This weekend I’ll be running the Fit Foodie 5k for the 5th year in a row and I couldn’t be more excited. Not only is this one of my favorite races, but I simply love the runner’s high you get after a weekend race. It feels great to get up early on the weekend, squeeze in a fun workout, and mingle with friends in the fitness community.

This also got me thinking about how differently I prepare for a 5k vs. another type of race such as a half marathon. While you can definitely push yourself in a 5k, I personally like to slow things down and have some fun. I usually run 5k’s with friends or family so I use the time to workout while we talk, catch up on life, and truly enjoy the course. I don’t stress about “carb loading”, finish times, or any usual pre-race rituals (except coffee and the restroom of course).

So if you’re like me and you want to slow things down, here are a few tips to make the most of a 5k race weekend.

Packet Pick Up

For most races, I just grab my bib, do 1 quick lap around the vendors (if there are any), and get out. I usually don’t like to eat anything new or wear anything new on race weekend so I try to avoid any temptations. BUT, I recommend the opposite approach for a 5k. Take some time to walk around, check out new products or treats, and maybe even plan your pick up time with some friends so you can enjoy the experience together.

Hydrate

Like any race, you should always hydrate the week of the race. No more explanation needed 🙂

Take Photos of the Course

If you’re running with a finish goal in mind, there’s often no time for photos. But, if you want to run or walk a 5k for fun, take some time to snap some pics of the course! The Fit Foodie will be held at Liberty Station this year which is such a gorgeous area. I definitely plan on taking a few pics before, during, and after the event to capture the moment.

Enjoy the After Party

After a half marathon, I’m usually exhausted and just want a shower, some food, and to be carried to my car (in no particular order😉). I’m not saying you can’t experience this in a 5k, but more often than not you’ll still have some energy to walk around. Take this time to really enjoy the post-race after party! At the Fit Foodie, there are TONS of sponsors set up with booths giving out free snacks, drinks, and samples. There are also cooking and workout demonstrations to take part in. Be sure to advantage of these types of post-race perks!

Plan a Post-Race Brunch

Brunch is literally my favorite part of any race or run. 5k’s usually start around 7 or 8AM and last less than an hour to 2 hours. Celebrate your morning sweat sesh with a solid breakfast or brunch nearby. If you’re running the Fit Foodie 5k this Saturday, check out my list of recommended brunch spots (there’s a Fig Tree Cafe, Breakfast Republic, and Starbucks all within Liberty Station too!).

The Pancake Flight from Breakfast Republic


How do you prepare differently for a 5k? What are your tips for enjoying this type of race?

2 comments on “How to Prepare and Enjoy a 5k”

  1. 5k’s are about the only races that I can participate/survive in. I’m doing the annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving and I’m so excited! My only goal is to run the race in its entirety…not for a specific time, but just so I can say I did, lol. It’s a great idea to check out the vendors beforehand, I’ll have to do that!

    • I love the Turkey Trot! I usually do it every year in San Jose but we’re staying in San Diego this year. I’m going to look into one here since it’s such a fun way to kick off the holiday. I think that’s a great goal to run the whole time! I like using mantras like “you’re stronger than you think you are” to keep pushing. Have a great time at the Turkey Trot!

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