Running Your First 5K
By Derek Obregon
It’s always been on the list of things to do, but now you’re finally running your first 5K. You don’t have to be Mr. Universe to complete it (because it’s only 3.1 miles long), but here are a few tips that will help keep you on track to finishing your first 5K.
What you’ll need: Buy socks, shoes, shirts, pants/shorts, underwear and/or a jogging bra made of “technical” material that will pull sweat and moisture away from your skin. They’re lightweight and prevent chaffing. Also, train with a watch if you plan on timing yourself.
Train: Give yourself a few weeks to get you’re body in shape by setting a training schedule that works for you; one that’s not too hard (to avoid injury), but not too easy. Start by running shorter distances, like a ¼ mile, and increase the distance as you feel comfortable.
Drink water and eat right: Enough said there.
Don’t Stress: A 5K race may sound intimidating, but it isn’t that strenuous and walking it is an option. If you’re serious and need some extra motivation, invite a friend to run and train with you.
The Week Before
Don’t try anything new: Hopefully you’ve been training for a few weeks by now, so stick to what you know. Don’t try new shoes, new gear, new drinks or new foods. Stick to your normal routine.
Stay off your feet: Your feet will be carrying you the whole way, so relax and give them as much time off as you can.
Graze, don’t gorge: Don’t devour a gigantic bowl of pasta the night before because it could upset your stomach. Eat carbs in small increments throughout the day before the race.
Get it together: Lay your race day attire out the night before and get a full eight hours of sleep.
Before the Race
Don’t eat anything heavy within two hours of the race. A good breakfast is a smoothie made of fruit and yogurt.
Arrive early, at least an hour, so you can get your number, use the restroom and warm up.
Staying hydrated is important, but stop guzzling down water at least 30 minutes before the race starts.
During the Race
Start slow and stay even so you can finish strong.
Don’t wait until it’s too late! If your shoelace starts to come untied or if you start to chafe, fix it before it becomes a bigger problem.
After the race
Keep moving for at least 10 minutes to fend off stiffness and gradually bring down your heart rate.
Stretch out your legs, back and hips.
Refuel with a sports recovery drink, energy bar or a snack with a combination of protein and healthy carbs.
Congratulations on completing your first 5 K! Be proud of your accomplishment, but don’t get too comfortable just yet. It may hurt, but get moving the next day. Do some type of non-impact activity like swimming, cycling or working out on the elliptical. This will increase circulation to your sore muscles and help you recover. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be racing towards your next 5 K in no time.