Couch to 5K
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30 minutes but only 3.65 km

Week 9, run 2. For the first time, decided to run on a treadmill as I wanted some actual measurements. Well, not very encouraging.. Started well at 8km/hr speed, but settled at about 7 km/hr. Ran ( if I can call that running at this speed) for full 30 minutes, but clocked only 3.65 km .

Feeling disappointed. I had thought should be able to cover at least 4-4.25 km, but falling significantly short. That magic 5k / 30 min looks still so far .

Appreciate any tips for increasing speed , without increasing heart rate any more ( already it was quite high at 165 -170 bpm) .

13 Replies

I'm no expert, but I think just carry on doing what you're doing. I've just completed my third 30 minute run:

On my first one, I ran 3.26km, at a pace of 9.11 min/km.

Second one was 3.38km, at a pace of 8.53 min/km.

And third one was 3.54km, at a pace of 8.29 min/km.

I haven't done anything differently each time, so I can only assume that practice makes perfect. Okay, at my rate I'm going to be a long time reaching perfect, but hey, I'm in no rush...!

In any case, you're doing better than me, and I'm a run ahead, so well done! Congratulate yourself on what you have done, rather than commiserate yourself on what you haven't!


I see good improvement in 3 runs .. Some consolation then .. Hopefully next run, I will try to get additional .35 km , which is a 10 % improvement .. not likely to be easy, but I will try


Please don't beat yourself up. As I understand it the program is more about stamina than speed. And you are in very good company in not covering 5k in 30 mins (or frankly 40 mins)

Have you seen the c25k+ podcasts? Once i graduate, my plan is to use those (one is speed, one stamina I think) then increase the distance by 10% a week til I get to 5k. Once I get there, I will work on the speed. 30 mins is a pretty decent 5k so I wouldn't worry about not being there just yet.

Can't offer specific speeding-up help, therefore, just general encouragement that you're not alone! Best wishes.


Thanks for your kind words. Yes, I have downloaded those + podcasts, but haven't gone through them yet. Going in a sequence.. hopefully, next run I will try covering close to 4 k in 30 min .


My stats are just the same as yours, it takes me 38 minutes to run 5k, what you are doing is fabulous, I think sometimes its too easy to focus on the 5k bit, and forget the big picture,

Think of the progress you have made, it still amazes me everytime I go out that I can run for more than a minute!


True. I agree. Just couple of months ago, I wasn't able to run for more than 2 minutes . Also, had a foot injury, which took 15 days away ( after week 8 r2 ). Just wondering, should I first focus on improving speed or work on running more (say 40 min) to get close to 5k mark?


Hi :-)

I'd say try to aim for running for a longer time. I'm just newly graduated and no idea of my speed or distance yet but I very much doubt I'm near 5k even on a 'good' run where I feel able to push harder and go faster.

I may well download the 5k+ podcasts if I can find them and have a go.


Correct. I was thinking on similar lines. Thanks for your encouraging remarks and advice .


Hi, if it's any help I graduated last November and have kept running but I still can't do 5k in 30 mins. My fastest one is just under 35 mins but I'm still proud that I can run that distance 35 minutes faster than I did last summer :-) I've stopped worrying about the speed and have been enjoying trying to go a bit further instead and I'm now up to 8k and considering entering a 10k run. Well done on your running, just enjoy and don't get too hung up on distance.


Thank you. I will try to emulate you. All the best for 10k


Hi 75bish. Speed is simply a factor of stride length times steps per minute. Increasing one or the other or both will produce more speed. Do you know either your stride length or steps per minute figures?

A 'good fast pace' is about 160-170 steps per minute. If your pace is significantly less than this you should try to increase the number of steps you take per minute - ie move your legs faster. To do this you may need to shorten your stride.

However to do 5k in 30 mins at 160 steps per minute you also need a stride length of at least 105cm (ie 1000m / 6mins x 160 steps) so if your stride length is shorter than this you will need to lengthen your stride. Be careful not to hurt yourself doing this as over-striding is a major cause of injury.

If you cannot maintain a 105cm stride at 160 steps per minute (or some very similar combination) then realistically 5k in 30 minutes is simply not possible for you. Do not be disheartened though - you will most certainly not be alone on this forum (and very probably in the majority).


My attitude is -- considering that the World record for the 5K is about 12 minutes -- unless you are seriously contemplating beating that, what is the point of any attempt to run a faster 5K ???? :) You are only always ever going to come in second, at best !!!! :)

However - now that you are one of the very few people in the western World who can actually run 5K at any speed, you can now concentrate on becoming one of the much fewer people who can run (say) 10 klms -- or even perhaps aim to join the minuscule numbers of people who are members of the " I FINISHED A MARATHON" Club. I have my eye on membership of the 65-69 year old Division of that Club -- it is a very elite club, I believe. Trouble is , I may actually be 70 by the time I am able to attempt to join -- but an advantage would be that my position in the hierarchy of that Division would be even higher. :)

1 like

I started this programme last year and it takes me 45 minutes to do 5k. The problem with me is that after 30 minutes (especially on a treadmill) I get bored. I do vary the routine - inclines etc, sprint, but if I get too out of breath it puts me off. I think slow and steady, build up your stamina. If you go too fast too soon you'll get an injury. I run for me - to feel better, to keep the weight off, to feel more energised. As the poster above says, I'll never the fastest and I'm not that bothered when people dash past me in 5k races. To be honest, I finished last in my 'team' of 6 in the last Race for Life, but I was also the only one who wasn't panting and struggling to walk back to the car park afterwards....I was also the only one who wasn't sore the next day!


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