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What It Feels like to Run a 5k

by Daniel Johnston

As anyone who was ran a 5k knows, it is not easy by any means. Sure, for your first few 5ks you might be content to just go at an easy pace and take it all in. But before too long, you just can’t help pushing yourself to do the best you can.

Make no mistake about it; running a 5k is very rewarding. You push yourself to run the best you can, and it feels great to come across the finish line. Running a 5k can be a good assessment in where to start your training (or how you’re doing in it), and having all those other people around helps you to run faster than ever before.

I never said it was easy, though.

If you’re running a 5k, chances are that you want to die and never run again. Yep, we all feel that way.

A 5k is a test of both endurance and speed. You’re running at a pace below your lactate threshold (a complicated medical term that means lactate starts accumulating in the bloodstream) for a long time. Basically, you’re going through a lot of pain!

In the beginning of a 5k, you may be tempted to go out fast, but that is definitely not a good idea. If you go out too fast, you’ll feel awful the rest of the race and will not be able to run as fast as if you had held back and picked up speed as you went along.

When everyone surges ahead at the beginning, don’t do that. It will ruin your race. Plus, it feels a lot better to be passing people late in the race than to be being passed.

Either way, though, the pain of a 5k is going to catch up with you. Every inch of your body will want to stop. The pain you feel about halfway through the race is indescribable. Be ready for it, and don’t let it stop you. It’s just normal, it means you’re doing a good job! 🙂

In fact, running a half marathon is way easier than a 5k. Almost everyone I talk to agrees that the 5k is one of the toughest races out there. In a half marathon, you’re below your lactate threshold for the entire race. In a 5k, you’re really pushing it.

But after you finish, you’ll feel great. You’ll forget the pain as quickly as you felt it. Maybe you’ll make promises to yourself to be more courageous in the face of that pain. You’ll be able to run better in it, but chances are it will still get you every time. Only the truly great can go deep into that pain.

So before you run a 5k, remember what the pain will be like and that you’ll do your best to run through it. There are things you can do to reduce it, like not eating, drinking, or taking any medicine before the race. But when you do encounter the pain, acknowledge it, and keep going. Promise yourself to go a little bit faster, to push yourself a little bit more. It will be in just a few moments. The feeling of accomplishment will last a lifetime.

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