As the weather warms up, we’re getting ready for 5K season! We have several races scheduled from summer into fall and are getting our running shoes ready. Are you getting ready to run a 5K, too? We have some tips for before, during and right after your race to optimize your performance, avoid injury, and have the most successful 5K run possible!
Before You Run the Race
-Don’t run every day, you’ll just get worn out. Try running 3 days per week and add some intensity by using inclines. Try this 7-week training schedule from the Mayo Clinic.
-Try an alternative workout style on your non-running days to keep active. Go biking or swimming for aerobic activity, try out some martial arts classes, or play a new sport.
– Using stretches before running or other exercise gets your muscles activated and raises body temperature, so you are less likely to pull a muscle or suffer other muscle related injury. After you run, stretching can keep your muscles loose which can prevent pain from feeling tight.
-Get proper nutrition in your everyday diet. When running, you want to have consumed carbohydrates for energy during activity, and you’ll also need protein for your muscles to recover afterwards. Eat 3-4 hours before your race to have time to digest and avoid stomach cramps. Try out these specific tips and meal plans based on how intense your training is each day.
While You’re Running
-Pace yourself and don’t feel pressured. Most 5k runs are laid back and many people will only walk the entire distance. Start slow and build up your pace as you go along to avoid burning out right at the start.
-Don’t forget hydration! If you are running without a water bottle, make sure you are aware of where the aid stations will be. Volunteers will be passing out water or sports drinks in small cups.
-Stay engaged! Look for opportunities to keep your mind engaged on the strategy of the race rather than how tired you are! Be mindful of the course, and try not to weave back and forth through other racers. Make sure you’re familiar with how to run the tangents, to keep the shortest route possible.
After You Cross the Finish Line
-Hydrate! Hydrating is especially important to recover moisture that you’ve lost through sweat and also to help your muscles recover.
-Stretch! After you run, stretching can keep your muscles loose which can prevent pain from feeling tight. If you ran the entire race, you will want to keep walking for a bit to give your muscles time to cool down and keep your joints loose. Try dynamic stretching like high knee marches, standing leg swings, or full squats to really get your body loose and avoid injury.
-Change clothes or put on a sweatshirt. If your muscles get cold after your run, you can lose out on the healing metabolic activity.