Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation guides you through the process of preparing for your first 5K
So, you’ve decided to run your first 5K and just signed up for the race? Great! You should be proud of yourself for taking that first big step towards getting yourself involved in a great activity that’s both fun and competitive; but maybe now that you’ve registered you’re feeling a bit, nervous? Overwhelmed? Unprepared?
No need to worry. Running on your own is one thing, but a 5K race is a different story, and these feelings are completely normal for a first-time racer. At Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, we’re here to walk you through some important tips to help you prepare for your first 5K, from casual training suggestions to race-day essentials. We hope that you take advantage of these tips and remember: a competitive spirit is always encouraged, but they’re called “fun runs” for a reason.
- First things first: if you haven’t already, get yourself professionally fitted at a running store with a supportive pair of running shoes
- If you’re new to running, start by walking with some running mixed into your walks; gradually increase the amount of running in each workout and focus on going further rather than harder once you get more comfortable
- Beginners should aim to be able to run about three times a week with a long run of at least 5 miles at a slow pace by the time race day comes
- Change it up with some cross-training like cycling, swimming, yoga and strength training for variation and to better prepare your muscles
- Get an idea of how long it takes you to run a 5K at a training pace and set a goal time for your 5K based on that; it will be a personal best regardless
- Listen to your body while running and use the “talk test” to ensure you’re going at a good pace: you should be able to have a conversation
- Don’t over-train and allow your body sufficient time to rest and recover
- Shoot to get eight hours of sleep every night
- Eat well-balanced, smaller and more frequent meals with lots of fruits, vegetables, carbs, lean protein and good fats
Leading up to and including race day
- Decrease mileage in the final week and take the day before the race off
- Eat a high-energy and easily-digestible meal two hours prior to the race
- Warm up about 30 minutes before the race with some light jogging
- Don’t go out too fast and pace yourself for the entire 3.1 miles
Most importantly, stay positive, breathe and keep in mind that the most important thing is finishing the race while not pushing yourself too hard. Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation wishes you the best of luck and congratulates you in advance on completing your first 5K. For more information on 5K racing tips or to schedule an appointment at any of our three locations in Woodbridge, Union or Edison, NJ, call 732-494-0895.