What to Do Before a 5K Race

Pre-race Advice for 5K Runners

You're getting ready for a 5K race and you probably have a lot of questions about what to do in the days leading up to your race. Here's some advice on what to expect and what to do in the week before your 5K.

Don't run too far or too hard.

Couple running

You're not going to get any fitter or faster in the week before your 5K, so don't try to cram for the final. Do three easy runs of 25-30 minutes during the week. Some people like to rest the day before the race, while others like to do a 20-minute shake-out run to help them stay loose. It's up to you to decide what you feel comfortable doing, as one doesn't give you any advantage over the other.

Also see :
Should I Run the Day Before a Race?

Don't stuff yourself the night before.

Runners overeating
Greg Ceo

It's not necessary to carbo-load for a 5K race. Overeating may lead to gastrointestinal distress or other issues. Just eat normal-size portions of a regular, healthy dinner. Try to stick to foods that you've eaten the night before a run. Now's not the time to experiment with new foods or cuisines.

Check the weather forecast.

Go to weather.com and see what's in store. Then you'll be able to start your race preparations and think about what to expect during the race.

Also see:
Tips for Racing in Cold Weather
Tips for Racing in the Rain

Get your race outfit ready.

Runners in race
Yellow Dog Productions

Now that you know the weather forecast, you should be able to plan your outfit accordingly. Lay everything out the night before, so that you're not scrambling and rushing around in the morning.

Plan to race in clothes that you've run in before, so you don't have any unexpected discomfort or issues like chafing. And that means that you shouldn't wear the giveaway race T-shirt you get when you pick up your race bib. The race T-shirts are usually made from cotton and can get heavy and uncomfortable when they're wet with sweat. In addition, some runners think that wearing the shirt before you've actually finished the race is bad luck. So, even if the shirt is made of a technical, wicking fabric, don’t wear it -- unless you want to look like a newbie.​


Woman reading
Cavan Images

It's normal to feel nervous before a race, even if it's not your first. Stick to relaxing activities, such as reading a book or watching a movie, in the days leading up to your race. Don't take on a new big project or something that will keep you up at night worrying. It's important that you get plenty of sleep. Even if you know you'll have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep because you're nervous, it's still important that you get off your feet and hit the hay early.

Also see:
Tips for Reducing Race Anxiety

Do a little warm-up before the race.

Runners Warming Up Before Race
Chris Leschinsky

In a shorter race like a 5K, it's a good idea to do a warm-up, so you slowly raise your heart rate and get your muscles warmed up. About 15 minutes before the race start, do a slow jog for about 5-10 minutes, then walk briskly to the starting line.

Also see: