Whether immediately after the race, or weeks following your event – many new runners often think “What do I do now?”. Whether you are looking to run longer distances or wanting to stay injury-free, here are seven great tips on what you can do after completing your first 5K.
1. Don’t forget to stretch immediately after you race. Grab some water and hydrate while completing a short cool-down walk, followed by 5-10 minutes of stretching. Many new (and experienced) runners get all caught up in crossing the finish line (or think about collapsing) that they forget to stretch their entire body after such a grueling workout.
2. Take your bib home and write your finishing time on the back. Hopefully this is the first of many races for you. Soon all of your events will blend together in your mind. It will be fun to flip back through your bibs and your finishing times and see how much you’ve improved and where you’ve set personal records.
3. Keep track of the mileage on your shoes. Either keep track on your calendar, training log or a spreadsheet. You can even try keeping track on the shoe box. You are going to want to stay injury-free and trade in your shoes every 300-500 miles.
4. Continue running for thirty minutes three to four times a week – or every other day – to stay in 5K shape. If you were running a few days a week previously, now you can safely add another training day to your routine.
5. Schedule another 5K three to four weeks after your event to keep you motivated. This will help keep you working towards a goal.
6. If you are interested in running longer distances, find a 10K event approximately three months away to train for. Twelve weeks is more than ample time to advance from the 5K to the 10K distance.
7. Consider hiring a running coach. If you need a custom training program or an accountability partner, I would love to help keep you motivated and working towards your running goals.