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Dublin: 13°C Thursday 13 May 2021

Olympian Fionnuala McCormack's tips for any runner hoping to compete a 5k this year

Trust us, she knows what she’s talking about.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

NOW THAT JANUARY is officially over, we can start to look forward to the weekly 5 and 10km runs taking place around the country.

As one of Ireland’s finest-ever athletes, Fionnuala McCormack knows a thing or two about running and performing to the best of your ability.

Here, she gives us five of her best tips for getting across the finish line and having fun along the way.

1. Prepare well

From the moment I started running I always have had the motto of ‘look after your kit and your kit will look after you’ and it still serves me well to this day.

Having every base covered with clothing options for the famous Irish weather will serve you well. A complete change of running gear and a dry towel will help avoid an unnecessary last minute panic, so be prepared!

2. Know the course

Knowing where there may be a hill or a tough part of the course before you see it during the race will help you during your run and to avoid any nasty surprises on the day itself.

Not all your splits will be the same as you go along so knowing why will stop any negative thoughts as you are running.

3. Suit yourself

As the old saying goes, ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’ and that’s how you should think of
how you prepare for your run on race day.

You know what works for you better than anyone else so try and stick to the tried and trusted routine that has helped get you through your training.

Keep to the food and drink and pre-race meal you are used to and you are sure to have a great run.

4. Stay Positive

No matter what your goal time, the importance of ‘thinking fast’ is key. Whether I am running in the Olympic Games or a local road race, my approach is always to think of the end result of my race and not dwell on how hard it may be feeling.

Your body might feel tired at times but remembering to tell yourself you have trained to cope with the effort and every step is a step closer to that finish line!

5. Enjoy the experience

Pre-race nerves are perfectly natural and if I wasn’t a little nervous on a race day I would
be worried. But always remember though that those feelings should still be enjoyable.

The atmosphere around any race is always very special and I get inspired as much as everyone else on the day.

Fionnuala McCormack is an ambassador for the Great Ireland Run, which takes place in the Phoenix Park on 9 April. For your chance to run with some of the world’s best athletes, sign up now at:

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