Why I'm Reconsidering Shorter Races

by - Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Until last Sunday, it had been almost two years since I had run a race shorter than a 10-miler. After a less-than-stellar experience at an overly crowded 5K, I swore off short races, chalking them up to being a waste of time and money and quite frankly kind of like amateur hour.

I will fully admit, I turned into a little bit of a running diva snob after that race.

With friends before the dreadful 5K.

I was frustrated and annoyed at my experience, and figured, if I wanted to run short distances, I could do it on my own time for free.

In my mind, it just wasn't worth it to shell out money to participate in an event that I knew I could finish without a problem.

But the 5K I ran this weekend changed my mind.


Running short races isn't pointless. In fact, it can be fun. And if you want, short races can be challenging.

You might have noticed in my list of potential races for the fall, I included several short races, instead of my usual handful of half marathons.

That 5K kind of lit a fire under my butt to get back in the racing game, but not to burn myself out with long distances all the time. I love distance running. I love training for long races. But after several years of training for nothing but marathons and half marathons, my mind and body are craving some running variety.

Frederick half
It's not always all about the medals...even though I do love them.

Shorter races are less stressful. I know I could wake up tomorrow and run a 10K if I wanted. Sure it might not be very fast, but I could do it.

Starting with that baseline gives me more flexibility in a training plan. I don't have to just focus on building mileage and I don't have to have a panic attack if I skip a run or need to shuffle things in my schedule.

I'm excited to spend some time focusing on shorter distances this fall to see if I can set some new PRs. It's been ages since I've taken a legitimate crack at my 5K or 10K PR and I think I could probably see some big improvements in my times.

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

I'm also hoping that mixing in some shorter races will help me achieve my goal of having a better running/life balance.

The 5K this weekend was a nice reminder that running shorter races isn't pointless. There's more to racing than just distance running and crossing a finish line is fun whether you've run 3.1 miles or 26.2.

Philly marathon

It's a shame I let one bad experience with a 5K sour me on shorter distances for such a long time. I guess I just needed one positive experience to change my perception.

Has a bad race experience ever turned you off from running a certain distance or a certain race?

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