Marathons, Triathlons and 5K’s … Oh my! It all seems intimidating. When was the last time you ran three miles? Your answer might be yesterday, or it might be never. Don’t fret! I got everything you need to know about preparing for a 5K. After all, the True Blue 5K is only a few weeks away!
Over the past week, I interviewed two ladies that gave me some insight on the matter, Fitness Director Justine Coleman and Program Assistant Emmy Richards Here is what they had to say about preparing for a 5K.
What are the first steps to preparing for a 5K?
“The first step in preparation is to move. I would recommend first increasing the time that you are physically active, then distance, and then begin doing intervals. However, training for 5K is determined by what your goals are for the race,” said Coleman.
“Start off walking more than you are running and then as the running becomes easier, walk less and run more. Cross training, such as riding a bike, swimming, or working out at our exceptional RAC facility, will help you build stamina and endurance. Increase time and then work on distance,” said Richards.
Should runners stretch before or after running?
“Runners should do dynamic stretches after a warm up such as walking for 5 to 10 minutes prior to the start of the race. Static stretches, holding your stretch in place, should be done post race.”
“Both! But make sure to warm up the muscles before you stretch. That would mean doing a walking or slow jog for 5 to10 minutes and then stretching prior to your run. After the run, walk to cool down and do slower stretches by holding the positions longer.”
How will environmental conditions (humidity, cold, rain) affect your performance?
Sometimes there is no way to prepare for the change of conditions. However, you can make sure that you have clothes that are comfortable to run in. I highly suggest wearing the clothes you want to run the race in prior to the event. You don’t want to be focused on how uncomfortable your clothes are for 3.1 miles.
Environmental conditions play a key role in racing! If you are not comfortable you won’t perform to your maximal capabilities! With the current South Georgia conditions, make sure you are hydrated before the race and make use of water stations. Wearing breathable clothing will also help your body regulate heat!
Does diet affect your performance?
Personally, I have to eat about 1 to 2 hours before I run. I am also addicted to coffee. A carb packed meal and coffee are on my menu before a run. What and how much people can eat is up to them individually. I suggest practicing a morning run and eating what you will eat the morning of your race. Make sure it sits well, so you only see it once that morning.
Diet definitely makes a huge difference! Personally, I believe you have to put good things into your body if you expect your body to perform at a certain level. I typically eat a couple hours before a race. Food high in carbs and low in fiber and fat will provide quick energy to help you push through those 3.1 miles!
Are the type of tennis shoes and clothing worn important?
YES! You have to be comfortable. I prefer a dry wicking material, so my clothes don’t “stick” to me. In addition, do not buy new sneakers the night before the race and decide to run in them. Wear shoes that are still in good condition and you have been running in. I suggest wearing what you want to training before the race. Make sure your clothes don’t punish you more than the run. Chaffing is not fun…
Shoes are the most important part of your race day attire! Look for shoes that fit your feet well and are comfortable, yet structured and supportive enough to protect your feet from the impact of running. Socks are also really important, as they will help prevent your feet from getting blisters. I prefer tighter fitting clothing when I run because it cuts down on chaffing when my clothes get sweaty!
What is your ideal training plan for a 5K?
Once again this depends on your goals. I would suggest running with a friend! You will be more accountable.
My ideal training plan involves training 4-5 times a week and taking rest days to recover. The best way I train is to run with friends! Plus, before I do a training workout I always tell someone what my goal is for that day. When I want to quit, it holds me accountable!
See it doesn’t sound too hard! Now you can get started preparing for a race. Trust me. You can’t beat the feeling you get after finishing a race that not only challenges you physically but mentally as well. What are you waiting for? Get moving! Here is your chance to complete the True Blue 5K on October 22, 2011!