Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons - Hans S

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons – Hans S

Whether you’re a beginning runner or more advanced, 5K fun runs can be a great change of pace from your regular running routine. They get you outdoors instead of staying in bed or sitting on the couch. They’re a great fitness booster. They’re easy to run. And since they’re shorter than a half or full marathon, you’ll actually feel like you’re racing. Best of all, if they’re connected with a charity, you’ll know you’re helping a good cause.

If you have a fun run looming, here are 12 things you can do to prepare and improve your performance.

  1. Set a realistic goal. Some runners can finish a 5K fun run in as little as 15 to 20 minutes while others may take longer. Remember, you’re really the only one you’re competing against. So do the best you can, keep from getting injured and have fun. After all, that’s why they’re called FUN runs.
  2. Have a training plan. There are a variety of 5K training programs, but a basic program includes 3 days of exercise per week with 1 day off for rest in between workouts. Vary your training intensity by mixing running or jogging with walking to boost your intensity. Add strength training to your routine. Weight lifting can strengthen your muscles, ligaments and tendons to help prevent injuries. Plus, your leg muscles will be less likely to get tired during the event. Taper your routine during the week before your run. Your final workout should be at least 3 days before the fun run to avoid any soreness that day.
  3. Listen to your body. If you experience a sharp pain, weakness or light-headedness during training or the fun run, pay attention. You should stop exercising because your body is telling you that something is wrong. When you push through pain, you risk developing an injury. If you don’t feel well, you should take some time off for your body to heal.
  4. Drink plenty of water. Make sure you drink plenty of water in the weeks leading up to the fun run to keep your body hydrated.
  5. Choose a good pair of well-fitted running shoes. Have your shoes fitted by a certified professional. And check out the WalkEZStore’s Shoe Fitting Guide to learn how to properly fit your shoes. If you need help in choosing a running shoe, check out this article. If you’re not sure if it’s time to replace your running shoes, read this article.
  6. Wear socks. You should always wear socks to protect your feet from blisters. To help pull moisture away from your skin and reduce your chance of getting a fungal infection, wear socks made of moisture-wicking materials.
  7. ezrunnersConsider wearing ezRunner® Performance Fit Orthotics. If you overpronate (your foot and ankle rolls inward excessively) or supinate (your foot and ankle rolls outward excessively) when running, these movements can destabilize your body. ezRunner® Custom Orthotics help realign your feet into the proper biomechanical position, so you run more efficiently. Plus you’ll experience less stress and strain on the joints in your feet, legs, hips and lower back, so you’ll have less pain.
  8. Get plenty of sleep before the fun run. When you don’t get enough rest, you increase your risk of injury.
  9. Eat right before you run. Eat a light meal about 2 to 3 hours before the fun run. Don’t eat anything you’re not accustomed to.
  10. Dress for the weather. Dress in layers so you can remove items as you warm up. Don’t forget a hat and gloves, if needed.
  11. Check the fun run map and plan ahead. Make sure you know where the drink stations, toilets, start line and parking is before you head out.
  12. Warm-up before you run. A good warm-up increases blood flow to your muscles and reduces stiffness. Do an easy 3-minute jog and three 30-second sprints. Complete your warm-up 5 minutes before the fun run begins.

With just a little preparation, you’ll be ready for your fun run and enjoy it even more.

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