How to Be Ready for Your First 5K

After the Race

  1. As you approach the finish line look for the chute that the walkers are supposed to enter (if there's a special chute for walkers). Don't ever pass anyone once you are in the chute.
  2. Keep walking slowly to cool down. Never stop, sit or lie down even though you might feel like doing so.
  3. Drink lots of water. Do your stretches.
  4. After drinking plenty of water, go to your car to put on your dry shirt or change into dry clothes.
  5. Have some fruit to start replacing glycogen stores in your muscles. Eat complex carbohydrates and moderate protein within 30 minutes of finishing your race. Usually the races have food available after the race.
  6. Some races have free massage tables set up near the finish line. Enjoy.
  7. Now you can eat or drink whatever you want; you've earned it.
  8. Stay around for the fun and awards.
  9. Completing the race itself is a tremendous accomplishment. You're a winner just for finishing.

Whether to train the day before a race is another individual decision. I do not; however, there are some people who prefer to walk an easy two or three miles the day before a race. This is another area to experiment and see what works best for you.

I recommend that you do not work out with weights one full week before any important race. Two or three days before non-important races.

Wear something cool and comfortable. Even in cold weather, wear the least possible that you feel comfortable with. Dress as if the temperature was 15 degrees warmer. You may feel a bit cool at the starting line, yet, within a few minutes of racing, you will have warmed up. The temperature can easily feel 15 to 25 degrees warmer once you're five or 10 minutes into a race.

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Bonnie Stein, M.Ed., CPTS is a racewalk instructor and certified personal training specialist based in Florida. Visit the Tampa Bay area anytime for private racewalking lessons with Bonnie. www.AceWalker.com.

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