Surviving Your First 5K

You may not run, so surviving your first 5K may not be significant, but it should be. No matter what the demanding physical challenge is, many of the same tips apply. When running a marathon, you’ll want to know the course and the conditions ahead of time. The same is true for any major competition. Learning as much about the setting, the conditions and what to expect helps tremendously. It also helps you plan your training program for the challenge.

Don’t try to do it all at once.

A big challenge makes you want to put an all out effort in training, particularly when you first decide to undertake the goal. Like any goal, you need to lay out all the steps required to get you into shape. Remember, while working diligently on the activity—in this case running—you need to cross train to build all areas of your fitness. For instance, strength training helps a runner with balance and to prevent injury when running. Start your training slowly and gradually work harder.

Overcome the mental blocks.

Be honest with yourself. What are you the most afraid of happening? It’s probably looking foolish, if you’re like most people. Think about it for a second, even if you fail miserably and come in last, you’re still way ahead of people who thought about entering but never did. You’re also probably not alone, since most first timers in any competition feels that way. Once you get past the mental block, you can work to get training program in line.

On the day of the race, get there early.

Set your alarm a half hour earlier than you think you should. Get to the event, whether it’s a race or other competition, early. There’s nothing worse than rushing to get there, hoping you’ve made it in time. That’s always when things seem to go south. It sometimes helps to take a trial run from your room to the location, so you’ll be sure that you know where it’s located. Even if you leave early and get lost, you might end up not making it to the race.

– Work with a personal trainer to design a diet to help you meet your goal and select the foods to eat the night before the event and day of the event.

– Learn to recognize the signs that you need water or signs that you’re becoming overheating if you’re running in the summer. Preparing to be safe is just as important as speed

and endurance.

– Don’t line up in front of the group. Get toward the middle or back. You don’t want to set the pace too fast at first and running at the front of the pack will push you to do it. It can cause burn out before the end of the race.

– Once you start the event, you should have practiced enough that you get in the zone and quit worrying about the other runners or contestants. Focus on what you’re doing and nothing/nobody else.

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