You've run a 5k - what next?

The next steps after completing a 5k

After you’ve run a few 5k races you might start thinking about a new challenge and the good news is that there are plenty of options.

Written by Scott Overall

Scott is a British long distance athlete who represented Team GB at the 2012 Olympics. His marathon PB is currently 2:10:55.


For instance you could try and run the 5k in a new PB by going to a different race, or how about stepping up and doing a 10k race, or you might even want to try your hand at a shorter distance (yes, they do exist!)

If you are thinking about stepping up in distance and running a 10k you will already have a good base from all the training you’ve done for the 5k. Although at first the notion of doubling your race distance may seem quite daunting, it isn’t too much to worry about. You might need to increase your training though, especially your weekly mileage, but the training you’ve done for the 5k would be considered 'speed work' for the 10k. And there’s no need to actually double the amount of training you’re doing just because you’re running double the distance. If that were the case people would be running 500 miles a week training for a marathon! 

A sensible approach would be to increase your long run by 2-3 miles over a 4 week period and also to add one more run per week. Doing those two things will increase your mileage enough to make sure you can run the 10k distance. The important thing is not to panic and worry about the distance because there’s no doubt you are capable of running a 10k, it just might take a few attempts to learn the distance. Think back to when you ran your first 5k, that seemed a long way at the time and now you're a pro!

If you’re unsure whether stepping up to a 10k is the right thing for you, then perhaps you could stick to the 5k and try to run a quicker time. Now you know that you can run the distance you can focus on getting quicker by trying different sessions in training. If you have access to a running track, doing shorter distances such as 400m (1 lap of the track) multiple times with a short break in between is one way to run faster. Joining a training group with other athletes who are training for the 5k will really help get the most out of your training and help you push more to get a faster time.

You might even want to consider doing race distances shorter than the 5k. Even though this is a hugely popular distance there are races such as the mile (Westminster Road Mile) and also track races in the summer such as the 1500m, 3000m, and even as short as the 800m! Doing these shorter distances will be a bit of fun and also really help your speed for the 5k. It can also break up the monotony of running the 5k week in, week out.

You might even be sat there thinking you REALLY want a challenge and want to just skip the 10k altogether and head straight into a half marathon or even a marathon! The running bug is easily caught and you can be really excited by the thought of running a marathon. I would though suggest trying a half marathon first, even if it’s just in the build up to the marathon. The problem with the marathon is that to get the best time possible you’ll need to put a lot more time and effort into the training. Good luck whichever route you choose and also remember the shorter distances will help when it comes to the longer distances.

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