How Long Should Your First 5K Take? - Fitness Health Check

How Long Should Your First 5K Take?

US Navy 081014-N-9985W-025 Rear Adm. Robert Wr...

US Navy 081014-N-9985W-025 Rear Adm. Robert Wright starts the Fleet Week 5k race at Dam Neck Annex Oceana Naval Air Station (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you enjoy running so much that you decide on entering a race, starting out with a 5K race is your best option.  A 5K run is 3.1 miles, and one of the best ways to begin getting involved in running races, no matter what your running goals may be.

Entering races can also give you the determination to stick to a regular running schedule, giving you the exercise you need for cardiovascular health, as well as in maintaining your ideal body weight.  And of course, there always is the benefit of meeting new people and making new friends in the “running world”.

So when entering your very first 5K race, you may have several concerns and fears that can cause pre-race jitters.  One area of concern that you may have is how long it will take you to complete the 5K race.

Time Depends on Training

Training to run your first 5K can be based on an easy plan, which you can complete within just two to three months.  As a beginner in the racing arena, you probably have kept your schedule to running at least three times per week, which has you well-prepared in conditioning for the race.

At the beginning level, the minimum time on average to complete a 5K is approximately 30 to 36 minutes.  This would be equivalent to running a steady pace between 12 and 10 minute miles.  This is being conservative, and is just based on general averages for first time racers in a running event.

Time Depends on Fears

With your first race, fear may develop.  This fear may be related to your thoughts about having enough energy to complete the race.  Many first time race runners will hold back their running pace and therefore finish the race in 30 minutes or longer and still be full of energy.

You may not think that this is something you would fear, but there is something about that race day that brings about this fear.  “What if I run too fast and burn out?”  “What if I come in last?”  It’s good to be cautious as a beginner, so you will know what it feels like to be running alongside many runners with different running speeds.

Time Depends on the Course

If possible, it’s a very good idea to practice the course before your race day, as it’ll make you feel more comfortable with running the 5K.  When practicing on the race course, you will be better able to judge your strength and fitness level, and know at what pace you can run.

When checking out the course is not possible, it is always best to proceed with caution.  A first running race is an exciting time, so it should be enjoyed instead of worrying about your finishing time.  Enjoy the scenery of the course and pace yourself according to how you feel.

Running in a 5K is a great way to see if racing is what you would like to do.  Who knows, you may like the thrill of racing so much that you start training for longer-distance races!

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Garth is a writer and publisher of information on health and fitness, small business development, and other approaches towards personal empowerment.

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