One of the most popular races in the area takes place in Southport on Thanksgiving morning. The five-mile race is sponsored by the Pequot Running Club and draws thousands of runners.

When preparing for that race, and others like it, runners should remember a few important tips.

-Arrive at the race one hour before it starters for physiological readiness. This helps when employing the proper stretches and warm-up exercises. It's important to jog for about six to eight minutes to get the blood to the muscles, tissues and skin.

-It's important to run full out for 30 to 40 yards to raise the body temperature one degree. This helps you get your second wind. This should be started about 10 to 15 minutes before race time so that the body is warmed up. It's especially important for early morning races because the body temperature is cool, and the muscles and tissues need preparation for more efficient, injury-free racing.

-A good racing style is a must, and if learned early it can give you an edge. The goal of your racing style is good posture, which you can attain by lining up the head, shoulders and hips directly over the feet. You can start by getting up on your toes and leaning slightly forward in a relaxed position from the ankles to the head. You should be coming down on the balls of your feet and then push off with the last bit of weight on the big toe.

-It's important to learn how to keep an even racing pace over the distance of a run. First-time runners should start out slowly, building up their pace as they become comfortable with a breathing rate.

Dr. Robert Weiss lives in Westport and has a sports-podiatry practice in Darien. He is a former marathon runner and was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and the 1988 Olympic Trials.