What to Do Before Your 5K

7. Pace yourself.

Most racers give their best effort in the first mile leaving two more to go! Aim to negative split your effort on race day—that simply means finishing the second half of the race faster than you ran the first half. Start conservatively and build your effort throughout the run. When you start out too fast, your body works too hard too soon and fizzles after the first mile, making your overall time slower, not faster. In the last quarter mile, kick it in to the finish line to finish strong.

8. Keep it positive.

When things get tough, it's common for the little voice in your head to start telling you all the reasons why you will fail or why you should slow down. Often, having a positive mantra for the race—such as "I can do it" or "Fast feet to the finish line"—will distract you from any pain and keep you focused. Practice these affirmations during your harder training sessions so they become automatic on race day.

More: Train for a 5K or 10K With This Plan

9. Breathe.

On race day, let go of any comparisons to other runners and release any worries or doubts. You've done the training and if you have the desire to get to the finish line, you will arrive. At the starting line, take a few deep breaths and assure yourself that you have what it takes to cover 3.1 miles. Revisit your best training sessions to find the confidence you need.

10. Capitalize on the high.

The post-race high can be exhilarating. Capitalize on it to keep your momentum going and set new goals for the next finish line, wherever that might be. Sign up for another run race a few weeks later to keep yourself motivated to continue with your new habits, to test your progress or just to have fun.

This article originally appeared on Shape.com.

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Elizabeth Waterstraat is multisport coach for athletes of all abilities and is founder of Multisport Mastery, Inc.. She has also competed at the amateur and pro levels in multisport.

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