5 Tips for Your First 5K
If you are just getting into endurance sports and you want an event that will challenge you, but you know you can finish, then a 5k run may be just the thing for you. The nice thing about 5k runs is that they happen almost every weekend without fail and usually somewhere close to wherever you happen to reside. Once you decide you are going to take a 5k on there are a few tips which may help you make the event as enjoyable as possible.
1) Train to the distance. If you are just starting endurance sports you may have never run a 5k distance or just over three miles. You want to make sure that you have had plenty of workouts which actually mimic the real thing so that when race day comes you are ready for the distance. Fortunately, it is not impossible to get up to the 5k distance but make sure you pick an event that gives you enough time to get in the training you need beforehand.
2) Register early. Most events significantly discount the event for people who register online well in advance. There is some trade-off with registering too early but registering at least a month out is usually a good idea. Some events allow same day registration, but still others sell out. You don’t want to have your first experience with a 5k be that you cannot compete because you didn’t sign up in time.
3) Pick up your packet and bib the day before. Most events will have a small to medium size expo the day before where you can pick up your goodie bag, t-shirt, and race bib. Sometimes, if they are using them, they give you your timing chip as well. Even if an event allows same day packet pickup it is always best to pick it up the day before. You will be less stressed on race day and you will get familiar with the immediate area that the race will be happening in. If the event only has same day packet pickup then pay special attention to the next tip.
4) Arrive early on race day. There is nothing worse then driving to an event only to realize that possibly thousands of other people are also driving to the same freeway exit at the same time and now you’re stuck in a traffic jam. You also may not be familiar with the area so you want to allow extra time to get lost on the way and still be at the starting line with plenty of time to spare. It is much better to stand around for a few extra minutes at the starting line then to be rushing around because you are afraid you will miss the start.
5) Know your shoes. Many athletes race in different shoes then they train in. That’s fine, but what is important is that you have run in these shoes before and are comfortable in them. Race day is not a good time to try out a new pair of shoes you have never run in before. The shoe may feel fine when you put it on and then start digging into your skin as you run or smash your toes or even worse not provide the stability you are used to. So make sure you run in the shoes you plan to use on race day a few times before the race.
If you follow these tips, and the instructions the event gives to you before the race, then you will have a great time at your first 5k. You will be able to concentrate on what matters: running the race that you want to run and sticking to your strategy. Now that you know what to expect, get out there and run!
Written by Bryan Sheasby