Tips on Preparing to Run Your First 5k from CrossFit NYC coach Melissa Simson.
Melissa is an advocate of community and fun when it comes to running. In the TeenKidsNews segment covering the Patriot Day 5k event, Melissa shares some brief tips for preparing to run a 5k race. We wanted Melissa to expand a bit more on her approach to running as well as how she prepares others to run their first 5k event.
Melissa advocates a wise gradual buildup for preparation. Many folks who are not runners are unaware that a 5k is just about 3 miles. If you have a track available to use at a nearby school or park, one lap around the track is 400m or 1/4 of a mile. Melissa suggests adding about 1/4 mile distance each time you go out to train. Don’t be deterred if you can’t jog or run 1/4mile. You can alternate between a jog and a brisk walk. Most community-based 5k events, especially one like our Patriot Day 5k, welcome participants at all fitness levels.
She also suggests you find a running buddy. Running with a friend or relative is important for so many reasons: you have motivation to get out there on the days you don’t feel like it, you have someone to chat with or laugh with, and you have someone to compliment you when you get faster! If you are a parent, a fantastic running buddy can be your child. Just remember you’ll need to go at their pace if you are faster than they are. Melissa has a pretty enthusiastic personality and has accompanied her clients from CrossFit NYC on their first race endeavors. If you can’t find a friend or family member to run with you, consider contacting a local community center or training facility and looking for someone like Melissa to help you.
In her home town of New York City, Melissa often refers people to Jack Rabbit, a store specializing in running gear and assisting people in preparing to run. Melissa suggests visiting a good running store and having the staff do a proper fitting for you. All people walk and run in slightly different postures and gaits and this makes certain running shoes better for than others depending on your body. An experienced running store staff can help you choose the footwear that will make you most comfortable during your running.
Although a 5k run is not a particularly long athletic event, staying hydrated is important. Even more important is beginning your event well hydrated. In the days before your event make sure to drink plenty of water, so that your entire body is well hydrated. Melissa acknowledges that some people prefer a sports-type drink over water, and says, that for a 5k, that is personal preference. It is always wise to avoid new drinks or foods on the day of your event. Stick with choices that are familiar to your body.
Find A Personal Reason:
No one will argue that sometimes finding the motivation and self-discipline to train regularly is challenging. Our lives are so busy and we are pulled in so many directions. Melissa suggests finding an event that connects with you personally. Most cities have a wide variety of athletic events that are linked to important community issues. For Melissa, a resident of New York City with a fire fighter in her life, it is easy to feel connected to the Patriot Day 5k run. Find your connection, so that you stay motivated and inspired to see your training and your 5k to the end!
Remember, the mission of Patriot Day 5k is not to find the fastest 5k runner in town! The Patriot Day 5k event is about getting out there in your community to publicly celebrate Patriot Day by participating in a fundraising event that supports the most amazing charities dedicated to remembering the victims and heroes of September 11th and to improving the lives of your fellow citizens. Follow Melissa’s lead-make it fun, make it with friends and choose a race that means something to you!
Melissa post-race with her fellow runners