I am an avid participant in 5ks. I have been for a year now. It wasn’t something I have always done or even had an interest to do. I didn’t even know exactly what a 5K was or how long was the distance, but I had a life changing event and that made me get into the world of 5Ks.
[Photo Cred: TheNFLGirl (before 5k race) ]
For those who don’t know, 5Ks are a three mile race. Most are for a good cause like illness research and children’s hospitals. They require an entry fee except in certain circumstances (survivors of certain illnesses can enter some races for free). You can they also commit to raising additional money for each mile you run. This tends to be the easy part of the experience.
Personally it took me a year to get into 5K shape. I decided to get back in the gym and started working out religiously. I lost 50 lbs in the process. Training for 5Ks is a big commitment. I spend weeks even months training and getting in shape. This means working out five days a week to build up my strength and endurance. Training for 5Ks consists of time on the treadmill, spin bike, and circuit training to build up my muscles. I also swim between 16-30 pool laps per day in the summer which helps me work on controlling my breathing. The schedule is grueling, but necessary if you want to build up your oxygen intake and output.
The 5K world is a community. Every 5K you will see many of the same faces over and over again. We may not know each others names but we know each other by sight and always speak to one another. They become very addictive as the adrenaline rush after a good race is phenomenal.
[Photo Cred: TheNFLGirl (during 5k race)]
5Ks are my passion now. I don’t run in a team, I run solo so I can focus just on my own race. I zone out during a race. I don’t hear the crowds or the cheering or even the racers beside me. I listen to music on my iPhone and try to match my footfalls to the rhythm of the up tempo songs playing in my ears. I keep an even pace and focus on my breathing. I notice the sights as I pass by through parts of the city. When I finish I am normally more energized than when I began and I feel good about having raised money for a good cause and for having completed another race.
If you ever consider entering a 5K, be sure to exercise regularly. Three miles may seem short to avid runners, but to the everyday person, it will seem a lot tougher than you realize. Stay hydrated and focus on your own race, I prefer to listen to music but some prefer to count their steps per mile then half it each subsequent mile. Whatever works to get you through. Remember you are racing for a good cause and that alone may get you pumped enough to finish the race. Stick with it and never fear if you don’t do well in one race, their is always the next one. 5Ks are a year round activity. Yes you can run in the scorching heat of summer or the freezing cold of winter, once you are out there you will not feel the elements just the sweat pouring off your brow and the pounding of your feet on pavement (wear good running shoes). Enjoy it! It is an experience you will never forget.