Let’s get to it! Are you about to run your first 5K? Are you nervous?? I’ve put together a list of tips that will help you prepare for and run your first 5K. 😀
-Practice Makes Perfect. The more you get out there and run the better you’ll be. It’s that simple. I tell myself this quote ALL the time. On days when I’m tired and really don’t feel like running, I remind myself that the more I get out there, and run, even if it’s not fast or far, the easier the race will be. Just remember: Even a bad run is better than no run at all!
-Test your pre-race meal – a couple of times. Everyone is different when it comes to what and when they eat before a run. For myself, I have to wait at least 2 hours after a meal before I can run. I’ve tried many times to wait just an hour but I still get horrible stomach cramps and just can’t do it. But for others, eating before a race might not be an issue. So it’s different for anyone. The important thing is that you practice what works for you a couple of times before your race. If it’s a morning race, I set my alarm for 2-3 hours before the start time, get up to eat a small breakfast (such as a protein bar or toast with peanut butter) and then head back to bed.
-Review the race website. Don’t worry, it’s an easy tip…. Always, review the race! You’ll want to look for information on the following:
- Is there a parking lot available? Is it street parking? How early will I have to leave to get a parking spot? Is public transportation the better option? Races have hundreds or thousands of runners so parking can be a real pain in the butt. Make sure you have a plan before you leave!
- Is there a water station? This helps me plan how much water I need to drink before the race. I try to limit the amount of water before the race if I know there will be a water stop.
- Is there a bag check? A lot of races have bag checks so take advantage of them. I usually pack a small bag with an extra layer for after the race (more so when I take public transportation and can’t leave everything in my car).
- How is the course? Is it flat and fast? Or hilly and challenging? If the race has hills then I do a lot of hill workouts a couple of weeks before the race. Knowing the course will also help you mentally prepare for the race.
-Lay everything out the night before the race. This includes your clothes, watch, headphones, headband, bib number and safety pins, sunblock, hat, etc. Trust me, you’ll catch a lot more zzzzz’s knowing that everything is ready to go.
-Slow & Steady Start. OK, so you’ve made it to the race, and the gun goes off…. Do NOT try to keep up with the fast runners. Too many people start the race off on an energy high and it doesn’t last. I remember at my first 5K, I just went for it and ran way too fast for the first 1.5 miles and then I crashed. I was exhausted. I couldn’t breath. I had to stop and walk and eventually jogged my way to the finish. Now, I run the first half of the race at a comfortable pace and then push it hard on the second part of the race.
-Have a couple of favorite mantra’s. These always get me through a tough race. My top mantra’s are “No Regrets!”, “You’ve done the training; now it’s all mental”, and “You are always stronger than you think you are”. The first mantra is great since I never want to finish a race and think “Oh, I could run faster” or “I could have pushed it harder on that hill”. It’s such a good feeling when you finish a race and think “YESSSS, I did it and I did awesome!!!”.
(post half-marathon race and no regrets!!)
And those are my top tips. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!
Good Luck! 😀