Prepare for Your First Road Race

Each summer, opportunities to participate in fitness events and road races abound such as the Dan Adair, MD, Memorial Triathlon and the Memorial Transplant Services 5k Run/Walk. Many people are interested but worried they cannot complete, but with proper preparation you can put those anxieties to rest and complete a race, said Gabriel Stinson, a sports enhancement specialist at Memorial Outpatient Rehab Services.

Tips to help you prepare for a successful first race:

  1. Choose a race. Pick a race that is far enough in the future to provide you ample time to train.
  2. Ask your doctor. Talk with your primary care provider to make sure they OK your fitness activity based on your specific health needs.
  3. Invest in equipment. Make sure you have the right equipment to complete a road race and to avoid injury. Most importantly, choose comfortable athletic shoes and clothing. Also, it may be helpful to use your smartphone, fitness tracker or to purchase a low-cost pedometer to track your progress.
  4. Eat healthy. Drink plenty of water and incorporate nutritious foods into your diet.
  5. Make a training plan. Your running or walking plan will depend on the type of race you choose. There are many apps and fitness plans available online to help you go from no activity to completing a 5K. Take advantage of existing resources to help you.

Remember, non-competitive road races are not intended to be a competition between you and other participants–take your time, plan ahead and you’ll finish the race.

Need extra help?

Speak with your primary care provider for a referral, or call 217-862-0351 to learn more about Memorial Outpatient Rehab Services.

Gabriel Stinson, MS, PES, CES, is a sports enhancement specialist at Memorial Outpatient Rehab Services. He has worked in this at position at Memorial since 2006. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in exercise science from Western Illinois University.