If you are like most of the people in the movie Run Fatboy Run, you may be asking, “Why (run)?” If you’re unsure as to why/how to run a 5K successfully, I’m here to tell you. If I can run a 5K, anyone can! How to run a 5K? RUN like the wind! Why? Only you can answer that question. Below are some (hopefully) helpful tips on how to survive your first. And you can look forward to a Color Me Rad Pittsburgh 5K photo journal soon, also.
When registering for a 5K, you may find out you have to raise money in order to meet a goal to run for certain organizations, especially for bigger runs like the Pittsburgh Marathon. You may be able to register as an individual, but depending on the organization, you may need to join a team. Registration is pretty self-explanatory, though. There may be a flat fee involved if you aren’t raising money for a charity of some kind, just so you know. Make sure you read the fine print, though, about when to pick up your registration packet, dates, times, other fees, and whether or not you can run and walk in said 5K.
Quick Tips on Training for a 5K
If you can get 6 months of light training in, or at least 4 months, weather permitting, that would be ideal. But, remember, you do live in Pittsburgh, so ideal conditions are not always likely. So, tough it up and get out there in the cold, and in the rain, if you can. Know your limits, though.
In addition, knowing the difference between normal pain and pain from an injury are major factors in succeeding in training for any kind of marathon. If pain persists longer than a day or two and doesn’t feel like those spring break-in pains runners/walkers normally feel, you may want to get checked out by a doctor. This article does a pretty good job of explaining the difference between soreness and injury-related pain.
Trails are not sparse in Pittsburgh, either, so you are in luck. If you’re in Robinson or surrounding areas, you can take advantage of the Montour Trail. And if you live in or near the city, you’ve got Frick Park or the Great Allegheny Passage.
The week before your race may be a stressful time, but don’t over-do it…
On the week before your 5K, if you get in a couple of good runs a few days before race day, you are in good shape. Don’t push yourself too hard because you will be exhausted by the time the race is run. You will most likely pick up your registration packet the week before the race, also, filled with your awesome race tee, and maybe some other goodies, too, like granola bars or ice packs. Even the best runners out there need ice packs, so don’t be shy about using them after your 5K.
Make sure you save/star all of the important emails you’ll need this week about start/meet-up times, meeting places, where to get your race tee if it didn’t come in your registration packet, and the like. Also, feel free to gather up your family/friends to cheer you on via apps, like RaceJoy, or at the actual race, if it’s a larger one like the Pittsburgh Marathon, that is.
Be sure to be prepared on this day by eating a healthy breakfast, and maybe sipping on a little coffee. Studies have shown that coffee jolts your adrenaline and gets you going for the day, even if it is the day you’re running a 5K. Many people carb-load the night before the race, but it’s not a necessity. This may lead to over-tiredness and feeling bloated the next day, depending on your normal diet. Get some water ready if you usually carry some while running, and gather up some snacks if you need those, too. Don’t worry; there will be bananas at the end, too, to fill you up with potassium. Running into water halfway through the race, and at the end, is not out of the question, either.
Also, layer up on race day. Most of the time, 5K’s and other marathons start early in the morning (normally around 8 a.m.), so be ready for extreme cold and/or hot weather, likely both if you’re running in Pittsburgh. I usually layer up with a tank and a long sleeve shirt so that I can wear my race day shirt on top of either shirt during the race.
This is it. Now, yinz are ready to race. May there be pierogies at the end of the line…stranger things have happened.
If you want to learn about Pittsburgh stairs to run on, here is a great article that covers most, if not all of them:
Here is an article on common leg/knee injuries in case you are experiencing some outlandishly painful symptoms: