Couch to 5K
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First run over 6km

After recently losing some weight (50lbs - I'm now 104lbs, 5ft 1), I decided to get back into running and hopefully improve my fitness. Today I managed to run over 6km for the first time (6.2km) and although I'm knackered I'm so happy! Being so short, I often find it difficult to keep up with the pace of other, taller runners and I was just wondering are there any other shorter females (under 5ft 4) that have this problem? Do you have any tips for building up to a faster pace? I try not to feel demotivated but I'm just wondering what's a realistic pace goal that others have achieved? Currently I run at a pace of about 7.00-7.20minutes per km.

Thanks! :)

4 Replies

I'm 5'3" and was very overweight but like you managed to drop a lot of weight (60 lbs) and was glad to have discovered C25k. It's a life saver!

Being a short runner is fine! We have no drawbacks compared to taller runners - not that I've found anyway. If they are taking long, lolloping strides then that's a matter for them but it's not the way to go. Short, strides,keeping everything under your hips is fine.

Faster paced running is hard and is something you will have to work on as your fitness develops. Don't rush it! As a new runner you need to build up gradually. Work on your fitness, getting your whole body stronger and thus able to support your running. Use the 10% rule to build up your distance. As you get progressively further your speed will get better. I did 3 k runs when I was trying to get quicker

If you start C25k then that will help you to get back into your running rather than trying to do too much too soon. I wouldn't worry about how fast you should be going at this point, I really wouldn't


Thank you for the advice! I won't try to worry about timing so much at first then, I'll just work on building my strength and stamina first :)


Being short has definite advantages. At 6 foot, I'm regularly overtaken on club runs by "shorties" who can duck under the fallen trees without having to get on hands and knees, don't have to battle with the low hanging branches and can swerve round the stiles so much more easily.

In the long term, you will find you have a naturally faster pace (in terms of steps per minute) than someone taller (think of the pendulum effect of the legs). You don't cover as much ground per stride, but you can fit a lot more of them in in the time. You are also a lot lighter so don't have as much bulk to heave around. However, I wouldn't worry about that yet awhile. Are you doing C25K or have you just nipped out and polished off a quick 6K? If the latter is the case, well done - that's absolutely brilliant (it's brilliant either way, actually...). Don't push yourself too hard, too soon though. Otherwise injury lurks around the corner. Just take things easy and consolidate things. Get out regularly (say 3 times per week), but don't even think about your speed. If you found that the 6K really killed you, consider doing the C25K programme. Whilst you'll find the first few weeks incredibly easy, the programme is good for building up your strength and your stamina and just generally getting you in to the habit of running again.

If C25K is too easy and you want something to do to challenge yourself I would suggest that you get yourself down to parkrun as soon as possible. It's only 5K, it's free and the atmosphere is fantastic. You can compete against yourself each week and see how you improve over time or you can just use it as an excuse to get out and run in good company.

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Thanks for your response, that's all really helpful info, and I will definitely now focus on building up my strength and stamina, rather than worrying about how fast I'm going. I completed the first two weeks of C25K however I found my progress to be slow, and wanted a little bit more of a challenge. Maybe I will persevere at it, if others have found it to be so successful. :)


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