Your 5K Race Day Game Plan

U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program runners Maj. Dan Browne (bib No. 1) and Spc. Robert Cheseret (bib No. 11) flank the front line of fast starters in the 26th running of the Army Ten-Miler on Oct. 24 at the Pentagon. Cheseret finished third with a time of 48 minutes, 28 seconds. Brown was fourth in 48:22. U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps, FMWRC Public Affairs


The big day has arrived. You’ve successfully completed your 5-week training program, you’re feeling pumped and ready to bring it home at you first ever 5K event. But, you’re also feeling a little apprehensive. Nervous tension is starting to kick in, and you’re beginning to get a little jittery. That’s a good thing. The adrenaline rush that you’re experiencing can propel you to an even better performance than you did in your last training session.*

Race Day Tips

The key to success today is organization. The following tips will help you to be fully prepared, so you can focus on the task that lies before you:

  1. Plan for all weather conditions, making sure that you’ve got a light rainproof jacket, a hat, sunglasses, and a quality sunscreen.
  2. The day before check out the race venue, if possible. Drive the route, familiarizing yourself with the layout in order to alleviate anxiety and prevent any surprises. Identify markers at the one and two-mile points.
  3. Pack your kit bag the night before. Include your running shoes, 2 pairs of running socks, running shorts, a running vest or t-shirt, safety pins, your race entry details, an emergency contact list and your iPod. You should also have a track-suit to warm up in.
  4. Prepare and take with you the foods you will be eating. Include energy bars, energy drinks, bottled water and fresh fruit.
  5. Prepare a first aid kit that includes petroleum jelly, plasters, a muscle rub, antiseptic cream and painkilling gel.
  6. Two hours before the event, have a high carb meal. Tuna Pasta or Peanut Butter on whole wheat are sensible choices.
  7. You may wish to carry some jelly beans or an energy bar with you to give you an energy boost about halfway through the event
  8. Drink plenty of water in the 2 hours leading up to the event. Just make sure to visit the bathroom before the run begins.
  9. Be at the start line well in advance of the starter’s gun. Give yourself at least an hour to take in the surroundings and get your game on.
  10. Have a banana 20 minutes prior to start time.
  11. When you line up at the start line, try to group yourself with runners of similar ability to yourself.
  12. Don’t waste energy by being overcome by the excitement of the start. People may be yelling and screaming, but you need to stay focused and run/walk to your plan.
  13. As you run, break the event down into 3, one-mile challenges. As you pass the one and two-mile markers you identified in your drive through, tick them off in your mind.
  14. Run or walk at the same pace you completed your final training session in. Don’t be tempted to go out too fast or to keep up with someone else. Run your race.
  15. Savor the moment that you cross the finish line. Organize to have someone taking a picture as you achieve this major milestone – the culmination to you 5 weeks of solid training.
  16. Immediately following the race, rehydrate with plenty of water. Stay on your feet, but remove your shoes and take care of any ailments like blisters or muscle pain.
  17. Go through a post-run warm down.
  18. Eat a high carb meal within 20 minutes in order to restore your glycogen levels.

Beyond 5K

 Running your first 5K may have opened the door to more running events. You may go on to running a 10K and even a half marathon. On the other hand, you may stay focused on the 5K and work to improve your time. Or, you may never run another event in your life, satisfied with the accomplishment of this goal.

Whatever you choose to do with your running from here, we encourage you to continue with the lifestyle choices that have got you to this place . . .

  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy eating
  • Positive thinking

Those three pillars will enrich your life, making it more enjoyable, fulfilling and worthwhile.


 *Fitness Disclaimer

This website offers health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis treatment. This website does not promise any specific results, as each individual responds differently to training.The author of this article is not a medical professional. We have volunteers in our organization from different aspects of health, nutrition, and fitness. Not just modern medicine doctors and physicians, but yoga teachers, spiritual teachers, martial arts teachers, and energy healers and we use all those resources to be able to provide the best and most proper advice to people around all walks of life. We do not have a defined goal, we only have a mission to help as many people as we can.


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