Couch to 5K
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Distance or speed?

I have just graduated, and my 5k time is slowly coming down (from about 42 to 35 mins). Problem is I have 2 targets in my head and trying to meet both means I am not completing either.

I want to do a sub-30 min 5k and get up to 10k.

Has anyone tried the c25k+ podcasts, or bridge to 10k, or any other plans. I need something to aim for with a nice rigid structure, and at the moment there are too many options so I am just pissing about.

What would you go for?

9 Replies

It is easy to feel in limbo post grad and the options are bewildering. I couldn't stick any more of the C25k music so said goodbye to Laura. I graduated a few weeks ago and have been pushing towards 10k by the end of this month, by doing one run per week where I add to my distance by approximately 1k per time (other people recommend 10%). To improve speed, I am going to set up intervals on Runkeeper, so that I do twenty seconds of faster pace every five minutes, during a 5.5k run. My other run each week is just a gentle 5.5k, with no pressure or targets, just purely for pleasure. Add in a park run about once a month and I will be quite content with this regime, although watching the Great North Run on the telly has started to raise some other possibilities.....


10% or 1km a week (or whatever works for you), the idea is to reign yourself in to stop you from over doing it.

What worked for me was to do 1 long(er) run a week and 2 5km (1 fast, 1 slow).


The music is what's putting me off the 5k+ idea. I'd rather listen to some Killers or Robyn while running where at least I can distract myself with the lyrics than generic and slightly naff dance. My speed always goes up when listening to Robyn, don't know if it's the beat or because I am enjoying myself.

Might go for your plan of keep adding another km each time I go out. It's just an arse measuring out routes to work out how far an extra km is. Maybe I should go back to Henley where I know it's exactly a mile between the 2 bridges.


Surprisingly, I run faster without music, but I do like to run to sounds of my choice.

Runkeeper keeps track of intervals, time and distance for me, so I only need to work out an approximate length of route. Laps of known distance at the start of my run enable me to add multiples of these to the overall distance, although I much prefer not to repeat sections of a run.

My plan has worked for me to date and I have returned a sub 30min 5k and am comfortably on target for the 10k, which I have not even set a time for yet. Tell us how you get on. Your question is one that all graduates face. Enjoy your running.

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> Might go for your plan of keep adding another km each time I go out.

> It's just an arse measuring out routes to work out how far an extra km is.

Rather than adding a km each run - just increase one run each week and keep the others the same length. What I did following completion of C25K was to do three different runs each week:

1 x speed intervals run - you could use music or simply run between 'markers' eg trees, lampposts, road junctions

1 x tempo run - running for 30 mins at a steady fast-ish pace

1 x long, slow run - at 'conversational pace' ie slow enough to be able to talk. You don't need to measure this, but simply add on 5 mins each week.


I did pretty much the same as Swanscot, mixing intervals with some hill work, + a stedy 5K, + a longer run once a week. It took me 6 weeks to get to 10K and my time was just about 2 x 5K times give or take 1 minute. Which meant I was keeping a steady pace. My first 10K was made up of 2 x 5K routes linked together in a figure of 8. The second half being my favorite route which helped, so when my brain started saying "I've had enough" I was into my second half and enjoying an old favorite route which I had not done for a while.

I still mix up my running but have no huge desires to beat times or distances, if it happens then so be it. Was very pleased to get a new PB yesterday more by accident than planning though. :)

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Congrats on the PB :) and thank you all for the advice. Think I might try and up it by 10% a week and do 2 runs at the longer length and then one 5k trying to up the pace.

Just had a go at stepping stone - the music was every bit as high quality as I expected but might do it a couple more times so I don't feel quite as close to death at the end. I love couch to 5k. I can't believe I am doing 5k. I'm the girl who had to walk part of the 200m when we were at school and I could not comprehend how anyone could run the 1500m.


I was also the girl who had to walk part of the annual 'how fast can everyone run' race at school. And now I have just graduated and can run 5k - never ever thought I would. Having a look at bridge to 10k but not sure I have enough time. Might try the C25K+ runs, might just increase the weekend run?


If you k ow roughly how fast you run per mile/km, you could simply extend your run by that time - easier than trying to plot a route in advance.

I graduated at the end of July and managed to run 6.5 miles a couple of weeks ago - I built up from 30 minutes to 35, 40, 50 and then an hour, one long run a week. I used the other 2 runs each week to run a 5k and a shorter speed/intervals session.


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