Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I *heart* 5Ks

Really, I do.

I love them. Love lining up at the starting line. Love getting to Mile 2 and feeling like there is no way I can keep up the pace for another mile, but doing it anyway. Love crossing the finish line, spent and sweaty.

I just love them.

For a while, I was running lots of 5ks. I was younger, childless and, apparently, had some time on my hands. Now, with a very active one-year old boy, I don't run them as frequently. In fact, this Saturday I'm running only my third race since I gave birth. But, over the years, I've found some things that work well for me, and some things that don't. And now, with limited time to train and prepare, I feel like I need to make the most of every run, every rest day so I find myself employing lessons learned more than ever.

For the Runners Lounge Take it and Run Thursday this week, the topic is 5K (and 10K) tips.

So what can I share with you? I've decided to focus on a few tips for the actual race -- things to do the night before, morning of and during the race:

  1. Don't eat too much the night before. A 5K is a short race, there is no need to load up. I find that a regular dinner, maybe a little lighter than usual, works well for me.
  2. Instead of a heavy dinner, have a lot of liquid. I like to drink lots of water the day before, so I can go into the race feeling hydrated. And, OK, races are usually on Saturdays or Sundays so, yeah, I often have a cocktail (but I make it a light one!) the evening before.
  3. Have a light breakfast well in advance of the race. For me, that means eating two hours before the start time. I usually have an English muffin with peanut butter or maybe a bowl of oatmeal.
  4. Warm up. I like to go for a 10 minute jog before the start of the race. After my jog, I do a little easy stretching. The jog warms me up so I can run a better pace from the start.
  5. Although you might not need it, take the water along the race route. I find that stopping to walk for 15 seconds while taking a few sips of water allows me to run the rest of the race with renewed energy. And that is a great feeling!
  6. Run strong across the finish line. You might feel like crap coming down the stretch but you'll feel better if you finish strong. And you might even shave a few seconds off your time!
  7. Revel in your accomplishment. Any time you run, it is an accomplishment. When you run a race, that accomplishment is greater. And when you finish a race that you've run well? Wow -- very cool. Enjoy your success!
I'm sure there are hundreds of other things you could do and I've probably forgotten some obvious tips that I have relied on to improve my racing over the years. But I'll leave you with one more thought: Enjoy what you're doing. And when you are running in a 5K, that means enjoy the race!

6 comments:

Leah said...

Warming up is a great idea (& something I've never done)! I don't normally feel warmed up until after 1 mile anyways. Gosh, it seems so obvious...Thanks!

Amy@RunnersLounge said...

Thanks for the tips and participating in TIART!

Would you mind if I added your article to the Lounge 5K tips?

Amy

The Happy Runner said...

Amy -- wow, that would be awesome! Sure -- add away!

The Happy Runner said...

Leah -- When I started warming up, I really noticed a big difference in my races. Good luck!

merrymishaps said...

Great tips. I never do warm up for races -- but I should probably listen to you. Your 5Ks are several minutes faster than mine :)

carla said...

such good and NEEDED HERE tips.

theres a 5K next weekend and Im really going to try and get my hubby to do it with me!

MizFit

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