Couch to 5K
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Advise....on running speed

OK guys I need some advise please. I am due to do my W6R2 tonight I have been doing this plan at the gym on the treadmill, I have been doing my walking speed at 2.9 and my running speed at 3.5 (I think these are MPH, I am going to check with the gym tonight). Bearing in mind that I really do have to concentrate on my breathing. Do you think this is fast enough? Or should I add some incline and vary the intensity? At the running speed I do sweat and my heart rate is about 163 when I finish (I do have a natural high heart rate, resting can be anything between 74-85). Any advise would be greatly appreciated, I would so like to hear from other people who are doing this program on a treadmill.

10 Replies

Hi Lotty,

From what I have read somewhere, they recommend that if you can run slower, you are running too fast.

So the recommendation is to run as slowly as you can.

The idea is to get fit and not kill yourself in the process :-)

You are doing good. Just keep doing what you are doing.

You are roughly walking at 4.6 KM/H and running at 5.6 KM/H. Still faster than everyone on the couch. Well done!

Do what is comfortable for you and not what anyone else says.

Keep at it!




I can't comment on the treadmill, but those speeds sound absolutely fine. The idea is to get the body used to running (eventually for 30 mins without stopping ) and the speed is irrelevant. Looking at the heart rate I wouldn't recommend pushing yourself more at this stage. You may find that as you progress and get fitter your heart rate will come down (my resting hr is no much lower than 6 months ago) and then you will be able to go faster quite naturally - but let your body dictate this rather than dictate to your body. You want to stay well and injury free and also enjoy it.


Yes, that speed sounds fine, as long as you feel OK. Your speed wiil increase as you progress and graduate. But do not rush to go faster, let it come naturally..

Have read that running on a treadmill is said to be a tad easier than running outside, because running on the road you need to use the muscles more to propel yourself forward. So if going out on the road you need to take it steady to start with no longer than a 10 min run at first, then slowly build on muscles get used to it.

I've never used a treadmill, except for a minute for gait analysis in a shop, and quite liked it. So thinking of giving it a whirl at the local gym/leisure centre when the weathers bad over the winter....


what dagshar said. If you are getting through the sessions without too much trouble you don't need to change a thing.

When you graduate you should do a short period of consolidation, then you can try upping the speed.

If you want to add a small incline 0.5 or 1 degree AND YOU ARE STILL COMFORTABLE, then it will be more like the effort you put in outside, but if you aren't comfortable keep it flat for now


Do not add intensity or slope. Do not speed up. If you are comfortabe at current speed, stick to it. Otherwise slow down more. As Ashish said, the slower the better druing the programme. You are learning correct form, getting your musculoskeltal systen used to the demands of running and building your cardiovascular stamina. Speed is of no consequence at all. I have statitics for this but I would hazard a guess that of the few people who give up C25k, the majority are because they try to push too fast during the programme.


Hi Lotty,

I'm going to make the assumption that you are 41 (from your C25K profile name). In that case, your heart-rate of 163 tells us that you are above the right range for a high intensity cardiovascular workout. Some experts recommend exercising at up to 75% of max heart rate: max for you is 179 bpm, so that would be 152 bpm.

If you run faster, then your heart rate is going to go up, and head towards your maximum heartrate. Not a good idea.

So... since you are at a gym with a heart-rate monitor, please discuss things with your trainer. But 163 bpm and sweating suggests you are running plenty fast enough. Please don't go any faster without professional advice.

[If Lotty41 was born in 1941, I recommend seeing a doctor right away. 163 is too fast for someone in their 70's].

As with anyone on this forum, I'm not a medical practitioner, I have no sports physiology training and I am just using acquired knowledge that may not apply to everyone. And in any case, the 220-age heart rate rule is just an approximation. Your trainer at the gym can help: she will tell you to not run any faster :-)


Hi MarkyD

I can confirm that I am 41 as my profile name suggests. Thanks for the info on the max heart rate that is very useful. I will ask the trainer tonight.

Once again thanks.


I would like to thank you all for your messages and advice, I think I can be rest assured that I am doing just fine with what I am doing, not going to beat myself up about it, and then maybe over time I can increase the speed or add an incline. But thank you again, I have gained so much knowledge since joining this forum.


Hi Lotty, I'm also 41. I walk at 5.5 KPM/3.5 MPH and run at 7.2 KPM/4.5 MPH all at a small incline so I'm not too dissimilar to you!

As others have suggested, my advice is to just keep going as you are - you're doing great!


At this early stage of your running, it is not possible to run too slowly -- BUT it is very possible to run too fast!! :) The primary object of C25K is to be able to run non-stop for 30 minutes - 30 minutes is still 30 minutes, even at a faster pace ! :) So, aim to become able to run for 30 minutes at a slower pace - and then after you are able to do that, you can see about increasing the pace. What those paces are is entirely dependent on your personal fitness level - and your natural "talent" to run :)


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