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By Valerie Howell

5 great tips for running your first 5K

Congratulations on signing up for your first 5K race. You have made the first step on your journey to the finish line. The decision to run your first race is a milestone for every runner. By following these 5 tips, your first 5K is going to be an amazing success.

Treat yourself right

Make sure that you are getting enough rest and eating healthy. Proper rest and nutrition are vital while training for your first 5K. Your body needs to recharge and heal itself every night. By getting enough sleep, you can reduce the chances of getting injured. Nutrition is also crucial during the weeks leading up to the race. Reduce the amount of junk food and sugar you are consuming. Increase your intake of protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Eating healthy is fundamental to building muscle mass and increasing energy levels.

Get the right gear

Running can be an expensive activity, but you don’t have to spend a fortune. Focus on the essentials to get started. The most important piece of equipment, for any runner is the right shoes. Getting fitted for running shoes will greatly reduce your chance of an injury. Most running stores employ associates who are trained to help customers find the right running shoe for their body type and running style. Purchase moisture-wicking running apparel and socks. Never buy cotton. Cotton retains moisture and can cause chafing and blisters. Women also need a comfortable running bra that will give them good support.

Take it slow

Running a 5K can seem daunting to a new runner. With a little patience, you will get there. Start slowly. For the first weeks, just focus on finishing a mile. Mix walking and running if you need to, just finish the mile. You will notice as the weeks progress that you are walking less and running more. When you feel ready, start adding 10-20 percent to the distance you are completing every two weeks. Before you know it, you will be running a 5K.

Be consistent

Training for your first 5K requires discipline. To complete the distance on race day, you have to put in time and effort in preparation. Running on a consistent basis will reduce your chance of injury and increase your fitness level. The more physically fit you are, the easier running is for your body. If you commit to the training schedule, you will have a fun at your first race and cross the finish line with energy to spare!

Get ready for race day

Race day doesn’t have to be stressful if you plan ahead. The night day before your race, make sure to eat a good dinner. Don’t eat anything heavy or new. Lay out your race day gear before you go to bed. Research the location of the race and figure out directions. Go to bed early! On race day, get up early and have a light breakfast. Leave early so you have plenty of time to find the check in and parking for the race. It’s better to be there too early than to rush in at the last minute. Once you make it to the starting line, enjoy the moment. This is your first race and you will want to savor every minute. Don’t forget to have fun! You have worked hard, now enjoy it!

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