Preparing for a Zombie 5K Run
Zombie 5k Obstacle Course
Zombie Infested 5k Course
Preparing to run any 5k should start weeks before race day, but when you are considering a zombie 5k, there are some specific things you should do to prepare for the attack of the undead. Run for Your Lives zombie 5k is one of the most popular races that is held in cities all over North America. After running the race myself in Pittsburgh, PA, here are some tips for others that feel the urge to run for their lives!
Trail Running Shoes
How to Prepare to Run 3.1 Miles
The Mayo Clinic offers a great 7 week running plan for beginners which involves running and walking. I highly recommend this plan since the zombie 5K involves a lot of stop and go running. If you can already run 3.1 miles at a good pace, it might be a good idea to try running and walking it since it is impossible to RUN the entire 5k obstacle course. The only way you will be able to get a good overall finish time, is to be able to sprint at some parts and walk fast through other areas.
Every runner is different, so it is hard to say for sure what a good time would be for running 3.1 miles. Age, gender, and the course itself all play into timing. Most runners will tell you to try to beat your own best time each time you run a race. I am a female in my mid-30s and I run a mile three times a week usually under 10 minutes. Prior to running the zombie 5k, I ran 3.1 mile courses (both flat and with hills). My best time was 32 minutes, but that was not running with other people. I did run a small 2.2 mile race with people a few months before the Zombie 5k and did that in 20-25 minutes. So, prior to the Run for Your Lives race, I decided that a good time for me would be under 50 minutes.
Funny Sayings for Homemade Shirts
- 'Eat Skittles' and have your friend wear a shirt that says "Hi, my name is Skittles"
- No Brains Hear
- 'Eat That' with arrow pointing to someone else
- Got Brains?
- Males: 'women taste better'/Females: 'men taste better'
What to Wear to a Zombie 5k
Here are some suggestions for things to wear. Keep in mind your clothes will be muddy and ripped by the time you are done, so do not wear any of your expensive running clothes.
- Skeletoes running shoes or trail running shoes
- a t-shirt you made yourself with funny zombie sayings
- zombie-like outfit
- outfits that match characters in famous zombie movies
- tighter, quick dry clothes are the best
DO NOT WEAR........
- loose clothing that can get caught on obstacles
- new sneakers
- expensive clothes
Things to take with to the Zombie 5K
Make sure you have these things with you for before and after the race:
- cash for parking, food and drinks
- backpack with a change of clothing
- second pair of clean shoes and socks
- two towels
- wet wipes
- bug spray and sunscreen
- FRIENDS...a zombie 5k is more fun if you go with a group
What is a good race time for a zombie 5k obstacle course?
During the Run For Your Lives race, runners wear three velcro tags on belts that zombies try to pull off as you run by. If you finish with at least one life tag you go to the alive area and can win awards if you are a top time alive finisher. Only about 20% of the runners finish alive. Everyone else goes to the dead area and gets a participation medal and shirt. The participation medal is the same for alive and dead finishers. Zombies get more aggressive near the end of the race and running with a group of people can help, but you are not allowed to tuck your tags or fight zombies off, so it is very hard to finish the race with a life tag.
Based on online race results, most people do not finish a zombie 5k obstacle course in less than forty minutes. A good time whether you finish alive or dead would be anything under an hour. I finished my first Run for Your Lives race in 45 minutes and 55 seconds and I was 25th place in my age group and 377th out of over 4000 people. That time was in the top ten percent. Due to the obstacles it is impossible to run the whole race. There are times you will have to walk or climb or go through obstacles and all that slows you down. Before you go to the race pick a target time and if you get done in that time, consider that a good time for you.
Photos of Zombie 5K ObstaclesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Every zombie 5k has different obstacles but all of them involve mud, muddy water, crawling, climbing, and some hills. Here are some possible obstacles you may have to deal with. Most of the time zombies are not trying to get your life tag while you are completing the obstacle course, but that may not always be the case.
- piles of hay bales to climb over and down
- plywood walls to climb over
- giant mud puddles and pools
- big tree stumps or fallen trees to jump over
- tires to step in and out of
- tunnels that require you to crawl through on your belly
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