10k - is it just too far to run regularly? - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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10k - is it just too far to run regularly?


I graduated 4 weeks ago. I run quite quickly so was already up to 6k in the 30 mins and thought I would simply add a km each week to get up to 10k. I was fine up to 8k even at 5mins per km pace, I could run round and feel fine afterwards. But last week when I did 9k and this week when I did 10k it was slightly different. I could still do the run OK - not at 5mins per km pace as I was starting the run with other people and then running on ahead at about the halfway point - but I did 10k in 58:37 so OK considering the 1st half was at well over 6mins pace. And immediately afterwards I felt fine, really OK, not puffing too much and not aching or exhausted.

However 6 hours later I was feeling really tired and needed a nap (I am 53) and the next day I really knew I had done some hard physical exercise, feeling it in my hips & lower back (which I damaged falling of a horse in my 20s). So both last week and this I haven't run mid-week after the long run on Sunday, partly as I felt I needed longer to recover but equally because I couldn't face getting that knackered in the week.

What is going on here? Am I tired afterwards because I have built up to 10k too quickly? Or because 10k is just too far to do on a regular basis (ie more than once per week)? And am I right to miss the mid-week run(s) or would it help to do something shorter like 5k to keep my body used to running?

Apart from being a bit longer and a bit slower pace the 9 & 10k runs differed from the 7 & 8 k runs in that they were non-stop. I did run/walk/run intervals for the 7 & 8k runs. Could that be the deciding factor?

I look forward to your most erudite replies. Cheers, Chris L

37 Replies

Hi Chris, I'm building up to 10k distance as well now I've graduated. I'm quite a lot slower than you though - I'm not sure what the pace is but it takes me 40minutes to complete 5k at the moment. Last week, I went out and was just planning to run 5k, but ended up doing 8k because I 'was in the moment' so to speak. I felt ok after the run, but felt quite tired later that day - which I put down to pushing myself extra. That was a one off for me, as I'm following a 10k plan based on run/walk training (time) rather than by distance. Once I complete this, I will look to build my distances up (I was no where near running 5k at the end of C25k, and based on my performace there, don't expect to hit 10k following this programme). I'm using the programme to help build up my stamina for longer distances. It's based around never increasing your work out by more than 10% each week, and once I'm done, I'll see how far off I am doing 10k before increasing my distances by 10% each week.

By the sounds of your programme (and correct me if I'm wrong) but you were increasing your distances by more than 10% each week? If this is the case, you may be pushing yourself too hard:- the 10% figure is usually quoted in most recognised running guidence as a good amount to increase your training by each week while not pushing yourself too hard and therefore potentially leading to injury.

ChrisLGraduate in reply to Hidden

Hi Tanyag163. Thanks for this. In practice I ran fewer miles in the last 2 weeks than in the 2 previous a I only did the one run so I don;t think the issue is doing too many km per week.


You only graduated four weeks ago. You could spend five weeks doing a Bridge to 10 k, or longer, as not everyone can manage it in the five. I know I didn't. Maybe you're too eager and are rushing things before your body has had time to catch up. Do you need to run so fast? I can do a 10 k per week now but it would be a slow one but for me it's about finishing and not about speed

I think you need to eat up the miles, and get your body ready for bigger distances and then your speed will increase as your strength improves. I think your body is telling you to ease up. I know mine certainly has kicked my running legs from under me this week, reminding me that I'm 56 !

Pace yourself as they say

ChrisLGraduate in reply to misswobble

I wasn't running fast Miss W. I really wasn't. The first half of each run was desperately slow (or so it felt) as the people I was with were not looking for a time at all and were taking tiny strides. I actually found it quite difficult & uncomfortable to go so slowly as my natural stride is much longer. And I promise I did not bust a gut on the 2nd halves either. I wasn't trying to catch up time, just plodding along at an easy pace.

It could just be that you did too much too soon. The bridge to 10k programme I did had me increasing my overall running time (interspersed with walking breaks) in all 3 runs every week. It took 6 weeks to increase from 30 mins running to 60 mins (which in my case pretty much fitted with 5k to 10k). So I just wonder if doing that increase in just 4 weeks was too quick.

Other programmes mix up the runs in each week and just have one where the distance increases. That would probably be "better than nothing". Usually the long run is at an "easy" pace and then you could do a normal paced 5km (or 30 mins) and an intervals or hill session.

I'd suggest cutting back your long run a little (and going a little slower), then trying some other runs in the week.

ChrisLGraduate in reply to runningnearbeirut

Hi RNB. I don't think I can go significantly slower (see above) but maybe having now done 10k I will drop back and just do shorter distances for a couple of weeks.


I believe, though I have only just graduated myself so my reply isn't an erudite one, that you're suffering from a classic case of too much too soon. I am increasing my time by a max of 10% weekly (3 runs min) to get to 10k. I think we have to be kind to ourselves if we want our bodies to cooperate a lifetime. Xxx

ChrisLGraduate in reply to kickibro

Hi Kickibro. The odd thing is that I can do the run absolutely fine. It is just several hours later that I feel knackered. Is it an age thing?

kickibroGraduate in reply to ChrisL

ATM I feel it after a 5k run. I am fully recovered next day but I do think u just may have increased too fast xxx

Bazza1234Graduate in reply to ChrisL

Soo -- have an afternoon "poppy" nap !! -- like I do!!! :) Be proud of being a Poppy who can actually run and therefore get tired :)

hi! I used to run 10 k some years ago. Then I stopped and now I´m re starting. I almost never ran the 10K except for the day of the running, the others days I used to run shorter distances, and trying to improve the speed, I mean, maybe you are running too much. Hope this can be useful. Best regards

ChrisLGraduate in reply to anadelsur

Thanks anadelsur. That was what I was wondering, though I thought that many people on here do run a 10k every week and some maybe more than one?


Kitty, you put that perfectly xxx


Hmm, I am pretty sure it was the run KittyKat07... Probably not me putting the roof on the summerhouse I am building when I got back. Lunch was leisurely so it wasn't that. I doubt if it was down to the round of golf in the afternoon. And I am absolutely certain it wasn't the walk to the pub quiz in the evening. So yes, it must have been the run... Got to go, things to do.


I feel tired just reading about your schedule :-) Have you adjusted your calorie intake along with your distances? When I do 10k I always up mine a bit post-run.

ChrisLGraduate in reply to notbad

Now that is a VERY good point notbad. I hadn't thought of that. Calories indeed.

Maybe an extra pint of Doombar would do the trick. But should it be imbibed during the run, immediately afterwards or later in the day? Or all 3?

Aha! According to the DrinkAware website a pint of beer = 142 calories and equates to 14 minutes of running. That's handy. My 58 minute run = 4 pints of beer! Yippee!


Hi, I was running 10k three times a week until I started the 50 time 5k challenge. Because I run every day now I stick to 5/6/7 k and only run 10k once a week. I did the same as you and increased every week by 1k a run when I completed the challenge but ended up injured. In the end it took me around three months to run it without feeling worn out later.

ChrisLGraduate in reply to Tready

Thanks for this Tready. Gosh, 3 months seems like a long time to get accustomed to 10k.

TreadyGraduate in reply to ChrisL

I had to cut back because of the injury and then build back up again, so if you remain injury free it won't take you as long :)


Right Mr stats... You graduated just a month ago... Running is hard and you've built that up quickly. Your body is still adjusting to being a runner. It's easy to expect our recovery will be quick but longer runs take their toll. I have struggled as I run a half marathon distance nearly every Sunday along with 3 runs in the week. I couldn't understand why I felt so starving at work on a Monday but I've realised I have to build up and get the body strong. Just build up and regular running is good.. But also give proper recovery after a long run... Take care and DON'T get an injury!!

ChrisLGraduate in reply to ju-ju-

Interesting JJ. Do I actually need to do 3 runs per week or would 1x 5k & 1x 10k be ok do you think?

ju-ju-Administrator in reply to ChrisL

It would depend what you are aiming for...as maintenance that is OK. I would suggest building up overall fitness with cycling, swimming etc. I forgot to mention, I swim a mile after parkrun and in the week...it really helps for overall longevity...I do think you need more than 2 runs because I happen to know you are aiming for the next target.....


After graduation, it took me about two months to work up to 10k. It was only recently and five months later that I started running that sort of distance regularly. It's hard work for sure, but don't feel under pressure that you have to get there by any particular point in time. Manage your pace, take it easy and listen to your body. Back off if things aren't right. I also recommend planning your course. Theres no rule that says you have to run a difficult 10k, a nice flat easy one is just fine.

ChrisLGraduate in reply to Rob_and_his_westie

Oh don't worry Rob I run the flattest 10k for miles around.


I am working up to a 14K race in 12 weeks time - so, although I have been "running" 5ks quite regularly for some time now, I am now starting to increase distance. So far I have reached 8 Klms. I am running 3 times a week - which means that after two of the runs , I have a rest day - and after the third run, I have two rest days. I have been having the two rest days after my Saturday Parkruns, as I have been pushing myself a bit and got my time down to below 35 minutes. BUT -- only this week, two days ago I did the 8ks and will therefore go out today for an "easy" 30 minutes,but I am still feeling a little muscle sore and feel that I probably need another days rest. So - next week, I will reduce the number of rest days after Parkrun by one and increase the rest days after my "long run" . I guess it makes sense that longer time use of muscles will tire/damage them more than short time use ( eg 10K versus 5K)

My answer to your question is -- that it is too far too often for some -- but not for others :) It would certainly be too far too often for me.


According to the Good Run Guide:

"One of the best ways to improve your overall running performance is to combine several different types of running into a structured weekly schedule. By doing this you will improve different aspects of your fitness, provide greater opportunity for recovery between training sessions and reduce the risk of injury."

Read more about the different types of run here: goodrunguide.co.uk/Training...

ChrisLGraduate in reply to swanscot

Thanks swanscot. That is a very useful link that I had not seen before.


What are you eating before your run and is it enough? Also are you refuelling straight after your runs or leaving it too long after the run? You need to keep well hydrated not just post run but every day. Even if we don't feel thirsty we can still be dehydrated.

If you need to take a little power nap than do so. Recovery time is very important as it'll help you build up your endurance and then speed and reduce injuries.

So Speedy Gonzalez - be a little easier on yourself. ;-)

ChrisLGraduate in reply to Tinyrun

Interesting questions Tinyrun. I had a banana & honey on a piece of toast immediately before my run at 7:30am then nothing apart from a drink until lunchtime. Should I be refuelling immediately after a long run?

ChrisLGraduate in reply to ChrisL

Just found this website runningforbeginners.com/cou... that suggests eating bananas etc immediately after the run too. Aha. Maybe that was the problem.

swanscotGraduate in reply to ChrisL

Yes. You need to take on protein and carbs after running - preferably within 30 minutes of exercise. I start with a chocolate milk even before my shower, then breakfast after.



I think you've had good advice. It's very important (according to the mighty web), to let your body recover and have rest days.

After 10 months I got up to 10k but I certainly wouldn't run it 3x a week. Personally, I do a 'long' run, normal 5k and 3k intervals.

Sometimes I do 2x 5k instead. I'd suggest keeping your 10k for once a week and do other stuff the rest of the time, making sure your body gets a rest after the 10k - at least one day but when two.

ChrisLGraduate in reply to liquoricet

Hi liquoricet. That does seem to be the plan most people seem to follow. What pace do you do your 5k compared to your long run or 10k?


Lol well embarrassingly I take about 40 mins+ for my 5k and 90mins+ for 10k - so I suppose just a little slower but it happens naturally. Eating well afterwards makes sense too.

ChrisLGraduate in reply to liquoricet

Not embarrassing at all. The point I was after is that actually you don't run at a very different pace on a 5k or 10k run. Thanks

IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to ChrisL

Hi Chris, I have just discovered this pace calculator runnersworld.co.uk/general/... which puts an interesting perspective on pace. My 5k pace is not much faster than my 10k pace, but as my weekly 10k is my "long" run I should probably be taking it slower and keeping the higher pace for 5k intervals on once a week. I am sure pacing is the secret, but is also one of the hardest things to achieve.

Keep running, keep smiling.

ChrisLGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

Thanks IT. That is a useful link

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