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Run Forrest Run: Prepping For Your 5-K Race

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Running...especially training for running a race seems to be "all the rage" these days.
Still thinking about making the finish line of your first few races can not only get your heart and pulse racing but can be equally as intimidating and "overwhelming" as it is exhilarating and exciting.

Remember, at least if you’re a beginner, try not to set your sights on finishing first...but just on finishing and making your run rewarding, fun and stress-free.

Here are a few expert tips to make sure you put your best foot forward.

1. Get the right amount of rest: When it comes to running a race you'll want to make sure you're not running on empty. Yet, pre-race nerves can contribute to keeping you up at night. Accept this as part of the norm (even for experiences runners) and that it won't affect or influence your performance. Get your body race ready by getting a good night's sleep two nights before the big day and taking the day completely off from any activity.

2. Lighten up: Keep your activity and your running mileage low during the week of your big race. Use this time to store up energy and rest so that your legs and body are ready for those extra miles. You can however include 2-3 short runs with a few, small pick up that keep you race ready and keep your body and legs fresh. The day before the race...set out for a short 20-minute run with up to 5 pickups under 45 seconds to sharpen your legs.

3. Fuel up: The day of the race, make sure to eat the breakfast you've practiced in training. Remember to eat about 2 hours before your big run and keep it a bowl of cereal (oatmeal) with some dried fruit, a sports bar, or bagel with peanut butter. Keep food high energy and easily digestible. Also make sure to drink plenty of water or a sports drink, especially if the temps heat up...keeping you hydrated and your electrolytes up. And, don't forget a cup of coffee if that's part of your usual routine.

4. Be there ahead of time: This is not the place to be fashionable late. Instead you'll want to get there with plenty of time to spare. Give yourself enough time to park, for packet pick up, waiting in line for the restroom, and warming up. Experts suggest arriving a good 60 minutes before the start of the race and knowing where you need to go well in advance as well.

5. Warm up before the race: Do a warm up about 25 minutes before the race. Start with an easy 10-minute jog, then gradually build your speed for 5 minutes, including up to 5 short pickups under 30 seconds at race speed. Remember to gently stretch any tight muscles after your warm up.

6. Line Up: Keep in mind that there could be lots of people crowding the line, especially if you're a beginner, you'll want to make sure you're as close to the front (of the line) as possible. You'll also want to make sure you start out with others on your level and not have to outrun many more ahead of you.

7. Keep a steady pace: Don't make the mistake of giving it your all right up front and expending all your energy at the beginning. Instead start at a modest pace and build your effort as you get further into the race....making sure that you're able to finish strong.

8. Stay strong and positive: Running a race may be rewarding but it won't necessarily be easy. Remember to stay focused and positive especially when the going gets tough.

9. Remember to breathe: Don't compare yourself to anyone else. Instead stay true to YOUR goal and to you. Keep in mind that you've trained and now it's time to go out there and show them what you've got. Remember to take slow deep breaths and keep yourself motivated and relaxed as you head for the finish line.

10. Basque in your success: Go ahead...give yourself a pat on the back....and allow yourself to revel in the realization that you crossed the finish line. Use this momentum to keep you going for the next time. Remember, it's all good for you.

Long Island Health, Fitness & Beauty Articles > Run Forrest Run: Prepping For Your 5-K Race

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