Best way to increase pace?

Any advice welcome! I have run 5k twice within the last week and it took me 38 min. i found it relativley easy and know I could go faster and push myself harder. I'd like to aim for 35 min (eventually 30 min) is that realistic?

I have a GPS watch wondered if the best way would be ty to keep running to a pace of around 7 km/h or should I and just go as before and just push myself the last k?


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23 Replies

  • I don't know the proper way, but what I have done for the last 4 weeks is do my park run on a Saturday, with no plan except to finish, then on a Tuesday and Thursday, I have set up my phone so I run normally for 5 minutes and then as fast as I can for 1 minute, and I do that for 35 minutes (miss out the last fast run) using the 5 minutes normal running to try and get my breath back. I'm assuming it's helping, as I got my park run time down from 39 mins in February to 36 mins 25 last Saturday

  • It's probably best to try some fartlek (Norwegian, I think, for fast-slow). Try running the third kilometre in 8 km p/h, but make sure you stick to the 7 km/h pace for the remaining 4. Then you can play with variations. eg second and fourth kilometres at 8km/h, or try one at 9km (or 500m). The other thing to do is increase your stride length (easier on the downhill), but maintain the tempo. Both these things will make your body work harder and strengthen it.

  • HI

    when I was struggling to improve on time I found the following helped helped.

    First do some power exercises for the legs on alternative days such as lunge jumps, bench jumps, squats with weights, bunny hops ( has some good workouts to download for free)

    Second rather than do distance runs do some hill runs or 10 shuttle sprints (200m jog, 100m sprint)

    And lastly (and I know this may seem odd but in 3 weeks it knocked of 1min per km for me) go to a sports physio and get some exercises to loosen the hips and pelvis it really made my running technique a lot more balanced and smoother. I now use a hard rubber ball to lie on and roll over the hips joints and glutes.

    hope they work for you

  • if you have a garmin set the pace to average pace and here are the speed you need 9 min pace get you 28 mins if google running pace converter it will give you the pace you need to run at hope this helps you have fun

  • Thanks all some great tips. I don't have q Garmin I have a soleus. I worked out to get to 35 mim for 5 k.I need to average 7 I like the idea of trying interval or fartlek. I.have set watch to laps of 1k so next run I will try variation on pace rather then consistency.

  • Do you ever listen to music when you're running?

  • I'm going to start by saying that time isn't the be-all-and-end-all as far as I'm concerned. OK, it's good to beat your PB, but it's not my major aim. I just love being out in the fresh air and enjoying the countryside ~ especially at this time of year.

    To increase speed though, I would suggest trying some hill work. Sprint up them, jog down and do some straight running and fartlek in-between

    Good luck, enjoy the spring and .keep safe and injury free.

  • Hi I do Listen to music And did look into beats per min but it all seemed confusing. I like the speed podcast but its not long enough to run 5k. I lnow time isn't be all and end all, but i know I can run harder and push myself more. Last night when I'd finished 5k i could have run longer hence I know I should have pushed Harder but I find it very difficult to do! I'm hoping to get back into parkrun maybe that will help. I ran it only once before my last son and I had a time of 35 min so I know i can do it. I finished completley worn out but I kept going I ran with someone else so that kept me going. I usually run alone as that's convenience having thtee young kids having to fit around them

  • It's worth doing the speed podcast once a week (or some other form of intervals as suggested by others here). It's not 5km, but it does make you run faster, and you can try to increase how far you run during the podcast to give yourself something to aim at.

    If you're on about 38 minutes, you might find the stamina podcast gets your time down a bit. The beats per minute increase during the run, so you *should* get "negative splits" which is what is recommended. You can then also tell if the bpm are close to what is comfortable for you, and find some other music of your choice to make yourself a playlist.

    I think if you can get into doing parkruns fairly regularly you'll find it helps - having others around makes it tempting to go off too fast, but if you can pace yourself, you can use other people to help you get round, and you'll also have an "official" record of your p.b.

    Just remember that improving your pb won't happen every time, and not every run will feel like it's contributing to that aim, but it is good to have a target and something to aim at. Enjoy your running.

  • I am in same place as you Know I can do the distance but just can't seem to increase speed on park run Sometimes 'feels' like really good run and sure it must be faster but lately all about same times I agree that PB not the be all and all but something inside of me just wants the challenge of trying how to work out how to improve it So going to look at suggestions you've been given and give some a try

  • Hi,If you try to push yourself slightly more of the back foot,even by 10 per cent. Breathe deeply and steadily and you will get the results you want.Good luck.

  • Have you tried doing 5k as a run/walk? It will almost certainly be quicker (and easier) than running all the way. Odd but true. Try to un faster than 7mins/km (maybe aim for 6:30 or 6:00) for 5 minutes or so and then walk as briskly as you can (eg 9 mins/km) while getting your breath back for no more than 1 minute. Repeat until you reach 5k.

    I think this also trains you to run faster anyway so after a few run/walks you should find your pace improves when you run all the way.

    PS If you try this please let me know how you get on.

  • Good idea to do intervals as suggested, but also it's been written about on here before that a lot of us find we get a bit faster on our 5ks once we run longer distances (say 10k+) because it improves stamina.

  • Thabks everyone for taking time to post. I have done tge speed workout before and enjoyed it, but I found the stamina one hard going not sure why .

    Runninginbeirut what do you mean by negative splits?

  • The time for each km gets shorter as you go, so your slowest is your first km and the fastest is your last one. I have to say that it doesn't usually happen for me because of an inconveniently situated hill in kms 4 and 5!

    Stepping stones might be easier to start with if you found stamina challenging.

  • I always thought It was cheating to walk during parkrun! I know lots ofppeople do but I think id want to keep going. I might try it on one of my own runs though and see. The idea of 10k scares me it just seems a big jump! I'll definatey give the stamina podcast a go again. All being well hopefully I.will beat 38 min tomorrow evening :-)

  • The idea of 5k scares most people, doesn't it? If you can run 5k, you can run 10k - just take your time working your way up there. Or increase your time running by 10% (maximum) a week and work up to running for an hour. Either way you'll be increasing your stamina and then when you go for a shorter run, you'll go faster because you know you won't be going as far so don't need to keep as much in reserve.

  • no, its not cheating to walk. Its a great way to measure your progress. when I started parkrun, I used the week 1 intervals, running 60 seconds, walking 90 for the full 5k. Now I've graduated, I still cant do the full 5k running, but I'm only doing 1 x 2min walk. I'll really feel as if I've progressed on the day I get rid of that, but that may be a few more weeks. I'll try cut it down to 1 x 1 min walk first, for a week or 2, then try to stop it altogether. The parkrun I go to, they are all very friendly, and before I did the first one, I chatted to them about it, saying I couldnt run very much, and they were all 'well come along and do as much as you can'

  • It isn't cheating. Some schools of thought (ex. "Running Room" in Canada) actually encourage walking during runs, and their goal is usually run 10 min, walk (briskly) 1, rinse and repeat. I've heard that this method can actually be faster for the full distance time, because the walk break let's people run faster the rest of the time. I personally like running continuously and find walking breaks my stride, but you don't have to worry about it being "cheating".

  • That definitely makes sense

    maybe I will start working toward doing 6k once a week, with one shorter sprintartlek/hill run, and the parkrun. (our course quite flat)

  • That sprintartlek/hill run has such a great sounding name, I might be tempted to try one myself ;)

  • Haha the way it displays on my phone in the preview box keeps changing my spacing. I'm sure you know what I mean!

    helcl I dont mean really cheating, sorry if it came across funny. but personally I would feel I'd cheated as I know I can run without stopping. I hope that makes sense? I don't want to offend anyone. I've only ran it once and went past lots of people walk / running.

  • Do some Internet research on Jeff Galloway. An ex-US Olympian who has completed over 150 Marathons - he now earns his breadcrust training runners. He loudly promotes run/walking for even elite level athletes. He says that the biggest problem he has is getting around the athletes' egos. He wants them to take a 1 minute walk within 5 minutes (or so) of starting a Marathon!!!! Shock - horror!!!!

    From my perspective - it doesn't seem to matter what run/walk ratio I use at Parkrun, I always seem to come home around the same time. The theory says that if you run a long time, you tire out and run slower than if you only run for short times (with walking intervals interspersed) . Seems to be the case for me -- except with the one advantage that shorter running intervals usually leaves me feeling stronger and fresher at the finish than when using longer running intervals.

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