When you think about it does it really matter if its measured in kilometers or miles? No matter what way you tend to look at things or think about things, the distance itself is not going to change. But it does have a psychological effect on people who may be running the distance.
A 5K Training is 3 miles long. Or if you want to be really accurate, it is 3.10615969 miles long. Its basically nothing more that a mental attitude which depends on what system of measurement you are more accustomed. Whether you have done your running training based on a 3 mile distance or a 5k one, you have been doing exactly the same thing. If you are honest with yourself, the difference of about 100 meters will not really affect your performance in your race. The only difference will be, for runners who measure their performance in seconds, it the few moments longer running time the extra 100 meters of the 3 mile run will take over the 5k one.
The difference in performance requirements in nothing. For a runner who normally puts in a final burst over the last 500 meters of the 5k course, it means postponing the start of the bust by 100 meters, or doing a 600 meter burst at the end. The only time measuring a races distance as either 5K Running or 3 miles will make a difference is when the run is over a closed circuit where runners who are regulars on the circuit will have a fixed mark or point from where they begin their final push to the finish line. If a runner has a mark he has been using regularly in 5k races, when he is in a 3 mile race he will have to either find a new mark to sue for starting his burst or judge the extra 100 meters from his regular mark and then begin his final burst. If its the reverse then you are normally a 3 mile runner.
Of course, the terminology of 5K Training and 3 miles is being used more and more interchangeably and non professional races often set a 5k distance for a race that is called 3 mile one and a 3 mile distance for a 5k race. The variation in distance is so small it makes no difference to those who run it and has had no measurable impact on the outcome of the races.
However, many professional runners feel that this casual attitude towards a difference of a 100 meters is a mistake. In a world where victory and defeat is measured in hundredths of a second, the extra 100 meters of a 3 mile race will add up to 15 to 20 seconds to a race time and will give an incorrect measurement of a runner’s performance. After all, even the best of sprinters take about 10 seconds to cover a 100 meter distance so the extra amount that needs to be run should not be ignored.
In the end it really comes down to a mindset and a runner’s habitual distance and his comfort level with the terminology.
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