How to Prepare the Day of Your First 5K Race

You’ve been training over the past few months to run your first 5K. Although it’s exciting, it’s also nerve wrecking if you’re not a seasoned runner. Are you prepared for the event? Is there anything else you should be doing or considering before and after the race?

Check out these milestones you should consider from our in-house trainer Jennifer Brazen.

The week before: You aren’t going to get any faster at this point, so it’s best to just to have fun, relaxed workouts. Don’t run or do any heavy leg training three days before the race. Get your playlist together and plan what you are wearing. Also, make sure to read through your race packet and look at the course. It may even be helpful to go drive by or through the course to get an idea of how hilly it is and where you will be starting and finishing. Also, see what the weather is going to be like. If there is a chance of rain and/or it might be cold, plan to wear a waterproof jacket or long-sleeve top.

Night before: Eat what you would normally eat at night and nothing new or unhealthy. Make sure to get at least seven hours of sleep. Charge your watch and iPod and also lay out what you are going to wear.

Morning of race: Wake up about 1-1.5hours before the race and eat breakfast. Eat something that is low in sugar and fiber with no more than seven grams of protein. Don’t eat too much and also drink some water. If it’s hot, drink Gatorade or similar drink. Bananas are also good options. Get to your race location at least 30 minutes ahead of time (more if you think you will have trouble parking). Warmup walk/jog for about 10 minutes and then do some light stretches. Also, use this time to go to the bathroom.

During race: This race is pretty short, so you really don’t need to stop for water and/or go to the bathroom. If you warmup properly beforehand, you can start off pretty fast. But, just like with all races don’t go too fast at the start or you will burn out. Hopefully you’ve been training and know what your goal paces are for each mile split. If you are fast make sure to get closer to the front of the starting line so that you don’t have to push past all the walkers or trip over anyone. Try to make your last mile your fastest and stay relaxed.

After race: Stretching is important because most likely you were going faster than you normally do on training runs and sustained it for three miles. Focus on quads, glutes and calves. Also, if it’s hot make sure to keep hydrating and drink fluids all day long. Try to eat something with a mix of protein and carbs within 30 minutes of finishing and it will help with soreness.

This is a fun, quick race so you’ll have time to recover and enjoy your day!

Did we miss anything? What do you do to prepare? Leave us a question or comment below and good luck on your race!  

Most recent update: 4/4/2018

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