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Five Tips to a Successful 5k

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The sun is out! For many of us, it is time to dust off the sneakers and get back outside for a bit of exercise. Are you ready to get yourself into better shape for the outdoor season?

Maybe it’s time to take on your first 5K.

“The great thing about getting off the couch and going for it in a 5K is that you only need one piece of equipment: a good pair of walking/running shoes,” said Angie Smith, an Ironman All World Athlete and a health and fitness specialist at SamFit. “Then find a training plan and you’re on your way.”

Here are five basic tips to achieve a successful 5K during the sunny season:

  1. Train for your race — even if this isn’t your first. Find a 5K run training plan, such as this one at samhealth.org/5KPlan, to prepare for your race. A plan will include periods of running, walking and resting, gradually increasing the time spent running so that you’re at your peak on race day.
  2. Don’t skip meals. Be sure to eat before your race. Timing is a key factor, as you won’t want to risk cramping by running on a full stomach, so have your last meal one to two hours before the race. Eating something high in carbohydrates and lower in fiber and combining plenty of fluids will provide the fuel for your race.
  3. Be prepared. Avoid feeling rushed and anxious by picking up your race packet early, getting your race outfit ready the night before and getting to the race early.
  4. Always warm up. Stretch your muscles and take a quick jog about 15 minutes before the race starts. Not only does a warm‑up help prevent injury, it will help raise your body temperature and enhance your race performance.
  5. Don’t go out too fast. Don’t let the excitement get to you and get carried away at the start. Check your pace early in the race and do your best to stick with it.

Most importantly, have fun!

Need more assistance with setting health and fitness goals? Find a SamFit near you at SamFit.org.