5 Tips for Your First 5K

WHAT TIME IS IT? SUMMER TIME! (If you get the HSM reference, yes.)

As we say goodbye to yet another summer, we say hello to a new wave of 5K races, with local ones occurring on a weekly basis.

Whether you’ve already signed up for your first 5K or plan on attending one in the near future, here are 5 tips to help get you race day ready!

Tip #1 – Leave everything prepared the night before

Chances are you'll have to wake up early in the morning for your race. Between race day jitters and making sure you leave with enough time to find parking, the last thing you want to do is scramble around trying to find everything you need in the morning before heading out.
Leave your outfit, bib, and bag ready to go the night (or even a few nights) before. Then you can peacefully sleep knowing you won't be forgetting anything in the morning. You can even pin the bib to your outfit so you don't have to think about it on race day.

Tip #2 – Catch some z’s

Speaking of sleep... get a good night's rest! Your body needs to rest before your race. Try to take it easy the day before, do some relaxing activities, and go to bed early.
Why is sleep so important? Sleep is essential for a healthy immune system! When you sleep, your body is able to repair the cells broken down during a workout. These cells need to be repaired from all the training hours you've been putting in! Otherwise, you risk increasing your chance of injury or illness.

Tip #3 – Good Food, Good Mood

If you follow any runners on social media, you've probably heard the term "carb-loading." This is unnecessary for a 5K and mostly applies to distance runners who require the extra energy to keep going.
For a 5K, avoid fatty or high-fiber foods the night before the race (there's nothing worse than having an upset stomach during the race and trying to find a portable toilet). Instead, focus on including wholesome foods in your  menu. Try to consume a nice mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats! The day of the race, have a light breakfast consisting primarily of carbs at least one hour before you run.
**Also make sure you start hydrating a few days prior to the race!

Tip #4 – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

On race day, stick to the things you know work rather than using the day to experiment with various things.

Make sure:

-You've run in your outfit prior to race day in order to avoid surprise chafing or blistering
-You've eaten the same breakfast before running and know it doesn't upset your stomach
-Keep your same pace, breathing pattern, stride-- all of the good stuff! It's easy to feel like you have to go all out to keep up with everyone from the start. (Fun fact- you don't!)

Tip #5 – Have FUN

Don't stress out about your race! If you find yourself getting anxious, spend some time warming up or focusing your mind on something else. Observe others around you and remind yourself that you've prepared for this moment.
Running events are filled with music, booths (can you say FREEBIES), pictures, and an energy so vibrant it feels tangible.
They are a time to get together with friends and family, meet new people, and cheer on strangers!
Whether you're walking, running, or a combination of the two, every other racer is there with the same goal in mind -- cross the finish line!
By the end of the event, you will leave with a free T-shirt and a medal handed to you as you cross the finish line! Proudly wear that baby to show off your amazing accomplishment!
If you have the time, stay for the awards ceremony at the end to help cheer on the top runners from each of the age groups. Remember: the running community is all about supporting one another!

By this point, you have officially completed your first 5K!!! Whether you go home or go out to eat afterwards, go with the biggest smile on your face knowing that you did that! You conquered arguably the toughest race in your running career and should be so proud of yourself!

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