First 5k is Just a Week Away!!

First 5k is a week away!

With your first 5k date rapidly approaching, or your 80th one, there can be any mixture of emotions for you to deal with.
Some people are excited, confused, anxious, nauseous, nervous, calm, oddly relaxed, or puking your guts up awaiting the start, (although nasty, you will probably see the last one).
These feelings come about as a direct result of your own personal preparation, or your feelings of a lack of preparation.  ALL COMPLETELY NORMAL!  Don’t worry so much, you don’t need an ulcer to go along with all of those other feelings that you are trying to keep at bay.
Your personal journey from “Holy cow, this running thing is hard,” to, “I am a runner!” has lead you to think that you are a race ready champion.  NOT YET, the last week before your race needs to be the most intense training that you’ve ever done!  The ONLY exception to this, I have found, is the day before.
Pep talk and calming now over, it’s time to get down to the protein and carbs, or meat and potatoes, of it all.
Saturday being your first 5k  race day this scenario begins on Sunday, exactly a week away, the day of rest, cue the calming music and chirping birds…..
Get up and go, run for a distance of at least 2 miles at your most comfortable pace.  Your race week diet needs to be only the old “Three square meals a day!”  Do this for at least Monday thru Wednesday so that your body can adjust to the regulated activities, and recovery is minimized by the repetition.
Thursday, it is time for wind work, or wind sprints.  These are 100 yard runs at a speed as fast as you can humanly go!  Walk back to where you started, count to 30 and go again for at least six rounds. This will force your body to function more efficiently using the breathing techniques from my breathing post and STRENGTHEN YOUR LUNGS!!!
The day before your first 5k  is a day of rest, recuperation, and fueling. This day, especially after lunch and into the evening meal, CARB UP, pasta, breads, potatoes (not fried), and HYDRATE ALL DAY LIKE YOU LIVE IN A DESERT!!
Race morning, eat light easily metabolized foods, such as an apple and a granola bar, and drink some water, not a whole bunch of fluids because you’ll have to stop and pee mid race.  It’s not fun, and can cost you a loss of valuable time.
Careful not to blast off!
By that I mean don’t take off at someone else’s pace, set your own and conserve some energy so you can get faster as the race wears on.  When you pass your first mile and they say 6:30, thats a good sign that you need to back off a bit so you can finish your first 5k STRONG!  Keep that pace if you can, but you might be disappointed with your performance.
Around the first or second mile there will be a watering point, if you feel you need it, take a cup.  Splash it on you, pour it down your shirt,or do what I do, get a big mouthful, rinse and spit.  One of the worst things for me is to try and drink it, I’ve choked, had it come out of my nose, and if it’s cold, it can even hurt!
When you see the last 100 yards ahead of you, that is when you need to dip into that reserve and run like you did when you were training for wind sprints.  If you can draw an easy breath when you finish, YOU DIDN’T PUSH HARD ENOUGH!!
Now that you’ve finished, start refueling, and replenishing your fluids as soon as you start catching your breath.  If you puke on the course, don’t quit, that’s weakness leaving your body!  It is also a direct result of too much acidic food for supper the night before.  If a yack is a definite, remember to rinse your mouth out as soon as you can, your toothbrush is probably not far away.
Best of luck to Jay Thornton this week as he was my inspiration for this post.  The “Newbie Runner” will be running his first 5k on Sunday and I wish him clear skies, strong breath, and a fast ride in his shoes to the most memorable 5k he’ll run.
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