This has become something of a yearly tradition – my mom, brother and I do a 5k. AT NIGHT.
This year’s takes place this weekend, and I’m pretty excited about it. It’s a lot of fun! The race typically doesn’t start until around 9:00 pm, and everyone wears glow-in-the-dark clothes, glow stick bracelets stacked to their elbows, and glow-in-the-dark face paint. We’re ready with all three.
We don’t really run – it’s more speedwalking alternated with strolling (because the set up is also usually glow-in-the-dark, with fun music pulsating, and awesomely dressed people everywhere you look. We’re more there for the fun than the run, as it were). Last year’s took us about two hours, so we’ll see if we can top that (even by five minutes!) this year.
I am not a professional runner, or even a runner, period, but here are the other things I’ve been doing to prep for the 5k:
- Get in shape. I’ve trying to beat the time in which I can do 3.1 miles in the elliptical all summer. I’ve also been varying the courses I do to help me prep for the real terrain of walking outside. Exercising in the real world instead of in the gym is a whole lot harder.
- But don’t exercise too much. I may have gotten over-excited in the past and done a full on gym workout the night before the 5k. Maybe other people can handle this, but I was exhausted by the time the race was finished. This time, I’m planning to take the night before off so that I’m well-rested.
- Hydrate. There aren’t a lot of places to stop and go to the bathroom in a race like this (plus, once it’s dark, Port-a-Potties are super creepy), so I usually bring one 20-ounce water bottle and try to make it last the whole time. But in the days leading up to the event, I drink a lot of water. And tea. It’s important not to go into the 5k already dehydrated.
- Make sure to eat healthy the day of. Since mine is at the end of the day, if I’m eating potato chips and ice cream and pizza all day, I’m going to fizzle out pretty quickly (I mean, food like that will make you fizzle any day. But especially during times of peak exertion). Good, rounded, whole, healthy meals are on tap.
- Don’t wear anything new on race day. There could not possibly be a worse time to wear new shoes or workout gear than at an event like this. Blisters, a too-tight sports bra (or a too loose sports bra), restrictive pants or pants that are falling down, are all issues that arise with new clothes. Don’t put yourself in a wardrobe situation like that when you won’t be able to quit midway and change.
- Get there/in line early. I don’t know how it does with daytime 5ks, because I’ve never done one, but with the night ones I’ve done, the line starts queuing up early. They release people in waves of about 30. Last year, we spent a ton of time wandering around, looking at all the booths and the party area for after, and we didn’t get in line until about a half hour before race time. Yeah, we were in line for over an hour.
- Enjoy the race. This is one of the reasons I don’t mind walking a night-time 5k instead of running – it’s like a party and exercise combined. Every half mile or so is decorated with a different theme, and different types of music (90s hip hop, 80s pop, etc). One area was decorated with upside down, white umbrellas last year, all hanging from the trees and lit up with differently colored spotlights. Guess what was playing?* Some people were dancing their way down various paths, and whenever there was a two-way straight (with people going in opposite directions on either side), everyone high-fived the people on the other side.
I’m so excited for this weekend!
Have you ever done a night-time 5k? What was yours like? Those of you who’ve done one, how does a day-time 5k compare? How do you get ready?
*If you guessed “Umbrella” by Rihanna, you get 10 points. They also played “It’s Raining Men,” which was just too fabulous for words.