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How Many Miles In This Race?

How Many Miles In This Race Lindsay Zemba Leigh Run Tri Bike Magazine

How many miles in this race? This is a question that beginner’s ask because a race might be in kilometers or just given a name like: Ultra. Knowing how long the race is will help you determine the length of time you need to train as well as the type of training you’ll need.

How Many Miles In This Race?


How Many Miles In A 5k?

A 5k is 3.1 miles. This can be the ideal choice for your first running race since it doesn’t require a lot of weeks of training or big time commitments. If you’re new to running, allow yourself at least two months of running 3-4 times per week, averaging at least 9 miles per week and a long run of 3 miles. You can also start with walk/run intervals and progress the length of run intervals each week until you are comfortable going the distance. Many runners complete a 5k in 30-40 minutes. The average walker finishes a 5k in 45-60 minutes. After you complete your first 5k, you may want to see how much faster you can run. Once you have a good base of run miles, you can add more advanced types of workouts such as speed or tempo runs or hill repeats.

How Many Miles In A 10k?

A 10k is 6.2 miles. A 10k is the perfect distance after you’ve done a few 5k’s and you’re ready to run more distance. The average 10k time is between 50 to 70 minutes. If you already have a good running base of at least 10 miles per week, allow yourself 8 weeks of 10k focused training with a 1 week taper. Running 3-4 times per week, totaling 15-20 miles with a long run peaking at 7 miles will set you up well for your first 10k. After your first 10k, you can add  intensity to a few runs per week to help run your next 10k faster.


How Many Miles In A Half-Marathon?

When am I ready to step up to a half marathon? A half marathon is 13.1 miles and is the most popular race distance in the US. Allow yourself at least 12 weeks of training with 3-4 runs per week with a 1-2 week taper. The training is manageable but should not be taken lightly. Your long run should peak somewhere between 10-15 miles depending on your experience and amount of time before your race. This is also where fueling and hydration become an important factor in both training and racing.

How Many Miles In A Marathon?

When am I ready to run a marathon? A marathon is 26.2 miles. After you’ve run a few half marathons you may be ready to step up the distance and go farther than you ever have. If you’ve been running consistently and you’re feeling fit and healthy, go for it if you want it! I recommend writing out the reasons you want to run a marathon before you begin training since it is a grand undertaking with a time commitment and you’ll want to know your why. Allow yourself 12-20 weeks (depending on your running base) of training for a marathon, with several key long runs in the last 8 weeks of training peaking at 18-22 miles depending on your running history. Again, fueling and hydration are a key ingredient to success in your marathon training and racing. Fuel your long runs with simple carbohydrates like sport drinks or gels. Be sure to hydrate with both water and electrolytes.

What Is An Ultra Marathon?

What’s an ultra marathon? An ultra marathon is any race longer than a marathon (26.2 miles). Most ultras are on trails, making trail running an almost different sport from road running. There are elevation changes and sometimes technical (rocky, muddy, rooty) terrain. These difference equate to slower running, or sometimes fast hiking, and different muscle groups working. If you’ve run a marathon or a few, and you’re itching for a new challenge, an ultra may be for you! A 50k, which is 31 miles, is the logical ultra distance to start with, which will consist of very similar training to marathon training, but ideally be done on trails or similar terrain and elevation to your 50k race. At least your weekly long run should be done on similar terrain to your race. After that, you may want to step up to a 50 mile, 100km (62 miles) or 100 mile ultramarathon!

Whatever race distance you are training for, remember to enjoy the training. Be sure to remind yourself it’s something we get to do, not have to do. We are so lucky to be healthy enough to run and challenge our bodies and minds! Happy running!


Lindsay Zemba Leigh Run Tri Bike Magazine No Limits Endurance Coaching

Coach Lindsay Zemba Leigh has had a passion for fitness and endurance sports all her life, and she takes this passion and knowledge to motivate athletes to be their best and help reach their potential. She has a M.S. in Biology and is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through NSCA, USAT Level IIe Coach, USA Swimming Coach, Training Peaks Level 2 Certified Coach, Certified Yoga Instructor, and NESTA Nutrition Coach and coaches full time for No Limits Endurance Coaching.