How to Prepare for a 5k (And my progress on running 12)
This post is sponsored by VerveLife in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand, and I have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.
If you’ve been following my story on my fitness goal this year, you should know that I plan on running 12 5ks in 2016. I think it’s good to have goals in your life since that is what helps you grow as a person. Not to mention that, it feels awesome to work towards a goal. Having a fitness goal, in particular, has added benefits for your health as well, so why not?
I have already run six 5ks this year and am looking forward to my next 6. I have to say that you do learn a thing or two when you run so many in a given year. I was surprised when I realized the set of rituals I follow for every 5k that I do. Today I want to share my routines I follow for every run.
Steps to prepare for a 5k
The week before
When you have one week before the race is just as important as the other steps since you have to focus on getting physically and mentally prepared for your upcoming race.
- Get a few runs in for the week
You want your body to get used to what it feels like to run a 5k before it happens. There is an enormous mental element when it comes to running, so running before the race helps to prepare you mentally and physically. When you are running the actual 5k and you start to get tired you can just tell yourself “This is no big deal, I already ran a 5k this week.” Practice makes perfect, so let your body and mind know what it feels like to cross that finish line!
It’s important to stretch if you are going to be running. One of the greatest benefits of stretching is that it prevents injury, so make a point to stretch a little before and after you do your runs during the week.
- Get excited for your upcoming 5k
I cannot say how important it is to get excited the week before a race. If you spend the week dreading your 5k, you are less likely to show up. Instead, start getting excited about it, when you think about the race. This way you can trust yourself to show up on race day without any hesitancy.
The night before
The evening before the race is your time to prepare and think through everything you need to be successful for your race the next day.
- Stay hydrated
Make a point to drink enough water the day before the 5k since you want to be hydrated. There is nothing worse than feeling dehydrated during a run, not to mention it can be pretty dangerous depending on the weather. Be sure to drink a bottle of water before bed to stay somewhat hydrated while you sleep.
- Stay away from alcohol
As I mentioned, you want to stay hydrated the evening before the race and alcohol will dehydrate you. I’ve never run a 5k hungover, but I can’t imagine it’s any fun. Do yourself a favor and skip the booze the night before.
- Keep away from dairy products
Staying away from dairy is a little trick my track coach taught me to prevent cramps. I would get cramps almost every day during practice, and she asked me if I was eating dairy products. I loved Ice cream, so my answer was of course. Do yourself a favor Skip the ice cream and the cookies and milk the night before if you want to prevent cramps. The lactic acid in these products is one of the leading causes of those debilitating cramps while running.
- Don’t over-do-it at the gym
It’s okay to do some light exercise if you want, but just don’t overdo it. I typically stay away from exercising the day before altogether to prevent myself from being exhausted the day of the race.
- Have your 5k kit ready
I always set out all of my 5k needs the night before, so I do not forget anything important the morning of the race. My must have 5k kit includes:
- a bottle of water
- a banana
- My 5k T-shirt and outfit
- Cellphone with running playlist included
- My VerveRider Bluetooth headset
- My cell-phone holder armband
- a hoodie in case it’s chilly
- my runner’s bib and safety pins
The VerveRider Bluetooth headset is pretty important because I need music to keep me focused, especially when I start getting tired and it’s better for me to use as opposed to regular earbuds since it has the Dual mic that enables your music to pause automatically for an incoming call. The music resumes once you hang up making it all hands-free!
Having the VerveRider Bluetooth headset is critical because there are many Bluetooth headsets that are not equipped for the 5k lifestyle. What I like about VerveLife is they offer the VerveRider+ which is sweat and waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about it being damaged, even if you sweat a ton when you run like I do. It’s wireless so you don’t have to worry about getting tangled in the cords while you run and the contoured collar design is made to fit your body, so it hardly feels like you’re wearing them at all.
The morning of
The morning of the race is my favorite since I feel 100% prepared to do the damn thing!
- Have a coffee
I always stop by Starbucks to grab a coffee to get me excited for the race. I know it may seem contradictory to have coffee on the day of the race, but the caffeine will give you an extra boost when you start getting tired during the run. I have run with and without coffee the mornings before, and there is a noticeable difference when you run after having caffeine vs.1, not having it.
- Drink at least one bottle of water before the race, try for two
On top of my morning coffee, I also make a point to finish at least one bottle of water. Again, you want to stay hydrated. And I typically stay away from drinking during the race since I don;t want to have to rush to the bathroom during the race and I also cramp up when I drink water during the race. So drink up ahead of time!
- Have a banana
If I am hungry after consuming all of my liquids, I will have a banana too. I stay away form eating a heavy breakfast before a race since I believe it will slow you down. If you are hungry, go for a banana after you’ve had your morning liquids!
After the race
The best part of the race! You did it! Here are the steps you take after.
You may have skipped drinking water during the race, but you have to make up for all the water you lost while running. I can typically chug 2 bottles after a race to feel nice and refreshed.
You only ate a measly banana for breakfast. Once the adrenaline wears off, you are going to be starving. Grab some breakfast once the race is done, you earned it!
- Get ready for the next run
My favorite part of running a 5k is that sense of accomplishment you feel when you cross that finish line. This thought is enough for me to sprint that last 50 meters no matter how tired I feel during the rest of the run. That is the feeling that makes me want to do it all over again. I guess now you can understand why I am running 12 5ks this year.
These are my steps, and they have not let me down yet! Stay tuned as I update you on the finale of my 5k goal this year.