Couch to 5K
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Sorting out pace?

Sooo, have got My Asics to make me a plan for reaching 10 miles as part of this long-term plan to run the Edale Skyline ( that I seem to have concocted for myself.

It all looks pretty sensible and achievable, but it's suggesting I run 14 minute miles for slower runs, and 10 minute miles for fast runs. My natural pace is around 9 minute miles and I don't feel that this is an all-out effort for me; I can sustain it easily for 30 minutes and before my lazy honeymoon, could do so for an hour. If I push I can do a 7-and-a-half minute mile. So the question is, is there any reason to try and slow right down to fit the plan, or should I just base my pace on what feels like 'jog'/'comfortable'/'fast'?

As a disclaimer I should point out that this pace is NOT on steep uphills - I'm currently engaged in a battle to be able to run them at all; it's more a power-walk situation at the moment!

6 Replies

your times are really fast! Today on a long run I worked really hard to keep to around 11 minute miles, in order to do the whole thing...It is hard but you will reap the benefits as it means you can go further and then you will speed up as you feel able. However, you know your own body so do what feels right...good luck :)


I am using runkeeper on an iphone at the moment, which isn't renowned for tip-top accuracy, so that might be making me look a bit speedy. I just don't think I can run 14 minute miles.

And your long runs are waaaaay longer than mine; I shall report back when I can even get close to your kind of distances!


I think you should go with what is comfortable for you, but make sure that it really is "comfortable", as in you could have a proper conversation in sentences. I did a similar kind of plan in preparation for my one parkrun of the year and was surprised that I could change my pace when the time came. I think the point of these slow runs is to improve your stamina, and "surprisingly" it works! I think that as you get used to running slower (which can seem hard) then you'll find that it feels more comfortable.

Not envying the hill training you'll have to do!


Haha, yeah, I think the hills are going to be a bit merciless and I keep putting off starting structured hill reps in case my lungs/calves explode, BUT this time last year I really couldn't run on the flat for more than about 5 minutes, so I reckon it's do-able (and imagining the shape of my bottom should I succeed is a powerful motivator as well because sod it, I'm vain!)


I would suggest getting a heart rate monitor. You can get very inexpensive ones, then 'easy' run is anything <70% of max heart rate. The actual speed will vary depending on your fitness level. Mine is somewhere between 10-11min/mile now. When I started monitoring it was more like 13. I have a friend who is a serious Triathlete for whom 7.30 is easy pace. I also know a couple of Ultra runners who can bust out 5.30s on demand with little effort but are generally cruising along at the same speed as me (although they can keep that up for 100 miles).

I read obsessively everything I can get my hands on about running training, and time and again the same thing comes up from the coaches and champions: build your aerobic base with lots and lots of very slow miles. There is a difference between running and training. You can do speedwork as well, and you can just go out and blast for fun every now and then too, but the most important thing is getting lots of miles in the bank for your legs to build muscle memory, and the way to do that and stay injury free is to go slow slow slow.


Thanks, that's really helpful. I'm still quite new to running really so haven't got my head round this kind of thing yet. I'm slightly resistant to heart rate monitors because I'm a bit of a Luddite and I also instinctively feel like less stuff and more quiet, mindful awareness of the landscape is a good thing, but maybe it is the way to go.


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