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No Such Thing as a “Fun” Run? How to Prep for Your Fun 5K Experience

03/09/2014, 10:00pm EDT
By Justin Lin, PT, DPT, MS, CSCS

How about some fun on that run

Dr. Justin Lin

Events like the Color Run, the Bubble Run, Glow in the Dark Run, Zombie Run, 5K Foam Fest, and 5K Mud Run are quickly gaining traction and popularity throughout the US among many adults wanting to get messy and enjoy a social lighthearted activity.

It’s a Hot Mess

I’ve had some opportunity to participate in a few of these…what a hot mess.  If you were to walk onto the scene it may look like a war zone.  People are slipping, sliding, and falling, some even look like swamp-things.  Some run so hard they vomit at the finish line and others limp from the bruises and many injuries incurred.  What fun is this really?

…Of course it’s tons of fun!  If you take the right measures and think with your head!

How to Prepare for Battle

Get Your Hips, Knees, and Ankles Assessed

Ensure your body is safe and in the right condition by getting assessed by a trained professional like a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

I’m overly cautious, but it’s important to make sure everything is moving right and can withstand slips and falls.  The last thing you want is to tear your ACL or meniscus by slipping.  Get some strategy from your trained Physical Therapist about running mechanics or walking mechanics.

Do Some Training Silly

You may not think that 3.1 miles sounds like much, but if your body isn’t in the proper physical condition, it might as well be 15 miles.  In fact, I bet that even if you haven’t been running and your buddy who has been running 5 miles a day is going with you it’s probably safe to say that if you want to save face you’re going to try to run as fast as he does.  Good luck.

This is for fun, it’s not a triathlon, so rigorous training for months isn’t necessary, but I do suggest some conditioning. Try riding a bike 3.1 miles or rollerblading. It can take some time, but get some cardiovascular exercise in for 2 weeks prior to the event. Try something, even if that means walking for 45 minutes 3x a week.

You’re still likely to lose to your friend, but in the end you won’t be vomiting.

It’s Okay to Walk

I think the subheading says it all.  Walking 3.1 miles will take about an hour, but sure beats getting lightheaded and falling flat face in the mud –pun intended!

Hydration and Electrolytes

Electrolytes keep you from cramping.  I recommend doing a half and half Gatorade or Powerade mixed with water before and after the race.  This hydration will save you from fatiguing quickly and getting “attacked” by Zombies.


Pacing your breathing will help you outlast your buddies.  Breathing deeply and exhaling in a controlled manner controls your heart’s workload.  Passing out at the finish line will keep you from really enjoying the beer to follow.

Proper Clothing and Shoes

Make sure your shoes are in good condition and, yes, even if you’re going to get dirty use the better pair of shoes.

Make sure you are dressed for the season and don’t forget your butt pad and wrist guards.

I say these things in jest, but falling on your tailbone can keep you sidelined from work for 3-6 weeks and falling on an outstretched arm and fracturing your wrist could increase your chances of not working at the computer for a while.

If you’ve read up to this point and heed my advice, you shouldn’t be worried about being eaten by zombies or turned into a character from Dr. Seuss, or even the radioactive Simpsons.  Remember, this is a Fun Run and I recommend you keep it that way!

Sponsored by Justin Lin, DPT, MS, CFMT, CSCS

Justin Lin, DPT, MS, CFMT, CSCS

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Dr. Justin C. Lin PT, DPT, MS, CSCS, CFMT, is the owner and director of Rehab and Revive Physical Therapy it is ranked by the people and users of as the #1 practice for the past 3 years in a row. He is author of Amazon's Hot New Releases,  Rehab the Mind, Revive the Body: Foundations for Healing. Dr. Lin grew up in Irvine and attended Boston University where he earned his Masters of Science and DPT at Marymount. He is an adjunct professor at Chapman University's Doctor of Physical Therapy at the Crean Graduate School. In the community, he's involved with his alma-mater University HS (Irvine), he organizes reunions, conducts motivational speeches about integrity and character, and is Scholarship Chair for a service scholarship at UHS. He hosts a free Youtube called "Our Health Channel" to talk about latest and trending information as well as interviews the best providers about what they do well.
For more guidance on health and healing from Dr. Justin C. Lin, please read Rehab the Mind and Revive the Body, which can be found on Amazon at the following link:

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