I entered my first 5K....any advice?

This is something I’ve wanted to do for several years, but for one reason or another I never got around to it. After a life-changer last year, I’m finally doing things I’ve been “meaning to”. My first 5K is next weekend! It’s a benefit for our city’s anti-human trafficking non-profit.

I’ll be walking it. In preparation, I’ve been walking a lot the last few months and the last three weeks I’ve been walking 3.5 miles up and down steep hills about three times a week. I’m pretty comfortable with it. The 5K is basically on the flat so I don’t think distance will be an issue.

However, I’m a little nervous! I’d like to hear from people who have done this. Do you have any tips? Am I missing anything? I plan to do what I usually do before a walk: eat some protein and complex carbs about 45 minutes prior (about 300 calories?), drink water, and I’ll also have water with me.

I usually listen to tunes while walking; is this frowned on in organized 5Ks? I won’t know anyone so I’ll be by myself in the crowd.

I don’t even care if I’m last; I just want to do it. :smiley: It’s not timed and it seems pretty relaxed so I thought it’s a good one to start. My hope is to do one about every month or six weeks this summer.

Thanks for any advice! I gotta go get in my 3.5 before it gets hot, so I’ll check back later. :slight_smile:

Headphones are fine for walkers as long as you start in the back.
Otherwise, your plan is fine.
Don’t try any new clothes, shoes, drinks or food at the event. If you want to experiment, do it before.

If you are doing 3.5 miles up and down hills 3x a week I wouldn’t do anything special for a flat 5k, especially if you expect to do it in an hour or less.

A 5K is 3.1 miles so you’re currently walking a 5K several times a week. iPods and such are fine and normal.

Comfortable sneakers (not brand new - at least a week old). Comfy clothes. Water. You’re all set. And as **desertmonk **said, iPods and such are fine.

Great, thanks so much, it sounds like I’m on the right track. I planned on doing what I do for my regular walks as far as prep, clothing, etc. My shoes are about six weeks old and very comfortable. I’m hoping that getting up early will be the only issue. :smiley:

I’ve got the 3.5 miles with hills (and breaks) to about 68 minutes, so the 5K under an hour should be no problem at all.

The hardest thing to do, probably, will be to ignore the pace of everyone else and go at your own pace. Don’t worry about anyone going faster than you at the start-- there’s a good chance you’ll be passing them at the 2 mile mark!

Often with these types of races there is a big bunch-up at the start. If you must wear headphones (I advise against it), wait until the mob breaks up a bit so you can pay attention to those around you. I always think it’s nice to chat with a few people along the way, so I don’t wear headphones.

Don’t even worry about your time. If the race is a run/walk 5K, then you’ll be fine.
Check the rules about headphones - almost all 5ks allow them, but every so often I’ll run across one that doesn’t.
If you can walk to the start/finish line, great! If you can’t, make sure you get there early enough to find parking, find the starting line, and get ready to start.
Thank the volunteers! I find that it helps to keep me in a better mental state if I wave to and thank the volunteers as I pass them.
Have a great time.

Good for you! Mostly echoing stuff that others have said: Headphones are most likely OK, wear well-broken-in shoes. Be prepared for crowds, although since you are walking I’m guessing the crowd will thin out quickly. It’s one thing I don’t like about races: trying to run in a crowd.

It will be early but your adrenaline will be pumping (especially since it’s your first race), so that will help.

I don’t think you’re missing anything - 5Ks are pretty simple, especially an untimed one. Perfect for your first race. Have fun!

Definitely echo what other folks have said already, and add: stick to the right of the road. I’ve walked/run three 10Ks (fourth one coming up a week from tomorrow) and by sticking to the far right it pushes all the people faster than me to pass on the left. I also highly recommend a good headband- it keeps your hair and sweat from falling in your eyes. Also, SUNSCREEN.

Good luck!

Thanks! I’ll let you all know how it goes.

JohnMace, I was going to get a feel for things, then start listening to my tunes when I’m into it some. Music really helps keep me going.

This is on a road for about four blocks, then a walking/biking path in my city. I haven’t been on it because it’s rather isolated and since I don’t have anyone to walk with (SO is NOT into exercise) it makes me a little nervous. I’m really looking forward to seeing it.

ETA: Maybe I’ll find some walking buddies!

If you’re walking, start at the back of the pack. You don’t want to get in the way of faster runners, especially if you’re listening to music. Have fun and remember to look up and enjoy the view of wherever the course takes you.

I would add be ready for difficult weather conditions like excessive heat or rain. We run one in January where ice can be a problem.

Good luck! Don’t change anything up - do what you always do! Don’t eat heavily if you think you’ll be nervous. I go for a banana and a little peanut butter if my tummy’s nervous.

When the pack leaves you may feel disheartened “wait for me…” just remember to run YOUR race not someone else and be proud of yourself because you have worked hard at something and are challenging yourself. That uncomfortable feeling of the unknown, is the feeling of your own self growing as a person. :slight_smile:

HelloAgain, I do not like that uncomfortable feeling, so I’m always telling myself being out of my comfort zone is a GOOD thing.

I do plan to be near the back because I don’t want to get in anyone’s way. I’m pretty sure I can “run” my own race, although it will be difficult at first.

My first race I started near the back, and it broke my brain. Because of the size of the race, ‘near the back’ was WAY back, and I used an app that called out my distance covered by the half mile. So when I hit what I thought was the halfway point (and mentally celebrated that I was on the downhill slope), it was crushing to pass the ‘3 mile mark’ nearly a mile later. It was tough to overcome that, especially when my app told me I’d finished but I still had a way to go. Since then, I’ve started both in the front and in the middle, which is much better. So much of running is mental.

There will ALWAYS be people who pass you, and the start of any race is at a walking pace anyway because everyone is bunched up. That’s why I stick to the far right and just keep moving. So don’t worry about needed to stick to the back or getting in people’s way. Experienced runners will easily move around you.

Try to pass mostly on the left, it’s customary to call out “On the left!” So no one spits on you accidentally. Oh, don’t spit without checking (I don’t spit at all, but boy, some people LOVE spitting). You shouldn’t need extra water unless it’s REALLY hot, so don’t worry about that.

Be comfortable. Pin your number (if you have one) to your front where it can be seen. Watch out for those crazy people that do 10:1 (ten minutes running, one minute walking). I have almost run over them on the past when they suddenly stop.

Try to stay to one side, usually the right, so people can pass you if needed. If wearing headphones, keep the music low enough that you can hear people around you.

Have fun!

I don’t mean to start an argument, but I don’t know any experienced runner who likes having to dodge around people who start in waves where they don’t even come close to being able to keep up with others.

I ran a ten miler a few weeks back, and at mile 7, I passed a runner who was simply incapable of going faster than a 12 minute pace. At my speed, she must have started with folks who were going to run a 6.5 minute pace. I have no flipping clue why that runner thought it was appropriate to start there and be a moving obstacle to literally several thousand runners who were substantially faster.

If you start at the back of the pack, you don’t start running when people start moving ahead of you. You start running at the start line.

Just IMO…

The OP is talking about a flat, untimed, charity-based 5K. First, I doubt that there are waves set up at all. Second, anyone who takes an untimed charity 5K race that seriously isn’t in it for the charity or the camaraderie. This is likely to be full of people with little to no 5K experience, families with kids in strollers, and younger kids flinging themselves headlong on the race route.

I’ve run the 10K at the Marine Corps Marathon, and have passed many people even at my relative snail pace (and as I’m coming of a knee injury, it’s a relative snail pace). I’ve never once thought “clearly that person started in the wrong wave!” I think “Nice to see all these folks out here enjoying themselves!”

The OP should get out there and have a good time, not be worrying about what other people are thinking/doing.

I totally agree that everyone should run their own race. But there’s no reason why you running your own race should cause someone else not to run their own race.

I don’t run behind people and try to make them speed up. Others should be courteous and no run in front of others to make them slow down.