Ten Reasons to Run a 5K/10K
I must admit, my first love is the half marathon. I love training for the distance, running the race and the feeling of accomplishment at the end. But my half marathons don't "run themselves". They require some diligent effort on my part to be ready for them. And in addition to putting some miles in on the trails, I also build in 5K, 8K, and 10K races into my training schedule to help me prepare both physically and mentally.
Since it is 5K and 10K week in the Lounge, I feel like I need to share a few words of appreciation for these unsung heros of my training plan. Here are the top 10 reasons why everyone should run a 5K, 10K (or even 8K):
1. Instant motivation. I have a half marathon coming up in April - which should be motivation enough - but I need an extra "immediate" motivation like races in February and March to keep me focused. By throwing in a few shorter races as interim milestones, I find I am more motivated to keep my running "appointment" with myself on the treadmill instead of sitting on the coach and eating cookies.
2. Keeps up my pace. Left to my own devices, I would run S-L-O-W every run and maybe even drop down below "jogging" to a more of a meander or "wanderabout" type of pace. It's not that I burn up the roads when I am training for a 5K/10K, but I do pick up the pace because I know that I can run faster and hold on for the shorter distances.
3. New running partners. It is so much easier to talk friends (running and nonrunning) into running a 5K/10K versus a half marathon, duathlon, triathlon or marathon. It has been rare for me to run a 5K/10K without having a new running partner every time. It is a very doable distance, even for new runners, and is generally a great way to catch up.
4. Connect with running friends. The holidays and winter dooldrums keep me from connecting with my favorite running partners. 5K and 10K's give a great reason to get back into shared training routines or at least meet up for a great race.
5. So many choices. Even if you are from smaller communities, there are still many more choices for 5K and 10K races over the course of year versus the longer races. And more choices means a better chance of finding the race(s) that are just right for you.
6. Great causes. Almost all the 5K and 10K's that I run support great local and national charities. In addition to the warm feeling I get from my personal accomplishment, I am proud to help support charities I believe in.
7. Guaranteed inspiration. Even if my performance at a race isn't my betst, I have yet to walk away from a race without an infusion of inspiration. Sometimes it is from the leaders of the race and watching their amazing stride and pace as they pass me. Other times it is the runners at the back of the pack as they share their story of what brought them to the starting line. And always I am inspired by the 10 year old who finishes in half my time.
8. A 5K was my first race. As CoffeeBetsy wrote so eloquently last year,"It is running's gateway drug." If it wasn't for the 5K, I may have never known the joy of other distances. It is the perfect distance to get started or restarted with your running. Just long enough to know you have "done something" but not so long that you need to dedicate your entire day (or even) morning) to the event. And I have rarely met a person who has run a 5K and then vowed to never run another one. Addictive little buggars.
9. Anyone can do it. Whether you run all out or walk it, anyone can do a 5K. With a little bit of training - it is possible. In less than 6 weeks most people can go from sitter to runner. There are many great plans (see the 5K and 10K section in the Lounge) from Hal Higdon, FIRST as well as the most famous "Couch to 5K".
10. Can you think of anything better to do? It is hard to imagine a better way to spend your Saturday or Sunday morning. Imagine hanging out and running with a few hundred 9or thousand) of your running friends, having a great run on a well marked/protected course and with ready to go refreshments at the end. Sounds like a dream training run to me.