Speed improvement since starting 18 mths ago - a graph

Speed improvement since starting 18 mths ago - a graph

So you (should) all know by now I like a graph :-) Like several others (mostly blokes it seems), I keep an Excel file with several spreadsheets, recording each run that I do - as well as having all my GPS running watch data uploaded to the TomTom and Strava platforms.

For each run, outdoors or treadmill I record an average speed in km/h. It occurred to me last week to make a simple graph of that average speed versus date from when I started Couch to 5k. And here it is.

The 2 graphs show *exactly* the same data, but presented differently. The top one shows them all in the same colour for simplicity. The bottom, shows different colours for different types of runs e.g. C25K on the treadmill at the start of 2015, outdoor 5 runs, outdoor longer runs etc etc.



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  • Riveting...no seriously...! I love a spreadsheet! My lovely son-in la-w is addicted to them!!! He has them for everything.. and I mean everything!!!

    I am similarly addicted to organisational lists... :)

    Do you and yatesco know each other.. i think you could be very good chums:) x

  • HA! Thanks :-) No, yatesco and I don't know each other, but I'm fairly sure he's following my posts now. If you like this type of stuff, have a look at my heart rate graphs I've previously posted. I*do* like plotting this stuff and mucking about with the raw data. Being a scientist gives you a good grounding for this type of thing. The various website platforms, eg Strava, Garmin etc, give you great data for a single run but they aren't that user-friendly when it comes to comparing previous runs (pace, heart rate etc) - but Strava is getting better in that regard.

    Spreadsheets just allow for logical organisation of data - and is you have that, you can do anything you want - like plot nice graphs :-)

    I believe Bazza1234 and simonwilliamstutor are spreadsheet fiends as well, but I may be wrong ...



  • It did all seem so, familiar...and what you say in your reply too. My son-in- law's First Degree was in Astrophysics. It is fascinating!

  • Yes, I am... Guilty as charged! Only one spreadsheet with just four pages but I update it religiously. I have graphs of average speed against time and body mass against time.

    I haven't yet split my runs into type of run or weather conditions though this wouldn't be too tricky. An Access database beckons...

  • Oooo! Access... never dabbled with that. Compared to some in my workplace, I'm a novice with Excel/stats/databases etc.

  • Ooh I feel like I'm back in school! That's a great improvement John. Do you run in a group then? Is that what the C25K group is?

  • Thanks IP and yeah, I like the fact that my improvement is steady rather than an injury-inviting spectacular.

    I've done the vast majority of my running on my own. The C25K group is our works lunchtime club for beginners for which I'm a volunteer/ helper/ unofficial coach/ Mr Motivator / literal whistle blower :-) I don't tend to log the runs of Weeks 1-3, but from Week 4 onwards I'm happy for them to count against my own mileage. You can see that the group (well, me & the quicker ones at the front) run quite slowly compared to my normal pace. This means the rest of the group are running *really* slowly - just how it should be. The great advantage of doing it in a group is that us volunteers can control the pace, which is vital for beginners. You read of so many on here who struggle with Week 1 - none of our many beginners have ever had any problems. It's really great to see them come on.

    Thanks again IP,


    PS you wear orthotics, yes?

  • How great that you're teaching others to run. That must be very satisfying.

    Yes, I've been wearing orthotics for four weeks and don't even notice them now although I've had a few aches which I think is just my body getting used to them. Do you wear them then?

  • The small group of us who organise and run the C25k club find it hugely satisfying - we're no experts of course, but we just impart our own experience onto the eager beginners - same as around here :-)

    Re: orthotics - yes, I've been wearing them since Oct 2014 - the start of my running journey. They are custom-made - pricey! - but well worth it. Simple equation for me: no orthotics = no running! I went nearly 25 years with dodgy knees without knowing they are the result of alignment issues.

    The orthotics have recently started to fail me - I've had issues with my left knee for 8 weeks now and this week I've developed very painful bum-cheek/hip (piriformis?) issues. 2 weeks ago I got re-fitted for a new pair (£££ again) and I picked them up last night - desperate for them to be honest. But I'll need to let my current bum-cheek/hip issue settle 1st before running in them.

    My alignment issue is a little uncommon - with my right-hip being slightly hitched (longer leg?), I tilt. This means that unlike some people who have both feet either overpronating or supinating, I have 1 of each!

    I actually wear the orthotics all the time: in work, at weekends, at home in my slippers and while running. The only time I don't is is bed, the bath/shower, swimming pool/beach etc.

    Yes, the orthotics do take a few weeks to get used to , but eventually you don't notice them - it's a great relief when the legs and feet feel 'just right' :-)

    Hope you get on OK with yours,


  • Did you have a few aches and pains while getting used to them and if so how long did they last?

    I wear mine only when running and in the gym because the podiatrist said I'm "not that bad"! My pelvis sits lower on the left which puts pressure on the ITB which throws the knee out and my arches have fallen a tad too, but apart from all that I'm great!

    Apparently the vast majority of us are not "balanced" which maybe explains the high rate of injury in running.

  • I can honestly say I had more pains and aches *before* the orthotics than the 1st weeks after I started with them. It felt odd, but that's all. After a few weeks, it was like they weren't there.

    Having said that, I did need them adjusting a few times - some niggles in the knees during/after running. The adjustments worked and everything was great up until very recently.

  • Interesting stuff. I can see frequency plots/histograms as being interesting as well. And identifying common routes vs new routes. So many variables to compare.

  • I love this :)

  • Interesting to see that data John_W .

    Is that a natural progression, or have you done any specific speed training?

  • Thanks - the early post-C25K stuff was natural progression, but then I started doing a LOT of interval sessions on the treadmill (blue dots in the lower graph). That helped me enormously with improving my outdoors 5k time. I continue to do 2 treadmill interval sessions a week - one is a set of 4 min reps for speed endurance and I'm very gradually increasing the speed I do that at. The other is based on the C25k+ Speed podcast, i.e. 1 min reps - but this one is a 'pyramid' , i.e. a build up the speed bit to a maximum and then bring the speed back down, so it goes:

    6.8 km/h (warm up walk)

    9.5 km/h (recovery jog) - 3 minutes

    13.5 (1 min)

    9.5 (1 min)

    14.5 (1)

    9.5 (1)

    16.4 (1)

    9.5 (1)

    16.4 (1)

    9.5 (1)

    14.5 (1)

    9.5 (1)

    13.5 (1)

    9.5 (3 minutes)

    6.8 km/h (cool down walk)

    From my limited experience, I'd say that intervals are by far the most *efficient* way of increasing your speed and fitness.



  • Thanks John, I've been reading similar advice, but it's good to hear it from someone that's been there, done that. :)

  • No problem. Have a look through some of my previous posts re my 5k PBs - you'll see the improvement - mostly down to interval training.

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