Let begin by explaining the title. The act of running a 5K is in no way stupid, it’s the principle behind why so many people do it that is. For those who don’t know, a 5K is a 5 kilometer running race, equating to about 3.1 miles. It’s not a hard race for avid runners but it can prove challenging for us novices. In fact, the race has a habit of appealing casual exercisers who need something to train for. This alone isn’t a bad thing. The problem is, what happens to these runners’ workout regimen after the race?
Don’t Focus on 1 Event, Focus on the Long Term
A 5K is just one race. Granted, it’s a fairly long race, but to treat it as the end-all-be-all of exercises is silly. If you’re new or just getting back into exercising a 5K is great jumping off point, but there should be a longer term beyond the day of the race. Your training should coincide with a broader fitness plan that gets you in shape, and keeps you in shape over the long haul.
Many advice columns suggest implementing a 7-day per week 5K training schedule. The problem with this is that you’ll quickly reach burnout, and it’s pretty much unsustainable after you finish the race. Instead, setup a fitness plan that you could continue to maintain beyond the 5K. If you typically only have time to run 4 days per week, start your training here. As it gets closer to the race you can ramp things up, but don’t go overboard.
Don’t Take A Week Off After The Race
THIS is where my beef with 5K stems from. People treat it like an undergraduate midterm exam. They train, train, train, train, train hard two days prior to the run, then take the following week to catch up on greasy foods and scrumptious desserts. No! Don’t take a week off after the race. It will be next to impossible to return to a regular exercise schedule. At the very least, slink back into the gym a couple days later and force yourself to stay there for 30 minutes.
Walk, If Anything
Idle hands breeds lameness. Okay, that’s not the quote but you get the idea. If anything, make yourself walk. It’s not as great as running, but at least it’s encouraging your blood to flow somewhere.
Hopefully this piece didn’t discourage you from training for the next big 5K. You should definitely do it, just remember that it’s more important to focus on long term fitness goals rather than once in a blue moon events.