Couch to 5K
60,422 members93,088 posts

Speed versus endurance?

Hi fellow C25Kers - I'm still running and still enjoying reading all the posts on this great forum.

Since I graduated on Christmas Day last year I have managed to keep up two and sometimes three runs per week. I have been using the C25K+ podcasts and started doing a longer weekend run to build up my endurance (now up to 7.5K in 41:04).

Yesterday I thought I'd try a 5K and see how I'd progressed relative to my graduation PB of 27:49. I was confident of some progress and had been targeting a sub 25 minute 5K this year as one of my running goals.

So I went for it but was amazed and then deflated to discover I had recorded an identical time to my Christmas graduation run! I had expected some improvement in my PB in over two months so I began to wonder if I was building endurance at the expense of speed.

I am really enjoying the longer runs and want to build up to a 10K this summer but also want to improve my 5K times as well.

Any advice on training regimes to help improve my 5K speed? Do I need more interval training runs or faster, shorter runs?

Any advice and experience welcomed.

Happy Running all.



9 Replies

I can't give you much advice on the speed, since my best 5k time is nearly a minute slower than yours. Having said that, someone I know who has been running for years simply said that if you want to run faster..... run faster.... Regarding endurance, in my experience it was much like the C25K programme. I worked my way up to a half marathon distance a little bit at a time. Once I had convinced myself that I could competently run a 5k anytime, the 5 to 10k advance was one done by adding one more kilometre, albeit quite slowly, once a week. These days I can run a 10k 15 minutes faster than the first time I did it just a year ago!


I like running fast 3k runs.

Run some fast intervals, eg fartleks. You can run fast between lamp posts or trees etc


Tee hee hee, she said fartleks!

1 like

Thanks misswobble - I like the idea of some fast 3Ks and you can't beat a good fartlek!

1 like

Thanks Rob - will keep building slowly to the 10K mark.


Rob is right and I have seen it said more than once to run fast you have to run fast ...easier said than done I know and after lots of reading there lots of opinions as you would expect .... like you I do 3 runs a week ,1 longer run , now nearly at 10k ,then 1 run either speed intervals or hill reps and then parkrun on a Saturday ..... which seems to cover most things till I read and saw about doing drills . which can be incorporated onto any runs :D could do with having 4 runs a week now :D

I am sure your time will come down maybe when you least expect it :D god luck and enjoy all your runs :D


Running is both seductive and insidious!!! Insidious- because there is definitely an attitude of trying to run "fast" associated with the sport/hobby ( as evidenced by the number of races held) which tends to suck you in. Even endurance running is associated with "fastness". We rarely see running events that are somehow meant only to be "fun" - admittedly there are some events called "fun runs" and many dress up in them as clowns, monkeys, etc but I still believe that the overarching goal for most participating in these events is speed.

Personally I have to keep myself in line by remembering why I started to run in the first place - and that was simply to be able to run and to run for some distance. Actually my initial goal was to be able to run for 1KLM!! :)

I am in a 10k "race" in a few weeks - and I have decided to keep away from races as such from now on - training for them may be improving my fitness, etc but they are getting in the way of simple enjoyment of running.


Bazza..... Here's an alternative point of view. I too love the simple joy of running. But when it comes to a race, there is no such thing as a "fun run". I think there's room for both. Two weeks ago, I ran 11 miles, at a simple jogging pace. It was just me, a cool, windless morning and the open road.

I loved it.

This morning I ran a 10k race. I trained hard for it, I threw everything I had at it and got within a whisker of a PB.

I loved it.

Room for both maybe?


I am sure there is - but training for races ( that is, following a training plan) - mostly calls for fastish tempo runs and intervals and even the long runs should probably be done at close to race pace. I just want to completely forget about pace for quite some time - I find that pacing gets in the way of enjoyment :)


You may also like...