The “S” Guide: 6 Tips For 5K Beginners (From A Beginner)

Two weekends ago, I participated in my first 5K race in Beijing. It was Nike’s women’s 一起amazing, 女生大挑战– or Let’s be amazing together 5K (yea I know…inspiring) at the Olympic Park in Chaoyang District. Here are some tips:

Tip #1: SAVE THE DATE

Do your research before signing up for a race. Then fully commit. Give yourself ample time to train (depending on your regular physical level of activity and running ability), then work toward whatever your goal may be: beating a time or simply finishing the race.

Tip #2: SLEEP

On the night before the race, you may find yourself treading in a pool of doubt.. why did I sign up? Have I trained enough? Will I even make it past the finish line? I don’t want to be last. I was definitely swimming in this pool before my race. But hey, butterflies are normal, and so are the side effects of your caffeine addiction. Relax and just try to catch some z’s!

Tip #3: STRETCH

Newbie or Olympic runner, it really doesn’t matter who you are. Stretch but don’t overdo it — you aren’t impressing anyone, really. Keep in mind that the warm-up and cool down are just as important.  So, show up early to the race, and spare some time at the finish. Where do you have to be, anyway?

Tip #4: STAY HYDRATED

This is critical. From the moment you start your training to the very end of the race day.. stay fueled. If you’re pumping your body moments before that stopwatch goes off, your run may (a.k.a. will) get unpleasant after the first 1 or 2Ks. Make sure to get your liquids and take advantage of all the water stops.

Tip #5: SYNC UP

Whether it’s an electronic dance music playlist, audiobook (if you’re into that) or even a running partner, get comfortable and get in sync. You’re going to be with this something or someone for the next 35-55 minutes!

Tip #6: SLOW & STEADY

When you’re all bibbed up and ready to go, you can’t help but feel the energy from the pack of people standing around you. It’s a bit of a frenzy at first but believe me– that feeling you get when the race begins is so liberating, 很high! A lot of people do book it right at the start line which makes you anxious to start off the same way. My advice is to feed off their energy sensibly to avoid early exhaustion.

Other tips: 

– Eat breakfast and a snack 30-45 minutes before the race
– Plan your transportation accordingly
– Dress mindfully– this isn’t the day to break in your new running shoes or sports bra.
– Sync up with Nike+ Running GPS to track your time, pace, location, calories, and overall running progress. Available in the iTunes store.

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