Tips for running a 5k or just running at all

If you’re reading this, odds are good you’ve registered for (or are thinking about) your first 5K. The current situation has had us stuck in our homes and being less active than usual.  Even active people, such as me, have been sitting on the couch a bit longer than usual and maybe enjoying those sugary foods just a little too much.  Here are a few tips to get you started on your way to a successful run even if you have never run before. 

1. Find a race 

  • There are different options depending on what you are looking for from color runs, virtual runs, benefit runs, costume runs, etc.  For the more experienced runner, there are also competitive races from 5k runners.
  • Take into consideration the area.  The elevation will affect your run.
  • Sign up while your motivation to do it is still strong.
  • Popular races sell out fast so make sure you sign up as early as possible.
  • Have a friend sign up with you to help keep you accountable.
  • Make sure you give yourself enough time to train.  Minimum 4 weeks for a 5k.
Find Your Race

2.  Training 

  • We all build stamina differently.  Don’t force yourself into running longer or more often than feels comfortable; doing so only increases the risk of burnout and injury.
  • There are several programs available that could suit your goals and fitness level. (Couch to 5k, RunKeeper, Zombies Run!, etc.)
  • Find a training coach for more serious runners or if you are looking at more competitive running.

3. Diet

  • Don’t carb up.  While some sports require this rather than weighing yourself down with a huge plate of spaghetti the night before, try to have some more sensible and healthy full of lean proteins, veggies, and rice.

    Make sure that you follow healthy eating habits.

    Drinking plenty of water before the race and take advantage of water stations.  Dehydration can drain your energy and cause cramps.

    Don’t change anything you do drastically leading up to the race like trying new spicy recipes the night before or anything type of food that will cause your stomach to be unhappy

4.  Pace 

  • It is common to speed up your pace with you are running with a group of people because the competitive side of us tends to take over.  Try to keep the pace you trained at.
  • Friend cheering on the sideline or specular could pump us up but not keeping the around the pace you trained for could lead to an unfinished race.  The excitement can keep the spirits up and the motivation going but the body still needs to keep up.
  • Remember that you don’t want to use all your energy at the beginning of the race.

5. Race Etiquette

  • If you are a slower running or walking stay right
  • Don’t jam up the finish line to allow the incoming runner room to kick it through the finish line.

6. Have Fun!

  • Remember to have fun
  • Invite friends and family to cheer you on
  • Enjoy the time and use this opportunity to be part of the running community.

Final tip… if you aren’t happy with your time remember you can improve it on your next run!

Dorota Gruca

Dorota Gruca

Dorota Gruca, a professional distance runner for over twenty five years running races all over the world is now Coach Gruca helping runners improve health and performance. Dorota grew up in a village in Poland, shared time living in Poland and the U.S. for ten years, then lived and trained in Las Cruces, NM, USA and now Albuquerque. From 5Ks to marathons, local events to National Championships, 2005 World Championships and 2008 Olympics, road races, and on the track she has done it all. Dorota won many races along the way and now continues to maintain form as a leading female distance running coach with Bolton Endurance Sports Training today!

Sonia Gonzales

Sonia Gonzales

Sonia Gonzales is the race director for Run Then Wine and a runner on her spare time. She has a professional career in the Oil and Gas industry as a Cost Controller and is an entrepreneur, to include an inventor. On her spare time, she loves to travel the world and spend time with her grandsons, family, and friends.