The short answer? Whatever you want it to be! (or maybe not – see the update below…)
Running should be fun and not a chore. I love 5k runs even though I have run longer distances. My friends and I decided to participate in a couple of 10k runs for charity and so I trained in the weeks up to these runs to make sure I could actually keep up with them.
But after we were through with the races I resumed my 5k runs. They come so much more natural to me. I can complete them within 30 minutes and that means with cooling down, stretching and showering I am done in an hour with time to spare.
Running a 10k takes twice that time and I can’t always take that out of my schedule. Also, when I am traveling it is easier to map out a 5k run than it is to map out a 10k run, especially if I run in unfamiliar territory.
Often when I go to an exercise class I run a 3k as warm up. I’ve tried 5ks but they take too much energy if I still want to go through an hour of high intensity exercise afterwards and give it my all.
So go with what you like, but most importantly, keep on running!
Update: After I published this post, I read an article on fivethirtyeight.com with the intriguing title “The 5K, Not The Marathon, Is The Ideal Race“. So happy that there is scientific evidence to support my love of 5k’s!