5 Tips for 5K First-Timers

Jul 06, 2018

Are you a 5K first-timer? There are many theories out there about what to do and how to prepare for the big race day. Besides sticking to your training schedule, keep these race day tips in mind so you'll be ready to hit the ground running the morning of, literally!

1. Mind your feet!

Proper shoe fit is essential, so visit your local running store for a shoe-fitting well before race day.  If you look at the soles of your current training shoes and see some significant wear on the bottom, it may be time for an upgrade.  This doesn't always mean a triple-digit price tag.  There are plenty of good bargains to be found.  Just make sure you know what type of shoe you should be wearing for YOUR individual feet.  Overall enjoyment of running starts with your feet!

img_62042. Run the course before race day to know what to expect. 

If this is your first 5K, take the time to at least walk the course.  If you have time, try to complete an easy run of the course about a week out from the race.  Knowing what you have to accomplish will really help you during the race.

3. Warm up, cool down.  

You don't ever want to start a race cold.  Take some time and get to the race site early.  Start off with a short, very easy jog.  This is a good way to get the blood flowing and loosen up tight muscles.  If you have time and there is someone onsite providing complimentary massages, take advantage and get a quick rub-down before the race to help loosen up those legs. When you're done with the race, you don't want to just stop cold.  Take a few minutes to walk around, take in some deep breaths, and stretch out.  If you've just done your first race, you may need to apply some ice to your legs at some point after the race to make sure you don't get too sore. 'Warm up, cool down' is a great mantra to carry with you when it comes to any type of physical activity.

4. Don't experiment with food and sports drinks on race day.

Diet-wise, determine what works for you and your system prior to race day.  The worst feeling in the world is trying a fancy sports drink for the first time before a race and have it hit you wrong. Not a good feeling during a race! The best prep is a light breakfast of something like toast with peanut butter or a banana with orange juice, coffee, or Gatorade.

5. ENJOY the experience! 

Make sure you take the time to soak up all the race has to offer.  Most race organizers have put a lot of time and energy into making your race day the best it can be from a nice post-race snacks to music, freebies, and giveaways. The after party can be one of the more enjoyable parts of the race.  It's also a great place to interact with and meet other people on the same path as you - you might just meet your next running buddy!

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