The 5k: Quick and Dirty
5ks are quick and dirty.
During a 5k, you have two options:
Option 1: You blink and the race is over
Option 2: You take the race out too fast, and it feels like five back to back marathons.
If you’ve run more than one 5k, you’ve probably experienced both situations.
So why race such a short tactical and precise race?
The half marathon and marathon bug has bit a lot of people. “Only” becomes associated with half marathoners and new runner has become associated with those training for 5ks. 5ks are one of the most painful and intense races distances despite being one of the shortest. Thinking out loud, any athlete can benefit from adding a few 5ks into their training plan.
- The need for speed: They make you feel fast. Longer distances make you feel strong and shorter distances make you feel fast.
- 5ks are quick and dirty. 5ks are all of a distance “race pain” in a short amount of time. This means the race is more mentally challenging and much more intense.
- If you have a terrible race, try again next week: I’ve had some terrible 5ks only to be chased by an awesome 5k the following week. A few years ago, I raced one of the most mentally challenging and grueling 5ks I’ve ever run. It was slow (for me), my legs were fatigued, and I felt awful. I had high expectations and fell hard. I rested and recovered and ran an entire 90 seconds faster the following weekend. Have a poor marathon? It’s much harder to have a come back the next weekend.
- Consistency and benchmarks: with 5ks you can see improvement over the course of time. You can mark your progress. I’ve raced 5ks for the last 11 months, and I’ve been able to track my progress from starting at a 20:20 to recently an 18:13. For some people, myself included, seeing progress is motivating. I like to feel like my hard work is paying off!
- They are fun. It’s one of the few distances you can see a range of people finish. It could be someone’s first 5k or someone going for a PR. Either way, most racers stay for the entire race!
Questions for you:
What is your favorite race distance?
When was the last 5k you ran?