Congratulations! You have taken the first step- deciding to run a 5k or 10k. You may be intending to build up to a half-marathon or marathon over time or may just be doing a run for a good cause. Whatever your reasons, here are the top tips for people who are about to embark on the 5k or 10k race!
Pick a cause. Any race is worthy of your time, but it will mean even more to you if you finish a race for a cause, whether it be protecting endangered wildlife (the giant panda would be a great choice!), supporting breast cancer patients or helping a widespread environmental issue.
Practice makes perfect. If you don’t practice, you will be unprepared. Simple as that. Find out what your running strengths and weaknesses are and plan accordingly. Be aware of what pains you are feeling, if any. Keep track of where you peak and when you begin to hit a major lull (or ‘wall’ as marathon runners call it). The ‘wall’ is usually only an issue with marathons, but you may hit a point where you feel like you can’t go further. Keep practicing and push past that plateau by doing two long runs a week (i.e. Wednesday and Sunday) that are longer than the distance you are trying to accomplish.
Sleep, hydrate and stretch. Get a full night’s rest before the big race day and be sure to stock up on fluids- at least 8 glasses of water a day. Avoid injuries by doing a full-body stretch before the race. Give yourself enough time to sign in, stretch and give yourself that last mental push.
Start by pacing yourself so that you finish strong. Ease into the run and push yourself at the end. So many new runners find themselves wanting to shoot right out of the gate, but this will slow you down later- when it matters! Don’t worry about the people who bust past you- they will likely being lagging behind at the end!
10k group training. If you have mastered the 5k, congratulations! You will likely feel yourself pushing towards completing the 10k race. Good on you! Your dedication and determination will be rewarded if you train with a group. Just like the typical marathon, 10k races often have groups of people who meet every morning at a local park to see how they stack up against other runners. This shouldn’t be a competition, though! You can motivate each other and meet new running partners by joining one of these groups.