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Training for a 5K to Full Marathon: Which Race Should I Sign Up For?

Apr 3 2018

After a seemingly endless winter, warmer weather is finally on the horizon and running season is here. It’s that time of year when new runners start training for their first 5K and experienced runners consider longer, more challenging races to test skills and endurance.  Some runners may also be questioning which distance is right for them. Below are some guidelines to help you decide if you’re ready to lace up for a 5K, half marathon or full marathon.

Training for a 5K race

5K races are the perfect place to start for new runners. A 5K is a distance of 5 kilometers, or 3.1 miles.  Although this may seem daunting as a beginner runner, it’s a manageable distance for people of all fitness levels. Perhaps the most popular of all races, 5K training programs are widely available and can have you ready for the starting line in 6 to 8 weeks.

Of course, 5K races aren’t just for beginners. Many experienced runners opt to train for these races because they’re limited on time. Typical training programs for 5Ks only require 30 minutes of running per day for 3 to 4 days a week. Once you’ve mastered the distance of a 5K race, you can still challenge yourself by focusing on training that improves your speed.

When are you ready to run a half marathon?

If you’ve mastered the 5K and have experience with the 10K, a half marathon may be the next best level for you. At a total distance of 13.1 miles, a half marathon is a challenging yet rewarding race. As a general rule of thumb, you should be able to run at least three miles and be accustomed to running that distance a minimum of three times a week before training for your first half marathon.

Running your first full marathon

If you can run 8-10 miles comfortably, you may be ready to take on the challenge of a full marathon. The 26.2-mile course is dominated by experienced runners who complete the race in an average of 4-5 hours. Runners who are ready to take that next step and train for a full marathon typically spend 16-20 weeks preparing for race day. Full marathon training is a substantial time commitment, as runners will log anywhere from 15-50 miles each week of their training.

When choosing a 5K, half marathon or full marathon race, be sure to take your fitness level into consideration. Ensuring that you allow adequate time to train and prepare your body for the race is essential to avoiding potentially serious injuries. Start with a 5K race and work your way up. With time and effort, you could be crossing the finish line of a full marathon in due time.

The Mercy Health Glass City Marathon is the perfect opportunity to sign up for your first race of the season. Scheduled for Sunday, April 22, this event also offers a half marathon option. If you are looking for a 5K race, The Glass City 5K will be held Saturday, April 21. Participation is limited and online registration is open now.


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