Couch to 5K

Confused about how to time a run and am I correct that you shouldn't increase your running time by more than 10% a week?

I have just done W9R2 so I have very nearly graduated :)

My question is at the pace I go, my 5min warm up walk, the 30 min jogging and a slightly longer cool down walk takes me to a time of about 45 minutes to complete 5K.

I am looking to be able to jog 5K so I guess I need to knock off my warm up and cool down time when I count how long it has taken me to do 5K and purely count the running.

How is the best way to go about increasing my running distance past 30mins of running ? I think I read somewhere that you should increase your running prog by no more than 10%. I am not sure at the moment I could make myself go any faster than I do. Not sure of outside speed but jog at 7kph on a treadmill.

Would I be better to spend my time trying to go faster for 30mins so I cover 5K quicker or perhaps increase my jogging time to 33 mins next week so I have the stamina to run for longer but at a slower pace to cover 5k.

Hope that makes sense.

Thank you :D

8 Replies

These times you are quoting are just numbers inside your head :) You can only run as fast as your body will allow you , your level of fitness (both physical and aerobic). Your body knows nothing about these numbers inside your head :) - it will only do what it wants to do. Just keep on running - and try to "advance" a little each week (either increase pace or increase length of run - but not both). We all have our limits - and even if we do achieve some desired race time , "so"???

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Bazza1234 you have said what I thought. I appreciate my body does not understand the numbers but I just want to find a way to build upon my C25K time. I think I will try and keep the same pace but extend the distance I run as I think physically that is more possible for me than running faster.


Hi Mum2run you are nearly there! Well done. I had the same questions, I am slow jogging outside and reckon on 45mins for 5k but I think Bazza is right we can only do what we can do. I will be trying to run for longer I think to get to the 5k and then try and increase speed once I get a bit more stamina. I cannot go any faster at the moment but when I think how I was at Week1 I know the programme is working and I am enjoying it so much- I never thought I would say that! Good luck with your running and keep us posted. x


Increasing your running time or distance by approximately 10% per week is a common recommendation. Many of us have exceeded that, but there is a timely reminder at which is worth taking note of. Well done on getting to where you are and good luck with your future running.


All of the 5Ks that I have run so far (both around home and at Parkrun) have involved some sort of RUN/WALK programme . Firstly the Mayo Clinic programme that I did only ever went to 30second/30second intervals - and over the last few weeks of doing this C25K programme , I have been experimenting a little bit at Parkrun using different intervals (1min/1min and 90sec/30secs). So far my average pace for the 5Ks at Parkrun have all been almost exactly the same - regardless of which interval :) I am ultimately intending to do a 14 K race in August and I am sure that I will have to both train and run using some kind of interval scheme - I REALLY can't see myself ever running 14 Ks non stop - and my question is "Do I really have to or need to???" I will stick with this programme and see where it takes me -- but my desire is simply to FINISH, both in regards to 5K which I already have done even though I am only on Week 3 of this programme and the longer 14K (complete with "Heartbreak Hill!!!) in August. Weall have different things that we have in our mind that we would like to achieve - I just think in regard to a beginner like myself running that I just have to take it easy, get more miles under my belt, get better cardio fitness, don't injure myself and try to enjoy!! :)


IannodaTruffe - thanks for that. Because I already suffer from a joint condition I am very well aware of my limitations / not doing too much because I have to live my life like that anyway. I feel if I plod along at the pace I am I could go for a little longer than 30min. I think I will do another few weeks of 30min and will then look to tack on 3 or so minutes and take it from there.


Good advice from all above, just like to add that as well as the 10% rule most programmes advise you scale back every 4th week or so, then you can up again.


I graduated 2 weeks ago, and I'm trying to do 2 "time boundried" runs and 1 "distance boundried" run per week. On weekdays, I really don't have more than an hour in total for this (including changing and shower time) to I'm using the timer on my app to make sure I'm not out the house for more than 40 minutes: 5 minutes walk, 30 minutes run, 5 minutes walk back to house. (I set the timer for 15 minutes when I start running then double back at that point).

On a Saturday morning, instead of using timer-mode, I'm using distance mode to set myself a target that is a wee bit longer than the previous week (using 0.25km increments, which is less than 10%) which means I'm out for a tad longer each Saturday.

Too soon to say if its working... My ultimate goal is to work up to 10k on a Saturday and to get to 5k in 30 minutes on weekdays.


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