Couch to 5K
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How to control speed outdoors?

Hi guys,

After successful completion of week 5, I went outdoors once again for a wee cheeky 4K today morning.

The issue I have is controlling my speed and making sure I don't run too fast.

Is there an easy way to do that?

Doing that on the treadmill is very easy. But outdoors is a different ballgame!

I have promised myself that once I graduate in C25K, I will do a 5K 3 times a week and have already got the route jotted down :-)

Look forward to all advise.



7 Replies

You can hold yourself back for the first half of the run, or even two thirds and then speed up for the final bit. If you're not training for anything specifically I'd hold back on the hard running completely. All that foot slamming is bad for the legs, as I've found out to my detriment

You could load up some slower running tunes on your phone or whatever. You can buy music to match pace from Audiofuel (of C25k fame) or there are websites where music is grouped by bpm, 180 being fast, so go for tunes less than that, to keep you running more slowly

You can set your garmin etc for a slower pace before you set off, so it will beep and tell you if you're getting ahead of yourself

It's usually enough to tell yourself that you are going out for a slow jog. Pick a particularly scenic route and go and admire it at your leisure.


Thanks MissW. I have got Spotify Premium. I am going to try getting some slow tunes and give it a go :-)


For the C25K programme the key is to keep your pace comfortable and breathing under control. A pace at which you could hold a conversation would be ideal but your actual speed is irrelevant. If you've got anything left in the tank towards the end then perhaps try a sprint finish in the last 30 seconds or so. Anyway, you'll find over time that you become aware of how different pacings feel. For a more accurate measure, a GPS running watch or running app on a smartphone will display live/average pacing stats and other goodies but during the course itself just take it easy and don't get hung up on the numbers. There will be plenty of time after you graduate for speed and racing if that's your thing. Good luck!

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Thanks Michael.

I prefer to get over the finish line than speed. Even at my slowest running speed, I will be faster than my walking speed.


I have had the luxury of a Garmin from early on so I was able to watch my pace from the start. Even now, however, I use it more to hold my pace back rather than to keep me up to speed!

The best way to control your pace without one is probably by breathing effort: You should be able to comfortably complete a sentence without gasping or you are going too fast. Similarly, if you could comfortably sing then you could be going a little faster!

Keep it up - outdoor running is so much more fun that the treadmill!

Happy running!


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Thanks Ugi.

I do agree that running outdoors is more fun.

I have a fitbit surge. I am going to try and use it's ability to tell me about my speed.

Fingers crossed!


I just use "slow down" as a mantra.

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