So first off if you are already a runner then this first part will probably not be news to you! But for all of you out there new to running, and who may one day consider entering a 5k, then we hope this may be helpful to you.
To start with it is very important to get in the right headspace! If you are mentally prepared to run and allow all misconceptions and past fears about running to be parked to one side then you have cleared the first common hurdle for many new runners. Many people can be put off distance running as they already have preconceived notions of what a runner should look like and be capable of but runners come in all different shapes, sizes, ages and abilities -the important thing to remember is everyone has to start somewhere.
You may prefer to join a running group for added motivation and encouragement or just head out solo with headphones and motivating tunes, either way we recommend setting some goals and targets. That way by keeping your focus on an end goal and by recording your progress you will be motivated by the improvement you will start to see.
Next it is important to have the correct footwear so get fitted for decent running trainers that suit your arch and stride. Socks are also very important and we recommend seam free and cushioned to minimise blisters. A good supportive sports bra also goes without saying and of course your Booband for added comfort and ligament protection is a must.
Research a good training plan online and try to stick to it as best you can. There are plenty, all very similar, plans out there but sticking to one is the best way to get started and they usually get people to running reasonable distances within a couple of months. Apps such as Strava and Map my Run are also excellent tools to download on to your phone and will help keep you on target.
So when you reach race day there are also some very important things to remember.
You probably now feel more confident than those first few weeks of starting out and you've hopefully been meticulous in following a training plan, even become obsessed with your running app and perhaps started talking like a runner and comparing runs with friends! But the first 5k may be the furthest distance you will have done and so the prep on the day is critical.
Make sure you drink plenty of fluids - it is recommended you drink 14-20 ounces a couple of hours prior to the run as well as plenty after too. Warming up and stretching your muscles properly will help to prevent any injuries as will walking to cool down after for a good 5-10 minutes.
Finally don't worry about speed and what other people are doing. Stick to a comfortable pace for you and listen to your breathing. Remember not to be afraid to take a walking break if you need to and most importantly have fun and be proud of your achievement!