Putting it out there right off the bat, I haven’t done every distance out there. Doesn’t matter because this isn’t that serious a conversation. That said the 10k distance is clearly superior than any other distance you could possibly choose to run. Which is to say in a lot of ways the 10k is my go to and here’s why! But… this might evolve into a series where I argue other races distances are clearly the best, you never know.
It’s better than shorter races because…
Running a 5k is fine and all but it’s not really that big a deal. Sometimes people don’t even think you deserve a nap after, how rude! Seriously though usually by the time I’m crossing the line at a 5k I’m just settling in and then it’s over. I don’t live handy to the start line of many races and the drive there alone is often longer than the race. For me to drive to a race in the city pick up my kit and run a 5k in a little less than half an hour it takes 2.5 hours and basically ruins half the day! I do run 5ks for fun all the time and I’m not turning down the medal thankyouverymuch, but it’s just not my main jam. That said I have one coming up in early June. Even when I’m just going for a regular run around town I’m a little smad (sad + mad) if I only have time for 5k.
It’s better than longer races because…
One can not run a really big deal race more than a couple of times in a season. While normal people anyway! Sure a half or more is fun and a super accomplishment but it’s also a lot of planning and sacrifice. Most of us aren’t and can’t be in the shape to run a half marathon all the freakin’ time. We have to train for months for that sort of thing. That means a complicated juggling of work commitments, family, very early mornings, even earlier bed times, skipped social engagements and SO MUCH laundry! I do love me a good half but it’s a big undertaking that I need to plan carefully to do for so many reasons especially staying injury free.
Doing a half comes with so many things to juggle and more than a few extra expenses that mere mortal runners have to plan carefully for them. Because of this we can’t do them all the time. But… your average runner who sometimes does a half (or not) can pretty much just get up and run a 10k. In fact in a perfect world I’d like to run a 10k every weekend and more often than not I get to, as long as the weather cooperates. I think I’m pretty lucky to have that luxury alone in my life in large part due to an amazingly supportive partner and boss. Where those roles overlap is where the weekend 10k can come into question. But given a couple of weeks notice most runners out there can ramp up for a 10k.
Once you get to that race you’re at it for a while and you really feel like you earned that medal (and maybe shirt, hat and mug). Honey, I mean people, get that you might require a nap later and buy you a big brunch. For all those reasons I sign up for a lot of 10ks on a whim and as a rule. For me at least I have a lot less FOMO because I can register for a 10k the day before. Put it this way if someone asks you on Wednesday “do I want to do a half this weekend” I’m like “no, hard pass, don’t sign me up for that!” However if it’s a 10k it’s a “hells yeah!”
Normal humans can just get up and run a 10k (probably)
As much as instagram influencers make it seem easy to run a half every weekend and several fulls or ultras a year, it’s not. I love running one a year and would ideally run a half if I’m traveling to a race to make the experience ‘worth it.’ Even though I do train hard for halfs that I’ve run I’m absolutely zonked afterwards. The next day is pretty much a write off and the next two or three days I’m a bit of zombie at work. The training for a half also has a lot in common with that. The combination of early mornings, evening commitments and long runs can leave me tuckered out even if I don’t want to admit it. Apparently this combination can also make me a bit cranky or so I’ve been told.
The thing is even after a going for a PR type 10k I might appreciate a nap but its not compulsory. I can even drive for three hours without feeling drowsy as last year’s in PEI proved. I can work the rest of the day and other than heading to bed an hour or so earlier there isn’t much recovery needed. Staying in half marathon shape year round or for months on end is also probably too much running for normal humans. That probably means running 50+ km a week for most. It could be a recipe for ongoing injury or overtraining. Staying in 10k shape can be done running about 20 km a week which gets you right to that weekly milage that seems to make runners less injury prone. Magic right? While it might sound like a great idea to be running lots of longer races the reality might not meet up with your expectation.
It’s for all these reasons that the 10k is CLEARLY the best race distance of all the distances available. Do you agree or disagree? Why is your favorite distance your favorite ?
Find out more about my 10k training plan here!