Are you in the process of getting ready to run a 5k? Maybe it’s an obstacle course that also has a 5k included with the obstacles! Whatever your goal to get ready for the long distance run, here are some tips to get your prepared.
I’ll never forget my first 5k.I was out of shape, but a friend of mine wanted to do one, so I volunteered and did it. I could have done a lot better had I been adequately prepared to actually run that far. I was not in very good shape and a nursing student at the time (that was not meant to be!). I was drinking lots of regular soda, fast food, and never exercising. I didn’t think that a 5k was as far as what it actually was!
My last 5k went a lot better than the first. I live in Louisiana so we have mostly flat terrain, with the occasional “hill.” Our hills are like a bump in the road compared to the Northerners. It was a Savage Race in Georgia. It was also my first obstacle course race. That was something that I was not prepared for. The arm strength that was required was not something that I anticipated beforehand. I had the cardio down. I knew that I could run/jog the entire race without a problem. What was the problem was those darn hills! See note above about flat terrain. Who knew Georgia had so many hills that were legit hills?
By mile 3, I felt like my calves were going to burst because they were not prepared for the uphill and downhill run. Looking back, I’m thankful that I completed the race in one piece. Rolled ankle and all. Every 5k has taught me some valuable lessons. Here are three of the lessons that I learned:
Lesson 1: Don’t wait until the last minute
Never plan on running a long distance without having trained for at least a month beforehand. You are setting yourself up for failure by doing that. Start everyday and work your way up to the week before and run the distance that you will be running then. Start at half a mile, then a mile, and build up from there everyday. It’s important to build up your distance. If you are already running and have been for a while, you should work on increasing your speed and distance so that you can go further in a shorter period of time. You need to be able to complete the race without injuring yourself.
Lesson 2: Wear the proper attire
Once again, you don’t want to injure yourself while running. Don’t plan on wearing old tennis shoes that have no support or shorts that ride up the entire time you are running. Wear shoes that have a good amount of support that way you can run without any problems and clothes that are comfortable. If you have a bad ankle or knee, wear the correct braces that way you don’t re-injure yourself. Once you have sprained an ankle, you are 3x as likely to re-sprain your ankle. And trust me on this, it hurts worse every time!
Lesson 3: Train, train, and train
If you know that you are going to be going to a different type of terrain than you are used to, then hop on a treadmill instead of running outside and put the incline at an angle that way your body can adjust to running at that angle. The last thing that you want to do is practice running at a flat incline and go run on mountains or hills. They make treadmills that incline for a reason – to train your body to get used to what you are about to run.
You always need to be prepared before you go and sign up for a race. Don’t expect to be able to run a 5k without training beforehand. If you are doing an obstacle course 5k, you also need to do some upper body resistance training because you are doing some acrobatic moves while having your body doing cardio at the same time. Overall, train and work hard and you’ll be able to complete your 5k and have a good time too! The best part is always the food at the end of the race!