So Horribly Slow!

Ran my first 5K in 51:00. Pace of 16:30. I'm old. I'm slow. I lost 80 pounds over the past year so I'm a healthy weight but for all of that, I still don't seem to be able to run easily. I wonder if I'll ever get any faster! Been running since January. I guess 6 months of running doesn't cancel out 40 years of being out of shape. But has anybody been this slow and gotten faster, and if so, how long did it take? How did you do it? Thanks!


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20 Replies

  • We are all different so be proud of yourself for running. I find 5k a very challenging distance even after graduating so great for heart and lungs. My 5k speed improved without trying over times and the most important thing is to keep going out regularly. I decided to work on distance rather than speed. First "long run" was 5.5k! Kept running 2 X 5k plus 1 long run a week. Did a 6, then a 7, 8 and then went for 10! Nice and steady, find soft ground where there is p,entry of space to run and plod a little longer

  • First off, congratulations on your first 5k! That's fantastic and you can go any direction you like from here.

    What I did to first improve my speed is to occasionally add faster shorter runs in along with my 5k route. My short route was about 20 minutes. But I could practice running faster since I wasn't running the whole 5k. I also did fartleks. Go out on a run and whenever you fancy, pick up the pace for a bit. Maybe just to the next light pole or the next person you pass. Then slow down again. Don't be surprised if you have to walk, it's hard work! But it'll improve your regular running.

    You're doing great.

  • Huge well done on completing a 5k.. And please please do not worry about your speed. Running is a gift to enjoy and gives us life. All I will say is that if you want to be faster there are lots of things you can do... But have a really good think about what you want from your running as what you are doing sounds perfect. Well done 😎

  • It's all to do with your muscular fibres of which make up your active muscles in exercise. There is fast-twitch muscle fibres of which tire very easily but allow sprinting at fast speeds to occur (short bursts of energy) and there is also slow-twitch muscle fibres of which are used for endurance exercise (exercise over long periods of time) these fibres tire less easily. You can increase the a certain one by doing exercises of which use these fibres more often such as doing drills, lifting medium weights quickly over a number of reps. The reason you run slow is because your body is more built for endurance rather than speed due to the exercise your body is used to

  • 1st off you have done brilliantly , 1 to lose weight and 2 to complete a 5k run , 👏👏👏👏👏 be proud very proud 2 massive acheivements 😊

    You are right it does take time to buy back those years of inactivity etc but beach step and run is along that road 😊

    So really well done you 😊

  • Please be patient! as they say,Rome wasn't built in a day! It will come! Maybe incorporate some hills into your runs. I was stuck in a groove with a slow speed, but kept at it regular and did hills in a run at least once a week and then did a pb time at Parkrun knocking 4 mins off😊

  • Parkrun in 4 minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You da man, Dave!!!!!!!!

  • Ha Ha, you really believed my cockup!😊

  • Your pace is your pace and that is where you are at this moment and that is what we all have to accept, but then devise strategies to move towards our aims.

    Just coming back from injury, l have to accept that my best current 5k pace is a good 30 seconds per kilometre slower than my PB. I may never get back to that PB pace, but by continually pushing l hope l will get back in the vicinity at some point. If not, so be it. For me, l find the most effective way is to work my distance back up to one weekly 10-15k run with a couple of 5k maintenance runs as well. Pushing the distance improves my stamina, which means l have more to give when l want to push for speed on a 5k run.

    If you are running 3x30 mins per week then as far as your general health is concerned, you are doing just great and as others say, you should be proud. Human nature means that we do constantly compare ourselves, which is a pretty pointless exercise considering the vast range of forms taken by humanity. Compare yourself with a cheetah......or maybe a sloth...not a lot of point in that either, really. Now if you compare yourself with your former self can draw real conclusions and l hope, be satisfied.

    Six months is not very long and you need to relax most of the time and occasionally push yourself and you will in time find your pace improves.

  • I saw a pretty manic sloth once.

  • I like the idea of comparing former self vs current self. Thank you :-)

  • Ahh yourself with your former self :) thanks..Will apply this advice x

  • I have been running since last September and still have not achieved a 5K yet, so I think you are doing brilliantly 😀

  • I can sympathise, Invirginia! I'm also a bit frustrated with my own slow pace. All I can say is that if we can stick at it we will gradually get better. Patrick1942 is one person who is quite inspiring - he recently posted his times from his last few parkruns, and you could see his personal best improving minute by minute each time.

    I'd advise thinking of this first 5K time as your "baseline time". You have proved to yourself that you can overcome this challenge in the first place - and you deserve a big round of applause for that! It will get easier :-)

  • Tip for getting faster: leave the "I'm old" (at 52!) behind, it is far too heavy to carry with you.

    My first 5k was something over an hour. My PB is 43 minutes and I haven't come close to doing that again in a while (I think it took about 3 years to get to that point).... your first 5K time is my fairly usual one.

    So from my perspective, you're pretty zippy for someone who only took up running this year. I'm 53 and I'm just about a healthy BMI (which I wasn't when I did my first 5K although I had got to merely overweight, from the obese point where I started C25K)

    I'd like to be a bit faster sometimes - so my 10ks don't take up an entire morning, and because I'd like to clock up a bit more cardio. I'd like to be a bit less wimpy about hills (especially given where I live) But you know what? I've been running regularly for 4 years now, I dropped 20kgs, I've added in other stuff to improve my overall physical fitness (bear in mind that I was sedentary in the extreme and not by choice), I've not (yet!) sustained an injury and I am still loving my running.

    Striving to improve can be really useful for getting yourself out there and trying... but if that was what it was all about, why is my 82 year old Dad still out there running, with rheumatoid arthritis and prostate cancer? He's not going to get any faster! (Not long ago he won his age class in a national event because he was the only finisher... in such a long time my brother was really worried he'd had a mishap in the woods. Still got the cup...)

  • I guess I wish I'd done all of this when I was much younger - but you're right, I need to just focus on the here and now, and stop worrying about everything else. I hope I'm still running when I'm 82!!! I am going to change my attitude and just enjoy what I am able to do now. Thank you.

  • Well done for doing 5k! I only manage this if I count my warm up x it's all about doing your own thing and getting off the couch. Set small goals and celebrate achieving each one x

  • First of all, stop and celebrate just how far you have come in that 6 months, and congratulations on a brilliant weight loss!

    You will gradually get faster - but if not, who cares? You're out there doing this for your well being - you should be proud!

  • Don't worry about things you can't change like your age or when you started, the important bit is you did start and you can run a whole 5 k doesn't matter if its not going to break any speed records, you are still running 5 k and that is 5k more than all of those people still languishing on their sofa's! . Just enjoy it and keep at it , vary your routes and don't let it get too routine! If speed improves over time that's great but if not you can still run for over 50 minutes!!

  • I am old, I'm slow and have lost weight too. 51 mins for 5K is my time. I used to worry about it, but now I realise that I'm still a runner and I can run 5K! I didn't used to be able to run for 30 seconds!!!

    Every now and then I make and effort to try and train myself to run a bit faster but at heart I'm sure I'm built more for endurance than speed. I may not be the fastest but my GP keeps adjusting my medications for high blood pressure down and down and my recent blood tests showed that i'm really healthy. So my speed somehow begins to look less important than just getting out there and running! 6 months of running DOES cancel out 40 years (or in my case 66 years) of being out of shape.

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