5 Tips for 5K First-Timers | O2 Fitness Clubs & Gyms

Nov 22, 2022

Are you a 5K first-timer? There are a lot of theories on the best way to prepare for your first race day. Besides sticking to your training schedule, we suggest keeping these race day tips in mind so that you'll be ready to hit the ground running the morning of, literally!

1. Avoid wearing old or worn-down sneakers.

Having the right shoes is essential!

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. If you head to your local running store to get a free shoe fitting, you might be surprised that there are plenty of good bargains can be found! Just make sure you know what type of shoe you should be wearing for YOUR foot type, and you DON'T try and break them the day of your race.

Enjoying yourself is hard to do when you end up with achy feet!

2. Check out the course BEFORE race day.

Before you run a race (especially if it's your first one), it's important to check out the course. It will help you better understand what to expect and gives you an idea of what you have to accomplish during the race. Lots of races typically post their course map online.

If you have time, try to walk or complete an easy run of the course about a week before your race.

3. Don't experiment with food and 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 having it hit you wrong. Not a good feeling during a race...

The best prep is a light breakfast like oatmeal or toast with peanut butter and banana with orange juice, coffee, or a Gatorade.

4. Avoid setting yourself a time-based goal.

We know it's literally a race and you are being timed while you do it. But it's better to avoid setting a strict time-based goal for your first race! Specific times can put too much pressure on yourself and could leave you feeling unaccomplished in the end.

Remember because this is your first race, whatever time you get will be a personal best!

Once you've practiced and gotten a few more races under your belt, then you can start pushing yourself to meet goals based on time and pace or challenge yourself to longer races.

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 snack 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!


Training for a road race can be a lot of work, but it can also be fun! Along with these tips, remember that it's important to stay hydrated, fuel your body with nutritious food, and adopt a proper warm-up and recovery routine to avoid injury and unnecessary pain. 

Thinking about your next race already? Our Personal Trainers and the Renew Physiotherapy Team are the perfect teams to help you with your first race, hit your next personal best, and improve your general health and fitness. Set up your free session or a free health screening to get started now! 

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