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Why Run 5k, 10k and Half Marathon? Progress and Perspective on the Path to Health.

Updated: Mar 23

run 5k 10k half marathon health

This article is about the journey of running, the significance of reaching distance based goals from 5k to half marathon as part of one's journey to health. If you are new to running, or already improving your weekly mileage, I hope that the information helps you to stay motivated and provides insight and perspective on what you might gain as you increase the distance of your runs.


The article is not a deep dive into the health benefits of running nor the specifics of training, those topics are covered in detail elsewhere. The distances I have chosen correspond the various milestones that are common goals for runners to achieve.


Please note that whilst I am a keen runner, I am not a running coach. If you have any concerns about your health or are under treatment, talk to your doctor or medical practitioner most familiar with your medical history before implementing any changes in diet, exercise or lifestyle.

 
5km or 3 miles
  • 5k is a popular running distance, both for new and experienced runners.

  • For new runners it is long enough to be a decent first challenge. Most people can walk 5km but, if not used to running, it might take a few weeks (or more) to build up to running this distance. A Parkrun is 5km.

  • For beginners or those restarting exercise, working towards a 5km goal might start with walking only, to find the time to exercise and to get moving regularly. For others, walk-jogs or slow running are effective. YouTube has some inspiring channels that can help.

  • For new runners, the first month can be hard, to create the habit of running while juggling other commitments.

  • At this stage you may discover or rediscover problems with your body. Years of little or no exercise, poor posture, old injuries resurfacing.

  • Learn to listen to your body, don't push though pain. Get treatment or therapy if you have a problem that does not correct itself quickly. Take a day off if you need to. Repeat... respect your body, take a day off from training if you need to.

  • For experienced runners a fast 5km can make for a great personal challenge. Maintaining a consistent hard pace in Zone 4 or 5, perhaps at an 8 out of 10 effort or more, creating a race strategy and bringing it all together.

8km or 5 miles
10km or 6 miles
12km or 8 miles
16km or 10 miles
Half Marathon, 21.1km or 13.1 miles
 

My goal for running, my purpose, is to be ‘reasonably’ (a very subjective term) fit. I am motivated by the science, showing that the health benefits of running are both immediate, profound and can lead to me having a healthy, vital old age. I have come to value and enjoy my running. Over time I have developed a reasonable level of fitness, my training is varied: to improve my health and to keep running interesting. On most days I enjoy easy paced runs, on others I do HIIT workouts or my long run.

My favourite run... 5 miles, 8km. At under 60 minutes duration you can make it a slow jog or, including warm-up, it is long enough to fit in some hard intervals or tempo running.

Rest and recovery are a priority and, as I am based in tropical Singapore, proper hydration is vital to keep me fit to run and fit to enjoy life.

 

The internet is a great resource for running information but I have found some books to be even more useful and enjoyable. Perhaps they can be of value to you too.

best running books
 

With running I love that can just put on my shoes and run, no special equipment required. Running is my alone time, a time to think and reflect, sometimes to get lost in the sheer effort of a hard run! Perhaps running means the same to you, perhaps not. Take from running what you will, and enjoy!


Stay Healthy,


Alastair

 

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Related Studies



Nystoriak MA, Bhatnagar A. Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2018 Sep 28;5:135. doi: 10.3389/fcvm.2018.00135. PMID: 30324108; PMCID: PMC6172294.


Lee DC, Brellenthin AG, Thompson PD, Sui X, Lee IM, Lavie CJ. Running as a Key Lifestyle Medicine for Longevity. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2017 Jun-Jul;60(1):45-55. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2017.03.005. Epub 2017 Mar 30. PMID: 28365296.

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