If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I jumped straight into the deep end and signed up for a full marathon before even purchasing a pair of trainers.

Entering your first race is a great way to stay motivated because it gives you a goal to work towards. The shortest ‘road race‘ distance is a 5k, which is perfect for beginners as it can be completed with a little bit of training, and you’ll cross the finish line feeling awesome.

5k races can also be a lot of fun. Most cities offer events like Race for Life, muddy runs, color runs, and I’ve even done a wine run! Now that’s got you interested…

Here are my top 5 tips for entering your first 5k

1. Nerves are normal
Arriving amidst a sea of lycra and bright-colored hi-vis gear can be a little intimidating. Don’t worry; there will be plenty of first-timers just like you! Expect a lengthy toilet queue for the pre-race ‘nervous wee’—yes, you will need one!

2. Don’t try and keep up with everyone else
As soon as the gun goes off you’ll be tempted to run like crazy. Start steady to ensure you can finish the race still running. It will be a little crowded at the start but it will soon even out and you’ll end up running with people a similar pace to you.

3. Keep moving, even if that means walking
Don’t stop! If you’ve followed your training plan and started off nice and steady, you should have no problems running the whole distance. However, there’s no shame in walking if you really need a break. Once you’ve got your heart rate down, start running again.

4. You CAN do it
If you have a moment of doubt about not being able to finish, ignore it. The worst that can happen is you walk a little. Soak up the atmosphere; being cheered on by a complete stranger is really encouraging. Just focus on crossing the finish line. Remember, even if you come last, you’ve still achieved a lot more than people sitting at home on the sofa.

5. Be proud of yourself
Yey you did it! Wear that medal with pride and demolish the contents of your goody bag. Now you know what to expect – book another one!! You’ve set yourself a personal best now, something for you to try and beat next time.