How do I run slowly?: I know this may sound odd... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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How do I run slowly?


I know this may sound odd, but I want to know how to slow down. Just finished week 2. Now, I'm not that fast, but I am concerned a bit that the speed we go is going to be too much for a 3 min run. But we always seem to more or less match the music,and if I start concentrating on anything, eg pace, feet, breathing, I practically fall over my own feet. So , has anyone got tips for how to slow down but still be jogging (or can tell me music will be slower...)

5 Replies

My week 1 and week 2 speeds were definitely not maintainable for 3 mins. It took until week 6 before I covered the same distance as I covered in week 2! I think being aware that you have to run for 3 mins will make you pace yourself and you will find your natural jog very quickly. Laura gives some pretty good advice during your first 3 min run about how to run more efficiently which really helped me (I was all bouncy bouncy hoppity hop before then).

Good luck!


If you want to slow down, but keeping the same step rate, try taking shorter steps (instead of fewer steps). And ignore Laura's suggestion to land on your heels - most people seem to find it jar the heels and knees, and the website information has been updated since the podcasts were made.

If you land more or less on the middle of your foot, without stretching your legs ahead of you too far (so when you land, your foot is under your centre of gravity) it may also sort out leg aches. Keeping your body nearer to upright, rather than leaning forward my slow you down a bit too. As trish says, lots of bouncing about is just a waste of energy!

But don't worry about it - if you've got something that works, don't go changing it! :)

If your pace is too fast to sustain, you'll probably just end up going slower anyway, without having to think about it too much.

At the beginning my running was slower than the music and I was so out of breath I coundn't concentrate on anything. As I moved through the runs I was less out of breath - this happened slowly from weeks 3 and 4. So I had the same experience to you and as you get fitter your body will respond and breath more easily. Laura says if you are struggling to finish just slow the pace slightly. I repeated some of the runs too when I thought I needed to. So I still jog slowly in week 9 - but I feel I have a steady pace and can finish without lying down! In another week you will be amazed by how fit you are becoming.


Don't worry about matching the songs too much at this moment - just go at a pace which you feel you can sustain as the runs get longer.

To go a bit slower try taking smaller steps - shortening your stride a bit. When you warm up really walk briskly towards the end of that - then when you start running it should be barely any faster.

Stick with it, you'll find that going a nice slow steady pace will get you through.

This is an interesting post - I struggle to slow down. I tend to start off quite fast and then try to slow down - the music doesn't help. And weirdly I think if I run a bit faster it will be over quicker - forgetting I'm running for time not distance... doh. I have tried to shorten my pace and if I concentrate on each breath that slows me down and then I can manage the 3 minutes or so (I've just started week 4) but I need to slow down and maintain a pace to get to 5 minutes... It's interesting what Parkbirdy says above - that your running should be barely faster than a brisk walk... will have to remember that!

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