So, you have signed up for an event or are just thinking about running your first 5K. But have you any idea about what you can expect? If you are able to plan ahead then you will have a smooth run. While there are some things that you cannot control on the day of the race like the weather and the crowd, there a few things that you can do to make the day worthwhile. In this article, I will take you through 6 tips that will help beat your personal record when running a 5k marathon.
Train on Short Distance and Long-Distance Races
Enough training prepares your body for the race itself. This makes your leg muscles strong and able to withstand any pressure. When tendons and ligaments are in good shape, they are less susceptible to injuries. You can work out in the gym or go bike riding. I tried bike riding in a hilly area and I really enjoyed the experience.
Training over short distances is like warming up your body for the real event. While long-distance training makes you confident you can go the extra mile. Knowing good running technics will save you a great deal. If you want to run faster, run slowly but do so regularly. Learning how to balance this will make you run a longer distance with less time.
This will improve your endurance and oxygen capacity. Try walk, running, and swimming to prepare your body for the race. As the joints become stronger your heartbeat improves also. Strong cardiovascular muscles will keep you going even when you are tired.
Lifting weights is also a great way to strengthen ligaments and joints. It also makes them resistant to injuries. It also keeps you fit by inducing fat-burning hormones. Try performing a full-body program with 3 sets of 10 repetitions done for 2-3 days.
Change your training routes from flat grounds to hilly areas. This will help you keep a constant pace on different routes. Repeat the training and know when to increase your speed and when to keep low
Train Three Times a Week
Nobody said that you have to run every day! Three times a week is enough. I often advise people, athletes, or not, to have a running routine. You can, for instance, decide that your first day you will take a walk or run a short distance at a fast pace. Start with a ¼ mile at a fast pace, and gradually increase the distance until you can manage to walk or run fast for a mile.
The second day can be a strength day where you run or walk at a modest pace up a sharp hill or hills. Start with two hill repeats and steadily work to five or ten.
The third day could be endurance day where you increase the distance and walk or run at a slower pace. On this day, start with 1-2 miles and gradually work up to 3-4 miles.
I also recommend you try stretching after increasing your running distance. Increasing your running distance makes certain muscles get tighter. This interferes with your body flexibility and hence stretching will loosen them up. A yoga class can help and also a dynamic flexibility routine. It includes foam rolling, marching, lunging, and sideways stepping.
Have enough rest the previous night
It is normal to feel nervous before the race but try to keep calm and relaxed. Try activities that will distract you like chatting with friends or watching a comedy. Just like the saying early to bed early to arise try resting enough. You should also avoid eating foods that may lead to gastrointestinal issues.
Wake up early and have some breakfast. Don’t eat heavily as it can lead to cramping which is uncomfortable. Choose a light meal that is easy to digest at least an hour before the race. Food high in carbohydrates and lower in fats and protein is recommended. Avoid high fibe and fatty foods as they may cause stomach issues.
Get to the race early and give yourself time to be ready. Ensure you have everything you need like your bib number and the right outfit. Walk around to know the place and chat with other participants.
Warm-up before the race
Warming up before the race is a good idea. It gives me a good mood and makes me feel ready for my race. It raises the heartbeat slowly and keeps its steady ready for the race. Try jogging for about 10-15 minutes before the race. This prepares your muscles and makes them more flexible. I also find stretching much fun while waiting in line.
While doing all this ensure you have your bib number well placed on your shirt. The bib is used to identify you by the race officials. It’s worn on the front of your shirt. Make sure the number is in place and clearly visible from all corners.
Knowing where to line up might be hard for the first time. Usually, don’t line up on the front if you are not a faster runner. Try being in the middle, at first it may feel crowded but will space out when the race begins. When the race has begun trying to be constant with your pace. Try walking and running at the beginning of the race. The keep your pace constant and push yourself harder during the last minutes.
Have a support team
Invite friends and family to come and watch as they cheer you. Let them stand in the middle and on the finishing line. This will motivate you to keep you going and keep you focused on reaching the finishing line.
If you don’t have your friends with you then you should appreciate those who wave and cheer you. There are people who volunteer for services like handing you water for hydration. Appreciate them and make use of the water stands.
You can also have them run with you to set a pace for you. I always find it more fun involving friends as it is more interesting. You keep each other energized and motivated. Finishing the race and enjoying yourself is a perfect goal for a first-timer. Don’t feel performance pressure appreciate your results.
If you are interested in running the 5K marathon, I highly recommend these tips. Either it’s your first time or it’s your thing, these tips will work for you. As you create an enjoyable experience for yourself in running know that champions are not made in a day. Regular exercise and passion for running are the main drivers that can keep you going.