Thursday, June 18, 2015

Couch to 5K—Tips for Your First 5K

If you’ve been following this training program over the last few months to prepare for the GBMC Father’s Day 5K, congratulations on a job well done! We’re sure you’re excited to take part in your first 5K race, so we’ve put together this list of tips to get you through your first organized running event.

Before the Race:

  • Check the weather report for the day and dress accordingly and comfortably. Moisture-wicking material is helpful for staying dry and cool. It is also important to wear items you have previously worn running, rather than something brand new.
  • Wear socks and shoes that are broken in. The shoes you purchased at the beginning of your training should be perfect for this event. New shoes and socks will be stiffer, might rub differently and could result in blisters.
  • Hydrate and eat a protein-filled meal or snack a few hours before race time. Your body needs time to process the fuel you give it.

At the Race:

  • Arrive at the race with plenty of time to spare. Getting to the event an hour or more before the race will give you a chance to visit the registration table, get your race bib, use the bathroom, store your gear and get in a good stretch and warm up prior to race time.
  • Store your gear. Each race is different when it comes to how to store your personal effects, so arriving early is your best bet for secure storage of items like your cell phone, car keys, extra clothing layers, wallet and more. There is no gear check at GBMC’s 5K race, so it is best to leave as much as you can safely locked in your car or with a family member/friend.
  • Use the bathroom. As silly as it sounds, you would rather be safe than sorry. Use the bathroom before you head to the starting line to avoid discomfort during the race. 
  • Line up toward the back of the pack. For your first race, your goal should be to enjoy the feeling of running as you complete a 5K. Competitive runners will line up toward the front, intermediate runners will line up behind them and beginners or those who naturally have slower paces will line up toward the back of the group. If you start out and find the back of the pack is too slow for you, you can always safely pass others.

During the Race:

  • Pace yourself. It is easy to get caught up in the moment, especially in a competitive environment. Remember how you’ve trained and take on the course according to your own ability level. 
  • Visit the hydration stations. Every race offers at least one hydration station, usually around the halfway point, and visiting it for a quick drink of water will help keep you hydrated for the second half of the race.
  • Be proud of yourself. Focus on how far you’ve come and all that you’re accomplishing as you run. A few months ago, you might not have been able to do this!

After the Race:

  • Cool your muscles down and lower your heart rate by walking. Many people immediately sit after a race, but your body needs a cool down in order to safely return to normal. Walking around at a slow pace for a few minutes will help.
  • Stretch everything. The same stretching you’ve been doing before and after your training runs applies here. While you may be on an adrenaline rush, stretching is important so that you aren’t sore in the days to come.
  • Get a drink of water. Rehydrating after a running event is important, as your sweat and normal evaporation will pull essential water from your body. Water, or an electrolyte-filled sports drink, is best.
  • Partake in the festivities! If your event offers a cookout, coffee, breakfast, photos or any other social element, take part in them! You’ve earned a celebration!

Thank you for participating in our training program!

1 comment:

  1. throw water on yourself to cool down helped me after my race and drinking water . I should have prepared more before the race every day a little would have been helpful.