Couch to 5K

Speed or distance?

So I graduated in January, got injured in February, had a 10 week recovery period, redid C25k and regraduated. Now I'm still running wk 9 twice a week and at least 5k at the weekend. I'm trying to improve my time and get down to 5k in 30 mins. Best so far 33 mins 30 secs. But thinking I should be running further too. Just wondering what everyone else does or thinks is s good idea. Thanks

Viki :-)

5 Replies

5k+ podcasts are good - I floundered about doing 3 "week 9" runs a week but it got a bit uninspiring. 5k+ helps increase speed and stamina. Try "Stepping stone" first to get a feel for the discipline of running to a specific pace then mix them up to suit what you want to improve. I do "Stepping stone" on Tuesdays over a hilly trail to get a bit of an aerobic workout, then Thursday nights I do "Speed" which is a short interval training run. Sundays I do "Stamina" which is a paced 35 minute run. I recommend the "No intro" versions of the podcasts. You still get Laura telling you what you're meant to be doing but not too much waffle.


Distance first, then speed is the usual way to go I think. I built up to 10km quite easily following stepping stones, speed & stamina. My sister talked me into entering a 10k race with her so it motivated me. Before that first 10k the most I had done in training was 7k... I'd really recommend entering an event, it gets you focused! I'm currently following a runners world magasine training plan which I'm finding very helpful.


I found my pace increased naturally with my distance when I was running in a past life. Running with others helped me. I joined a friendly running group locally that was welcoming to runners of all abilities and a year later, I had progressed through to the faster groups. Good luck!


With speed comes distance and with distance comes speed.

Decide what run you'd like to do, a fast or a long one, do that and enjoy it. Then next week you know that you can run for say 50 minutes as you did that last week, so you know that 30 minutes should be easy, so you should be able to run for 30 minutes at a slightly faster pace. And the otherway round is true as well, if you know you can run 5k in 30 minutes then you know that if you slow down you should be able to run for a longer time and get to a further distance.

Example: I'm just back from a parkrun. I know I can do that route in 26 minutes (my fastest time), I also know I can run for 90 minutes (my longest time, though I didn't cover 15k, no where near!). So I set out today to do a gentle parkrun, aiming for just under 30minutes, then continue running round the footpaths there for another 5k to try to consolidate the speed I can do on the shorter runs and the distance I can do on the longer runs into a 'fast' 10k. I did!

The moral of the story: Either speed or distance, it doesn't matter which, swap between them on alternate runs if you wish because both will help in the quest for the other!

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Sorry, I meant to add that the important thing is to enjoy the runs you're doing rather than become fixated on one or the other!


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