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5K Race Strategies for Beginners

Jan 8, 2010

Running a 5K race requires you to run for less than five miles. It's one reason the 5K race is very popular amongst runners who are competing in a distance race for the first time. It gives them the opportunity to get their feet wet when it comes to running, but doesn't push them so hard that they never want to compete in a race again. However, because a 5K race is relatively short compared to other distance races, many beginners make mistakes when it comes to running a 5K race. They start off too quickly, don't prepare enough for the race, don't keep themselves hydrated before, during and after the race and don't eat the right foods leading up to the race. As a result, they often get discouraged and either don't finish the race or finish very slowly and never want to race again. To avoid making these mistakes yourself, consider using these strategies in order to complete your first 5K race.

Train for a 5K Race Properly

Don't think that just because you run every now and then, you're prepared for a 5K race. You need to take a 5K race as seriously as you would any other race. Start training for it 6-8 weeks in advance. You should be running for distance two to three times every week, incorporating cross-training into the mix at least one time every week and giving yourself two full days of rest to allow your body to heal. Increase the distance you run over the course of your training before slowing down in the week leading up to the 5K race. This will allow your body to be in peak shape for the race.

Eat Properly before the 5K Race

You need energy to complete a 5K race. So in order to be sure you've got enough energy, you need to eat properly in the days and the night leading up to the race. You can do this by eating foods that are loaded with carbohydrates. Pasta and bread are some popular choices. Don't overdo it, but make sure you eat the night before the race to make sure your body has time to digest the food.

Stay Hydrated before (and after) the 5K Race

You are going to sweat during your 5K race...a lot! Because of this, you need to start drinking water well before the race begins. Don't wait until 10 minutes before it starts to hydrate yourself because this won't help you stay hydrated during the actual race. Instead, load up on water three to four hours before the race to be sure it's in your system. After the race, drink more water to start re hydrating yourself. Try a drink loaded with electrolytes to help the process.

Pace Yourself during Your 5K Race

The biggest mistake that you might make as first-time 5K race runner is to start off the race entirely too fast. You'll probably want to prove that you've got what it takes to win a 5K race. Halfway through, you'll probably crash. Pace yourself and start off at a comfortable running pace. You should feel yourself getting stronger as the race goes on, and you should be able to finish with no problem.

These strategies will help you finish your 5K race. They will also help you gain experience so that you're more prepared to run a 5K race the next time around.

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