How is the training different from longer races such as marathons or half marathons?
There are myriad of training differences, the one that is most obvious is speed and speed training. I believe that success is more dependent upon efficacious running form.
What other exercises should you do besides running?
The one that I emphasize is core training as it will improve the efficiency of your running. Another would be stretching exercises e.g. A quad stretch. Lunge forward with your left leg, bring the right knee down to the ground behind you, bend the right knee, grab your right ankle with your right hand and bring it towards the buttocks. Hold for a deep stretch, then switch leg positions.
What would a typical schedule of workouts look like?
A typical week depends where you are in your preparation for the the 5K. There are macro and micro cycles over the course of three weeks (to get accustomed to race conditions, for speed, fine calibration). After this cycle, you shift gears to prepare for the race. (depending on whether it is a track or road race). Lastly, there is a cycle to improve on weaker points and fully maximize your strengths.
Tips for your first race.
Um... prepare?? If you have prepared properly you'll be more confident. That means trained properly, tested running gear, understand how your body reacts to race conditions, etc. Preparation will boost confidence. Confidence is a major factor in strong performances.
What's it like to run a 5K race?
If you truly run it well, it's a glorious blend of euphoria, exhaustion, and an intense connection to your lungs, legs and mind.