The Top 7 Reasons I Hate Running 5k

While the half marathon is typically recognized as the fastest growing race distance in America, it’s hard to argue that the 5k is the most popular race in terms of sheer numbers.

Lots of people love the 5k, but not me. In fact, I hate running 5k races.

If you love the 5k, more power to you! But here are 7 reasons that I can’t stand this distance.

Why I Hate Running 5k

Why I Hate Running the 5k

  1. Go Super Hard from the Start–Racing/running the 5k leaves no room for dilly-dallying. You have to go hard from the start, which leads to…
  2. Feeling Like My Heart is Going to Explode–There’s nothing like knowing you’ve still got another mile to go when your heart is pounding like crazy and feels like it could possibly explode at any second. Then you finish, and it’s…
  3. Impossible to Breath–Catching your breath after running a 5k is a lot like the feeling you have when the wind gets knocked out of you. No matter what you do, you just can’t get air into your lungs! Needless to say, in the 5k, you’re…
  4. Never Comfortable–Burning legs, a pounding heart, lactic acid buildup, and you never can catch your breath. Nowhere in the 5k is there any fun or any moments of comfort. And the discomfort is more than just what you feel because it’s usually…
  5. Crowded the Whole Way–A 5k with a couple thousand runners (or even just a few hundred) rarely has enough room to spread out. Ergo, you’re constantly tripping over, bumping into, and dealing with other runners the entire time. So much for being able to run your own race! You should get a medal for not cursing anyone out in the 5k, speaking of which…
  6. No Bling–I’m not of the opinion that there should be finishers medals for the 5k, because that’s just ridiculous. That said, another reason I’d rather run a marathon than a 5k is that after 26.2 I get another medal to hang on my wall. No bling in the 5k makes sense, but what really sucks is there’s…
  7. Limited Room for Improvement–What’s a big PR in the 5k, really? 5 seconds? 10? Whatever it is, it’s a slim margin that you have when you’re going balls to the walls the entire race, and you still might end up missing your PR because you had to dodge too many runners in the short and congested course. I know PRs aren’t the only way to measure improvement/success, but it is a very big one for me. And since I’ve about peaked in the 5k, there’s nowhere to go but down…

If you’re into 5ks, for whatever reason, that’s cool.

But I’ve long been on record as hating the short race, and after running one yesterday I see no reason to change my mind.

Am I Spot On? Or Am I Crazy? What’s Your Take on the 5k?

8 replies
  1. Dan
    Dan says:

    I completely agree. I don’t have this same opinion for 10ks (or even the one yearly 8k I run), but the 5k is just agony from start to finish. It’s the only distance that I actually warm up for so I don’t have to go from a resting heart rate to a roaring steam engine in seconds. However, it is the best way to get a decent speed workout, so that’s my excuse for running them. Plus, it’s the only distance where I have a real shot at an age group award.

    Reply
    • Denny
      Denny says:

      A warm up before a 5k is a must! And props to you for continuing to make yourself do them, cause I think I’m pretty much done with em!

      Reply
  2. Kat
    Kat says:

    Hmm. I agree with your reasons…but they don’t make me hate the 5K. Maybe it’s because almost all my experience with the 5K has been through parkrun and it’s not competitive as such, and also my home parkrun is small numbers-wise so I don’t have the overcrowding issues. When I go a-visiting other parkruns, though, I definitely get irked by the crowds.

    I think it helps that I don’t think of the 5K as being something I train for. I use the “event” nature of an organised run to turn what could be a very relaxed trot into a hard and fast training run. It’s exhausting, yes, but I can’t make myself run that hard in a solo training run! There’s no one to show off to!

    Reply
    • Denny
      Denny says:

      I think if I could convince myself to run a 5k simply to enjoy it, they wouldn’t be so bad. But every time I run, I’m always racing against myself and the misery begins almost immediately!

      Reply
      • Jonathan Legon
        Jonathan Legon says:

        Absolutely, although I find the first half is Ok, but from then on it’s hang on for dear life, and I’m gasping for air the last mile. I was doing the park run, but in the end I gave up, the pain wasn’t worth trying to shave off a couple of seconds…or not!

        Reply
        • Denny
          Denny says:

          Hehehe. The first half is ok, but ok doesn’t mean fun! Thanks for checking out the post and leaving a comment Jonathan!

          Reply
  3. 5K Runner
    5K Runner says:

    Here are some reasons I like 5Ks. 1. You earn your bling. No participation medal, but most races give you something if you win your age group. 2. A chance to win. You have a much better chance winning a local smaller 5K than even small marathons. 3. Low cost. You can run 3-5 5Ks for the cost of one marathon. 4. Short recovery. Longer races can knock you out of serious training for weeks, whereas you only need a day or two to recover from even a fast 5K. 5. Reasonable training. You can train well for a 5K on no more than 30-45 minutes a day. No 3 hour long runs. 6. Community. Your non-runner friends are more likely to join you for a 5K than for longer races. 7. Speed. You get to train for speed and push fast in a race. Yes this hurts, but in a good way.

    Reply
    • Denny
      Denny says:

      I really can’t argue with any of your reasons for liking the 5k.

      That said, I still don’t like racing 5ks! ?

      Thanks for checking out the post and leaving a note for me. Happy running in 2016!

      Reply

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