So you’ve decided you want to run a 5k, not just any 5k but “the happiest 5,000 meters on the planet”!
If you live in or near a major city then chances are The Color Run has come your way or it’s going to in the near future. Founded in 2011, this race is a vibrant, fun, pressure-free way to get you moving! As you make your way through the 5k, volunteers throw various colored powders on “Color Runners” at every kilometer mark. You’re encouraged to wear white at the starting line because, by the time you finish the race, you’ll be a walking Jackson Pollock painting of color. Even when you’ve collected your medal at the end, the party doesn’t stop – enter the “Finish Festival, a larger-than-life party equipped with music, dancing, photo ops, activity booths, vendors, and more massive color throws”. I’ve participated in this is a one-of-a-kind race experience for the last 4 years and I think everyone should try at least once!
Great for Beginners!
When I first decided to start running I was a terrified asthmatic who wasted 10 years of lung capacity on a bad smoking habit. I wanted an easy race to ease myself in, my first race was technically The Bubble Run but The Color Run came next. I love that The Color Run wasn’t timed, they advertise being a race made for anyone at any age or any fitness level so it felt like a safe run where I could walk, jog, or run without feeling judged because others were doing the same. In fact, once the race got going I realized that this would probably be a pretty frustrating experience for any serious runners because breaking out of the pack or shuffling through the people stopping to get tossed with color, is pretty close to impossible. If you’re a beginner and your happy with a pace of 11-12 minute miles then you’ll be perfectly at home.
Even though this is a race you could 100% walk the entire time, if you were thinking of challenging yourself to run some or all of it, then at least give yourself 8 weeks of prep before tackling the 5k. I personally love the From Couch to 5k plan, it’s a great online resource but they also have various apps that will walk you through building up the amount of time you’re able to run for instead of focusing on how fast you run it. There are a lot of great training guides available online, make sure that you find one that works best for you, build yourself a running schedule and stick to it. Running is obviously a pretty important part of training but you can’t neglect to cross-train and stretching, trust me! When you complete each run, dedicate an additional 20+ minutes to a few key exercises ( I usually do squats, clamshells, planks, and lunges). Once you’ve finished, spend 7-10 minutes stretching not just your legs but your core and arms too, as running uses every bit of your body.
If this is your first leap into the world of races then you may not realize that the closer you get to a race the more the registration prices increase. While most races offer day-of sign up, I like to register early for races because not only have I’ve officially committed but then I don’t have to arrive 3 hours early only to wait in a long line. The Color Run has a few different registration options but I always get the second tier option; for a little more money I love that you get an awesome t-shirt, a unique finisher’s medal, some fun temporary tattoos, a sweet sweatband and color packets to throw on friends.
Grab a Group!
The Color Run is family friendly and friends that run together stay together. You can create a team, raise money for charity, and choose the theme you want to dress under! Everywhere you look there are costumed groups, parents pushing kids in decorated strollers, and friends taking each other’s photos with the giant inflatables that scatter the running path. Plus, who better to attend the post-run Finish Festival with than the people who are sweatin’ right next to you?!
Dress to Impress!
Even though your registration fee gifts you a sweet white t-shirt, throw on your favorite tutu or design an all-white ensemble that you want to turn into a work of art. Pretty much everyone shows up in awesome costumes, onesies, crazy hats or white knee-highs paired with white shorts; no matter what you wear, prepare to leave looking like a rainbow. While it’s great to look the part, you should also be prepared.
The things I never head to a color run without:
- “Trashy” running shoes that I don
- Plastic bag for your cell phone
- Towels to cover your car seats on the drive home
- Baby wipes
- Extra safety pins
- If you have breathing issues you may want to wear a bandana around your face when heading through the color zones
- Extra cash in case you want to buy something
The Finish Festival!
Once you crossed the finish line you are given your personal finishers medal and there is an entire field set up for some post-race fun! There are usually multiple sponsor booths set up giving out free samples, a DJ spinning, an MC revving up the crowd, and people dancing while they throw color packets in the air. It’s an absolute blast and a great way to get rid of any post-race adrenaline you’ve still got.
Like I mentioned above, make sure that you’ve prepped your car with towels and plastic mat so that you don’t have to spend hours vacuuming or shampooing the inside once you get home. During your research, you’ll probably come across horror stories about the colored corn starch taking weeks to fully disappear, but personally, I haven’t had any issues.
- Make sure you don’t wear anything you’d be upset got stained. When I finish I actually toss most of the stuff I wear but I keep my official Color Run t-shirt in a clear plastic bag as a keepsake.
- If you have lighter colored hair, try coating it with coconut oil to keep the color from being absorbed.
- Put vaseline around your nail beds and cuticles. If anything remains after your initial shower then a nail brush should take care of the rest
- Stock up on Q-Tips because you’d be surprised at how many nooks and crannies get color powder in them.
- I’ve heard that Suave body wash is a miracle worker if you still have issues after your first shower.
At the end of the day, this awesome and vibrant 5k is the perfect introduction to running! Train hard, prepare as best you can, but most importantly – HAVE FUN!