Couch to 5K
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I know what to do next!

I need to sort my pacing out. I'm not running at a consistent speed and I'm too slow to be anywhere near 30 minutes for a 5 km run. Please forgive the geekery below, I'm still trying to get used to the kilometre split things. I have realised I'm running too fast in some bits, and too slow in others.

On Sunday night, as some will remember, I went a bit bonkers and ran about 7k. In fact it was 6.4 km as I was on the warm-up walk at first, but it all went okay.


1.0 km 07:45 min/km 00:07:45

2.0 km 07:01 min/km 00:06:59

3.0 km 07:09 min/km 00:07:09

4.0 km 06:34 min/km 00:06:33

5.0 km 06:31 min/km 00:05:55

6.0 km 07:25 min/km 00:07:16

7.0 km 08:04 min/km 00:07:41

I can cope with the getting slower towards the end, but then Tuesday...

Tuesday was hellish. Whether I was still a bit tired from Sunday night or not, it was HORRIBLE. I was about ten minutes in and wanted to go home. I knew I was running slowly and I didn't think I'd ever get to the end. I pushed on, reasoning that I'd have two days' rest before I tried to run again.


1.0 km 08:23 min/km 00:08:23

2.0 km 08:33 min/km 00:08:31

3.0 km 08:05 min/km 00:08:04

4.0 km 07:50 min/km 00:07:49

5.0 km 08:25 min/km 00:08:23

5.9 km 08:39 min/km 00:07:24

It hurt. It really did hurt.

So I had two days off. And even though I nearly talked myself out of it, I stuck to the plan we'd worked out where my husband would drop me at the top of the cycle track on the way to work this morning and I'd run home. Just over 5k from home, so a quick warm-up and then I ran - no problems - for the 5k and then walked home. In the rain. To beat the gremlins that said that because Tuesday was crap, today would be too.

Decided to get geeky and looked at the stats from the mapmyrun app.


1.0 km 07:24 min/km 00:07:24

2.0 km 05:47 min/km 00:05:43

3.0 km 06:30 min/km 00:06:23

4.0 km 07:16 min/km 00:07:14

5.0 km 07:44 min/km 00:07:27

5.4 km 06:51 min/km 00:02:42

Now, I'm not pretending I understand it all (and have to assume that the time I spent standing around waiting for traffic - have to cross a road, cyclists hate joggers, and there was a tractor on the lane today - explains the discrepancies between pace and elapsed time), but there is a variance in pace there.

So, next week, I think the speed podcast might have to be downloaded. If nothing else, it might help me pace a bit better. Just wondering whether to run a 'normal' run on Monday, then do the speed podcast Wednesday, then try the cycle trail again on Friday?

Any suggestions from anyone who's done the speed podcast on the best way to include it?

In other news... It's my birthday (soon) precious! And the darling other half (plus inlaws) have bought me the Garmin Forerunner 10 I wanted. In girly purple. To match my shoes. Happy dance!!

12 Replies

Why are you worrying about achieving 5k in 30 minutes? Not sure how long you have been running, but it's fairly unusual for a newish runner to be able to do that, and it really doesn't matter at this stage. As you realise, it means averaging 6 mins per k, running at 10k per hour. Looking at your stats, there's nothing paeticularly odd going on. Your first run looks very much like one of mine, I can run 5k in 40 minutes. Usually my second k is my fastest and I slow off towards the end. The second one looks like you pushed harder and burned up a bit.

Focus on what you can do, not what you can't. You will speed up over time.

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It's not that I'm worrying, I just want to have a target that I can aim for. If it takes six months, if I never get there, it's something I can still try and achieve. I know some on here have used the speed podcast to try and get faster, so I was thinking about that.

Thing is, I know I will lose focus if I don't have something long-term to aim for. For eleven weeks, it was getting to the end of C25k. Then it was "get to the end of two weeks continuing to run three times a week." Now I need something else to start training for.


I wish I was that fast. I average 9 minutes per km. I'm early on in the program and so hopefully I improve? Good for you!


Thank you. I haven't tried to be fast - and I do keep in mind that some people I've sponsored for Race For Life have finished the 5 k in 20 minutes, so I don't really consider it fast. However it's faster than I have been ever before in my life. :)

It's not so much about speed when you're starting out - it's about being able to do it at any speed. Now I've graduated I'm without a target so I sat back and thought "do I want to go for improving my distance or my speed?" and, really, I'd like to get fast enough to do it in thirty minutes, so I'll look at the speed podcasts.

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Good luck!!!!


I can't see anything in the slightest bit unusual about your splits.


Thank you! I was perhaps looking too much into the two minute disparity between fastest and slowest splits, worrying I couldn't pace properly. I feel slightly better about it now.


If consistency of pace is important to you, then get a Heart rate Monitor to go with your Garmin and do your runs by Heart Zone. Stick at 145 BPM (or whatever number, based on your age/chosen pace etc) and, assuming flattish terrain, you should tighten up taht spread considerably. Although I cannot see what benefit this would confer.


I graduated about two months ago, and got some great advice on my "what do I do next" post. I've found it useful to have something new to aim for.

Now that I've worked up to 40 minutes continuous running, I do this:

Saturday morning parkrun or 5K on a new route.

Tuesday morning 40 minute run around my regular neighbourhood route

Thursday morning 20 minute pyramid intervals run

The pyramid intervals are 2 minutes "steady", then increasing "fast" intervals with "steady" recovery periods in between. It took me a while to work out what the right timing was, to make sure I've really recovered before I go fast again.

For me, it's 2m steady, 15s fast, 2m steady, 30s fast, 2m steady, 45s fast, 2m steady, 1m fast, 2m steady, 45s fast, 2m steady, 30s fast, 2m steady, 15s fast, 2m steady.

That run is 20 minutes total, which is great for a Thursday morning, when it's a bit harder to get out of bed on time! I do a 5 minute walk to warm up and cool down.

I'm going to stick with this for a while, and when I'm back from holiday in late September, I will start increasing to 45 minutes. 1 minute at a time, it's not so hard. When I find my comfortable pace, I feel I can keep going forever. (Or at least an extra 60 seconds more than last time.)

I've also started adding in some basic bodyweight exercises (squats, lunches, pushups, planks, etc) twice a week. I do them in the early evening before my morning runs, so I cool off before bed, and then shower in the morning after the run.

Hope you find something that works for you! Good luck!

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Thank you


That pacing looks normal to me, there will always be days when we are faster, then slower days. Mine are about the same, except I've never done a KM in under 6 mins. You're doing brilliantly! I love the speed podcast, I'll often slip it in as an extra run in a week. Go for it, it's a good one! The others are good too, they'll help with your pacing more then Speed, which does what it says on the tin!


Thank you. :)


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