When do you start to increase speed?

In order to do a 5K in 30 minutes, you need to run at an average speed of 10 KM/H for 30 minutes.

I am in week 3 and can confidently run at 7 KM/H for 3 minutes at a time. Still a few weeks to go until I get to week 9.

However, if I stick to 7 KM/H, I will only get 3.5 KM in 30 minutes.

The question is when do I start increasing my speed from 7 KM/H to 10 KM/H so that I can run the 5K in 30 mins?

Thanks guys and girls for your advise.


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17 Replies

  • From what I have read, the programme prepares us to be able to run 30 minutes continuously by week 9. I graduate this Saturday but I could not do 5K in 30 minutes. My current speed, running 30 minutes is 8 minutes per km, so 5 K takes me 40 minutes!

    I have run 5K twice so I can do it, it just takes longer. Will keep working on it once I graduate. Focussing on speed is likely to lead to injury or make us fail the longer runs, best to pace yourself and focus on the time


  • Thanks Julie.

    I only intend to start increasing speed after I graduate too. And that too, gradually.

  • You will get there but a 30 minute 5K may take a bit longer than 9 weeks. If I can run for 30 minutes by week 9 and run a bit longer and cover 5K you will for sure. Julie

  • Hi Ash, I asked a similar question about pace myself when I was in the middle of c25k. I really wouldn't concentrate or worry about your pace and I found that comparing myself to others pace took the enjoyment out of the process. My advice would be:

    A) not to to worry about how fast anyone else is running, just run for yourself

    B) concentrate on completeing each run and week of the programme and getting through the time set, not your pace

    Pace should naturally increase as you get a bit more used to running.

    Good luck and enjoy the rest of your runs.

  • Don't think about speed at this stage. The best thing to do is to just run a little longer after your 30 minutes to get to the 5K mark. Do it gently. don't stress. 5K in 30 minutes is a major milestone; don't expect to do it soon. Everything will come together in time.

  • We are all different and it's still very early days for you. You are only on week 3. First off, build up to running for 30 minutes (end of week 9). Then you can start to consolidate and think about picking speed up (if you want to). In my case I knocked off 5 minutes off my initial 5K time in about 4 months, but you may well be different. We all develop at different rates.

  • The programme isn't really about running 5k, it's about running for 30 minutes, but "couch to 30 minutes" doesn't sound quite so snazzy. Please don't worry about speed. Once you can run for 30 minutes, you will gradually be able to add distance until you can run 5k (in longer than 30 minutes). Speed will naturally increase over time but some of us may never get to a 30 minute 5k.

  • I FINALLY broke that 30 minute for 5K barrier last weekend - it took me 18 months after C25k graduation to do it!! :)

  • I am also not running a 30 minute 5k. I am running a 30 minute 3.5k. It may take a while, but I'll get there and you will too!

  • I'm still not there more than a year after graduating...and I don't care! I love my running

  • I concur with all the other runners - it will come so don't worry about it for now. From memory, I was doing 5k in around 37 mins when I graduated and it took me some time to break the 30 min barrier. Weeks would go by with no improvement and then a few where I knocked a minute off each week. No idea how it works!. After you graduate, there are some special speed training podcasts on the NHS site which may help you, although I just upped the beats per minute on my playlist. Runkeeper has a new DJ feature which allows you to select the tempo from your playlist which is pretty good. Good luck with the rest of the programme.

  • I don't think I will ever do 5k in 30 minutes but I don't care. Just running at my slow pace does it for me. Good luck and enjoy!

  • As others have said it's not about hitting 5k at the end of the 9 weeks at least not in 30 minutes. You should run at whatever speed is comfortable for you. As you keep running your speed will increase over time. I only got below 30 minutes twice and that was after 6 months of running and at a park run where I really pushed myself. I would not want to run that fast all the time as it would not be sustainable for me, but gor others it's their normal pace. We're all different. ...

  • I used the speed & stamina podcasts after graduating to get quicker. They were good as I had a goal & had could continue a structured programme which kept me running.

  • Thanks all. I will stick to a pace that allows me to complete a 30 minute run in Week 9 for now :-)

  • after you have graduated and can run for 30 minutes, then you can think about increasing pace. Not before.

  • You don't have to be able to run 5k at w9, as long as you can run continuously for 30 mins is all that's required, distance & speed comes later, just let that come naturally, chip away at it gradually..

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