Prepping for an upcoming 5K?! These are our Top 10 Tips!
In categories: Awesome
May 30, 2013
You’ve signed up for shemoves Atlanta 5K, Reindeer Romp on Saturday, December 6 or another awesome event, you’ve logged the training miles and race day is almost here! Taking on your first 5K can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. Here, find the best tips when it comes to running for beginners.
1. Get a good nights sleep two nights before your event.
Pre-race jitters tend to strike the night before the race, interrupting your sleep. When it comes to running for beginners or even experienced racers, trust that this is normal and will not influence your race. Prepare yourself instead by getting quality sleep two nights before the race and taking that day completely off from any activity.
2. Decrease training load the week of the event.
During race week, your running mileage should decrease. At this point, your training is really about “storing up” rest so your legs are ready on race day. Two days out from the race, take a day off for total rest. The day before the race, do a short (20-minute) run with up to 5 pick ups under 45 seconds to sharpen your legs.
3. Eat breakfast race morning!
On race morning, be sure to eat the breakfast you’ve practiced in training. Aim to eat about 2 hours prior to the race. Keep it simple—a sports bar, bagel with peanut butter. Eat something high energy and easily digestible. Be sure to include hydration—water, sports drink if it’s warm outside to give you the electrolytes you need, and coffee if that’s part of your normal routine.
4. Get to the event early.
There’s a lot to be done on race morning including parking, packet pick-up, waiting in line for the restroom, warming up. Arrive at the race site 60 minutes prior to the start—knowing where you can park, what time packet pick-up closes (if you couldn’t do it the day before) and where to go for the starting line.
5. Warm-up and Get Psyched Race Morning!
About 25 minutes prior to the race, get warmed up. Start with a 10 minute easy jog, then slowly build your pace for 5 minutes. Then, include up to 5 short pick ups under 30 seconds at your race pace. Gently stretch any tight muscles after your warm up.
6. Choose your start line position conservatively.
The starting line can be crowded and nerve-wracking with so many people and different paces. Starting in the middle to back of the pack is safe for most beginners. You will start with those around your pace and you will have many more ahead of you to chase down.
7. Pace yourself!
Most racers give their best effort in the first mile leaving two more to go! Aim to negative split your effort on race day—that simply means finishing the second half of the race faster than you ran the first half. Start conservatively and build your effort throughout the run.
8. Keep it positive.
When things get tough, it’s common for the little voice in your head to start telling you all the reasons why you will fail or why you should slow down. Often, having a positive mantra for the race—such as “I can do it” or “Fast feet to the finish line”—will distract you from any pain and keep you focused. Practice these affirmations during your harder training sessions so they become automatic on race day.
9. Have fun with your Race Day Outfit!
Most races will have professional photographers onsite. Dress to impress. If you look good, you’ll feel good, and you’ll run faster.
10. Enjoy the Runner’s High!
The post-race high can be exhilarating. Capitalize on it to keep your momentum going and set new goals for the next finish line, wherever that might be. Sign up for another running race a few weeks later to keep yourself motivated to continue with your new habits, to test your progress or just to have fun.