Before you run a 5k you should have a basic level of fitness, to test whether you are fit enough to run a 5k you should go out and try to run for 30 minutes straight. Once you do this you know you are ready.
Before the Race
If you have a morning race, which most road races are I recommend getting up atleast two hours before the scheduled start time. This will give your body enough time to wake up and be ready to go. For breakfast you should have a meal full of complex carbs. My personal favorite is two waffles with penut butter on them, one packet of oatmeal, and a good old cup of joe to get the body awake. (Studies have proven that caffeine can benefit a runner.) Then get your racing clothes on, if it is going to be a warm day I reccomend shorts and a light t shirt or cutoff, and of course a good pair of running shoes. (Don’t buy new shoes for that race, make sure you have run in them before.) Once you get to the race sign in get your number, and about 30 minutes before the race start your warm up. My usual warm up is a easy 10 minute jog, dynamic stretches which include, but kicks, highknees, skips, and jumping for height. Then I run again for 5 minutes, and finally do some strides, which are 60-75 meter runs that are a little faster than race pace. Once you see everyone going over to the starting line head over, and line up wherever you think you might finish, don’t line up on the first line if you aren’t going to be in the top ten.
The First Mile
Bang! The gun goes off and you are ready to go, but be very careful to not let your adrenaline get the best of you. Start off at your planned pace that you should have practiced doing. You want your first mile to feel pretty easy. With adrenaline factoring in your first mile should be right on pace. The key to the first mile is to stay relaxed. Even if your first mile is 10 seconds slow, don’t panic a 5k is a long race, and there is still plenty of time to make it up.
The Second Mile
This is the hardest part of the race, you have to stay focused and don’t fall off your pace. If you were a little slow on your first mile you should pick up the pace a little bit. If you feel like you are falling off pace, just try to stay with someone that is passing you for as long as you can. This is the most important part of the race, when you hit the two mile mark you want to be right at your desired pace. If you are aiming for 6 minute pace then you should hit 2 miles in just around 12 minutes.
The Final 1.1
Now you really have to dig deep you are almost there, now is the time to let loose if you are feeling good then pick up the pace and try to pass as many people as you can. If you are really hurting, don’t give up now you are almost done, just try to count your steps to keep your mind off the pain. Then once you are about 200 meters from the finish line you have to give it all you have! Sprint as hard as you can to shave off those extra couple of seconds. Once you cross the line walk through the finishing shoot with a big smile of your face, and give yourself a pat on the back because not everyone has the dedication and determination to complete a 5k.
After Your 5k
Don’t spend to much time celebrating, you should go on a cool down run to keep your muscles loose and also do some stretching. For food I like to have milk and a banana. This gives me protein and energy needed for recovery. The next day take a day off from running, then after that get right back on the horse and start training again!