I'm new here - sorry if this has been covered a million times already!

I started C25k in February after a very comfortable 50 years on the Couch. I'm now genuinely utterly astonished to find myself capable of running 5k (as long as it doesn't really involve uphill bits). I've done five Parkruns and think that they're a great invention with such a welcoming atmosphere.

Anyway, my question is:

Should I work on my speed first before bothering to work towards a longer distance?

The fastest I've run 5k so far is 33 minutes 52 seconds (the first time I did it without stopping was on the treadmill and it took 50 minutes!)

8 Replies

  • Hi AnneDroid - I'd say improving either speed or stamina are good goals. What I'd recommend above all, though, is working on your running technique - it's amazing how much you can improve by adjusting your posture or breathing. I did it through "chi running" (http://chirunning.uk), but there are various similar methods to teach you correct style.

  • Actually - running longer "should" lead you to quicker 5K's. At this stage, what you need is not to aim for running faster - but aim for getting stronger with greater stamina. Increased stamina will allow you to run at a "fast" pace over the distance- thus a shorter 5K time. You probably don't need to increase your running speed - just go to some flat piece of land 400 metres long and see how fast you can run 400 metres -- you will find that your maximum pace over 400 metres is much faster than what your average pace over 5K is. The only problem is that you can't keep it up for 5K :) So you don't need to run faster as such- you need to improve your stamina to allow you to finish a 5K in a quicker time. Two quite different things.

  • I am in Bazza's camp. To run faster, run longer.

    Not only will your general condition improve, but you will know that you are capable of running well in excess of 5K, which helps with the psychology off pushing yourself, when aiming for speed. A varied training programme, including intervals and distance work, will return benefits in all departments. Remember to keep the increase in your weekly mileage within the 10% rule.

  • You could do longer runs, and yes they will help, but you could also do some intervals, nice short hard runs...try "Speed" with Laura, or use week 1 sprinting in the running bits and running slowly in the walk bits.

  • Well done, you are doing just brilliantly. My question to you is- what do you want to achieve? Do you want to be able to run longer or shorter faster? For most of us it's ultimately both but I went for distance first as that was more satisfying for me. 😎

  • Thanks. Sorry for the delay in replying. Was on my hols!

    I think what I'd be happy with - at least for the remainder of 2016 - is to consolidate running 5k without thinking I'm about to die. :) Also, I feel I can fit running for half an hour or so several times a week into my life quite easily.

    But everyone I know tells me that I will find myself wanting to run further and my brother wants me to do a 10k with him. So that might be for 2017...

  • Running up hills and or slopes is great exercise. Helps shred the mid section and increases puff ☺

  • Depends what you like, some folks prefer fast, others prefer long. Or both. Keeps things interesting, and a mix of running can fit nicely into a schedule when you're flexible.

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