Lessons for your first 5K

I have never been a runner. I ran, at more, once or twice a month for 30 or so minutes and then wouldn’t even attempt another run for months following.  However, that didn’t stop me from signing up for my first ever 5K a few years ago.

At the behest of my roommate at the time, I signed up for a color run with her and then forgot all about it. A few months later, I suddenly realized that the race was a few days away and I had not bothered to train one single bit. I tried to fit in a few runs the week leading up to the race, but never actually trained properly. Here’s what I learned along the way and during my first 5K.

1.     Don’t be nervous. I’ll be honest – I was super nervous as I pulled into the parking lot on race day. I looked around and saw all these runners who looked super fit and cool in their gear and thought to myself “what the heck am I doing here?”  My roommate could tell that I was nervous and told me that I shouldn’t be because there were always beginners. The goal was just to do my best and have fun. So I did.

2.     Pace Yourself. It’s going to happen. Your adrenaline is going to start pumping and the energy of the crowd is going to get your hyped up and ready to go. You’re going to want to take off as soon as you hear go. Just remember, you have just over 3miles to get through to the finish line. Try to maintain a steady pace that is comfortable for you so you don’t lose steam early in the race.

3.     It’s OK to walk. Some people are runners; some people are walkers. You may not think you will need a break, but depending on the route the race takes, a pit stop or two isn’t a bad idea. Make sure you are listening to what your body is saying; there is no shame in walking as long as you keep going.

4.     Enjoy it. The experience of running a 5K with a group of like-minded people is awesome! All around you, you hear feet pounding the pavement and steady breathing. Spectators and volunteers along the route sheer you on and high five complete strangers to give them a little extra motivation. You look around and see that everyone there has one common goal. No matter how tired you feel, when you see the finish line ahead, you’ll find the last little bit of energy to get you there. There is nothing quite like crossing the finish line with your hands in the air and a big grin on your face.

5.     Be proud of yourself. Most people don’t consider a 5K a super huge deal; I know I didn’t. But it is a challenge, mentally and physically. Be proud of yourself for taking the initiative to sign up and start.  Be proud of yourself for showing up race day to run. Be proud of yourself for crossing the finish line, regardless of your time.

Don’t forget to check out the inaugural Race To Embrace benefitting Embrace Grace of Cumming, GA. It’s going to be an awesome day full of amazing people to surround yourself with!


Amiee McCauley

Race To Embrace

5K Organizer