Running a 5K comes with multiple benefits: The training is less time-consuming than marathon or half-marathon preparation, but it still gets you burning calories with a tangible goal in mind. Plus, working up to a 3.1-mile distance is manageable if you put in the effort, and you can even pool some friends to cross the finish line together (running or walking!). Now is the perfect time to start training for a fall 5K. Check out three options where you're sure to have a blast.
This year, the introduced two-day that include 5Ks. Five cities will host festivals from August through November, so you can join in on the fun while completing a less-daunting distance. Share your 3.1-mile course with Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat at the on Saturday, September 20 (registration is now open). If you're up for the challenge, Olympian medalist Deena Kastor (American record holder in the marathon) will run with the 8-minute-per-mile group.
If you don't mind getting saturated by powder, sign up for , which bills itself as "The Happiest 5k on the Planet." Runners are covered with color at every kilometer, so don't forget your white shirt! If you're a beginner, the pressure's off, because this event doesn't give official times or name winners. Focus on having fun and sporting a at the end. Find a Color Run .
All about the black light? Register for and take home a glow-in-the-dark finishers' medal. The pre-party even includes face painting and GLOW Zumba. The event takes place in Omaha on August 9 and Tulsa on August 23, as well as El Paso in September and St. Louis in October. , like Colorado Springs and Duluth, will host in 2015.
Excited? Start training now with this beginner 5K training program created by Jason Karp, PhD, co-author of Running for Women.