5 Don’ts For Your First 5K
If you’re heading out soon for your first 5k race, congrats! Your first race is an exciting time, but starting it off wrong can lead to some unfortunate results. Here’s a few things to avoid before your first race, to make sure you get a quick start and a confident finish!
- Don’t go in blindly. Prepare for your race by getting to know it! Is it hilly or flat? Does it get pretty muddy after a rain, or is it on a road the entire time? If you can, visit the course and walk or jog it, to learn what to expect. Even if you don’t have time to check out the course, get familiar with it by looking at the course map, checking the terrain on Google Maps, or asking the organizers or fellow runners about the course. This can help you mentally prepare and train for your race.
- Don’t drink your morning cup of coffee. Even if you’re a regular coffee drinker, today’s the day to wait until after the race. Coffee is a relaxant, which means you might be left running to the bathroom instead of running towards the finish line. Many regular racers can still drink coffee before a race, but until you learn whether or not your body is capable of it, it’s best to skip it this once.
- Don’t skip breakfast. Many first-timers make this mistake for fear of throwing up their breakfasts, but have found that they ran out of energy by the middle of the race, or get stomach cramps from the lack of food. Having some toast, orange juice, and even eggs is easy on the stomach, and can give you enough energy for your race. If you have a lot of time before your race, you can eat something more substantial (a big bowl of oatmeal, for example) if you think you can stomach it.
- Don’t start without a warm-up. This is especially important for those early-morning races. Give your body a warm up by jogging a part of the course for ten minutes, and stretch. Even a few sprints can be good for your body, because it makes you more prepared for the pace of the race. Starting without a warm up can leave your body tense, which can also increase your chances of injury.
- Don’t stress or worry about your results. You completed the course, which is a great accomplishment for a first-timer! Even if you missed your pace, or feel like you could have gone faster, don’t fret.
Overall, whether you’re a part of a 100-person race or running a mental one-on-one race between you and your body, keeping these 5 no-nos in mind will help you run a better race. Good luck and congrats at the finish line!