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Tips For Running Your First 5K — Part 5

Starting to run may have seemed like a large enough undertaking. After working up in mileage, a 5K seems more of a possibility now. But the process can be nerve-racking. Competing against other runners instead of just yourself, not knowing where to go or what to do on race day.

This five-part series will offer some suggestions on how to make your first 5K experience a smooth one. Please feel free to pose additional comments below.

Part 5: Post Race

Enjoy yourself. You have accomplished a wonderful feat in completing your first 5K. It took a lot of work, but you made it to the finish line. And whether you made it in the time you wanted or not, you still ran 3.1 miles and competed. There is always room for improvement.

Get some water and a banana. (It will help with the cramping.) Check for race results on the event Web site, most likely the next day. But if you can, hang around the post-race party. It is always a good opportunity to meet some people who could become your running buddies one day.

Heck, join a running group and really make some friends before you compete in your next 5K. You won’t have to go to these events alone; plus, you will have encouragement along with you on the next course.

Now that you have a base, you saw how a 5K feels and you are comfortable with your pace, you can begin pushing the limits. Set some goals for yourself to improve your time or reach for longer distances to compete in larger events. 5Ks might be just the tip of the iceberg for you.

Running groups are a big way to get involved in the running community, meet new people and test yourself. But if you prefer to run alone, start incorporating cross-training, weightlifting and other types of workouts that can build your strength and improve your running.

But most importantly, make it fun. You know why the line from Office Space, “Somebody looks like they have a case of the Mondays” became so memorable? Because it’s true. No one likes to go to work. And you probably won’t like running anymore if it feels like work. Switch your routine up, run with friends, incorporate some bike riding, swimming or trail running to make your workouts more interesting.

But whatever you do, keep running friends!

Part 1: Registration
Part 2: Packet Pick-up
Part 3: Race Morning
Part 4: Running The Race

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