The Year of the 5K and Why I’m Loving Shorter Races

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The Year of the 5K and Why I’m Loving Shorter Races

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If you’ve been keeping up with my blog for the past year you have probably noticed my serious 5K binge.

In case you are just joining us, let’s catch up…

It all started last July with the Bele Chere 5K, which was my comeback race post sinus surgery, and continued all year.  In October I did the Pink in the Park 5K and in November I did the Run for Your Art 5K.  I kicked off 2014 with the Flap Jack 5K New Year’s morning and didn’t do so hot at the Frostbite 5K in February.  By spring I regrouped and trained harder for a 5K series fit for an athlete (of sorts…) including the Conquer a Cove 5K, Run for the Paws 5K and the Biltmore 5K.  My final race in the spring streak, the Rise N’ Shine 5K concluded with me finally hitting my long term 5K goal time of 26:58.

Whoa…. I’m kind of exhausted just typing all of that!  It wasn’t my intention to do so many 5K’s this year, but I have been loving the style and speed of the 3.1 mile distance.   It’s been a slam packed year with family and work obligations so I didn’t even try or plan to train for anything longer.  It’s been very refreshing to not be tied down to a strict long term training plan, but instead running for running sake!

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The best thing about the 5K is it doesn’t take much time but can pack just as much fun as a larger race.  You still get the adrenaline rush of being at a race but you aren’t crazy sore the next day, you are less likely to hurt yourself (knock on wood!,) and you can usually sign up race day depending on how you feel and the weather.

Here are some other reasons I’m loving the shorter races these days….

You can show up with your boxer, after work and on a whim.  You don’t have to feel to badly about not really training for a 5K and even if it’s freezing (literally) you don’t have to stay outside for too long.

flapjack5k_reina

If only Reina had the attention span to run… oh squirrel!

Same goes for other inclement weather like rain.  3 miles in the rain not a big deal.  26.2 miles in the rain: sort of a big deal.

belechere5K

Splish! Splash!!!!

Even if you have a bad race, it’s the perfect way to spend a 50 degree February day after an epic midweek snow.

frostbitesnow

Long week at work? For-geeeet about it!

You can run the race with friends and support causes that are important to you.runforpawsgroup

Run for the Paws… or Run for Puppies as I like to call it…

If you do decide to train hard and push yourself you can quickly see some serious results and if you are really really really lucky you can place in your age group.

Biltmore5K

Best. Day. Ever.

conqueracove

Will. Run. For. Medals.

And if you don’t quite hit that all time PR time at one race, you can try again.  Keep trying until you get it!  It’s much easier to run a 5K again next weekend than a longer race.

risenshinepr

The 5K has truly been my race this year.  I originally fell in love with running by pushing my distance from the small local 5K to the Chicago Marathon.  But it has been very refreshing to spend some time focusing on a shorter distances and working up to a faster pace.  I’ve learned a lot about how to pace myself and moving past my comfort zone.

Now I’m not saying I will never run longer distances again, I’m sure I will get the half marathon or full marathon bug soon!  But for now, I’m just simply loving the 5K.

I’m not the only one who is loving the 5K!  Read this Runner’s World article for perspective from professional runner Lauren Fleshman.

Your turn!

What distance is your favorite to race right now?

How do you feel about 5K races?

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21 Comments

  1. […] I learned that sometimes less flashy goals, can be just as empowering as finishing a big race. I even wrote this post about Why I’m Loving the 5K! […]

  2. Annie @ What's Annie Making July 23, 2014 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    I love this! I have been trying really hard to lose the “just a 5k” language. I have learned to love all distances for different reasons this year. I love 5ks for many of the reasons you listed above. I am loving my marathon training and longer distances too because I like the “me time”.

  3. Melissa @ Freeing Imperfections July 17, 2014 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    I really really need to do more 5ks. I always tell myself that I will look, but by the time I do, it’s sold out or already passed… You bring up so many good points about them! You def don’t have to worry about weather. A 5k is over in a snap! The last one I ran was on Thanksgiving and it was legit freezing! But it also made it fun.

    • JulieWunder July 18, 2014 at 5:57 am - Reply

      Luckily most of our small community 5K’s don’t sell out so you can make a last minute decision.
      Hope you have good news on Beans surgery!

  4. Dan Steadman July 15, 2014 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    funny you should mention this, me and another guy were having the same sort of conversation at my last HM…we both agreed we like the HM better, being advanced in age, the HM incorporates strategy and mental pacing and not just speed (where our age works against us). As far as 5ks I’ve done one a year the past few years as a gauge to see where my training paces should fall…

    • JulieWunder July 15, 2014 at 3:37 pm - Reply

      HM are great too. I’m sure I’ll be ready to do one again soon. Everyone seems to have a different favorite race.

      • Dan Steadman July 16, 2014 at 10:31 am - Reply

        true, at my age (37) having done 5ks in HS and college at faster times, it gets frustrating going really hard and some kid half your age passes you like you’re standing still…BTW just signed up for a 5k…

        • JulieWunder July 17, 2014 at 5:20 am - Reply

          Awwwww…. But at least they aren’t in your age group? 🙂

  5. Bryan White July 15, 2014 at 8:50 am - Reply

    I agree, Julie. My first race ever was a 15K that I had no idea how to properly train for. Luckily, I did okay and didn’t injure myself. After that, I concentrated on 5, 8, 10Ks, etc. until I did the 15K again this year (where we chatted at the podium for a bit during awards). I have dealt with injuries in the last 2 months since that race and I have had to cut back on my mileage overall. I’m doing a 5K in August to get back on track and it has really made me appreciate the shorter distance races. I’ve not yet done a half or full marathon – 15K is my longest race. If I ever have time enough to properly train for a half or full I could see myself doing it, but I love the speed and endurance combo that a 5K presents. Maybe I’m just more cut out for the shorter distances… That’s what I always concentrated on in high school/college too.

    • JulieWunder July 15, 2014 at 3:39 pm - Reply

      Hi Bryan,
      Of course I remember you! I did the same thing too and bumped up the distance quickly. I ended up with some ankle problems that I figured out how to deal with… with a little more experience.
      I really hope you get your 2 injuries in check and can get back for that August race!
      It’s fun to do the half or full marathon just for the experience. Running the full marathon was like nothing else I’ve ever done.
      Julie

      • Bryan White July 23, 2014 at 7:34 pm - Reply

        Thanks Julie! I am indeed doing better. Got my speed back abd I’m aiming to do the Hot August Night 5K on Aug. 16. It’s a cool little 5K in/around Montford – not too expensive either. Look into it – maybe I’ll see ya there?

  6. Renee @ Bendiful Blog July 15, 2014 at 8:39 am - Reply

    I’m also loving the 5ks this summer. Inexpensive, quick and I always feel like I’m in control of the run. Half’s always seem to get away from me around mile 9, in 3 miles I’m always able to push just a touch more.

    • JulieWunder July 15, 2014 at 3:40 pm - Reply

      Isn’t that the truth! The half’s I’ve done have gotten ROUGH at mile 9 too!

  7. Jaime July 15, 2014 at 8:30 am - Reply

    5ks are really great to start out with! The longer I’ve run, the more I like just a slightly longer distance. The 10k has been a good distance for me (8k is perfect. You should REALLY look into the Thomas Wolfe 8k in October. It was possibly my favorite race this past year!)

    • JulieWunder July 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm - Reply

      You know I’ve only done 1 8K and 1 10K!! I need to start adding those to my list because I really think I would like them too. Thomas Wolfe is a great suggestion!

  8. Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie July 15, 2014 at 6:55 am - Reply

    I love 5Ks! They are so quick that anyone can do them – running or walking. Plus, they are cheaper. I’m all about saving the money : )

    • JulieWunder July 15, 2014 at 7:38 am - Reply

      Yes! A very good point, If you aren’t sinking $100 into a race it’s not as big of a deal to do more or if you don’t do as well as you’d like!

  9. Eric July 15, 2014 at 6:36 am - Reply

    It really is a nice distance. It’s not so long that you have to do tons of endurance work, and if you get really serious about it you can even work on speed.

    • JulieWunder July 15, 2014 at 7:37 am - Reply

      Yes! and it doesn’t take over your whole weekend!

      • Eric July 15, 2014 at 4:53 pm - Reply

        and your legs aren’t sore all weekend

        • JulieWunder July 15, 2014 at 7:02 pm - Reply

          And Monday too! Very very true!
          Lots of good reasons to embrace the 5k!

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