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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!