I wish I could run faster!: I completed the C25K... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K
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I wish I could run faster!


I completed the C25K only a week ago but I can't help worrying about how slow I'm running. I know it's early days and I'm still really thrilled at being able to run at all, particularly as week 1 and 2 were so hard but my average is pace is around 10.4 mins per km. I will try the C25K+ podcasts once I've got used to the 30 mins for a bit longer but I'm beginning to doubt if I'll ever be able to go faster as I get so out of breath when I try. I think that my calfs hurt more as well because I'm going slower than I should be. I spend most of the time whilst I'm running (I use that word very loosely!) worrying about how slow I'm going. there was an old chap and his dog walking back home with his morning paper keeping pace with me this morning!

15 Replies

No, you are not slow - you are much faster then when you started!

I wouldn't worry about it now. As the months go by your pace will pick up naturally whether you do the 'plus' podcasts or not. Even if it didn't the choice between running slow and not running at all is a no brainer anyway :)

My experience is that i can now do 5k more than 10 minutes faster than the first time I completed the distance, several weeks after graduating.

As an aside, I once spotted my neighbour (in his 80s) walking up a hill in the snow. I thought I'd catch him up to help but I couldn't!!!!! Never under estimate how fast other people can walk!!!!

Good luck :)

Really well done for graduating and being able to run for 30 minutes. That's a big achievement. Yes, you should do the speed/stamina podcasts and just keep running for 30 minutes for a few weeks. Get some miles in your legs and the speed will come but it takes time. Be patient. It will happen.

It's not good worrying about how slow you are While you run. That's going to spoil what should be something enjoyable for you. You can think a bit about how to go Faster outside your run, but while you're at it, you need to find something other than your perceived slowness to keep you busy.

So here's what I would suggest: Work on your form. Work on one piece at at time. So while you're doing your next run, be focused on trying to keep yourself "running taller", for instance. Or open up your shoulders a bit more to let a bit more air into the lungs. Pick one, keep doing it quite obsessively as you run along, until you one day get bored with that, then pick something else. And remember this isn't entirely about form; this is about staying occupied with something positive instead of something negative, as you run. Slow down a bit, even, to help you really get it right.

You can worry about your speed after the run is over, if you must. Keep track of how your times move or stabilise if you must. Running more efficiently ought to improve things in that regard, so if you start doing better, blame this new focus that's making each run more fun, more like a game, more like going back to being 11 years old.


Hi Gerry. I graduated a few weeks ago now, and I'm still undecided as to whether or not stamina is preferable to speed. I think, on the whole, it is. I have been using the C25K+ podcasts as they give me a bit of structure which I like. The Stepping Tone one is 30 minutes long, and starts relatively slowly and then goes a bit faster, so might be helpful in the first instance. The Speed one starts off with a 5 minute run, and then alternates 1 minute faster running with another minute to get your breath back, so that might be worth a try. And then there's the stamina one which is 35 minutes. The lovely Laura also gives some useful tips about running, which I think have helped me become a bit faster as well as increasing my stamina.

So give them a go. And above all enjoy your running!


Try running the occasional 20 minute run and put in a few faster sections (not the whole run). My speed improved quickly once I introduced shorter faster runs.



You can already run faster than you are currently running - but only over a shorter distance!! You (and I) lack the stamina to run at our fastest pace over longer distances. Time yourself (running as hard as you can) over (say) a half klm - and see what pace you can achieve. I will guarantee that it is much faster than what you are doing during your 30 minute runs!! :)

So you don't need additional speed - you already have that . You need the endurance to be able to run your longer distance of choice - and then you need the strength/stamina to not only "endure" that distance , but also to endure it while running at a faster pace. Endurance and stamina take a long time to obtain!! Endurance is obtained by running (slowly) for much longer distances than your choice of run/race - let's say 10K+ for the 5K distance. Stamina is obtained by running repeats ( and then rests) of short distances (say 800m or 1Klm or 1mile) at a faster pace than what you want to run your 5K distance .

This all takes a long time :) I graduated 18 months ago - and am still working on endurance -- soon I will start to work on stamina. It is lack of stamina that is preventing me from cracking the 30 minute 5K mark!! :)


My Jog Scotland leader is a Commonwealth gold medallist runner. If we are walking round the track, she has to jog to keep up with my walking pace! When I run, I only have one pace, which is slow. It still uses more energy & is an achievement, so no worries please.


Thank you all for the fantastic advice and support, this really is a wonderfully supportive group. I shall follow all your running advice, be patient and stay positive and of course, keep running! Thank you


Nearly all of us feel we are slow, I still do! I graduated a year ago, in that time I've knocked about 3 minutes off my KM time, it's an enormous buzz every time I make a little improvement. I think I wouldn't have all those PBs if I'd started from a faster pace! You'll have them too, just keep plugging away at it!

Never worry about your speed xx there was no one slower than me when i first started...just keep going and you will naturally get faster...which is why i used the nike plus app which tracks youre distance and speed but when you look on the computer you can see your speed over time as well xxx

Hi I’m new here - I’ve been following the C25k programme and am amazed at how good it is, wish I’d done it ages ago. I’ve just started week 6 and already taken over a minute off my Parkrun time (now at 32:09 so not very fast)

My problem is that I panic about not being able to keep going and beat myself up about going too fast to start with then for going too slow etc. I read somewhere on here about a pacer? I think it pinged to help you keep a steady pace - I now can’t find it, did I imagine it?


in reply to Fidlz

You somehow replied to a thread from 2 years ago.

Anyways. This is not about speed, not at your level at least. You need to learn to run as slowly as possible. Marginally faster than a baby crawling backwards. As slow as Oldfloss tought all of us to go. Slower than Michael Jackson moon walked. Then slower than that.

That will build up your cardio system, develop your core strength and make every part of your legs stronger.

Then you will move on seamlessly. What was my slow before was much slower than my slow today and l don't feel an effort.

As you progress you will have the possibility to explore other pace options. Let us know how you get on ;).

in reply to mrrun

Thanks for that - I’ve now put the comment as a new post (honestly me and technology 🙄)

I’ll take on what you said - guess I’m just getting impatient with myself 😊

in reply to Fidlz

Oh, we all are, aren't we? That's perfectly normal.

I learned it hard way though. My runs were fast, shoes weren't proper, gait analysis wasn't done, rest days were skipped, and on top, l wasn't listening. The last one is The Cardinal Sin.

In this job age is irrelevant, such approach will lead to injuries for sure. On two occasions l spent around and over 3 months out due to busted knee and ankle. The Idiot Supreme Non Listener's Injuries!

Go nice and slowly, be patient as the best times are yet to come and do listen to the forum, there will be some crackers from Oldfloss, IannodaTruffe, Jancanrun, Rignold, to name just a few.

Enjoy the trip & keep us in the loop.

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