Started my 5-10k programme

Having completed C25K at the weekend I have had a 3 day break whilst deciding what my next running goal should be. The 3 options were;

a) improve my 5k time (currently 24:08)

b) extend to 10k

c) give up running altogether

Mrs L is not in favour of (c) as I will have wasted my money on shoes, lycra, bluetooth headphones etc. Also I think she feels I should do some sort of strenuous exercise like she does (she goes spinning 2x per week - I tried it once and was nearly sick afterwards - never again).

My research for option (a) seems to indicate that it will involve doing longer runs to improve speed, fitness, stamina etc which to my mind means it is actually the same as option (b). I therefore investigated 5-10k programmes and concluded that I didn't like any of them as they did not have proper weekly targets (I do not consider "run for 40 minutes" to be a proper target). I have therefore designed my own programme.

I currently average about 5 minutes per km and so do 5 km in sub-25 and 6 km in 30. My goal is therefore very simple - to do 10 km in 50 minutes (ie to maintain my 5 mins average speed) and my programme is equally simple;

W1 - 3x 7km runs, at least one to be sub 35 mins

W2 - 3x 8km runs, at least one to be sub 40 mins

W3 - 3x 9km runs, at least one to be sub 45 mins

W4 - 3x 10 km runs, at least one to be sub 50 mins

Within each week I intend to experiment with different run/walk patterns and maybe (but not necessarily) do 1 continuous run.

Today I did W1R1 as 3x 9 minute runs at 4:45 target pace with 1 minute brisk walk recoveries, plus 5 minutes 'as fast as' at the end. Result: 7km in 35:06 or 5:01 per km. I am very pleased with this 1st effort as I am sure I can find 6 seconds just by not running into a blind cul-de-sac again - duh!

I will report back on progress over the next 4 weeks.


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28 Replies

  • I'm already exhausted! But well done you. Your 5K time is astoundingly fabulous and I think your 10K time will be too. I did a 10K this morning in 61 minutes, and although it was hard, I really enjoyed it. I don't think I could EVER do it ten minutes quicker! Keep us updated though.

  • In a month's time I may well be saying the same thing Dan. We shall see. How long did it take you to get from 5-10k and have you ever tried run/walk?

  • I took me 10 MONTHS! Dunno, but it did. Mentally just couldn't "get there" until recently. I also have a walk break when I do 10K otherwise.....I would die!

  • Erm, I am not sure that fear of a close encounter with the grim reaper is the best way to programme in your walk breaks Dan. They should be more pre-planned so you can pace yourself & know when your 'reward' is coming up. Walk/run has been shown to be faster than all-run. I bet if you did 6x 9 min runs with 1 min walk rests you would actually knock a couple of minutes off your current PB...

  • You're probably right actually. I do plan my walks at the halfway mark which usually does the trick. Must try your idea though.....thanks!

  • Dan, since my last comment I have put all my km splits into a spreadsheet (I know, I know) and have been surprised to find that my fastest times to 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5k were all on the same run (my only other run/walk) a month ago when I ran for 5:30 and walked for 1. Amazingly it seems that shorter running intervals are actually faster than longer ones even though you have more walk time overall. I will do my next 7k run the same way to prove/disprove this in a couple of days time & let you know.

  • Chrisl

    Having read a lot of Galloway's writings, this does seem to be true, but only for longer races or for people without good cardio fitness - and I am sure that most find it to be counter-intuitive. I think that it also depends on run length and the degree of cardio fitness a runner has (in that, a person with limited cardio fitness can be very fast in a 5k race -- which is largely run anaerobically-- but not very fit for a marathon which is run largely aerobically) This is , I think, why Galloways training programmes for long distance running involves much longer "long runs" than many others do and at slow pace using small run/walk ratios). PS -- For somebody like me a 14 Klm ace IS Marathonic I is that a word -- it must be, I just used it! :) ) , so that is why I will be using a Galloway programme for my training.

  • Hi Bazza, apparently the recommended interval ratios depend on your level of fitness more than the distance to be run. Once you are past the stage of needing very frequent walking intervals because you are unable to run for more than a few minutes (cf the early weeks of C25K) it seems that 5:1 is a good start point extending to 10:1 for more experienced runners. I will do my next 7k run at 6:1 simply because that divides nicely into my 35 minute target.

  • There are lots of thoughts regarding this. My suspicion is that run/walk should be kept to less than 5:1 if it is to truly be used for the benefits it gives. Run/walk ratios above that are probably more for slowly getting people to run non-stop (as per C25K) . For example, I really fail to see any benefit ( run/walk wise) in running 2x20 minutes with a 1 minute walk break -- except that it is psychologically easier than running 40 minutes non-stop. There would be no physical benefits . With run/walk, the recovery (walk) period is as important as the run period - it is the recovery period that allows our bodies to rebuild strength for the next run period. Small recovery periods after a long run don't achieve much except pychologically.

    However, I do note that John Bingham's marathon training programmes start out with shorter 2:1 ratios and slowly build to up to 5:1 for longer distance runs. That does seem counter intuitive to me. I am intending to adopt a "wait and see" attitude towards long runs. After a long run, I will consider how it went. If it went well and I felt strong at the end, indicating a good sign for the next weeks longer run - I will continue with the same ratio. If it didn't go well , I will then consider cutting the ratio back to make the next run "easier" . This would mean that perhaps I should start the programme with a high ratio -say 5/1 - which would allow me to use shorter run times and/or longer recovery walk times as the distances get longer.

  • My understanding is that one is really trying to find a balance whereby the length of the walk period is just sufficient to return heart & breathing rates to normal and give the legs some respite after the exertions of the running interval. As one gets fitter 2 things happen; you can run at a faster speed and/or for longer and also your heart & breathing rates return to normal more quickly. When I did 5:30/1 I felt I could run quite quickly and felt rested in the minute. When I did 9/1 today it was harder to run for the longer time at that same pace and I was not fully back to normal after the minute. From what you have said about your own running I suspect you would need a shorter run interval than me, though that might be coupled with a walk of less than a minute if your heart breathing rates come down quickly. I agree absolutely about the 2x20/1 scenario. That is unlikely to be optimal for anyone.

  • Yes -- agree with all of that above. One thing I have noted is that, currently, if I take a 1 minute walk break after a run period that has taken a bit out of me, I kind of feel OK to continue the next run period,can and do . BUT -- if I use a HRM to see what is happening to my heart rate, it is obvious that my heart rate has still not come down low enough and needs more time . So, even with using run/walk , I think that it is still possible to "hit the wall" even if we have taken walk breaks -- they may not be as long as they should be - sometimes our own enthusiasm overcomes us - you can see that at the start of any Parkrun, people with too much enthusiasm who have to walk the last bit of the race.

  • I agree Bazza. I intend to experiment both with the frequency of the walks and also the length of them to see which combo enables me to run fastest over 5k & 10k. My logic is that overall speed must indicate the combo that is 'best' for the body as it enables it to perform at its maximum capability over the given distances. That may mean starting to run again before HR is fully down or indeed waiting another 30 secs after HR appears to be back to normal - we shall see.

  • Good luck with your 10K quest. Best wishes.

  • Thanks Fitmo. I expect I will be saying the same to you in 3 weeks time...

  • I did 'string a whole run together' RNW, several of them, culminating in the 3 W9 runs when I averaged 6k in 30 mins for a 5:00 km pace. I have to say though that I did not much enjoy them as each was just one long slog.

    This may be a bit heretical given the C25K emphasis on running continuously but I simply do not see what is wrong with taking regular walking breaks - particularly if the result is a faster run overall. All the evidence suggests that run/walk is not only faster but actually much less injury-inducing than continuous running.

    If you could improve your own 5k or 10k PB by taking planned walking breaks and running faster in between, why wouldn't you?

  • Actually , according to Galloway, it is meant to be "habit forming" and he insists that it be taken from the very start. He says that , when he trains even elite athletes , the biggest difficulty he has is to get them to take a walk break only a few minutes after starting a Marathon . He says it is their egos that get in the way - and says definitely the time to NOT start taking walk breaks is when your body starts to tell you that it needs them -- it is to late by then and the damage has been done.

  • Thanks Bazza. I thought you might add your twopeneth.

  • I have always thought you a but nutty, but the very fact that you are continuing to run leads me to believe there may be a spark of passion in there somewhere....I have no doubt that you will nail it.

  • Nutty? Moi? At least I go out wearing my full complement of under garments!

  • Tee hee. Now, now children.

    Very thorough, scientific approach there Chris and Baz. I just walk when I can't run anymore, get my breath back and run again. I hate planning things, and am spontaneous about everything, but I agree those who plan and get themselves organised etc are more likely to have the best times as they've set their stall out to succeed, and their training is going to be properly thought out

    Good luck with it Chris

  • Exactly Miss W. I suspect the famous 7 Ps saying (*) applies equally well to running as to business.

    * Proper Planning & Preparation Prevents P*ss Poor Performance...

  • Don't think I've heard that 1. May be you should include some burpees to support your fitness drive and that way you can change your mind on the marathon next year... ;-)

  • Misswobble

    There are people who watch things happen - there are people who make things happen -- and there are people who wonder what happened!! :) I like to watch !!

  • Too much information Bazza.

  • I think I'm in the 'wonder what happened' camp.

    Firstly well done on completing The C to 5k. Secondly 10k in 50 minutes! That'll be fantastic and I'm sure you'll do it. Will you be watching the marathon tomorrow? I think you'll be there next year...

  • Not a prayer Tinyrun. I dont have anywhere near the dedication needed for a marathon.

  • Me neither but I am doing Burpees! I didn't know what one was til a few weeks ago

    Planks (well sort of), yoga, blah blah. All grist to the mill

    Anyway, maybe Chris I shall be a reformed woman and get my act together and become Little Miss Organised .....

    ...and then I woke up! I arranged to go walking over the weekend but I managed NOT to pack any socks. Blush I managed to borrow a pair. They'd been ironed!!!!! Crikey. Such levels of perfection are beyond me I'm afraid

  • I make it a general rule never to go walking with anyone who irons their socks. There is a huge difference between being organised and severe OCD.

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