Get started as soon as you register for the event. Making a training plan is the key to success. You want to aim to cover the distance with confidence, whether you plan to run, walk or jog (most of us do all three and that’s fine). Begin by getting active, go for a long fast walk at lunchtime, take the stairs whenever possible. My advice is to work up to the event distance over a period of weeks, but you don’t have to run the full length before the race. You can get yourself ready by training over 80-90% of the distance, the rest will come on the day. Increasing the distance, time or intensity of your training is the best way to hit weekly goals and get over any mental blocks. What was hard two weeks ago will become easy and eventually the 5km is no longer Mission Impossible.
Finding a friend or co-worker to do the training and fun run with you is a powerful motivator and can add a bit of a competitive edge – especially when the finish line comes into sight. Being connected with another person can help before, during and after the event. In the build-up your buddy will be there to help with getting moving. The encouragement of a friend will keep you training, especially on those days when you might not feel like it. During the run they can help with your nerves and anxiety, and you can motivate each other to keep going. After the event they are there to share the experience with – they were in the trenches with you when the going got tough at 3.5km.
Deal with those anxieties before the race. Plan ahead and find out where you are going, where you can park, where you can meet friends and family after the event. You aren’t there to break records or win prizes, you are running/walking to prove to yourself that you can do it and help raise awareness of the fun run’s charity or fundraise for a good cause. Be proud of what you’ve done and enjoy the experience.