Couch to 5K
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Pace Query ... 10K

I'd like to ask the 10K + runners about pace. Miles_Yonder has been very helpful already :-) and I found Paul2014s 10K post helpful too, but want to hear as many people's thoughts as poss on it :-)

I'm running a faster 3.5K (and hill training), then running a 5K, and my third run is gradually building to 10K (7.5K this week, but might do 8). I've read that my pace needs to be slower for the longer run, which makes sense but my body doesn't like it.

As soon as I'm not entirely concentrating I found she's speeding up again!

Also, in slowing my pace, I'm slowing my cadence and my stride .... is that the right way to go about it?

It seems that my faster run really appeals to my body (and believe me, it's not that fast!), and it's such a struggle to keep a slower pace going. I wondered about forcing myself to run a really slow 5K!

Not sure what to do. If listening to my body means running faster, should I just do it? But then I don't know if I'll make the distance.

Any tips? Please advise! :-)

19 Replies

G'day I_will... as a 10K+ runner (still can't believe it!), here's my simple thoughts on pace...

Your long run should be a "comfortable run for you" all the way. It shouldn't be a "race" where you are exhausted at the end... it should be a nice and relatively easy pace where you can keep a conversation going if you were running with someone else...

I use heart rate to pace my long runs but I have also learnt when I am starting to get a bit tired to reign it back every so slightly... if I can get out a few sentences to fellow runners as we pass then I have it about right... everyone's "conversational pace" is different so I'd just go with how your body feels...

It should be a bit slower than your 5K pace though as it's over longer distances and this is about endurance and not speed... :)

Happy running mate!


Thanks Aussie :-)

I need to reign myself in I think. I hope it will all just come together


Your long run should definitely be slower than at your 5K pace. As Aussie says, it should be at 'conversational pace' or as Jog Scotland say 'the blether zone'. You should be able to chat in whole sentences, not just gasp 3 or 4 word answers. This can be up to 1:00 to 1:30 mins/km slower than your 5K pace.

It takes practice, but eventually you'll develop a range of paces, eg sprint, 5K race pace, 10K race pace, LSD (long, slow, distance) pace. You want to finish your long, slow run feeling as if you could have gone further - but are only going 'so far' , as you increase the distance by no more than 10% each time.


Ahh, really interesting. So far I think I have done all my running in the puff zone, except for my faster runs which have been in the pant zone. I don't think I've ever run in the blether zone, so it might just be lack of habit.

I am simply going to have to run and talk to myself. Good job there aren't too many people around here!

Thank you :-)


I have repeated many times the advice that your longer run should be at an easy pace, because that is what the expert literature says, but have to admit that I am like you and have difficulty in running slowly. Have a look at this It explains the different training disciplines and gives you an idea of what your pace should be. Your estimated long distance pace will probably surprise you at how slow it is.

Over the past year I have managed to identify different paces, by my physical response to the demand and more recently with a n HRM, but according to all the figures I spend too much time running too fast and with my heart rate too high. Yesterday I set off on my favourite 11k route and forced myself to keep the pace down. It was the toughest run since graduation, over a year ago. Everything ached so much more than when I hit my natural pace. I have not yet found anything that tells me what harm I may do by running at the upper end of my ability, apart from the possible greater risk of injury, but since I am no longer extending my distance, I am comfortable to push at that rate which seems to fit my natural cadence.

My theory is that a lot of the training principles are those used by elite athletes training for competition and that those of us who are taking it considerably less seriously and running less frequently, can train at a slightly harder personal level. I only run three times a week; 2 x 5k and a longer run up to 12k or so. I don't endorse pushing to extremes, but if you are more comfortable running faster than the runners world calculator suggests, and you have enough rest days, then I can't see what harm you will do. I am more than willing to be corrected by those in the know.


Sounds sensible. Apparently my "conversational pace" (ie. where I can, and have, had conversations with people while out running) is still "Tempo" and "Race Pace" according to heart rates... which is why I just go with what is comfortable for me...

In the long run it's keeping it so I can still have a cheery "Good morning, lovely day for a run today... glad it's not too warm yet" chat with fellow runners... my 5K race pace is barely getting out a "Morning... <pant>"... :)


Thank you :-)

I'm so glad it's not just me! I can't help wondering if the fact that everything ached after your forced slower run and that you found it tough sounds like it's not right? Have you run longer runs at your natural higher pace, and how did they feel?

I wondered if my body knows what its capable of but my fitness levels have yet to catch up and that's my basic problem. Maybe it has something to do with build too?

It's comforting to know it's not just me anyway. I need to look at my heart stats.

Oh, and thanks for the link....I've bookmarked it, really useful :-)


>"My theory is that a lot of the training principles are those used by elite athletes training for competition and that those of us who are taking it considerably less seriously and running less frequently, can train at a slightly harder personal level. I only run three times a week; 2 x 5k and a longer run up to 12k or so"

Aye, the 'rules' probably apply to elite athletes, but also to recreational runners when doing higher mileages. I agree there is a difference in what is 'sensible' effort between someone running 15-20 km a week and someone running 50+km per week.


Rather then think about conversational or easy pace, rate the run on an overall effort level, and go by increasing time and not worry too much about actual distance covered. As your time increases naturally so will your distance. Your longer run probably should rate around 5 or 6 whereas your shorter run nearer 8 . (where 10 is maximum effort).

This is what I'm trying to do and it has helped me

I should clarify I.haven't actually run 10k yet so maybe ignore me! I'm currently working up to 10k using bridge to 10k program as I was struggling with just increasing distance I'm trying to up my pace as well so have gone back to intervals .


That's a good way of looking at it ... on a sliding scale. Thanks :-)


I know you've read my post on my 10k runs/training so you'll know that I was constantly having to force myself to slow down.

Before running the full 10k distance I found it was a bit of a 'suck it and see' situation. In other words, I had no idea / experience of what pace I should be running at to be able to cover that distance. However, I knew that I felt very comfortable running at a pace of 6.30 min/k so I stuck to that pace each week as I increased my long run distance by 1k each week. This worked really well for me. If 7.00 min or 7.30 min is your comfort pace, then run at that pace until you actually cover 10k by increasing your long run gradually each week.

Once I had covered 10k, I then started to listen to my body and loosened the reins slightly and started running at a faster pace, one which I felt was now a more comfortable pace to run at. Obviously this will be a natural progression as fitness / stamina levels are improving and your body becomes more accustomed to running longer distances.

As well as your hill run, I would also recommend looking at starting interval runs. I do a hill/trail run, an interval run and a long run (increasing my distance by 1k) each week. This works for me ;)

Get the distance in your legs first, and the speed will come later.

Good luck and I'm sure you'll find your own routine that works best for you ;)


Thanks Paul2014 :-)

You've made amazingly fast progress :-D


tricky...I understand your dilemma...I have to actively slow myself down on a long run by shortening my stride and taking in lots of air. I imagine someone pushing me back too and that works. It takes a while to establish your comfortable pace on a long run, and it should be that you can still talk and not feel exhausted...I hope that helps?? :)


Oops, replied to you in the main box below! :-)


Ah okay, I as wondering about that. So cadence stays the same, but stride shortens, thanks :-)

Hopefully those tips will help. It's good to know it's normal for it to take time to get this sorted out, and I'm not just being dense!!


Just go out and run it and see what happens. 10 k is quite a distance so quite a lot can happen. Pick a scenic, circular route that brings you back towards home



Haha ... I do tend to over think and analyse everything!! :D


Just go out and run it and see how you get on. Bit o'music on, picturesque route and have fun. Let us know how it goes.


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