Mom Knows Best : Getting Ready For Your First 5K Race

Monday, February 20, 2017

Getting Ready For Your First 5K Race

Congratulations, you signed up for your first 5K race!


  You have been running for a while and decided to sign up for your first 5K race. I want to say congratulations for all that training that you have done. Signing up for that first race is awesome! I know you are probably nervous and have many questions. I don't really remember my first race as that was many years ago. I have been running on and off since I was 20 years old. Over the years I have done many races and I am now about to run a 5k after taking a two-year break due to an ankle injury. So I will do my best to give you some tips on preparing for the race.

The day before the race

The morning before the race.  I like to eat a breakfast that has little fiber. Races are always early in the morning and I am not a morning person. That means I won't have time to empty my bowels in the morning so by eating a low fiber breakfast the day before, I won't have to do number two while running the race. Do drink your coffee though for your day before breakfast so you take care of number 2 potty business the day before the race. The rest of the day I try to eat healthy meals with low fiber also for potty reasons.

Running the day before the race? I like to run a couple of miles the day before the race. I already run every day so my body is used to it. If you are an every other day runner than don't run the day before.

Pick up race packet the day before. If you are able to pick up your race packet the day before I highly recommend it as the lines to pick them up at the race are always super long.

Look at the race info  I like to look at the race info the day before so I can figure out where the race is and where to park. I don't see a need to look at the race course as there is always plenty of people along the course to guide the runners.


Lay out your items for the race  I like to pin the race number to my shirt and lay out the clothes that I will be wearing for the race. This is also a good time to put the timing chip in your shoe laces if there is one. I also pack a bag with items that I need for the race. In that bag, I will put a bottle of water(great for hydration before the race), my iPod, a small microfiber towel(great for wiping up all that sweat after the race), a hair tie, a waist pouch for my keys, and a high carb granola bar. I just love this microfiber towel set as it includes a smaller one that fits perfectly in my waist pouch so I can immediately wipe all that sweat off after the race. It also includes a bigger one that is great to stash in my car for after the race. I love the bigger bag that I can place all my gear in.  These light-weight towels are ultra absorbent and dry so quickly. Unlike other microfiber towels, these are very soft. They even have attached loops to make them easier to hang up

Sleep I have a hard time sleeping the night before the race as I am a bundle of nerves. I take a warm shower and try to go to bed at my normal time. I also set my alarm clock.


The day of the race

Arrive at the race early  I like to get to the race at least an hour before the race starts. That way I can get a good parking spot close to the starting line so I can place items like my jacket and water bottle in the car before the race starts. Getting there early also gives me a chance to warm up, stretch, and use the potty. I like to go potty 15 minutes before the race starts.

Eat a good but light breakfast  I like to eat a healthy granola or meal bar an hour before the race so my body has time to digest it. Other good options to eat are bagels, bananas, oatmeal, or anything that is high in carbs. Just stay away from greasy foods. I don't drink coffee before a race as it will make my body want to do number 2 during the race. I will take some energy chews 15-30 minutes before the race for extra energy.  Below is a couple that I like to use. Also, make sure to drink about 8 ounces of water before the race.


Warm up  It is always good to walk or jog a bit before the race to wake up your muscles. I like to jog for about 5-10 minutes and do my usual pre-run stretches that way my muscles are ready to run.

Get in early Take your place in line about 5 minutes before the race starts. I am very competitive so I line up to the side in the very front as I don't want the other runners slowing me down at the start. Since this is your first race, I recommend lining up in the middle as that is a good place for beginners.

Enjoy the race  This is a tough one for me because of my competitiveness. I bring with my iPod so I can listen to music as I run. My goal for races is to win in my age category so I always push myself to run faster that the person ahead of me. Maybe this will be the race I just enjoy running.

 Pace yourself  This is something I learned from http://www.active.com that I need to try on race day.
Most racers give their best effort in the first mile leaving two more to go! Aim to negative split your effort on race day—that simply means finishing the second half of the race faster than you ran the first half. Start conservatively and build your effort throughout the run. When you start out too fast, your body works too hard too soon and fizzles after the first mile, making your overall time slower, not faster. In the last quarter mile, kick it into the finish line to finish strong.



After the race

You crossed the finish line! Give yourself a pat on the back for running your first race. Grab your microfiber towel and wipe up the sweat off your face. Go to your car and get the larger microfiber towel if needed. I like to wet the smaller towel and cool myself off. Then I use the larger towel to dry myself. Then I walk over to the refreshment table to get some water and a snack. Drink plenty of water to hydrate your body at least 8 ounces. Enjoy the snack as you earned it.

Find out your time  Find out where the race results will be. Sometimes they post them up on a wall after the race or other times you have to go online for them. I like to stick around for the medal ceremony to see if I won 1st, 2nd or third in my age category. I am hoping that since I am older that I will win one of these places. The last race that I ran two years ago, I won 1st place in my age category. It always feels so good to win as it gives me a sense of accomplishment for my hard work.


I would love to hear any tips that any other runners may have so we can help out the first time 5K racer. What are your best tips for running a 5K?

Here is the link so you can more information on this microfiber travel towel set that is great for races!
                                      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/b01lxjz6fu



"These opinions are my own and I received the three piece microfiber towel set to facilitate this post."   

19 comments:

  1. My son and DIL always runs in these types of races. I can't because of my failed back surgery. I think you will do great and it looks like you've got great gear to help out.

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  2. I love to run in these types of races and you have shared great tips.

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  3. I would love to be able to run like this. Unfortunately health issues won't allow. These are great tips for preparing though and will definitely share with my friends who are able to get out!

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  4. This is great info! I don't think I'd ever run 5K. I jog daily, but it's not that far, and it's all my body can handle.

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  5. I am not running so I cannot give you any tips, but I am well informed from your post. Who knows, I might be needing that tips someday. lol Anyways, goodluck for this first 5K race. Hope you can get a place again.

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  6. This is a pretty awesome guide. A lot of people are hesitant to join races like this because they don't know how to start or what to do before the race. I'm sure this post will help a lot of people.

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  7. I do 5ks + every single day... No races for me though, I "race" against myself from yesterday!

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  8. I understand your reason for avoiding coffee on race day, but I am not sure I could make my body move without it. I plan to look into those energy chews you mentioned.

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  9. omyy ! i wish i can participate something like this in my country! but i can't since it is always been held during my work days!

    -Karlyn Cruz

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  10. A lot of my family are runner but sadly, I am not. You look like you have everything you need to get you to the finish line! This is a great guide for all the runners out there!

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  11. Some great tips here - you definitely want to be prepared the night before. No-one wants to feel stressed on the morning of a race because they can't find their running shoes!

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  12. Great post and something that will help many first time runners! Great idea to set everything out the night before.

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  13. Wow way to go! All your tips are so great. Good luck on your first 5K.

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  14. Wow! Amazing! Good or you! Well done! The prep I can imagine wasn't easy but so worth it.
    Personally I've never run 5k I've only just got back into exercise. So a 5k is on the cards

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  15. Such a good tips and good luck on your 5k race, I want to join in this kind of activity It looks so much fun

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  16. These are all sounds like a good tips, I would love to try this 5k and Good luck on your race.

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  17. I am so envious…I wish I had a few 5K or marathons under my belt. It must feel good to get back to running after an injury. I haven't seen those Pro Bar Bolt bars…they look pretty good (from the packaging).

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  18. I've never ran a mile before let alone 5k! I would absolutely love to build my fitness so that I'll be able to though xxx

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  19. I love this post! I have not run in years but in HS ran the 2 mile and 1 mile in track and also ran Cross Country. I am sooooo out of shape.... I would love to start again :)

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