pride all day long.
Good luck! Have fun at your next race.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more