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A 5K is a great way for beginning runners to gain confidence and learn about pacing, especially if the goal is to eventually run a marathon.
For beginning runners, and especially beginning runners training for a fall marathon, a spring 5K has several advantages:
-Get a sense of the race setting. If you have never been to a road race, a local 5K can help you get a feel for what the start of a race is like, with crowded port-a-potties, jostling bodies, slower people ahead of you, crowded water stops. Getting comfortable in a short race environment will translate well into the marathon setting.
-Pacing. Running a 5K early in your marathon training can help you get a sense of what a pace that's slightly faster than your training pace feels like. As you continue with marathon training and longer distances, this slightly faster pace should feel more comfortable.