If you are not a runner, or at least have not started running at any structured level, then any kind of marathon training can seem almost impossible. A half marathon is usually treated as one of the best breakpoints to aim for when you are still building up your skills – but how long actually is it?
Many people refer to their runs as 5k/10k, respectively, which is based on the distance they are running. With a 5k, many people might assume that this means five thousand – but that is not actually the case, and the distance is not as simple as that.
When using 5k/10k names, it is important to understand the K does not stand for the usual meaning of the K when numbers are involved. Instead of being 5,000, it actually means 5 kilometers, which is often seen to be the metric system equivalent of a mile. Even then, though, it is not that simple.
How Many Miles is a 5K?
One kilometer is roughly equivalent to around 0.62 of a mile, so they are not a one-to-one ratio. If you simplify it even further, you could say that two kilometers are the same distance as a mile and a half.
Since we are working with five kilometers, the distance is roughly 0.62 multiplied by five, for a total of 3.1 miles in total.
How Many Miles is a 10K?
A 10k is simply double the length of a 5k, so the total length in miles would be just over 6.2 miles in total. Of course, this assumes that you do each mile perfectly without taking detours or alternate routes.
How Many Miles is a 15K?
As you would expect, a 15k is three times the length of a 5k, which puts it at around 9.3 miles long.
How Many Miles is a Marathon?
A marathon generally clocks in at 42.2 kilometers, which is 26 miles (more accurately 26.2 miles in most cases). This is obviously a significant step up from the other kinds of mile-by-mile race, and a new runner will never be able to complete one without training.
To make a marathon easier, many people run the half marathon first – an intermediate step.
How Many Miles is a Half Marathon?
A half marathon is half of a marathon, as the name suggests. This puts it at around 21.1 kilometers, meaning that the race distance covered when you run a half marathon is 13.1 miles.
How Many Miles is an Ultra Marathon?
The Ultra Marathon is the one that new runners will never run, and sometimes even a better runner will avoid it. Unlike other marathon types, an Ultra Marathon can have different distance levels depending on the fitness level and general confidence of the runners.
How Long Are They?
A ‘short’ Ultra Marathon can be as high as 30 miles, more than a regular marathon by 4 miles, while the highest have clocked in at over 200 miles – runners need to be able to run/walk more than six times a marathon in terms of distance just to reach the finish line.
How to Handle Half Marathon Training
Half marathons are a great stepping stone towards a full marathon or even an Ultra Marathon if that is your end goal. However, the race distance is still quite a lot for many people, so you often need to train for a half marathon if you are not already a runner.
How Long Does The Process Take?
Anybody can do a half marathon if they are prepared to take on a new challenge, but it has to be done right.
While it can be tempting to estimate that you will be really in 12 weeks, there is no guarantee that a 12-week schedule will actually work out. It is important that you keep going and follow a training plan that you know you can stick to.
It’s Not Always the Same
Your current experience also matters. 13.1 miles is quite a long distance to run, so if you can’t even do 6.2 miles yet, you will need to reach that point first. If you can already run, you are already partway there.
Marathons Use Different Habits
The habits and techniques you learn for one running distance do not always apply to another. A half-marathon demands different understandings of pace and time compared to a full marathon, for example.
How Often Should I Run?
Ideally, you want to try running at least 3 days per week, if possible. The weekday runs should be simpler since you have other responsibilities: you do not want to start running for the first time on a Monday, push too hard and cause an injury.
Running consistently is more important than running often. Running twice per week is better than skipping weeks entirely. Do not let yourself fall behind, or you will undo your progress.
It can be very tempting to start forcing yourself to run faster, treating your training like races. In reality, you want to keep at a conversational pace – you should be able to speak a full sentence while running. Runners who are struggling to speak while running are pushing too far, too fast.
Be gradual and slow. Race day could be months away, so pace yourself with the distances and speeds you are running at.
The Imaginary Race
It can help to set a timer or create a ‘fake’ race in your head that keeps you moving, but you should not let it push you too far. If you are falling short by a couple of kilometers, do not force your body to go beyond its limits just to win a marathon that does not exist.
Marathons are not about going full speed at all times. It is not a short race, and that means that you want to treat each mile as part of a larger whole. Sprinting short distances leaves less energy free for the larger distances of the entire marathon you are doing.
A personal trainer or certified running coach can help if you are not able to coach yourself. Not only can they help you work towards the right kind of goals (a 5k race, then a 10k race, then a 15k, then a marathon), but they have worked with runners in the past and know how to coach you well.
A good coach will start you out with a 5k race, then a 10k race, but allow you to go at your own pace. Training plans are not races, and forcing yourself to run 26.2 miles with a running coach when you should be sticking to a 10k can easily lead to you hurting your body.
If you are sure you want to coach yourself, remember to observe your own limits: if you are still working towards 3.1 miles, is a 5k really safe, let alone possible? Pushing yourself is not the same as slowly improving your skills and tolerance.
Choosing Your Training Schedule
Always train consistently; that is the key to any kind of effective fitness plan. Even if you only run for two hours on most weeks and do not have free time for more, those two hours can be very productive and will help build your running skills. Pace yourself, but do not stop completely.
What Should I Wear
Whether you are doing a 5k, 10k, 15k, or something larger, wear something comfortable. Good running shoes and comfortable gear are not just good for fitness training but are the answer to doing well in races. Never try running in something you have not at least tried before, just in case.
Build a Rhythm
Keep your pace going. Once you have completed 26.2 miles, a half-marathon seems a lot shorter, and that can help you improve even further. 3.1 miles is a 5k, so once you complete a 10k, you might notice that a 5k feels quite short from that point onwards.
Know Race Tricks
A marathon is a race, and a half marathon is a shorter race. Even if you are not actually trying to race, though, the techniques still apply – pacing yourself, deliberately slowing down, all of it can be useful.
Know-How Long It Takes (On Average)
If you can’t answer the question of how long it will take to complete a mile, then it might help to figure that out. Once you can give a vague answer of how long it takes to cover certain distances, you can potentially predict where you are in a training marathon.
Don’t Confuse Kilometers and Miles
It is very easy to mix up kilometers and miles because they are both useful measurements and both appear in different countries. Even if you can’t get the numbers right, knowing enough about their relative values can be important, especially when dealing with your training runs.
Marathons can be tough to train for, but there are only a few things you should always keep in mind:
Marathons Aren’t Easy
It will not be easy to train for a marathon, but you can get there. Do not put pressure on yourself if it takes time.
It Can Be Stressful
If you focus purely on finishing a marathon, you will be disappointed. Focus on the progress, the changes you make.
Speed Isn’t Key
Stamina matters more than speed because the faster you go, the faster you wear out.
If you are just falling into the same routine day by day, push yourself a little, but not much. Do not get stagnant and repeat the same exercise over and over again, because that will not improve you very much.
Marathons can be very enjoyable and even relaxing if you are going at your own pace. Have fun, and do not stress yourself out over nothing.