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You've seen the pictures everyone posts. They're sweaty and smiling, holding up a medal to prove they made it. Now you want a turn. Running your first race is a great non-scale goal, but how do you get there?

Running your first race

Use our top tips to get ready for your victory!

When to Start Prepping for Running Your First Race

The timing of your training will depend on the kind of shape you are in. If you're new to running, it's best to give yourself at least 8 weeks to train for something like a 5k. 

But, if you've been running during your workout, you may be able to get away with a 4-6 week training regimen. Just know that the later you start training, the harder you'll have to work each day! We recommend sticking to an 8-week plan for intermediate runners and focusing on increasing your speed

How to Prepare

Running your first race 1Training for a race requires dedication, persistence, and a solid plan. Your plan will need to include plenty of practice running. Try one of these three unique race-ready workouts as well as running for increasing lengths of time. 

Besides running, you'll need to use other exercises to boost your endurance and prepare your muscles for a race. Cross-training like this is important because it lets your muscles recover from running while still equipping your body to race.

Try these cross-training options:

  • Swimming
  • Yoga
  • Functional fitness
  • Light weight-training

What to Bring and Wear

It's always wise to do a little research and check the schedule ahead of time when you run your first race. Find out where you need to be to register and get your "bib" (your number). Some races require you to pick all this up the night before.

Also, find out when to arrive, where to park, the race route, etc. Look up how many miles long the race is and how many hours it usually takes (training for a marathon versus a 5k is very different!).

Along with finding this type of information, get ready by:

  • Picking out a comfortable outfit for running in (that you have worn while running before)
  • Resting for a couple of days before the race
  • Eating healthily for weeks in advance
  • Hydrating heavily the days before the race (but not right before)

Who to Have Cheering You On

One of the most exciting parts of running a race is getting to hear people cheer you on! Whether or not anyone comes to watch you run specifically, it's encouraging and inspiring to get to tell people you know about the experience. If you're new to races, it's especially helpful to work with a personal trainer or tell the group in your exercise class about your goal. They'll be able to offer you support along the way.

Ready to run? Use this Guide to get a plan for training for your first 5K!


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