The 5km is now a popular distance, especially for charity runs. In London, there is a well-attended lunchtime 5km in Hyde Park on the last Friday of every month.
Races over this distance are intense; but they don’t stress the body as much as longer races, enabling you to continue training, or race again the next week if you want. They are suitable for beginners because they don’t require an enormous level of fitness; but they are also an excellent test for more experienced runners.
Training for a 5km race
Although the distance is relatively short, you still need a good base of endurance running and strength for a 5km training programme, so that you can do the speed training safely and well.
Your programme should begin with a month of base aerobic training; then strength training before you start the speed work.
When you get to the speed work, do plenty of short, fast intervals. While beginners should not do more than one speed session a week, for more experienced runners it is helpful to include a second speed session during the week if possible.
You need to warm up thoroughly for a 5km race – run at least a mile at moderate pace. Dress in cool clothes, because you will get hot quickly in fast races. It is not necessary to eat or drink in a 5km race.