Are you signed up for your first 5K road race? Congratulations! This is the first step to the running addiction… welcome to the club! Before you realize it, all of that money you thought you were going to save by “just running, because it’s a cheap workout!” will go toward race registrations, 12 pairs of sneakers, three different ways to carry your shit on a run, and an expensive reflective vest.
I do a couple things to make sure I’m super ready… like SUPER ready for a race. There’s nothing worse than getting to the start line and realizing you forgot something… like putting on deodorant. Or getting to the finish line and realizing the rock in your stomach from last night’s pizza and breadstick binge probably wasn’t an effective way to “carb load.”
So here we go… how to prep for a 5K race in 5 easy steps:
- Set all of your gear out the night before – clothing, shoes, GPS watch, hat, earbuds, race bib, deodorant… everything. It helps me to lay it out on the floor or bed and look at it to see if I’m missing something. If you’re feeling funky, take a picture of your outfit and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #flat[yournamehere].
- Eat a good meal the night before – protein, carbs, and veggies. Nothing too heavy or greasy. A meal that has worked well for me is whole wheat pasta with grilled chicken and chopped asparagus in alfredo sauce.
- Hydrate the day before – better yet, hydrate the whole week before. And be sure to drink something with electrolytes the night before. It doesn’t hurt to get a jump on it.
- Drink electrolytes in the morning – I usually mix half a packet of Propel electrolyte powder into a 16oz bottle of water and start sipping it right when I wake up. I don’t normally finish it, but figure some hydration with the extra boost is better than nothing. I don’t like to drink too much water before a race or else I’ll be forced to use the dreaded port-a-potties. Yuck!
- Make a finish line plan with your cheer squad – if you have family or friends who plan to greet you at the end of the race, make your plan ahead of time. If they’re going to stand along the course to cheer you on, ask them to stand on a particular side of the road so that you know which side to run for a better chance of seeing them, and them seeing you.
The good news is, if you whiff on all of these, it’s just 3.1 miles. No big deal! But honestly, the more prep you put into your race the night before, the better you’ll feel when you get to the start line. Go get ’em, tiger!
What are some things you’ve done to prep for a 5K?