Couch to 5K
52,622 members84,708 posts

Speeding up

I've now done 9 parkruns, the first at 41 minutes being followed by one at 39 minutes, the precursor to even less slow runs in the following weeks, I thought. Except I don't seem to be able to move from just over 40 minutes. While I am the oldest runner in the local parkrun (and the only one in my age grade) and cannot hope for much better, I don't see why I shouldn't expect to improve a bit. I would appreciate suggestions.

Secondly, what do others find best to eat before a run - type of food, quantity and timing?

8 Replies

How much running do you do during the week? do you do any speedwork, intervals, hillwork?


I have to confess that one reason for not improving particularly is that I do not have the time and commitment to cover all the possible routes to significant improvement. However, I have been using the speed podcast on C25+ weekly and found it helpful and not too difficult. Other than that, I try to include some vigorous exercise each day - walking, biking, swimming.


As Rignold has suggested, speedwork etc are what is needed or as one magazine said "hard work"

I can vouch for that although I really over did it and sustained an injury so everything in moderation .

Building up endurance on 1 longer run a week is ok but then need to do the speed work on another possibly alternating with hill work too although my physio advised me to only change one thing at a time .

There are lots of articles and advise online about intervals etc so have a Google and try and few different things see what you like or not

Bottom line though is to enjoy what you are doing so if speed isn't your thing don't worry about it :)


Hi Austen, yep I second Robs advice :-)

Can I just throw my tuppence hapennies worth in to say I think you are doing flippin' marvellous !

Blimey, I hope Im still out there like you , when Im 80 ! Fair play to you Sir ! :-) xxx


That is kind of you. I only do it because I enjoy it and I am fortunate to be (so far) without the various complaints and problems that handicap others of my age. The parkrun is ideal, since it is not a race and is a friendly event. Not being last is a bonus but I do want to get a time starting with a 3 and not a 4.


The problem with increasing one's running sped is that the only way to be a faster runner is to run fatser. A lot. Not necessarily a lot faster, but you have to put in the hours to get the cardio system, and the muscles, joints etc capable of sustaining higher pace, just as you did getting to 30 mins/5k. The probalem with this is tht 'running a bit faster' is a difficult thing to gauge while youre actually doing it, and too much of it too soon is more likely to cause injury than trying to increase distance. Pretty much all the running injuroes I have had have been while working on speed - and not necessarily overdoing it massively, just pushing a little too hard.

As gloomy as that sounds, it certainly isnt an impossibility, otherwise no one would ever get faster. The essential thing is bulding up carefully and slowly. I fnd fartleks are a good flexible way of improving pace: on a normal run, make an effort to speed up for a set distance - between two lamposts, for example, then drop back down to normal pace. You don't have to be sprinting all out, just going faster enough to be aware of it, maybe 10% or so. Then when you feel 'recovered' from the increased effort, do it again. Do this perhaps 4 times or as you feel comfortable. Then the following week increae it to 6 lamposts-worth and build up the number of intervals. Then once you can do that for a good time, increase the speed of the fast bits a little more. Do it once a week and your overall time will improve while your joints etc become accustomed to it gradually.


Firstly, well done on keeping at it. I was having the same problem and got some advice from 2 friends who run. Both suggested I include a few walks in my run. This week I did a minutes walk after each kilometre and managed to cut my time by 4 minutes. I ran faster and the walk allowed me to get my breath back to do it again for the next kilometre.


I did that inadvertently when I was struggling on a parkrun - and got my third best time. Subsequently I discovered that this is interval training, which several people have recommended. Since it is sunny today and will be raining tomorrow, I'm going to try it at lunchtime. Thanks for the tip, 4 minutes would do the job!


You may also like...