My very first official 5K race is complete! I ran the entire race and had a great time running. Shoutout to Ron B. and Marquia B. for joining my mission!
Through trial and error (mostly error) and notes from a Race Day Prep clinic, I have compiled a list of pointers for race day:
Before the race
- Plan, prepare, and hydrate.
- Research the race. Practice the route.
- DO NOT try anything new before race day (no new foods, clothes, gear, or workouts). You don’t want new foods souring your stomach, new clothes feeling uncoomfortable, new headphones continuously needing adjustment, sore muscles from a new workout. . .etc.
- Taper down workouts the week before.
- Load up on carbs the night before (for shorter races, this isn’t so critical).
- Lay out your clothes the night before.
- Sleep your normal amount the night before.
On race day
- Get there early! The energy is totally different, so you’ll want to calm your adrenaline.
- Warm up with dynamic stretches, get your heart rate up a bit, stretch.
- Don’t start too fast! Run your pace and finish strong.
- Listen to your body. Drink before you’re thirsty. >30 min run: rehydrate with water every 20 min (4-6 oz); >1.5 hours: electrolyte beverages are recommended.
- Run in negative splits: your first mile should be the slowest, speed up as you go. This is how you get your best time.
After race day
- It’s good to have 200 calories or less after running to get rid of any sick feelings.
- STRETCH, rest, and eat! Protein rich foods will help prevent soreness.
- Celebrate – You did it!! Whoop!!
- Socks are very important! “Cotton is rotten.” Dry, cool feet don’t blister. Left and right specific socks are better.
- Compression sleeves cut down on muscle vibrations and soreness. They also increase circulation, which can help prevent injuries.
- DO NOT forget a fanny pack or drawstring backpack
Now you know what I know! I can’t believe I actually ran the entire race, but my body is telling me it really happened. And I love the way it feels! Insert(VERB)Here: RUN. Yes, I did it!
©2013 by Ayana Martin
Week 1 is officially done! And, shockingly, it wasn’t horrific. Being moderately in shape was definitely a plus, but the Couch-to-5K program is definitely made for the average Jane. The first week’s running assignment was:
- 5 minute brisk walk
- 60 second run, 90 second walk repeat (repeat 8x for a total of 20 min)
- 5 minute cool down walk
60 seconds may not seem like much, but that “When will it end?!?!” feeling sneaks up on you before you know it! Fortunately, I linked up with Black Girls Run! to train. These women are very motivating, encouraging, and inspiring. I just so happened to look up my local BGR! chapter on the very same day they were initiating a new C25K group. I decided to break in the new running gear, pack up my fatty (my dog Lilo :)), and join the run.
I was a little apprehensive because I didn’t know what to expect. Would I be the slow poke? Would I be too in shape and inadvertently discourage someone? How many people will be there – 5…10…20?? Would they be afraid of my dog? Would my dog be able to handle a 20 person crowd? All of my apprehensions only increased when a crowd of 50+ people gathered at the meeting location!! Groups of women – friends, sisters, cousins, nieces, kids and grandkids – all filed into a large circle to stretch before the run. How in the WORLD are we all supposed to run together? But I didn’t let my apprehensions overwhelm me. I was pleasantly surprised that the large crowd kept me motivated. If I passed someone during a run interval, I was cheered on with cries of “That’s right!” and “Do it girl!” If I was behind someone, they would wave me on to catch up saying “C’mon girl, you can do it!” There were run leads who would keep time and signal the run/walk interval and shout out the seconds remaining in the run. At the end, everyone cheered as we finished our run assignment for the day. We waited for those who may have struggled and cheered for them too as they completed their segment. We finished stretching together then all went home to soak our tired bodies.
I enjoyed the community run so much, I finished the entire week’s assignment with BGR! (The C25k program commits 3 days/week to running.) The other two runs were just as encouraging, but I ran into a kink in preparation: nighttime running. I have no idea why this didn’t cross my mind, but nighttime running can be dangerous if unprepared. And I showed up as the epitome of unprepared: dressed in all black, no reflectors, no light source. -_____- Thank goodness for a large turn out again! Someone loaned me their head light and there were plenty of reflector vests and neon colors to surround me. LESSON LEARNED.
I leave you with the lessons I learned this week:
- Get a running partner or find a local BGR! group to keep you encouraged and accountable for finishing.
- The goal is to COMPLETE, not compete! Work to complete run segments and not compare yourself to anyone else.
- Before starting any run, avoid static stretches on cold muscles. Instead, do DYNAMIC stretches to protect your muscles, ligaments, and joints. (We do side and front leg lifts and hacky sack before our BGR! runs)
- After finishing a run, static stretches will help to minimize soreness in the following days (soaking in a hot bath or shower will help too 🙂 )
- If you are running in the evenings, have some safety gear so you can be seen by cars and fellow nighttime runners and bikers as well as you can see any hazards (e.g. holes, cracks, uneven ground): reflector vests, neon colors, glow sticks, headlamps, flashlights. Most of these can be purchased at Walmart or Target. Hardware stores also carry some of these items. If you have some time, eBay and Amazon are always wallet friendly!
- And if you’re running in the street at night, run on the side facing oncoming traffic.
I hope this helps someone!
©2013 by Ayana Martin