5 Reasons to Run a 5K

I'm in a post-race slump. To recover after last Saturday's half marathon, I did some cross training and yoga but ran only once this week. Once! The rest was nice, but I'm itching to get back into a regular running routine. So I'm happy I have a nice weekend of runs planned, starting with a 5K race on Saturday before a long run on Sunday. I wrote in a previous Friday Five post that I wanted to get back into 5Ks this fall. My first race of the year was a 5K, and I enjoyed training for it. I have four 5Ks on my calendar from this weekend through the end of the year, and, crazy for race-phobic me, I'm so looking forward to them!

So for this weeks' Friday Five linkup with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Mar at Mar On The Run, and Cynthia at You Signed Up For What, I'm focusing on why you should run 5Ks. For even more reasons, check out Lauren Fleshman's 10 Reasons the 5K is Freaking Awesome if you haven't read it yet.

5 Reasons to Run a 5K

1. It helps with post-race blues. If you've recently finished a goal half or full marathon, you might be feeling the blues now that it's over. Having a 5K race on your calendar like I have is a great way to have something to look forward without having to devote any additional training for it.

2. Run it fast, run it slow, whatever! While it's true that you don't have to do a lot of training for it, you certainly can! I spent the beginning of this year training for a specific 5K time goal. Each of my next 5Ks will have a goal. Saturday's is to just have fun! This will my first race where I'm not shooting for any type of goal. Next Saturday's goal will be to get experience with a hilly course. And then I'll be shooting for a specific time goal for the remaining two.

3. They're readily available, inexpensive, and have something for everyone. 5K races are scheduled for nearly every weekend of the year. They are almost always inexpensive (probably not ones associated with a bigger race though), and they vary in terms of theme and what they benefit. From July 4 to Halloween, from New Year's Day to Turkey Trots, there are a lot of 5Ks scheduled for holidays, which make the holidays that much more fun.

4. It's great speedwork. When you race a 5K, it's hard. But it's a great way to get the speedwork that many of us work into our training plans with tempo runs and intervals. At a half marathon race last year, a woman told me her speedwork was running 5Ks every weekend and trying to run slightly faster than the last one. Plus, if you're trying for a time goal, your splits have to be spot-on so it's great practice for pacing.

5. It will be over quickly. It's fascinating to me how the pain and discomfort of racing different distances varies. In my half marathon last weekend, I felt extreme fatigue at the end. It was tough, but a much different kind of tough than the heart-thumping, lung-burning, leg-screaming pain of running a 5K. (I won't even go into the my-lungs-are-on-fire-and-I-think-I'm-going-to-die feeling of running a one-mile race!) But! It will be over quickly, whether that's a sub-20 for speedy racers or a little over a half-hour for slower runners like me.

I look forward to reading other's take on this theme!

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