8 Things You Need To Do Before Your First 5K
In theory, there should be less pressure at a small, local race—that is, unless everybody there knows you. One plus of picking a large race for your first starting-line appearance is anonymity. No one will care how fast (or slow) you run except you.
Find the race website. All but the smallest 5K races have sites telling all you need to know about the event: time, place, course map, cost. Read everything you find online.Everything!You need to discover all the details about the race: starting time, directions on how to get there, course map, and the like. The more you know, the more comfortable you'll feel at your first 5K.
The most popular races often limit the number accepted into the field. Wait too long and you may find the race closed. More important, filing your entry exhibits a commitment and provides you with the goal you need; plus, the entry fee often is less.
Many high-profile running events at longer distances (half and full marathons) include secondary "fitness runs" with no times or prizes, thus less pressure to perform. You can enjoy all the fun of the main event without feeling like you are in a race.
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Attend a major race first as a spectator. Observe with an unbiased mind everything you see, from the start to the finish to the post-race parties. Running races have their rituals. Seeing how smoothly the sport functions will ease your mind.
Most runners like to plan what outfit to wear, including shoes, well in advance. Lay your gear out the night before so you don't forget anything, especially your race number. In fact, pin it to your singlet the night before, then try on that singlet to make sure the number fits comfortably. Yes, prerace paranoia is common among runners, novice and experienced alike. Plan for all kinds of weather. Most runners come dressed to run, but you will want to take some extra clothes for postrace activities.
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This is a day-before-the-race extravaganza where runners pick up their bibs (running numbers) and race T-shirts. Expos are fun meeting grounds for runners young and old, novice and expert. As you will quickly learn, the excitement begins long before runners arrive at the starting line.
Most shorter-distance training programs last 8 weeks.
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