Couch to 5K
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How do you pace yourself?

Hi, I'm only on wk2r3, but I am concerned I have no idea whether I am running at an appropriate speed or not. I had to slow down on this session so am going to repeat it, but can't really tell whether I am going to quick (or slow!) in the first place. Any chance there is an app anywhere that is like a metronome with beats per minute for a decent time to do a 5k? for all I know I might get to week 8/9 and be running for 30 minutes but what if that is loads off of a 5k because I'm running so slowly?

8 Replies

If you can finish the podcast then you are running at a good pace. At the moment the emphasis is on the endurance and increasing stamina, and if you finish each run easily then you can push the pace up slightly, if you struggle, you slow the pace down a little. Dont worry about speed at this stage. So long as you finish the run, you move on to the next one. Everyone is different. If you get to week 9 and aren't covering 5k (like I did, and I still havent managed 5k yet) then you can start working on speeding up or running longer then. but for now, you are building up to running 30 minutes continuously.

and congratulations, you should be very proud of yourself for finishing the first 2 weeks.


Helcl is absolutely correct, do not worry too much about the pace, as long as you are making yourself work. I do believe that you should run as fast as you can manage, to get the most out of C25k, but it is the duration that you are pushing at the moment, not speed. My maximum sustainable pace is defined by my breathing. If I am puffing too much I know that I can't keep that up for long, so I ease back the pace until I can control my breathing. By keeping yourself near this point you will be running about as efficiently as you can, working heart and lungs and in time you will see improvements in speed and your breathing.

Good luck. Keep running, keep smiling.


Most people do a very slow jog in the early weeks of the programme and even graduates will say that they are still some way off doing 5K in 30 minutes. Just enjoy the early stages at a light jog (as instructed by Laura) and you will build up the stamina and speed over time. If you push yourself too hard, too soon, you risk injury. Good luck with the programme. Best wishes.


No confusing advice on this forum! Slow and steady wins the day. Distance first, speed later. Once you graduate, you will be able to concentrate on speeding up, if that's what you want to do. Until then, concentrate on getting to 30 mins of running and don't worry about how quickly you are going.

Well done for getting to week 2, and good luck for the rest of the programme.



yes - the object of this programme is to finish the programme - each week of it - at any pace that you can use to FINISH.

I have deviated from the latter 2-3 weeks of this programme and replaced it with the last few weeks of a programme from Runners World. The reason that I did this is because it appeared to me to be more logically "progressive". So now, I have reached the point where I have completed a 2x15 minute run with the 15 minute runs separated by a 1 minute walk. This final week will see me attempting a 20 minute straight run - followed by a 25 minute straight run 2 days later and this followed by the final 30 minute run.

During these longer time runs, I have been using my breathing to slow me down. By forcing myself to breathe in for 4 paces and breathe out for 4 paces, I have found that I have the stamina ( and breath control) to finish the goal. Later I will run faster using a 3/3 or even a 2/2 breathing rhythm. But first - from a psychological viewpoint, I have to FINISH the 30 minute non-stop run at any pace that allows me to finish it . Once I have done that I can concentrate on running faster ( for 5 K races) - and concentrate further on running slowly to FINISH a 10 mile (16klm) race.


Hi again Bazza. That final week looks tough. Stepping up from 20 to 25 to 30 mins in just a few days... Let me know how you get on wont you?

After all my vacillating I actually decided to stick with C25K to the letter and can report that, although it looks a bit illogical towards the end it does actually work. I have just done W9R2 this morning and will complete my 3rd 30 minute run at the weekend.


It sounds like big steps from 20 to 25 to 30 minutes - but bear in mind that over the past 3 weeks I have done 2x10 minutes, 2x11 mins, 2x12mins, 2x13mins , 2x14mkins and finally 2x15 minute runs ( all with a 1 minute walk break in the middle of them) as daily progressions. The biggest phychological hurdle for me will be the doing away with the 1 minute walk breaks :)

I will do the 20 minute non-stop run as part of next Saturdays local Parkrun ( will probably finish the 5K with some kind of walk run interval) - and then do the 25 and 30 minute runs local to home.

We had departed for a 5 week camping trip around South Eastern Australia - 3 weeks into it we have had to return home due to an immediate family serious medical problem. I got in some enjoyable early morning runs in some remote places that I probably will never run in again.



I'm at week eight and no where near 5K, more like 3k, Its a bit of a shock I know but at the same time |I know I'm progressing and my 5k will appear eventually. I actually slowed my speed at around two weeks and found my stamina became better, as did my breathing etc.. Just go with it..


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