Prep for Your First 5K!
No new things, Planning, Hydration, Kick Butt
(My race kit for my first marathon)
So, you've put in the hard work and training miles and the big day is coming up soon. I have a core set of rules that I follow whenever a 5K race day is approaching. The rules are simple really and while there are a ton of different combos of crazy situations that can happen - these rules never impact me negatively.
- No new things. I know it may be tempting to buy a really cool race day outfit or to buy the fancy racing flats that your favorite runner wears. Now is not the time. Trust me. Check out my Bayshore Marathon Recap to see how I learned the hard way. In summary, you never know how a piece of clothing or gear is going to affect you. You could get blisters, or chaffing or if it's an energy gel or food that you've never tried then your stomach could go into full on anarchy mode and start a riot causing you to spend the rest of the day in the bathroom (also possibly might have happened to me).
- Plan out your race day kit the night before. It may seem like a simple task at first but before you know it it'll be 20 minutes before the race starts and you can't find your favorite pair of socks. Lay out your clothes, water bottle, and pin your bib number to your shirt (if you already have it).
- Figure out what the heck is going on with the whole parking situation. Nothing makes me more stressed out then getting stuck in traffic and arriving to the race and seeing 4 parking lots that are all $20 to park at. Check online and see if the race organizer has suggested anywhere to park. Check out the area online if you've never been to see if it's a safe area and/or where the best place to park would be.
- When I said no new things earlier - I also meant no new foods. NO NEW THINGS, OK??. The day before the race is not a good day to go on a food exploration. Stick with the same foods you usually eat so your stomach doesn't have to adjust to anything new.
- Hydration.Personally, I find that drinking two 32oz Gatorade bottles a day for two days prior to the race always rejuvenates my lost electrolytes( I also drink water). I use Nuun during my training but drink Gatorade every once in a while during the day pre-runs for a refresh. For some reason I see that a lot of people think that furiously chugging four bottles of water right before the start of their 5K is going to help them. I assure you that if you haven't drank much the last two days that chugging a bunch of water right before the start is not going to help you. It actually will probably make you really have to go to the bathroom around mile two and you will suffer the last mile with a full bladder.
- Don't start off too fast. I assure you that if you start off faster then you can handle that you will regret it. Start at the pace you trained for. There is always that group of people that starts off too fast and then they start walking at 1 mile. Don't be one of them and stick to your plan.
This is what has worked for me and I hope it works for you too. Oh! One last bit of advice - go out there and kick butt. Visualize yourself crossing that finish line. The truth is that you are not only crossing a line on the pavement that someone put there but you are also crossing a line that you once thought would be impossible to cross. Once you finish your first 5K what other impossible things can you accomplish? Anything.