The Five Mile Run

It was a beautiful sunny day with big puffy clouds floating in the sky. The temperature was around 70 degrees with a light wind blowing, all the makings of a gorgeous warm spring day. I arrived at my starting point on a street corner outside the Vineland YMCA. I looked ahead at the route while adjusting my time piece preparing to proceed on a distance that I never imagined could be accomplished in my younger days. Took a deep breath then I was off on my first attempt at a five-mile run.

While struggling to run this distance I recall thinking that this is the staple run or the most common distance that runners engage in. Understanding this fact I came to realize that finishing this distance can identify me as a real runner. The route was a design of multiple turns through the streets of Vineland. Connected by various sections of distances ending at the starting point right outside the YMCA. I finally arrived at the finish looking at my watch in the beautiful sun-light with a feeling of exhilarating thrill while noticing my time of 55 minutes. Completing my very first distance of 5 miles was the epitome of my running career. What an incredible feeling!

I recall a conversation in the beginning of my running career about distances and routes. I asked a seasoned runner what distance she usually runs. Her response was 5 miles, she further defined her response stating that if she is taking the time to run she might as well run a true distance. In her mind the 5 mile distance was a true and substantial running distance. I believe that she is correct, the 5 mile is an honorable distance.

The 5 mile is the most common distance known to be performed throughout training measures. The 5 mile is not to long, which keeps the legs fresh and strong, and is not to short which robs of needed endurance. The distance of 5 miles is enough to put in play a proper workout. For example we could look at it as a one mile warm-up, three mile at tempo or speed drills, then ending with a one mile cool down. So the 5 mile has a solid anatomy that allows for training movements such as the tempo changes and smooth recovery running.

Example Workouts

5-Mile-E: This is an easy fun run at a five mile distance. Just go out with the intention of running easy the whole way. We sometimes forget that running is fun so adding a slow easy run once in awhile can help us to remember the relaxing thrill of the sport. The easy movement also aids in recovery between hard runs.  So go out slow and increase the slowness throughout the run and enjoy!

5-Mile-T: This is a 5 mile tempo. One mile at easy warm-up pace, then engage your calculated tempo pace or race pace for three miles, then slow down to an easy recovery pace for one mile. Pace example: say you are preparing for a 5k race with a goal of 630 pace. Run the warm-up at a 9 minute pace/ Run the tempo 3-mile at a 6:30-7 minute pace, then a 10 minute one-mile cool down.

5-Mile-S: This is a 5-mile speed work session. Run one mile at a slow warm-up pace, then pick your choice of speed training such as 200 meter repeats. Repeat the 200 meter enough times to equal 3 miles with 2 minute recovery in between. This would come out to approximately 15 sets of 200 meter repeats averaging in the 2 minute recovery jogs. Then end with a one mile slow 10-minute recovery jog.

The 5 mile is a distance icon that can satisfy any type of workout. The filler run, speed work, tempo, or fun run all can be accomplished within 5 miles. Five miles is an achievable distance for many different levels of runners. All runners at various fitness levels can enjoy this distance. So next time you go out to run, say to your partner “let’s do a five” and then go out and have fun. The wonder and joy of the running world consist of specific goals being accomplished. The five mile distance is one goal designed from a peak vision that satisfies the hungry warrior amongst the army of runners.


Happy Running!

John Carlson
Coach RRCW