Running, jogging or walking a 5K (3.1 miles) is a fun way to exercise, meet new people and check another item off your bucket list.
 
I was a competitive runner for my high school’s cross-country and track & field teams, and I'm going to share with you some training tips to compete in L.A.'s upcoming Big 5K run.
 
First of all, don’t think you are going to wake up on the day of the race and expect to a have a new PR (personal record). Competing in a race takes time, effort and a lot of mental toughness.
 
The race is about a few weeks away -- that's enough time to whip your body into shape!
 
Here are some crucial tips:

-Before you start exercising, stretch your legs for about 5 minutes to get your leg muscles ready to workout.
 
-Bring water with you, but don’t drink a lot of water at once. Instead, take small sips to avoid cramping.
 
-Make a workout schedule.
 
-Wear an exercise watch to time yourself.
 
-Don’t run the whole 3.1 miles during your first week of training. You might injury yourself in the process. Instead, do a mix between walking and jogging. Walk for 5 minutes and jog for only 1 minute. As your endurance improves, you can modify the intensity of the pace.
 
-Get plenty of rest, and don’t forget to stretch after each run.
 
-Always stay hydrated throughout the day.
 
-If you experience soreness or discomfort, use ice packs to relieve the plain.
 
The race starts at 8 a.m. Saturday morning on March 9 at Dodger Stadium. Arrive early, drink a lot of water the day before, and go to bed at a normal time. And don’t forget to bring your watch.
 
You can find directions, the course map and register information online at lamarathon.com.

Good luck, and have fun!