Running 5km should be something that comes as comfortable suggestion for any fitness enthusiast. Even so, completing a 5km race smoothly isn’t exactly a cakewalk – there’s still the matter of strength, endurance and overall level of conditioning. Suffice to say, it does take a fair amount of training before one can be considered to be truly ready for a 5K.
5km runs are the most popular of distance choices amongst novice runners, due to their relative ease of completion compared to quarter and half-marathons. It’s also often recommended by medical organisations and healthcare professionals as a way to improve cardiovascular fitness, fat loss and mental health.
However, if you’ve always been sedentary and plan on clocking that distance just by jumping right into it the following week, you might just be a little bit guilty of overestimating yourself. 5Ks may be easier, but that doesn’t make them easy. If you’re new to running, you’ll have to do your fair share of endurance training before you’re suitably ready.
As with any new endeavour, it’s perfectly reasonable to start off small; begin with 1km and gauge your performance level. If you fared well without experiencing any serious bouts of exhaustion, add another 500m to the route. If the run felt tough, try slowing your pace down and get used to the distance before bringing it back up. Different people progress differently, so don’t be discouraged if you appear to take longer than others.
Once you’ve hit the 5km marker, you can start training for speed. It may seem counter-intuitive for a distance runner to train for speed, but aside from perhaps winning competitions, greater speed allows you to complete your run in a shorter amount of time. The increased demand on your cardiovascular system also makes it so that you’re getting an exponentially larger amount of work done within a shorter span of time.
Consider this: I know of some guys in the army who still struggle to complete a 2.4km run at a decent pace. If you can run a 5km route with ease, that’s already making a pretty bold statement about yourself. 5Ks are one of the best ways of reaping the benefits of distance running without doing so for hours on end.