The Magic Of Running 5 Miles

photo credit: Sarah Windham

Running is a funny thing that takes some getting used to. For most people running is something that should only be done when being chased by someone/something and others (like my homie Jason Shen) runs whenever he can because he loves it. I’m more like Jason, I love to run and I can’t get enough of it, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always easy or enjoyable.

For me, running is really hard (and usually pretty painful) until you get to the point to where you can go out and run 5 miles without stopping. I’m not sure why this is and if it’s just a thing that’s specific to me and my running, but there’s always been something magical about getting to the 5 mile mark.

I’ve thought about this a lot and I’ve shared it with a few different people, but for some reason once I get over the hump of being able to throw on my running shoes, head out the door and put in 5 miles without worrying whether or not I can make it, I feel like I’m a real runner.

Here are a few reasons why I think this happens:

>> Once I’ve been running for 5 miles/30+ minutes it’s long enough to be considered aerobic exercise, which means that my heart has been beating at a relatively high rate for a given amount of time. This means that I’m burning more calories (almost 600 in total), kicking up my oxygen intake and really working some of my major muscles.

>> Hitting 5 miles allows me to cover more distance and gives me more options when I run outside, which makes running much more enjoyable. I like taking different routes and seeing different things and the more distance you’re going the more flexibility you have as far as where you can go and what you can see along the way.

>> I feel like once I make it to 5 miles it only gets easier for me to add on additional mileage to my long runs and usually before I know it I’m out running for an hour (which is another awesome milestone).

>> The simple fact that being able to tell other people that you just ran 5 miles is pretty awesome.

It’s not easy to make it to the magical 5 mile distance, but once you get there you’re going to feel like a totally different runner. You’ll be in better shape, you’ll feel good about running longer distances and before you know it you’ll be running for distances farther than you ever thought possible.

To make it to 5 miles I have just a few simple tips:

>> Run 2-3 times during the work week and plan for one long run on either Saturday or Sunday.

>> Completely take off the the day after your long run — your body needs to rest.

>> Never run more than two days in a row during the work week.

>> Do whatever you can to never miss a work week run. Even if you only have the time to get a short run in, still get dressed and get out the door so that you’re not losing your momentum and habit building.

>> Track your runs with something like Nike+, CardioTrainer, MapMyRun or RunKeeper so you know what you’ve ran and what your pace is.

That’s all I have for today, but if you have any questions about anything please let me know and here’s to making it to the magical 5 mile mark.


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