6 Tips for Your Next 5K Race

Apr 30, 2018

Dominate Your Next 5K

Spring has sprung and with it come 5Ks, 10Ks and all kinds of other races throughout your community. Whether you’re gearing up for your first race or you’re a seasoned runner, take a moment to read up on Dr. Melander’s favorite tips for staying focused and healthy during this race season.

1. Stay Calm

It’s normal to have pre-race jitters or fears about finishing worse than you hoped, but they rarely push you to perform better. Instead, shift your focus to the positives of running in one of these races. Many 5Ks are community-sponsored events designed to get people outside and active, not to push people into competition with one another. Stay calm, enjoy the day and focus on doing your personal best.

2. Research the Route

Many races announce the route beforehand. Try to incorporate the route into your practice runs to get a feel for its layout. Knowing where the big hills and flat stretches are will give you an edge in pacing yourself to hit those areas with maximum energy.

3. Stick to Your Routine

Many people think the week before a race is a great time to break in new shoes, try a new route or find a new diet. This is not the case. Altering your training regimen could cause major problems on race day, like burning out early or sudden stomach issues. Keep everything consistent to maximize your potential.

4. Set Goals

It’s important to set goals for yourself on race day. Whether that’s setting a new personal best or just finishing, go into the race knowing what you want to accomplish. We also recommend setting multiple goals to cover the things you can’t always control. For example, set a primary goal if everything goes according to plan and a secondary goal in the event of rain or extreme heat that may cause you to lose time.

5. Smartly Manage Eating and Drinking

You may be tempted to “carbo-load’ in the days before the big race, but that’s only going to cause an upset stomach down the stretch. Instead, opt for smaller and more nutrient-dense choices during the day, such as a bagel and cream cheese or a banana and peanut butter. You should also avoid eating anything 2-3 hours before the race to prevent any gastrointestinal distress. Although hydration is important in any physical activity, drinking too much water before or during a race can cause cramping or nausea.  

6. Pace Yourself

It’s finally race day and you’re excited to hit the road and achieve your goals. All this excitement can backfire, however, and cause you to over-exert yourself early in the race. We recommend starting the race a bit slower than you planned, ramping up to a steady pace, then pushing yourself on the final stretch. It’s far better to finish strong than start fast.

As a trained marathon runner, Dr. Melander firmly believes in value of preparing for a big race. With these tips in mind, you’re ready to have your best run yet. For more running tips and insights, explore our blog.

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Categories: Health and Wellness, Nutrition, Running, Sports Medicine, Sports Medicine Monday