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Miles and Miles: 5K Training

December 28, 2010

Girls on the Run 5K“It is psychologically powerful to finish strong.”

The 5K race is the most common race ran by novice runners. It is also frequently run by advanced runners hoping to improve their time. A 5K is 3.1 miles long and is an appropriate length for someone who is not accustomed to running far distances.

5K races are usually ran during the summer and fall seasons. Before you attempt to run a 5K, no matter what your visible conditions may be, visit your doctor for a physical. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the exact precautions to take prior to the race.

There are preparations that you as a runner need to make before running a 5k race. The following includes several strategies that you can use in order to achieve success in a 5k.

According to the running and fitness writer Jenny Jenkins in an article on the website Ezine Articles, there is no need to put extra stress on your body the week before a race by over training. A better strategy is to participate in relaxed workouts so that there is no strain put on your body. A good idea to help the prevention of tension on your muscles is to visit the site where the race will be held. Walk or run through the course so you may get the feeling of what the track terrain will be like. If you cannot visit the race site ahead of time, make sure you look at the map of the course instead.

The day before the race, several steps should be take to ensure a stress free experience. Firefli23 is an expert on running races. In her article, How to Prepare for Your 5k Race on Race day from ehow.com, she encourages racers to check the weather to prepare themselves accordingly. By checking the weather the day before, you are able to lay out your clothes which will eliminate stress. At least seven hours of sleep is required to function correctly, however the most important night of sleep is two nights before the race. If you plan on running with an iPod, make sure that it is charged and in your bag. By having all of your equipment the night before you can ensure a stress free race.

The most important factor leading up to the race, is your diet. As reported by exercise physiologist and fitness consultant Elizabeth Quinn, the author of 10 tips on Completing a 5k Run or Walk from about.com, the meal preceding a race should include food high in nutrition. On the morning of the race you should eat a healthy breakfast low in sugar, fiber, and protein. A good breakfast would be one that is high in carbohydrates such as toast or granola. Drinking plenty of water is essential to maintaining hydration and performing your best.

You should arrive at the race 30 minutes prior to the start to ensure that you have time to stretch. Stretching before and after a race is vital to prevent an injury. Make sure to use the bathroom before so you do not have to stop and use it during the race.

When the race begins do not sprint but start off at a steady pace. By starting off slower you will obtain more energy. Most runners use the run/ walk strategy throughout the race. It is important to pace yourself the whole way and to push yourself the most during the last half mile. You should increase your speed as the 5K continues to make sure that your body under goes less strain. Runners who use this approach tend to finish ahead of the runners who run at their highest speed the whole distance. The best time to sprint is at the end of the race as long as you stay relaxed

Running a 5k can be simple as long as you take the proper precautions before and after the race. To finish can be an excellent accomplishment for people of all ages!

Contributed by the writing class of Georgia Gwinnett College

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