10 Helpful Tips for Running Your First 5K…
The sound of ‘K’ behind any number when talking about a race can sound intimidating. Trust me, I know. However, a 5K is the total opposite of intimidating. In fact, a 5K is a lot of fun.
Before the race starts you may be nervous, but that’s normal, especially if you’re running your first 5K. The number one fact that should ease your mind: it’s only 3.1 miles. It’s not so bad when you realize that. Have no fear because there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of.
Before you lace up your running shoes and hit the pavement, read these helpful tips.
10 Helpful Tips for Running Your First 5K
Run with a friend
You’ll be surprised how much it helps you stay motivated when you run with a friend. It’s easy to get comfortable when you run by yourself, so having a familiar face close by will keep you out of your comfort zone. Running with a friend also allows you to have someone who will hold you accountable for not slacking and finishing the race. Moreover, friends should challenge each other. Think of it as a friendly competition.
Train leading up to the race
This tip probably sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised how many people don’t train before a 5K. If you’re an experienced runner, training for a 5K may not be necessary, but if you are just getting your feet wet in the running world – training is very important. While training, get familiar with your pace and comfortable with your breathing. Remember, hills are your friends – not enemies.
Also, make sure you do leg exercises that work your hamstrings, calves, shins, hips, and don’t neglect your core. The results of proper training will help your endurance allowing you to crush your 5K.
Rest well before the race
Getting proper rest the night before the race is very important. This will ensure your body is fully energized and that your muscles are rested for the big day.
Remember this! It’s easy to forget your pace when running a 5K. You can easily start off too fast without realizing you are trying to pace with runners that are faster than you and more experienced. If you are not mindful of this tip, you will find yourself getting tired early and struggling throughout the race.
Be mentally prepared
This is a tip I don’t see mentioned often. Not only is running a 5K race physical, but it’s extremely mental! Overcome doubting yourself and other negative thoughts. Don’t let faster runners clog your mental space. Instead, focus on keeping a clear head and a positive attitude.
Make the perfect playlist
If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t want to hear yourself breathing the entire race. That said, create the perfect playlist for your 5K. You know the genre of music that gets you going. Some people (like myself) prefer high energy songs that motivate you to push harder, while some enjoy running to their favorite songs that make them happy. Take my word for it, the right music is the perfect sidekick for a 5K.
It’s okay to take walk breaks
If you can, try not to. But if you have to break your pace and walk – so be it. Just don’t get too comfortable walking. After a short walk, gradually ease back into your pace.
With all the tips mentioned above, please don’t forget to have fun. Running makes you happy. It’s exciting, relaxing, adventurous, and much more, so enjoy your 5K. Smile and don’t be afraid to laugh during your race. It’s okay to enjoy your sense of humor while running because chances are something funny will happen. Go into your race with a mindset ready to have fun and that will help make your run much more enjoyable.
As you get closer and closer to the finish line, you have to keep telling yourself, “finish strong!” Your body will try to fight it, but remember your body doesn’t control you – you control your body. To be honest, you may not even feel like finishing strong but you should tap into whatever is left in your tank and give it all you got. You’ll be glad that you did when you cross the finish line.
Remember you can always run another 5K
This is more common sense than a tip, but it needs to be said. Often times we can be too hard on ourselves causing us to have unrealistic goals. Unless you’ve been training your butt off, expect to struggle in your first 5K. I remember running my first 5K and it was rough. But the good news is no matter the outcome, you can run as many as you want until you’re satisfied and ready to run a 10K.