Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Running and Living is a blog by Sam Nigh. His posts explore running, food, and important fun things! 

How many miles is a 5K?

how manymiles is a 5KThe 5,000 meters (5K) = 3.10686 miles and it has been one of my favorite races for as long as I've been running. It is a race that is just long to be a race about stamina, but not too short it's a sprint. It's also a great race to start training, especially if you haven't done a lot before.

I hate track 5Ks,  it's the only time I haven't liked the race. Indoor tracks have no standard distance and I've done races on tracks where it took 11 laps to get to a metric mile and some that took 20. (Honestly with 20 laps per mile, you did so many it was hard to keep them straight since it felt like just twirling in place.) Thankfully most modern indoor tracks are 200 meters, which is only 8 laps per metric mile. With an indoor track never assume the distance unless it's clearly marked because there is no standard. Once you move outdoors the standard track is always 400 meters, even the really old ones. I love the 5K, but give me a hilly road race over the track any day.

I'm glad for the running I did in college, as my stats clearly show, I was merely an 'ok' in Cross Country though I'm not sure I would still be running if I had tried for Buffalo level training (those guys are totally amazing). I will say what I really liked is we trained intervals metrically. Miles are a great measurement and I love them, especially for long distances runs and you should know your average time for the mile, it's just almost all races are in meters. If you have aspirations 'to do a marathon' keeping it metric can make preparation way easier by giving you an attainable goal. I know a lot of people in the US think of the marathon as 26.2 miles and believe me, that feels a lot more familiar and impressive than the "official measure" of 42 kilometers (42K) but thinking about it metrically can help you keep to your goal.

For example, let's say I'm a new runner and I think I would like to run a marathon. I signed up for my first 5K and I finished in 30 minutes. (Yeah I finished my first 5K!). If you trying to calculate your possible marathon time fight the impulse to translate it into miles, keep it in metric: the average 1K time (6 minutes). At 42K that that equals 252 minutes or 4 hours 12 minutes for the marathon. It might not be easy to replicate your 5K time, especially right off the bat, with training you might even see your average 1K time decrease but it at least gives you an idea of what you're capable of, all by staying metric.

Happy Running!

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