Beginner's ballpark 5k jog time?: I must confess... - Couch to 5K

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Beginner's ballpark 5k jog time?

Beenal profile image

I must confess that I started reading these posts whilst at the beginning of the c25k programme and so many people had suggested to keep running slow and slower still to get the distance.

I started off on the treadmill at 8km/hour on week one, dropped down to 7.5km/hour to week 2 and now I am just about to start week 7 doing probably around 6.5km/hour. I am running a km outside in just over 11 minutes according to Runkeeper which makes a predicted 5k time of 55 minutes.

This seems so slow. Can anyone give me a rough idea of how a beginner would be able to run 5k in?

My runs so far have not been 'awful' but very manageable and comfortable. Will speed definitely come as fitness increases? Once I graduate I should be able to run 30minutes but absolutely nowhere near 5k - more near the 3k mark.

Any idea of how long a 5k run for a beginner should take so I have a time to work towards?

Thanks in advance, xxx

11 Replies
misswobble profile image

Everyone is different! C25k is not about what time you finish in. It's just about doing each run and moving on to the next, regardless of how long it takes. Not everyone manages to achieve 5k at week 9 but you will have run for 30 minutes, which is the key thing

Once you graduate and move onto C25k+ you will have built up some extra oomph and can mix things up with the three Stepping Stones podcasts, which you download here.

It's all gradual. Some folks will hit the 5k mark on Week 9 run 3 but many don't but no worries you'll hit it at some point. You just have to keep plugging away, and as you get fitter and your body gets stronger then you'll run for longer

Just keep doing it and you'll get there. You just have to hang in there. Have faith in the program and yourself. There's no shortcut though, sadly

Beenal profile image
BeenalGraduate in reply to misswobble

Thank you very much! I am really looking forward to each of my runs. I think my husband started this whole debate of why the programme is called c25k if I can't manage the 5k in the half hour. He said the programme should be called couch to running 30 minutes non stop - doesn't have the same ring to it!

Thanks for your words of advice and I am glad I am not the only one managing to run 30 minutes but then having to work on completing the 5k. I can't imagine running 30minutes at 10km/hour... Maybe one day...

Hubby has very kindly drawn a new route for me for when we move house in a couple of weeks which happens to be 5.01km which is perfect. And flat! That's my aim but it will probably take me an hour to do but at leastI would have done it. A little scared to sign up to Parkruns just yet and will definitely aim to run. Parkruns by the end of this year.

Thanks Misswobble! Happy running xxx

no-excuse profile image

Believe in the programme and MissW, you will get there. There really is no one time fits all here, everyone is different and starts from different levels of fitness etc. I will say though that the runs I do on the treadmill, which are very few, are always much more difficult for me than running outside. I can never get to 5K in the time I would run it outside. Main thing is, stick with it, enjoy it and don't worry about speed. The 30 min run is the important bit at graduation. x :-)

Beenal profile image
BeenalGraduate in reply to no-excuse

Thank you for your kind words. I find the treadmill harder because I get too hot and love the wind blowing to keep me cool on outdoor jogs. Thank you, I definitely do enjoy running now and it's not a chore at all! Running has become a hobby - something I thought I would never say! Xxx

Zev1963 profile image

Well done Beenal. You are running regularly, following the program, and the most important thing of all..... you are enjoying it. If you enjoy it, then you will continue to do it. If you continue to do it, then you will get better and better, without even noticing.

Continue to take it slowly, listen to Laura, and follow the C25K plan. You will run for 30 minutes continuously in the final week, and that is the goal. The distance is of no importance at this stage. If you continue to run 30 minutes 3 times a week, then your speed will gradually improve. The C25K+ podcasts will also help you when you graduate. If you decide that distance is your thing, then you can gradually increase the time that you run for (no more than 10% per week).

You would be amazed at how many people start C25K for health reasons, thinking that they hate running, and end up loving it, becomeing adicted to it in a way even :)

Happy Running :)

Hi, I worried about this too. I also got slower as the length of the runs increased but now as I go into week 9 my speed is increasing again. As misswobble says there are further podcasts to get your speed up after you graduate from C25K but for now just concentrate on running the minutes.

Keep an eye on your technique too - like Laura says, try not to be too 'bouncy'. I also have to concentrate on keeping my elbows tucked into my sides to stop me swinging about :-) Good luck!

misswobble profile image

Oh yeah bouncy is bad and a waste of energy. I loved her tip about the hedge thing! LOL However, you are allowed a skip and a dance of joy at the end of a successful session.

Your husband is right about the name of the program Beenal but no matter. It's not the name that's important. You can measure your own routes, off road too, on a great programme Goodrunguide. I check out new routes on that and you have a little runner that you move up and down the route and it measures as he goes. You can play around with that for hours. LOL I like that one as it's got the footpaths on it which is a big help if you like the trails and country lanes

Hi last year I did my first ever run, for the race for life, I did it in 50 minutes, I didnt train or exercise at all. This year Ive lost 3 stone and have just started the couch to 5k , as i want to be able to jog for more than half a second (okay it felt like that) ha, at the begining of the year i did a park run and did it in 39min which is quicker than my first race, but still not enough training. I am also doing thr race for life this year but the differance being im learning how to run, so you can do and I dont think it matters as long as you are enjoying it, you will get quicker the more you do.

Good luck :)

I think the idea is that if you can run for 30 mins, no matter how slowly, you have probably got enough running skill and self confidence to carry on and run for 5k regardless of the time it takes you to do that distance. In that case Couch to 5K is accurate but its very common to mix up the 5k and 30 mins and think that they both have to be done together. They don't, and in my case probably never will !!

Ullyrunner profile image

There is no 'normal' so much depends upon your level of fitness, gender, age etc that the benchmark is one of time not distance - despite the name of the programme. You're out there doing it - that's the triumph! Good luck.

I reckon 5 k in 40 minutes is fine !

Even my super sporty sister said to me that if I did parkrun and aimed to gradually improve to get sub 40 minutes initially that was fine! My first parkrum was 43 minutes.

.have got to.39.40 on parkrun and am happy

Haven't been for a while as have been doing nhsc25kplus podcasts separately. No one HAS to get to 30 minutes ....just enjoy.

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