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Posted on Thu. Mar. 27, 2014 - 12:01 am EDT

Tips for first-time color runners

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Spring is here, and color 5Ks are heading to the Fort Wayne area.

Whether you are a novice runner, looking for a fun outing with friends or want to challenge yourself to your first 5K, these novelty races are a great step toward a healthy future and a fun time.

We spoke with color 5K race organizers to compile a list of tips to prepare first-time color-runners and experienced runners for a fun run minus the messy cleanup. Here is what we found out:

•Make sure you register early because you get cheaper prices and you can spend that saved money on more color packets. Typically, depending on the race, you'll get one color packet of your choice when you pick up your race day information. From there, you'll need to purchase more color. The color packet is filled with the colored cornstarch power and comes in various hues such as pink, green, orange and yellow. You can dump your color packet on yourself before starting the race, during the race or toss it on yourself and/or others at the after-race party.

•When you register, you will likely get some swag. Depending on the race, it can be everything from just a T-shirt and color packet to T-shirt, color packet, bandana and glasses. If you do not get much swag, you can also buy color packets, glasses, bandana, T-shirts and more the day of the race.

•After you register online, you'll need to remember to pick up your packet. The race will send you information on dates and times to do so.

•If you don't get them in your registration packet, bring a bandana to cover your mouth and face and glasses to cover your eyes. The last thing you want is color sprayed into your mouth or eyes.

•If you have light-colored hair, consider wearing a hat or bandana because it could take a few washes to get the color out.

•Figure out when you want to use your color packet. Some folks like to release the color before the race because it's less items to carry. Others like to use it to color other runners during the race. You can even save it for the after party, too.

•If you're running with headphones, string your headphone cord under your shirt to make sure it's not stained and hide your phone in a pocket to make sure you do not get cornstarch on it. The same goes for cameras.

•If you're walking or running with a group, remember to gather to the right side of the sidewalk or road to ensure people running can easily pass you.

•Drink the entire bottle of water they give you at the end. Hydrating will help you restore your energy level and recover faster.

•Once you're done don't just leave, enjoy the party atmosphere. You did something remarkable, so celebrate!

•Plan to bring an old sheet or blanket to put in the car for the ride home or just ride your bike.

•When you get home, strip off all of your clothes on a hard-surfaced floor, throw your clothes in an old plastic grocery bag and take it to the laundry room. Take the clothes out of the bag and wash them normally. The color should come out entirely. If you're worried it won't, wear old clothes just in case.

•If you want to wash your shoes along with your clothes, try this: Take the shoe laces out, pull open the shoe and tongue, and then throw them in a pillow case. Wash the shoes and laces along with your clothing. Once it's done washing, take your shoes out of the pillowcase and throw pillowcase and the clean clothes in the dryer (or air dry to save energy). Then set your shoes and laces in a place to air dry, which may take a day or two.

•Give yourself a good scrub in the shower.

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