The 15K: What To Expect From This Race Distance
While some people settle into the 5K and never feel compelled to run other distances, there are many people who are always looking ahead and working toward a new challenge.
The 15K might be just that challenge.
How Do You Know You Are Ready for a 15K?
Anyone who can comfortably run 5-6 miles consecutively is ready to start training for a 15K. As stated previously, it is a nice step for someone who has completed a 10K and is looking for something new.
A 15K gives a new challenge as you need more stamina and endurance in order to continue running for another three-plus miles.
The 15K is also a great bridge race for anyone hoping to work their way up to longer distances. If you don’t feel ready for a half or full marathon, this is a great distance race choice.
How Many Miles in a 15K?
A 15K race is 9.3 miles long.
Even though 5K, 10K, and the half-marathon are more common, there has been a recent increase in the number of 15K and 10-mile races.
These events offer a unique opportunity to runners. Some people think the distance of 10 miles just makes more sense because it is a nice, round number.
However, there are others that feel that anything up to the half should be measured in kilometers.
Training for a 15K race can start with low mileage and gradually build up over time. The length of time needed to train for 9.3 miles depends on a few factors.
Your experience with running, average weekly mileage, and the distance of your weekly long run are all things that should be taken into consideration.
If you are a relatively new runner, it is advisable to train for up to 12 weeks in order to gradually increase the long run while also increasing your weekly mileage.
You also want to give yourself time to taper for race day. Many popular training plans like those provided by Hal Higdon are 10 weeks for everyone from a novice to more advanced runners.
Training typically consists of between two and four shorter to mid-distance runs per week. The most important part of the training is the weekly long run. This run can have the runner peaking as high as 10-11 miles, or your longest run could be as little as 8 miles. More seasoned runners should train for a minimum of 8 weeks.
If you are hoping for a strong 15K race, you should include strength and core work in your workout regiment. Experienced runners and those gunning for a PR should do some sort of speed or Fartlek workout in place of one of the weekly runs.
10 Week 15k Training Guide
|1||STRETCH + STRENGTHEN||2 MILE RUN||30 MIN CROSS||2 MILE RUN + STRENGTH||REST||2 MILE RUN||30 MIN CROSS|
|2||STRETCH + STRENGTHEN||3 MILE RUN||30 MIN CROSS||2 MILE RUN + STRENGTH||REST||3 MILE RUN||30 MIN CROSS|
|3||STRETCH + STRENGTHEN||3 MILE RUN||35 MIN CROSS||2 MILE RUN + STRENGTH||REST||4 MILE RUN||30 MIN CROSS|
|4||STRETCH + STRENGTHEN||2 MILE RUN||35 MIN CROSS||2 MILE RUN + STRENGTH||REST||2 MILE RUN||40 MIN CROSS|
|5||STRETCH + STRENGTHEN||4 MILE RUN||40 MIN CROSS||3 MILE RUN + STRENGTH||REST||5 MILE RUN||40 MIN CROSS|
|6||STRETCH + STRENGTHEN||4 MILE RUN||40 MIN CROSS||3 MILE RUN + STRENGTH||REST||6 MILE RUN||50 MIN CROSS|
|7||STRETCH + STRENGTHEN||3 MILE RUN||45 MIN CROSS||3 MILE RUN + STRENGTH||REST||4 MILE RUN||50 MIN CROSS|
|8||STRETCH + STRENGTHEN||5 MILE RUN||45 MIN CROSS||3 MILE RUN + STRENGTH||REST||7 MILE RUN||60 MIN CROSS|
|9||STRETCH + STRENGTHEN||5 MILE RUN||45 MIN CROSS||3 MILE RUN + STRENGTH||REST||8 MILE RUN||60 MIN CROSS|
|10||STRETCH + STRENGTHEN||3 MILE RUN||30 MIN CROSS||2 MILE RUN + STRENGTH||REST||REST||THE 15 K!|
How Do You Race a 15K?
The first thing I need to clarify is that there is a difference between completing or running a 15K and racing a 15K. If you are running a race for completion – just hoping to cross the finish line upright, you are running differently than if you are hoping for a personal record.
If you are pushing yourself as hard as you can to get the best time you can, you are racing. You are also racing if you are exerting yourself for a finishing position. Whether this means finishing in the top few or making the awards podium in your age group if you push yourself hard, you’re racing.
There are a few schools of thought on how to race a 15K.
1. Divide the race into thirds: In this race plan, you think of the race as three separate portions. You push yourself through each 5K separately. Thinking of 9 miles is harder than thinking of it as 3×3. Of course, we can’t forget the final .3 miles. That is when you sprint to the finish.
2. Divide the race in half: Another race plan has you dividing the race in half, and trying to negative split the race. That does not mean you are running slowly in the first half. What you are doing is using restraint so you don’t go out too fast.
3. Even pace: Another tactic is to hone in on a pace and try to run at a steady pace throughout the entire race. If you can do that, you can also hopefully pick it up a little at the end.
4. Run like hell: The last thought is to just go out with the pack, run like hell, and try to hang on. In my opinion, this is the least advisable option.
What Is the Average Time for a 15K Race?
The average 5K time for a beginner woman is 13 minutes 21 seconds per mile. A man, on the other hand, averages 11 minute 22 second miles. When you increase the mileage by triple, the athlete is likely to slow down.
Of course, people who are beginners don’t tend to sign up for races this long. The average time for a 15K is about 1:43, which equates to an eleven-minute pace.
What is a Good Pace for a 15K Race?
When you ask what is a “good pace,” I have to ask if you are talking about a good pace for a mere mortal like me or a “great pace” for someone in the running to win a 15K.
In my group of running friends, a good pace for 9.3 miles is a 9:00 minute mile average, which would have you finish around 1:23.
The friends I consider to be super fast average 8:00 minute miles, which has them finishing about 1:23.
Now let’s talk wicked fast. If you can average 6:00 minute miles for the whole 15K, you will finish in under 56 minutes. To put that into perspective, I take about 54 minutes to finish a 10K!
Should You Sign Up for One?
If you are currently running a few days each week and can run 4-5 miles without too much difficulty, you are definitely ready! Perks of a 15K:
- More for your money because you are on the course longer.
- Your friends will be jealous.
- All the post-race snacks.
- Many 15K races give every finisher race bling. (That is a medal if you aren’t familiar with the lingo.)
Don’t delay. Sign up today!
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