Five secrets to improve your 5K or 10K race this summer

Many cities and towns hold 5K and 10K races or even marathons during the summer.
Just because your workouts on the treadmill or outside runs in the spring went well doesn’t mean you’re going to be home free on race day.
Some serious acclimation to running in outside summer conditions, along with diet and clothing modifications, will be needed to ensure your best performance.
Here are five tips to improve your road race experience in the days leading up the big day:
1. Forget the treadmill – Normally, I’m a huge advocate of the treadmill. It’s a great way for people to work on their cardio conditioning and for training for races.
However, for two to three weeks leading up the race, take all of your training outside instead of running in a climate-controlled gym.
Training outside will teach your body to adjust to hotter outside temperatures, so on race day your body will be better prepared to increase blood volume, keep electrolytes and start the cooling process sooner.
2. Get proper rest – Get at least seven to eight hours sleep the night before the race. Also, avoid caffeine or energy drinks as these can increase your metabolic rate, which will hurt your racing performance.
3. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing – Dark clothing absorbs the sun’s rays, so wear light racewear that will reflect the rays. This will help keep your skin cooler. Also, look to wear moisture-wicking clothing.
4. Stay hydrated, but don’t over do it – Drink liquids the night before the race and when you’re thirty on race day. But new studies show you can overdo it – you don’t have to chug a bottle of water at every hydration station. It’s been reported that some people are over hydrating themselves, which can cause nausea.
5. No when to say when – Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion. If you feel faint, dizzy or overly fatigued, or lose peripheral vision, take break from running. Sit down and lift tour legs higher than your heart to get the blood flowing again. Once you feel better you can consider returning to the race, but run an at easier pace.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at