In my last article, I wrote about the benefits of taking part in an event and how that can motivate you to reach your fitness goals. In this article, I will write about the most frequent types of events for fitness enthusiasts to take part in, which are the shorter distance runs, notably the 5k or 10k. These distances are popular because they are relatively easy distances to finish and can be run in a short period of time. Additionally, the events themselves are usually tied to a very good cause and lead to a feeling of community and well-being among all of the participants.
5k = 3.1 miles
10k = 6.2 miles
6.0 mph pace = finishing times of 30 minutes for the 5k and 60 minutes for the 10k
Training for these events is pretty simple. Just get out and run. If you are not a regular runner and want to enter a 5k, go for a run on your own and see where you stand. Set a pace and see how long you can last. Your pace should not be so fast that you cannot speak while running. If that is the case, slow down until you can speak. Track your time and distance and try to beat it each time. If the first time you only go half a mile, no problem. Try to get a mile the next time. A month of this type of training, running 2-3 times a week, should have you ready for a 5k with no problem.
For those interested in running a 10k, add another month or so to the training. You want to be able to run 5 miles at a stretch heading into the event. If you can do a 5-mile run and feel ok, you will not have a problem finishing the 10k. The energy and enthusiasm of the event will carry you that extra mile.
If this will be your first event, enjoy it. Soak in the atmosphere and the cause. Take the run in stride and do not worry about your time. You can expect to run a little slower than you do in training because of the sheer number of people. If you have a hard time running the whole way, walk. There will be many people who are just out for the exercise and atmosphere and will walk the whole way. Do not be afraid to join them. You may meet some great friends that way. As you become more experienced, then you can start thinking about your time and trying to set personal bests or even move on to longer runs.