Getting Ready to Race for the Cure: A Beginner’s Guide to 5K Training & Motivation

By: Paige Harootunian

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Most people aren’t born great runners who put their sneakers on with a smile and hit the treadmill. In reality, many people dread going to the gym knowing a long run is in their future. Fitness articles always say that running is one of the best forms of cardio, making it natural to want to improve your running skills. However, it can be very difficult to incorporate running into your workout if it isn’t something you’ve been practicing for a long time.

The perfect opportunity to begin the transformation into a runner can come from something close to your heart, like Race for the Cure. Each year, Race for the Cure is an event dedicated to raising funds and awareness for breast cancer, and there are so many reasons to join the fight. Whether it be running with a beloved survivor, running in honor of a loved one who has lost their battle with the disease, or even to take control of your own health, there will always be a reason to Race.

Preparing for Race for the Cure is both informative and self-revealing. You’ll discover inner strength both mentally and physically that you may not of knew you had previously. It will be a journey that leaves feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment. Since preparing for a 5K takes time and dedication, we’re sharing some basic tips for those who need that extra boost of self-confidence to begin training!

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#1: Plan Ahead

The first tip for preparing for Race for the Cure is to create a workout routine one month before the race. This involves designing a set schedule of exercise to follow that works for you throughout each week. For example, walk for 30 minutes Monday, jog for 25 minutes Tuesday, run for 30 minutes Wednesday, rest day Thursday and run for 40 minutes Friday. A good technique to follow is to build up your mileage slowly, and to run 3 to 4 times a week.

Make sure to create variability in your workouts to keep motivation and interest. Writing down a plan and hanging it up somewhere as a reminder of any upcoming workouts is a terrific way to stay on track.

See this Race for the Cure organizer to begin writing your plan !

#2: Maintain the Mindset

Maintaining a motivated and positive mindset may seem simple, but can be quite difficult, especially in the beginning of training. Be sure to remember that you are running for a great cause and benefiting your body at the same time. Imagine the feeling of crossing the finish line and picture yourself reaching your goal. If a day comes around where your body is aching and the feeling of dread completely washes over, listen to those signs and feelings. It’s okay to not stick to the schedule 100% of the time. Just get up and try again the next day.

#3: Stretch It Out

It is super important to always stretch before and after running. Not only does stretching improve flexibility and range of motion, but it also prevents injury and decreases soreness. If you are feeling particularly sore after a run, use a muscle roller to reduce soreness and relieve tightness.

#4: Have the Perfect Pair of Sneakers

Our next tip is simple yet very helpful, finding the perfect pair of sneakers. Everyone’s feet are built differently and it is important to have a sneaker that is appropriate for running, supports the arch of your foot and is a comfortable size and width. Hit your local running store for a customized fitting. The experts there will measure the arch of your foot and examine how you run to see if you are a neutral or over pronate runner. From there, the sales associate can pull shoes that will best support your foot and running style. Don’t forget the pink laces!

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#5: Eat Healthy

Eating right and enjoying a healthy diet is crucial to 5K preparation. This includes eating lots of fruits and vegetables, avoiding alcohol and drinking around 64 ounces of water a day. Some foods that are great to eat while training for a 5K are bananas, almonds, avocado, and peanut butter to help sustain energy.

#6: Pace Yourself

The sixth is the most important skill to have when preparing for a 5K: pace yourself. Pacing yourself means running at a particular speed and sticking to that pace throughout the duration of your run. This will help you keep a steady speed without draining all your energy. There is no pressure to finish first when running at Race for the Cure. When you complete the Race, you will feel accomplished and know that you supported a great cause.

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#7: Music

Having the perfect running playlist is crucial to successful 5K prep. Make sure to pick songs that will motivate you to keep going and maintain high energy.

Check out our awesome “Get Ready to Race for the Cure” Spotify playlist and get pumped up!

Follow our tips and get a jump start on completing your race. It’s normal to feel discouraged or not 100% up to running every day — just remember to give it your all and to not give up.

Your participation at Race for the Cure means the world to someone affected by breast cancer. You’re helping us raise funds, celebrate breast cancer survivorship and honor those who lost their lives to this disease.

Register for our upcoming Race for the Cure on Sunday, November 5 at Six Flags Great Adventure: www.komencsnj.org/race! Can’t wait to see you there!

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Our mission is to save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent & cure breast cancer.

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