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How to Prepare for a 5K

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Running a 5K is the perfect way to stay active during the summer, and add variety to your fitness routine. Even if you don’t consider yourself a runner, nearly anyone can complete a 5K if you begin with the basics and build up slowly. These five tips can help you reach the finish line with a smile on your face!

1) Practice

Once you have decided to enter a 5K race your next step is to begin practicing. Don’t show up the day of the race not having trained your body. You could end up with serious injuries. Figure out your weak spots while you are training. If you find yourself getting tired half way through the race, focus your attention on pacing yourself at the start of the race. Keep a consistent pace for each mile and stick to it on the day of the race.

2) Never wear a new pair of running shoes on race day

If you plan on getting a new pair of shoes, then make sure you get them many weeks before the race day. New shoes can take many miles to get comfortable in and mold to the shape of your feet. Keeping your feet pain free is necessary to run a successful 5K.

3) Keep it positive

When things get tough, it’s common for the little voice in your head to start telling you all the reasons why you will fail or why you should slow down. Often, having a positive mantra for the race — such as “I can do it” or “fast feet to the finish line” — will distract you from any pain and keep you focused. Practice these affirmations during your harder training sessions so they become automatic on race day.

4) Cross-train instead of running everyday 

If you’re feeling sore or fatigued, take a day or two off from running. That doesn’t mean you need to stop all activity. You can do low-impact cross training activities such as walking, biking, swimming, or using an elliptical to give your running muscles and joints a break while still maintaining your fitness.

5) Drink plenty of water

If you’re thirsty, then you are already dehydrated. It’s important to make sure you’re well-hydrated during the few days leading up to your long run. You know you’re well-hydrated if you void large volumes of pale urine at least six times a day. In the days leading up to your long run (or race), drink plenty of water and nonalcoholic fluids. Don’t forget to re-hydrate with water after your run. You should drink 20 to 24 fl oz. of water for every pound lost. If your urine is dark yellow after your run, you need to keep re-hydrating until it’s a light lemonade color.

If you keep these tips and tricks in mind as you run a 5K, then you’re sure to cross the finish line with a smile!

 

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