1st 5K experiences?

So in 19 days I will be running my very first 5K! Does anyone have any advice? I’ve been doing the couch to 5K program the last 8 weeks and will “graduate” the week before the big day! But for some reason I am terrified I will be the last person to come across the finish line, even though 8 weeks ago I could barely run for 60 seconds… So I will be so proud of myself no matter what – and there will be NO walking on my part…

I also think it’s a rough draw that I’m 34 and will be in a class of 25-34 year olds) sigh…But that's neither here nor there...

I am so nervous, this is silly! (Note, I also plan on wearing a pink tutu so incase I do come in last at least I will do it with style!!!!) Just wondering about other people’s first experiences?


  • Lyerin
    Lyerin Posts: 818 Member
    Don't stress or worry about it. You likely won't come in last. All of the 5Ks I have done have had some folks who walked at least a portion of the race - if you run you will likely finish ahead of those folks. You are already prepared. Even if you are last, who cares? Honestly, you are just there to have a good run, and the rest will all work itself out.

    Go early enough to get your packet (if you can on the day of), use the restroom, pin on your number and get ready to go. When you start out, concentrate on running *your* race and not taking off to quickly to keep up with the pack. Other than that, have fun and go at your own pace. Good luck!
  • Hadabetter
    Hadabetter Posts: 941 Member
    All the other competitors will be very supportive, so there's no need to be nervous. In fact many of them will be running their very first 5k also. And if you don't walk at all, it's unlikely that you will finish last because invariably, some people will walk at least a part of the course.

    As for the race itself. Try to place yourself at the start in roughly the position you expect to finish. It's difficult to guess exactly, but this will reduce the number of people you will be stumbling over as you pass them, and vice versa. Also, your adrenalin will be pumping and you will be tempted to start out faster than you are used to, so you might need to consciously keep it slow for the first 1/2 mile or so, until you get your rhythm down.

    Most of all, just have fun!
  • RGv2
    RGv2 Posts: 5,789 Member
    Why are you worried about the draw? Are you trying to place?

    If not....then don't crowd the starting line.
  • ThickMcRunFast
    ThickMcRunFast Posts: 22,511 Member
    I always direct people here:

    But the best rules:

    -don't try anything new on race day
    -don't go out too fast
    -don't line up at the front unless you expect to win
  • EEfromJersey
    EEfromJersey Posts: 219 Member
    Congrats and don't be nervous, your adrenaline will be pumping don't start to fast as you would want too, have a goal as to the time you want to finish and enjoy your first time.
  • Mia_RagazzaTosta
    Mia_RagazzaTosta Posts: 4,885 Member
    Races are awesome. The atmosphere is enough to get and keep you going. For your first race I'd only worry about finishing; nothing else.

    Most of all, enjoy it. They're so much fun.
  • fletchleg
    fletchleg Posts: 116 Member
    I just ran my first on Saturday....but I never really completed couch to 5k so was seriously nervous but I loved it!

    The only advice I can give is that I found myself too far forward in my 'group' (we were allocated into groups depending on our predicted times) and really had to reign myself back by the end of the first mile so I didn't burn out so try and find people of similar fitness to you so you're not pushed to 'keep up' or racing ahead.
    I walked at least a 1/4 of mine and still had around 100 people behind me (I placed around 700 out of 800). But at the end of the day if you're last, so what? You've still lapped everyone sitting on the couch at home.

    Its a race against yourself not everyone else. Relax and enjoy it, its over so quickly :D
  • billsica
    billsica Posts: 4,742 Member
    The water stop.
    Either just stop and take a drink, or pinch the top and pour it in your mouth like a watering can.
  • Ready2Rock206
    Ready2Rock206 Posts: 9,489 Member
    I just ran my first 5K yesterday. I still have another day to go on the couch to 5k program. I've only run 1 other time in the last couple weeks. I usually do all my running on the treadmill or occasionally outside on flat terrain. There were a lot of hills on the run. I couldn't get my kid to come with me for support so I went alone.

    I wasn't last - not even close. I didn't die. I walked the hills. I'm ready to book my next race.

    Relax, enjoy, don't stress - you'll do great!!
  • Kilter
    Kilter Posts: 188 Member
    There is a saying in the running community up here: DFL is better than DNS. ("dead freaking last" and "did not start").

    Pace yourself in the first 2 km, you'll be excited and you'll feel invincible, and you'll probably go out a bit too strong. That's not a bad thing if you keep it in control, but don't let it get out of control or you'll have a tough end of race.

    Find someone running the pace you want to and either run side by side with them or right behind them up until about 4.5km. Then get ahead of them and just stay there. Make them work to stay with you, and make yourself work to stay ahead of them. Won't matter if they pull ahead and beat you in the last few hundred meters, you'll finish strong and your pride will push you a bit harder than your brain will near the end of a race :)

    As for walking, do it if you need it. A 1 minute walk at 3km will slow you down by about 30 seconds off of your run pace. If you are starting to slow down and are going to drop your run speed by more than about 15-20 seconds / km, that bit of a walk can be just what you need. You don't need this after 4km though, such it up buttercup :)

    Finish knowing that YOU have set a goal and YOU have accomplished it. First last or anywhere in the middle, you beat all those people who stayed on the couch.

    There is a guy up here with MS who did the Scotiabank 5km race option in 2011. It took him over 2 hours, longer than it took most of the "real" runners to do the half marathon. He made it though, and he's a hell of a lot more inspiring to me than the folks who crossed the half at 1:30.

  • Kamikazeflutterby
    Kamikazeflutterby Posts: 775 Member
    Lay out your race stuff the night before. Then if you're hyper and twitchy the morning of you won't forget anything in the excitement.

    And remember the start at your own pace/run your own race advice. I thought I really remembered and understood that, then I got sucked into the excitement at my first 5k and ran too fast too soon. I ended up having to walk a good portion of the middle, but I still finished under the time I wanted and still wasn't last.
  • davemunger
    davemunger Posts: 1,139 Member
    Not only are there always people who walk some of the way, there are always people who walk the *whole* way! You won't be last!

    Even better, every 5K I have been to has had extremely supportive fans and fellow runners. They will cheer you as you cross the finish line no matter what!

    Just run the same way you have been doing in training and you'll do great. Of course you will be a little nervous at the start but that nervous energy will also help you finish. Good luck and have fun!
  • madmiss
    madmiss Posts: 219 Member
    Thank you all so VERY VERY much! I feel a whole lot better now - I am very excited about this and can't wait to get out there. I will probably be bawling with happiness at the end :) This is all great, great advice. Thanks for taking the time out to comment - I will keep everyone posted with the results/progress!