Speaking Your Dream Language: Road Race Distance Primer

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Heather’s dream is to share with the world her success at becoming healthy after age 40. Heather lost over 88 pounds through changing her diet and incorporating exercise into her busy life. She would like to take what she has learned about becoming fit after 40, and using her Metabolic Training Certification to help others struggling with weight issues mid-life. Heather’s post day is Monday.
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Speaking my language: Road race distance primer

Have you ever noticed that your dream has it’s own language? When you are neck deep in the dream process every day, you may not notice the strange looks darted your way as you talk about your dream goals. Our dream language helps us define what we are doing. 

What is your dream language?

Your own dream language consists of the things you are working on for YOUR dream. For financial dreamers, they can rattle off details about percentage of savings, retirement and the best deal on insurance. For our fearless leader Catherine, the language of online marketing for a top blog is the language she can speak in her sleep.

Unfortunately for those who aren’t working on a similar dream, the terms you use may not mean anything to the outsider like your family or friends. You’ll know when this happens from the quizzical looks you get, and the non-committal nodding from whoever you are sharing your story with.

I had this interaction myself a few months ago after I shared my 5k race results on Facebook. A good friend sent me a text with congratulations on my marathon results.

Um… not quite.

I explained that I’m working up to a marathon, which is a 26.2 mile race, and the one I had just completed was a comparatively tiny 3.1 miles. She commented that a marathon was equal it to running from my house to my sisters house 3 towns and “Are you insane? Why would you ever do that?”. I got my congrats for the 5K anyway.

I wouldn’t expect anyone to speak the language of my dream, unless we had similar dream goals, so explaining a few of the basics makes it so much more fun to share your dream success!

Road racing distance primer

When it comes to running a road race, the distances are typically standardized which makes training for road races that much easier. Road racing is typically held on the streets of a city, which offers challenges like hills, surfaces that change, quick turns and of course dealing with whatever the weather is like that day.

5 Kilometers

Definition: 5K, 5000 meters, 3.1 miles

The 5 kilometer distance is popular for road racing and is perhaps the favorite first race for beginners. It’s enough to be a challenge, but not so overwhelming that it intimidates runners who are just starting out.

This is also a great race for experienced runners. Most will use it as a speed workout as part of their training for longer distance races. This is a very popular distance with races happening every weekend all over the country.

10 Kilometers

Definition: 10K, 10000 meters, 6.2 miles

This is my new challenge distance and you will still find plenty of opporunity to try out a 10 kilometer race. This distance is traditionally the boundary between middle and long racing distances. There is more trianing involved than a 5K but for runners it’s not a distance that will be intimidating.

Just like a 5K race, experienced runners will use the 10K distance as a competition or training opportunity. I had this experience will my first 10K race as runners flew by me for the first and last mile, trying to lower their race time.

Find your next race - RaceCalendar.com

Resource: Find your own race! One of many sites that help you track down your running challenge.

5 and 10 Miles

Definition:  8 or 16 kilometers

What can I say? The United States is just not up to speed on the metric system, so we do have runners who prefer to run distances actually measured in miles. In my race research, I don’t see many of these races available but they are out there.

Half Marathon

Definition: 13.1 miles, 21 kilometers

Want a bigger challenge? The half marathon distance is very popular. This is long enough to be a challenge, even if you are an experienced runner. Completing this distance will give you a huge sense of accomplishment no matter how seasoned you are. Another benefit of the half marathon is that it doesn’t require the intense training or long recovery time that a full marathon may take.


Definition: 26.2 miles, 42.2 kilometers

Most runners consider this to be the ultimate distance challenge. There is a prestige with a marathon that no other distance has. Every marathon is the same distance – 26.2 miles. Other distance races can be long and challenging, but they aren’t a marathon.

This is a long enough distance that anyone that actually finishes a marathon gets credit as a serious endurance athlete.


Definition: Any distance longer than 26.2 miles. Typically 50 kilometers, 50 miles, 100 kilometers, and 100 miles.

There are friends who look at me like I’m nuts racing in 5k distances. This would the same look that I give a runner that tells me they are an ultramarathoner.

Anyone looking for challenge that goes beyond a marathon will find it in the ultramarathon distances.

Now you speak my dream language

There is a ton of knowledge that comes with our dream life and it grows everyday. For my 8 Women Dream team, I know that knowledge includes research, lessons from trial and error, and constantly reaching for what’s next in our own dreams.

In my dream language, that means scheduling my 5K and 10K races for the first 6 months of 2013, and officially signing up for my big dream goal of a triathlon. How long is that race you ask? I’ll clue you in soon with what those triathlon details actually mean.

Do you have your own dream language? Share in the comments so we can all cheer you on – no matter how long your dream race takes.

Go get your fit on – Heather 


Photo Credit: lizbadley via Compfight cc

  • Nice socks.  I’ll be waiting at the finish lines.


    Mine is publishing for women, women helping women, women power

    • Ha – Love the socks :) You definitely have a grasp on your dream language since we see it every week. Thanks!

  • ImanWoods

    Awesome info!

    • Thanks Iman! What’s some of your dream language terms? I know you go em…

      • ImanWoods

        Empower, uplift, self-esteem. I should do a post like this, yes?