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How to Mentally & Physically Survive Your First 5K

Written By: Raina Hope Duckworth 

At Skin Deep we value our tribe’s story on their journey to physical and mental well-being. Have you ever thought of the idea of running a 5k? Read Raina’s tips on mentally and physically surviving your first race.

I remember my very first 5k race.  My sister approached me with the idea of running with a group of co-workers at one of those races where they throw color on you.  I thought, sure why not. It sounded like something fun to try and I figured I could handle 3.1 miles. I was newly divorced and I thought running a race would be something exciting to occupy my time when the kids were visiting with their dad.  


When we arrived at the color run I had no idea what to expect. I really didn’t train, although, I kept telling myself that I would train at some point before the big day.  I was very excited mixed with a smidge of anxiety. Once I started, I had no idea how much fun I would have running (and mostly walking). I have been hooked to that euphoric feeling ever since.  After doing multiple 5ks, here are just a few tips that I have learned.

Run Your Race! Speed Does Not Matter.

Congratulate yourself!  You are here. You made it to the race.  You are ahead of everyone that is still at home Netflixing and chilling.  Who cares about your speed for the first race? We are not all made the same.  Therefore we do not all have the same athletic ability. Who says you have to run the entire race?! I certainly did not run the entire race for the first few races I entered. 

Run For a Cause or Start Off With Fun Races.

The first several races I participated in were fun themed!  If the run required me to wear a tutu, sport an ugly Christmas sweater, or have colored powdered dye thrown at me – sign me up!  In the beginning, I mostly signed up for color runs. Most color 5ks are untimed and involve other non-serious runners that want to have a good time and squeeze in a workout.  I also think 5k races are great way to raise money for charities. There are so many worthwhile charities you can support by raising money. It also helps you mentally with the motivation for you to get out of bed at the crack of dawn on race day. Yes, most races are early. 

Wear Comfortable Running Shoes and Clothes.

There is nothing worse than running with uncomfortable shoes or clothing.  If possible, always take your race day attire out for a spin. The last thing you want to do is wear leggings that don’t stay up when you run. Trust me!  I speak from experience on this one. Also, you should never wear brand new sneakers to a race. New sneakers should be worn a few times before race day. 

Find a Running Buddy.

Although it’s not necessary, it’s fun to have a friend or family member join you for a 5k. It’s also a great way to get the entire family involved in outdoor exercise. There are even some 5ks that allow strollers. Having a race partner is a way to have someone to join you for a delicious post race meal.

Have Fun!

This is most important.  Don’t take yourself too seriously!  Running is great exercise but it can also be fun! Snap some cute selfies on the race course.

Take Care of Yourself.

Always get clearance from your doctor! While I just completed my first half marathon, I will always love participating in fun 5ks. 

Self-care after a race is so important. I look forward to a relaxing Skin Deep experience because after any workout a girl looks forward to a little luxurious pampering! 

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