5 or 10k

This is a question that often runs through a beginner runner's mind. Whether to start by running 5K or 10K depends highly on two things: your current fitness level and how much time you want to commit to training.Fitness Level
If running is new to you than there's no doubt training 5K is the best (and only) starting point for you. But chances are if you're considering running, then you're most likely in a routine of running a few miles 3 days a week or more. If the distance you run is around 3 miles then starting with a 5K run can easily be done. But running a 5K is different to racing a 5K. The latter requires more of you physically and training consists of testing your physical limits.

A 10K training for those already running 3 miles 3 days a week is even more physically demanding. For starters, your body isn't used to running that distance yet. That said, it can be done but training will take a few weeks longer. Training for 10K simply builds on your 5K program.

Time Devotion
The time factor is pretty self-explanatory. Starting with a 0-5K training will take longer than if you're jumping straight into 5K training; 5-10K training will require more time than 0-5K and 5K training. 10K training in particular requires more time to complete as you need to allow for longer recovery and regeneration times between races.

The Difference between 5K and 10K Training
Other than time, there are some basic training differences between the two.

5K Training
With 5K training, you're allowed to race more often and with less recovery time between races. This works out well because with 5K training, achieving your best times requires you to run more races. The way you run also differs to that in 10K training. In 5K, your strides are faster and longer. You train more aerobically because fast and long strides require higher aerobic levels. Training for 5K also focuses on improved running techniques.

10K Training
10K training involves running a longer distance at a slower average pace. Therefore, it focuses more on improved respiratory functioning and endurance of the heart muscles for running a longer period of time. Breathing techniques are important while running 10K races. With 10K training, you also race less frequently with longer recovery time in between races. This yields better race times. The 10K endurance training also provides a foundation for faster 5K training.

The hardest training is probably running a 5K. It tests your physical limits and teaches you how to continue running when you feel uncomfortable. When you've run a few 5K races you can further take on the challenge of running a longer distance, and eventually 10K. But remember that rest is just important as training. So if you're serious about training, be serious about resting as well.

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