Archive for the ‘Racing’ Category

Whether you’re running your first 5K race or have trudged through a few, some race day tips can help you not only survive the race but maybe even enjoy it. Here are some words of wisdom for slackers everywhere:

  • Me beating a guy at the end of the Urbanathlon race.

    Pre-register for the race. I know it may be against your procrastination tendencies, but you will have to get up extra early on race day if you haven’t registered yet, and there may be a line of other slackers waiting to register too. This can cut into your pre-race bathroom time or even make you late to the starting line. Then there’s no chances of winning this thing. Plus pre-registering can save you a few bucks to drink with later.

  • Don’t go out too fast. There’s nothing that says newbie quite like a sprinter at the beginning of the race who dies less than half a mile in. Save some dignity and your lungs by pacing yourself. It feels much better to pass people at the end than to die during a race and get passed, even if you get the same overall finish time.
  • Sprint to the finish line. This will get people excited and garner you applause no matter how slow you’ve been running the rest of the race. Make a nice show of it and congratulate the finishers around you at the end. You are truly a champ.
  • Grab the best food right after the race. Everyone snatches up free stuff, so beat them to the best snacks and drinks by walking straight to the food tents after the race. Once you get your goodies, go stretch, with your treats safely secured by your side. Now you won’t have to snack on a plain bagel and green sports drink leftovers.
  • Bask in your glory. Impress all your slacker friends, your mom and anyone else who’s easily wowed by taking home a finishing prize. Most races offer free T-shirts to all entrants, at the least, and some offer finishing medals and ribbons too. Display yours with pride. You plodded through 3.1 miles for that thing.

So you’ve set your sights on a 5K race. Maybe you got roped into it by your co-workers, you want to participate in a charity event or you’ve been running and want to try your hand at racing. Whatever the reason, you’ve decided to run 3.1 miles with lots of other runners and test your mind and body. Congratulations! Now all you need to do is prepare for it.

Here’s a crash course in how to train for your first 5K, so when race day comes, you’ll feel good and have fun without crashing and burning.

Stretch after your runs to keep your muscles from tightening up.

  1. Build up your running base. Give yourself six weeks if you have already started a running program, or eight weeks if you haven’t run since that time someone chased you.
  2. Start slow. Work out for 30-minute sessions five times a week. If you’re not used to running, alternate walking and jogging until you reach 30 minutes. For instance, walk for 5 minutes, run for 3 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 3, until you hit half an hour. Don’t worry about your running speed at this point.
  3. Keep running. Stick with your routine and gradually add more minutes running until you can run for 30 minutes. If you start out running in 3-minute segments, for instance, add 2 to 3 minutes of running to the segments each week until you hit 30 minutes.
  4. Add speed workouts to your plan after four weeks of steady running. You can do interval training or tempo runs. If you do a tempo run, pace yourself to go at your goal pace for the race. Do a 10-minute slow jog to warm up then run for 1.5 miles at your goal pace and cool down with a 10-minute jog. Do one speed workout per week.
  5. Rest. Give yourself one day off a week so your body and mind can recover from training. If you don’t rest, you’ll be more likely to get injuries and burn out on training.
  6. Cross train. Set aside one day a week to do a different exercise that you enjoy — whether it’s cycling, tennis, basketball or dance. Working different muscle groups will help you get in better shape and give your body a break from running.
  7. Taper before race day. Tapering means to cut back on your workouts so your body will be fresh and rested on the day of the event. Give yourself a day of rest before the race, and two days before the race do a light, slow run of a mile to loosen up your muscles.