How to Prepare for Your First Race Event
If you have been walking, jogging or running to increase your fitness level or lose weight, you’ve probably noticed that you have more stamina than when you first started. You may also find yourself looking for new ways to motivate or challenge yourself so your fitness routine doesn’t get boring.
One great way to add interest to your workouts is to train for a running event. Fall is filled with events of all distances, as walkers and runners alike enjoy moderate temperatures and beautiful scenery along with the camaraderie of others who share similar fitness interests.
Whether walking is your activity of choice or you have progressed to running, 5K races are the perfect entrance into the world of organized races. At 3.1 miles in distance, these events aren’t out of reach to those relatively new to the sport – and many don’t have time limits so you can walk or run at your own pace.
Here are four tips to help you prepare:
- Invest in the right gear. Running doesn’t require much equipment, but one thing you definitely need is a pair of supportive shoes. You’ll also need comfortable clothes. A pedometer or fitness tracker takes the guesswork out of training and motivates you by tracking your progress.
- Plan your training. “Gradually increase how far or fast you walk or run as you build strength and stamina,” said Scott S. Lee DO, a PIH Health Family Medicine physician. “If you build up distance or speed too quickly, you risk injury, so slow increases are the best. Take days off during training to give your muscles time to recover.”
- Envision the finish. Need some motivation to keep you going as you train? Think of what it will feel like to cross the finish line and receive your medal. That sense of accomplishment is something to look forward to.
- Listen to your body. If you have aches or pains, feel light-headed or winded or think something doesn’t seem right, stop what you’re doing and rest or seek medical attention. Of course, you should always get your doctor’s okay before beginning any activity.
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