Many of you enjoyed Part 1 of “How to Prepare for Your First 5k.” Now that you have a good head start, it’s time to address some common errors that new runners make.
Getting new shoes for the race
Unless your shoes are showing signs of wear (which I outline below), do not buy new shoes before a race. On average, shoes should be replaced after 250-300 miles or when they show the following signs of wear: is the tread wearing down in the midsole? How does your body feel? Do you have increased pain or soreness without having an increase in training volume or intensity? When you stand in your shoes, check the mirror. Do the midsoles “wrinkle” when you are standing in them? That is a sign of wear and a breakdown in the cushion and support of the shoe. They should be replaced.
Experimental Race Day Nutrition
Who doesn’t love all the freebies you get at the race expo? Goo, gels, granola bars and yummy gummies are tempting for sure. But, let me warn you, if you haven’t introduced the high sugar or high electrolyte mix to your stomach during training, don’t start now! You could experience stomach cramping or extra trips to the bathroom during the race.
During a race, water stops are typically every 1-2 miles. Plan to train with the same setup as race day by either carrying water (in a hip pack or hands free water system) or planning your route where you know there are drinking fountains. Your body will learn to stay hydrated while training, plus you will learn to drink on the run.
Not Fueling Up Properly
For most, setting a 5k event goal is shared with losing weight and improving overall fitness. With that focus in mind, proper nutrition is key. Depending on the length of your training runs or race, you should always fuel up for energy and performance. Reference the chart below as guideline for when and how to fuel.
As you continue on in preparation for your first 5k race, simply stick with the program. Use this list as your guide for more enjoyable running, improved pace, and plans to meet or exceed your goal!