Someone asked me the other day if I was going to keep running 5k’s after I ran the marathon. I responded with a hell yeah! I love 5k’s! I know a number of people who are running their first this spring and I think it’s awesome that they have signed up and committed to doing so. Isn’t that where we all started? Well, at least that’s where I did.
I have always been active and ran to keep fit for years, but I didn’t actually become a “runner” until about 2 years ago when I decided I was going to run a 5k. I told everyone that I was signing up, so I would be held accountable and couldn’t back out, and followed a basic beginner 5k plan. I had no idea what to expect when I showed up for the race, and I certainly didn’t expect to walk away with a first place medal in my age bracket! I was so energized by the whole thing that I decided to run another a month later. Another 1st place! I have run 7 additional since then and although I didn’t win first place in all of them, I’ve enjoyed each one.
Here’s why the 3.1 mile race still rocks (in no particular order)
- They are inexpensive. Some larger and longer races can cost between $50 – $100 or more to register. Most 5K’s are between $15 and $25 bucks! Can’t beat it.
- You can find many that are local and close to home. Less drive time.
- They don’t consume your whole day. A typical 5K racer is done within 30-35 minutes.
- They are challenging. Despite the fact that I run a lot of miles, the 3.1 still challenges me. I have yet to run a 5k as fast as my 10k pace! Seriously, check my results! I am still striving for that 5k PR.
- The entry fee typically goes toward a worthy charity.
- There are a lot of friendly faces. After running so many of these last year, I started to see and got to know a group of “regulars”.
- Despite what they look like, you get a lot of free t-shirts! (I really should go into 5k t-shirt design business)
- Training for a 5k is not as time consuming as training for a 1/2 marathon or full marathon, but still very rewarding.
- 5k’s actually feel like a race. Everyone is practically sprinting.
So, those are the reasons that I will continue to run my local 5k’s this season. The picture above is my second ever, Beat the Heat 5k in Murrysville, where I took 1st place in my age bracket. And yes, they made us stand on those steps for the photo.
If you aren’t already registered to run a race this spring/summer, check out some sample, printable plans below to get you motivated. They aren’t that demanding but will prove rewarding if you follow through.