My first race was a requirement for a college class about marathon training. I was never much of a runner. Running felt tedious — I always chose swimming or biking over any kind of running. But I felt it would be good for me to have an understanding of the process. So in preparation for my career as a personal trainer, I decided to expand my horizons.
The instructor required we research and do a presentation of the shoes we were going to use. I chose cross trainers. All in all it was a bad idea, because they very heavy and made my feet look like they went through cheese graters.
Having the proper training, choosing the right footwear and preparing for the race environment are all keys to having a successful racing experience.
1. Train for the race. It seems simple but even a 5K can leave you sore afterwards if you haven’t run in 6 weeks or more.
In order to jog the whole 5K:
Week 1: Jog/Walk 2 miles three times. Take your time but pay attention to how long it takes.
Week 2: Jog/Walk 2 miles three times. Try to reduce your walking time. If this time is quicker then last week you’re making progress.
Week 3: Jog/Walk 3 miles three times. Take your time but pay attention to how long it takes.
Week 4: Jog 3 miles three times. You are on your way, good luck with the race!
2. Shoes. The right shoe makes the difference between a pleasant race and total and utter misery. There are tons of information on this but here are some basics. Wear shoes that are broken in, but not old. If your shoes are more than 1 year old, get some new ones and run in them for at least 2 weeks before using them in a race. Take the wet foot test and use it as the blueprint that will tell you which type of shoe is best for your foot, cushioning, stability or motion control. We all have different feet and different shoes are built for to support different types of arches. Buy shoes that feel good on your foot from the beginning. Do not expect them to feel better after you break them in. For simple resource to find the right shoes, try the Shoe Dog at Roadrunner Sports. Use the coupon code CX14J058 to get free shipping and save up to 55%.
3. Wear clothes that are going to be comfortable. If you are wearing shorts, make sure to use petroleum jelly on the spot where your thighs rub together or wear nylon shorts/pants that cover that area to avoid chaffing. Temperature is important, especially if you live in Chicago — it’s anyone’s guess what the weather will be like. As a general rule, when you jog your body temperature will rise, so wearing shorts and a t-shirt could be fine during the race. Before and after can be quite cold, so I like to wear a light windbreaker that I can tie around my waist or put on as I get cold. Your hands will get cold if the temperature is 50 or less. You can wear regular mittens or buy special nylon mittens, which I personally love. The New Balance store is a great source for these things, but any knit mitten will work.
4. Some races provide a place to leave your things but I recommend keeping it to the minimum of your car key (make sure you remember where you parked), race shirt and race number. If you bring a phone, have an easy way to carry it. I write my name and emergency phone number on the side of my shoe in case of emergency, but this is also a great place to put the combination of your lock.
5. Stretching – Before and after the race make sure you stretch out, we have created a specific stretching routine to help you prepare and perform for your race, to receive it in your email box. Follow this link for exercises to keep your legs healthy and performing their best. The routine will be sent to your inbox.