An Ode to the 5k


Oh 5k, how I loathe thee. You would think that because you are such a short distance compared to other races I have run, that I would think you are a breeze, but this is not the case. Sprinting for 3.1 miles is not my idea of fun. Constantly pushing at your pace threshold for that long of a time is really quite exhausting.

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It is the only distance that makes me so nauseated the last half mile that I think I may vomit on a spectator (sorry in advance, you shouldn’t wear new shoes and stand so close to the finish line). I ran a 5k training run yesterday, and decided that the training run was more painful that running Goofy’s race and a half challenge. Oh yes, I went there.

Don’t get me wrong, Goofy was painful, but in an achy-my-whole-body-hurts kind of way. I wasn’t gasping for breathe or ready to collapse at the finish line during marathon weekend. My sides didn’t cramp and my stomach wasn’t upset. It’s just a different kind of pain that I can’t explain to non-distance runners. Granted, I ate terribly all weekend and haven’t been getting the proper sleep, but that 3.1 miles was still really tough for me.

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I had 3 miles of shame to run thanks to the 49er’s losing, so I made it 3.1 for good measure.

Even though I loathe this distance more than my dogs hate bath time, I still continue to sign up for them. Why? Well, that’s a great question. For one, they are local, so it’s a chance to race and not have to drive far. Two, I don’t have to train for months like I do a half or full marathon, and three, I love competition. The thrill of crossing a finish line is just too much for me to stay away from, no matter the distance.

So, I will continue to run 5k’s, because I love to run. It’s what I do. I hate the race while running it, but as soon as I cross I am ready to sign up for another one. So who is ready to run? I have two 5k’s on my calendar in the next month.

QOTD: The 5k: love it or loathe it?

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40 Responses to An Ode to the 5k

  1. 1

    […]   Oh 5k, how I loathe thee. You would think that because you are such a short distance compared to other races I have run, that I would think you are a breeze, but this is not the case. Sprinting … Continue reading → …read more […]

  2. 2
    Mariajose says:

    The longest I’ve ran is a Quarter Marathon so definitely not sure how it’s worse than a Half. But then, I kind of understand when you say that you sprint. See, because a 5K isn’t such an easy distance for me to run, sprinting sounds quite exhausting. However, I love it! I love it because it’s a short distance that allows me to measure my progress. I can still measure it with a 10K but because it’s longer it requires me to slow my pace down a bit so that I can finish without wanting to die. Soon, I will be able to answer this as a runner who’s ran her first half. soon! By the way, that’s great timing. My 5K PR is at 39:00 and after an injury my best time so far is 41:17.

  3. 3
    Kristyn says:

    After my 26:27 PR a couple weeks ago, I’m kind of liking 5ks again :) a 2min pr will get you pumped to race and I’d like to go after that sub 26! So let’s race :) are you running any on the coast?

    • 3.1
      Heather says:

      lol! Good job! I can run long distances at a decent pace all day long but my body just freaks out for 5k’s! One is in Disney and the other probably Mandeville but not sure. you running any?

      • 3.1.1
        kristyn says:

        I don’t have any officially on the schedule yet, but am looking. I’ll let you know if I sign up for one.

  4. 4

    I love the 5K. I do it for track both indoor and outdoor. It has become my little project. I also do the 10K but for some reason, I still like the 5 best even though I’m not fast. I’d rather do a half marathon or marathon any day but I enjoy the improvements you can make on those 3 short miles. I hate it while I’m racing too though. It’s just fun to watch your times go down!

  5. 5
    Ali says:

    I TOTALLY get this! I’m 99% sure the last 1/2 mile of a 5K is harder than running the last 10K of a marathon. I try to stick to 10Ks and above (plus they’re less crowded usually than 5Ks)

  6. 6

    Amen sister – hate 5k distance too. Though my husband says if you don’t want to puke at the end you weren’t running fast enough 😉

  7. 7
    Lesley says:

    I don’t know if I hate the 5k, but I never know how to pace myself for it. Long distance is easy, slow and steady pace so I can make it, but my brain thinks 5k is short so it wants me to go all out.

  8. 8

    Yep! I loathe the 5k for sure! I’d rather run long and slow! I used to race a ton of them though but lately I haven’t. I focus more now on half marathons.

  9. 9
    RunFastMama says:

    I am excited by the 5K as at this point I want a PR bad! It has been over a year since I ran one for a PR, all of the ones since have been with Hubby and kids. So, this year is the year for a new 5K PR as well as 10K and Half, lol I am ambitious, but know what you mean. The slow and steady of a marathon is not as taxing, but at least the 5K is over MUCH MUCH sooner 😉

  10. 10
    Danielle says:

    Umm…I know it’s crazy, but I haven’t even run a 5k race! I’ve only done half and full marathons! (Well, I’ve done 2 Disney 5k’s but those don’t count, un-timed and all…) I keep meaning to do one, but I really prefer the challenge of distance rather than speed…this spring I’ll have to get one in!

  11. 11
    Kimert says:

    I have a love/hate with the 5k. It is tough because like you said you are going all out. But it’s short so it’s not like pushing that threshold for something like a half. My 5k PR is 26:33 back last year. I’d love to beat that this year but I keep going back to how hard it was to push for those 3.1 miles.

  12. 12
    Jen says:

    Loathe it!I think it’s because they’re so short and don’t allow me enough time to warm-up. Even if I run a mile or two before the race, my legs still don’t feel ready for the 5k. But like you, I’ll keep signing up for them and trying to get better!

  13. 13
    Jess says:

    I’m with you! I felt like I was going to throw up crossing the finish line of my last 5K! I’d rather run 9 miles at a slow and steady pace than 3 fast miles.

  14. 14
    Laure Simms says:

    I like them because I don’t feel like a train wreck after and my last one I actually won my age division. So I think with proper training I may really like running the shorter distance more. Keep it up Heather you rock!!

  15. 15
    Jennifer Hutchinson says:

    I love 5k’s after I get past the first mile and a half. I always feel like the first mile is so miserable.

  16. 16

    Love the 5K – I understand where you are coming from on this, but for me, it’s not the 5K, it’s mile 3 into mile 4! My body is used to the 30min 5K, but then thinks it’s done. Once I get to mile 5, I’m ready to go for a while. But miles 3 and 4 seem to confuse my body into thinking its done, and then makes it angry that we are still going…and then we’re friends again.

  17. 17
    Stacy says:

    Oh, this is SO true. I love to run, but have decided I hate to run fast (i.e. at threshold). The only thing worse that a 5K in my book is a stupid 1.5 mile all out effort we have to do once a month for a training class I am in. Yes, 1.5 is even worse than 3.1. Give me 13.1 any day!! :)

  18. 18

    Mindy was talking about this on a recent post she made on FB. This discussion makes me feel a lot better because I hate it too (but love it as well. lol). My conclusion is that if you have a single competitive bone in your body, you are gonna hate the 5K. Think about it: if you weren’t worrying about posting a good time, you could just run it slower without a care in the World….

    But we DO care, so we sprint within an inch of lung failure to squeeze, that, extra, second…. sorry, I’m out of breath.

  19. 19

    I have a love/hate with the 5k, I feel like I should be faster, but I am not.

  20. 20

    I completely agree with you and I know exactly what you mean! I hate running 5k’s too! For some reason it takes me about 3-4 miles to finally get comfortable while running. Once I start to become comfortable, the race is already over! Crossing finish lines no matter what the distance, is always rewarding though! :)

  21. 21
    Aye Run says:

    don’t do that distance. I run 4 miles every morning, only cuz that’s how much time i have to run. run further on weekends. I love the weekends cuz i can feel my body has been pushed.

  22. 22

    I’m right there with you! Hate the 5k, but I keep signing up for them. I’m determined to pr this spring, although every time I run one, I don’t ever want to do another one. :) Great job!

  23. 23
    Nicole says:

    I enjoy them simply because I like using them as my short runs for the week. Saying, “oh, I only ran a 5K today” sounds cool. Plus I like knowing that my short run is someone whole race :) We don’t have many races in my town at all. Maybe once a year there is a 5K so I have to travel at least 45 minutes to race at all!

  24. 24

    I love the 5K distance, in races. Competing against myself is the best. I try to improve with each race. I don’t necessarily like to run it for “fun” LOL

    Because it takes me about a mile or two to get warmed up and “ready to run”.

    10K is a good distance for me. :)

  25. 25

    I am with you. I dislike 5Ks. I actually try to sign up for very few of them. I am a long SLOW distance girl and anything less than a 10K just feels like a sprint to me. Which I hate doing. I totally understand where you are coming free with the 5K hatred.

  26. 26
    Kierston says:

    I haven’t ran 5 K since my half-marathon!

    I’ll put my sneakers back on soon :)

  27. 27

    5ks are a bit*@ because it is pretty much a sprint. I don’t warm up until mile 3-4 anyway and by then the race is over lol. Long distance for this girl too! but I do want to improve my 5k times.

  28. 28

    I totally understand where you are coming from! The longest distance I have run is a half marathon and I have had at least two 5Ks feel like they were ten times worse than my half! My lungs burn, my legs are stiff, and I feel like I never settle into a pace. However, I continue to sign up for them!!

  29. 29
    Kylie says:

    Looking back at my Garmin data, I seem to always struggle the most with the 5K. A 5K is an “easy” run in my training schedule, but I’ve noticed it’s sometimes the slowest. I knock out a 10 miler with ease, but 3.1…Such a struggle.

  30. 30
    Tina says:

    I hear you!! two years ago and 40 pounds ago i only really did 5Ks. It was tough. So now I do them as a comparison to see how much better I am faring. Usual distance is 10K or Half. I am a long SLOW distance girl don’t always wanna feel like i gotta sprint. But i like to see and measure my progress. I am still feeling it out to see what IS my distance. 5k are always local for me too! To give myself more challenge i do a 7-12k trail run….bruuuuuuutal!!! but wicked workout!

  31. 31
    Meaghan Kuczarski says:

    I feel the same way! I still sign up for them because at the very least they are good speed workouts — and I push myself more during a race than when training.

  32. 32
    Karen :0) says:

    Ugh I hear you on this one! Your reasons for continuing to run 5K’s are dead on – local races, pushing yourself to work hard, and the feeling of crossing another finish line…too much fun to pass up! :0) Way to push through on your training run! Awesome job!

  33. 33
    Alex says:

    Everyone agrees with you! I couldn’t disagree more. I don’t think finish line fatigue is a comparison of Goofy(Distance) vs. a 5K(Sprint), I think the comparison should be “running” a race vs. “racing” a race. Put 100% in any race and you will feel it when you cross the finish line. I want to say you may not have given Goofy your all 😉 On that note, I very much enjoy your blog. Especially the runDisney recaps. Any chance I get to re-live those races I’m in!

    • 33.1
      Heather says:

      I totally didn’t give goofy my all, that race was for fun. However, even PRing in long distances and pushing hard doesn’t (personally) hurt as bad as sprinting a 5k for 3.1 miles. I always get sssooo sick to my stomach. Bleh! But I will take a runDisney race of any distance any day!

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