I completed the Couch to 5K program a week ago and feel AWESOME! I ran the whole thing from Day 1 outside on trails, so I feel good about running outside, and run my full 3.4 mile route without stopping (although sometimes barely). My first 5K is tomorrow and I'm just crazy nervous about being really slow. I have this nightmare about being the very last one across the finish! I know these are irrational fears, so I'm hoping some of the more experienced runners out there can give me some advice/consolation?
I've heard that being a part of the group in a race really helps pump you up and make you run faster, so I'm worried about burning out too soon. Also, does anyone recommend listening to an iPod or not? Suggestions for what to eat the night before? I tried one of the Cliff gel pack things the other day before my run and set a new PR, so thinking I will use that again.
Last, I've had some trouble off and on with getting stitches in my right side. I always just run through them and they go away, but it really makes my shoulders tense up and throws off my form. Any advice?
Thanks in advance!
Congratulations, Rachael. Your first 5k is a big deal. I work with many beginner runners in my Become a Runner classes, and my advice for their first 5k is always the same: Number one, have fun! You are guaranteed a PR, personal record, no matter what.
Your worry about going out too fast is valid. My advice is to ignore the time and concentrate on running at your own comfortable pace. Don't even look at your watch, and try to ignore the speed of those around you. If someone goes around you, don't worry. Remember, they may well be the one walking along the side of the trail/road in the second half of the race. Continually ask yourself, "Is this my own comfortable pace or am I letting my pace be affected by the speed of others?" It's much better to err on going slower than you need to than on going out too fast, particularly in your first race; however, this is always true.
As far as avoiding a stitch, my best advice is to warm up well before the race. New runners often think they'll get warn out if they warm up, but it will, in fact, guarantee a better race. Walk a half mile, first. Then alternate walking and running one tenth of a mile for another mile, finishing this about ten to 15 minutes before the race start.
Another way to have a good run is to become familiar with the course ahead of time and get there plenty early to give you time for your warm up, bathroom visits, packet pickup, etc. You don't want any added anxiety on race day.
Eat an early, light meal the night before, avoiding anything spicy or high in fiber. On race morning eat a light breakfast that you know will not cause any stomach stress while running, something you've eaten before running, before, without having problems. The Cliff Bar sounds reasonable to me.
Don't worry about being last. Seriously, that will only make you run faster, and in your first race, I don't think you should be worried about speed. If you finish the race and are reasonably comfortable thoroughout the race, then it was a success. If you're worried, one way to get an idea of where you will be in the race is to check the results from last year's race. Sometimes I do this with my 5k first-timers. That gives them a good idea ahead of time of where they will end up and what the slowest times will be. That said, somebody always has to be last. I think that person should dwell on the fact that he/she finished and beat all the people at home on the couch.
RRCA Certified Coach
Run Tampa and Mojo for Running
Author of the eBook After Your First 5k
and the Mojo for Running Podcast on iTunes
Twittering at @mojoforrunning
Debbie has given you some great advice, start towards the back of the race.
#1 Have fun it does not matter what place you come in.
#2 Run your race don't let the pack make you run faster than you want. It's okay to be a little faster than normal.
#3 Warm up is very important to a great race, helps keep the HR down at the start.
Don't worry about what to eat the night before, just eat fairly healthy. Avoid milk the morning before the race.
You side stiches will get better with time. Enjoy yourself, it will be a PR.
I'm going to run my first 5K on April 9th!! I'm a bit nervous too. I know I can definitely walk it but my goal is to actually run it (the whole thing). I've been training. At least I can say that I'm doing it! Best of luck to you!
A 5k is short a race so eat what your normally eat the night before, I don't listen to Ipods during a race but that's me.. I eat half of a banana before I race and that works for me. Drink pleaty of water the day before your race and remember to have FUN!
Good Pep talk debbie! I liked it! Very Positive! Im always worried about warming up myself just so i dont get too tired, but next race im goin to try to walk and run like you suggested.
Congratulations on the C25K program! When you racde you will probably fund that you start off too quick as it is something that everyone does when they are first starting to race. You might surprise yourself and actually be able to last a lot longer then you think you can so dont let it put you off trying that little bit harder on the day if you feel you can.
Sub 39min 10k
Blog - Running Tips
Congrats on finishing C25K!
Some tips for you - first one is wierd -
Trim your nose Hair, does wonders for breathing
Get a good nights sleep
Make sure you don't have any bathroom issues at all before start time
I have heard --- and it works for me, take your two forefingers and press (kinda hard) on the stitch on your stomach - should go away
Double tie your knots on your shoe strings (enjoy the sound of tying them)
Even though I ALWAYS run with an ipod, run the 5K without one. The sound of the crowd, fellow runners, and yourself will pump you up.
HAVE FUN.......you will be hooked
JAX Half Marathon 1:58:24
Gate River Run 15K 1:33:02
Alma Blueberry Festival 5K 26:18
Hey everyone - thanks for all the great advice and support!
I ran my 5K this morning in 32 minutes flat. I shaved five minutes off all my practice times! Still got a bit of a stitch on two portions, but ran through it and easily sprinted the last 1/4 mile. Finished in the middle of the pack. The adrenaline was super powerful!
Got up two hours before I had to run. Had a small 1/2 cup of protein shake (almond milk base), then a Cliff energy gel 30 minutes before run time. Warmed up by walk/jogging for about 10 minutes, 20 minutes before race time.
I feel great. So proud of myself! Thanks again, guys, you really made me feel better.