Speeding up

Hello everyone,

I started the C25K just over four weeks ago. I felt dissatisfied with w3r1 as it wasn't very demanding, to the point where I knew I was going to get bored very quickly, so the next time I went out instead of listening to the app, I did the 5 min warm up walk and then ran. I managed to run continuously for 25 minutes. Just to make sure it wasn't a fluke I've done the same now for 3 more runs, so I'm no longer using the C25K app at all now.

That probably sounds impressive but it doesn't feel that way - my running speed is the same as most people's walking speed! It's around 14.5 minutes per mile and has been consistently on each run. Would going back to the app's interval style training improve my speed or would you just carry on doing the continuous runs in the hope that you will get a bit faster each time? Id like to get down to a 10 minute mile if I can.

I know it's early days - until last month I'd never done any running before - but I feel a bit down about it, and just wondered if anyone had any advice.


Featured Content

Join the NHS Couch to 5K community

Couch to 5K has been designed to get you off the couch and running 5km in just 9 weeks

Start today!

Featured by HealthUnlocked

20 Replies

oldest โ€ข newest
  • Hey Andr3a, Well Done on starting. I guess you must have a fairly good fitness base to start from if you are up to 25m in three weeks. You have gone pretty off piste from the program and may get some conflicting advice - but here is mine !

    How do you feel after doing these three runs ? Did they feel easy ? Tired, or any sore muscles ? Do you do any other exercise ?

    If your okay and they feel easy I would carry on running three times a week and increase your running times ( not speed ) to get up to 30m runs, probably over three weeks. This at least gives your body time to get some form of base in running. Run at your natural pace for now ( even if your think that is slow )

    I really wouldn't start to think about speed now, with so little base runs I would be worried that you would be prone to injury. Your times will probably come down a little anyway.

    Once you have the 30 min runs sorted re-look at things then.

    Hope that helps :)

  • Oh forgot to put please don't feel down - your doing great :)

  • Thank you so much for the reply Terrorrun, I really appreciate it. I felt surprisingly fine after the runs I've done, my calves really felt it but I made sure I had a rest day in between so didn't suffer too much. I think I'll follow your sound advice and carry on at my speed but extend the length of the runs a little.

    Thanks again!

  • Hi Andr3a

    It may be that as you have a very good base fitness that c25k is not the right programme for you.

    For many of us however the programme is absolutely what we need, and it is therefore really important that the integrity of C25k is maintained. It is tried and tested by many, bringing great results for those who stick with it. It allows participants to build running legs and stamina whilst protecting as much as possible against strain and injury from over ambition at an early stage. The injury couch is never a good place to be.

    I wonder if you might benefit from joining a local running club so that you can concentrate on improving your speed if that is how you decide you wish to move forward.

    Happy running ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ

  • Thank you so much for your reply Jacs. My fitness is clearly better than I thought, but those first two weeks of the C25K were a godsend to be honest. They got me off my back side and gave me a huge confidence boost so even though it doesn't suit me personally to do the whole programme, I wouldnt hesitate to recommend it to anyone who will listen!

    The running club idea has crossed my mind but I think I'll carry on by myself for a bit (too shy and slow at the moment!) I would like to try a park run at some point so I'll use that as my motivation for now. Thanks again.

  • Parkrun sounds a great way forward. I would like to suggest though that you remain mindful to listen to your body over coming weeks and rest or reduce your mileage where needed.

    Most of all though ENJOY your new interest and well done on getting off that couch. Do aim for a local running club whenever you feel the time is right ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

  • Being slow may not be a problem with a running club. The one I go to has groups to suit just about anyone - I would never have thought of going if I hadn't heard about it from a couple of members but really enjoy it.

  • We're currently on Week 6 of our second C25K group, you're welcome to come and join us, we get about 12-15 people each session and meet at Peter Lloyd Sports Centre at 7pm Mon/Wed/Fri. Our first group saw 17 beginners complete Croxteth Hall parkrun in September and the aim is for the new group to do the same on 3rd December. Check out Newsham Park Running Group on Facebook.

  • Oh, I didn't realise there were groups following c25k - that's fab! I'm in south Liverpool so was thinking about the Princes Park run, but croxteth is just as easy to get to. Unfortunately because of childcare and work I can't commit to a regular 7pm meet (this is one of the reasons why joining a running club would be difficult too) but I might give you a shout when I feel up to a park run. Thank you for your reply!

  • Difficult one.... Clearly you are fit, as are many folk who start this, but if you are feeling slow.. and you say, that your running speed is the same as anyone's walking speed.. then simply stick with the programme.

    It is so structured and it is intended to build up your stamina, which subsequently,leads onto increased distance and speed. If speed is what you want. The programme does allow for speed towards the end of the nine weeks, but many of us encourage slow and steady because it as all about stamina.. staying power if you will... and avoiding injury...which can happen:)

    After you complete the 30 minute runs... then the world is your oyster... C25K + podcasts and Strides and Intervals and Speed sections all may follow on...all manner of things. I have tried so many new things since Graduation and for a 66 year old, running up to 10K, consider myself reasonably swift ( Although currently with broken ribs... not quite as swift.. ) :)

    If you feel you may get bored.. supplement the programme with changes of route, extra exercise on your rest days.. strength and flex...Yoga, Pilates,cycling, swimming...make C25K , just a part of your exercise regime.

    For me, as for many of us, it is about more than the runs... we are, wonderfully, all so different; this is just my advice... the choice of course is yours... :) And.. simply because I love quotations...

    " Where you are heading, is more important than how fast you are going "

    Whatever you decide will be right for you :)

  • Thanks oldfloss, it's good to hear your perspective on things. It is a fantastic program and I can see the merits in sticking to it. Food for thought indeed...

  • Hi Andr3a I agree with Oldfloss , why not try to stick with the programme and supplement with other things on non run days? That would mean you still have this running forum family to link with on your journey and beyond.

    If you are happy that you can already do the running time, why not try to improve your pace within the programme perhaps? I believe many graduates complete the programme a second time but aiming to run faster.

    Again you would need to be careful you are not being over ambitious at any point, listening to your body and picking up any clues to try to guard against strain and injury.

    Whatever you decide, do the right thing for you, and enjoy!

  • Good for you. You're off to a great start!

    I agree with Terrorrun

    Run three runs over a week of 30 minutes each and then you'll be at the same point as someone who's done the whole nine week program (lucky you!) There are all sorts of plans on offer after that including some NHS ones: nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/...

    I didn't do any of them myself mind you but I know many have used them.

    My route was that once I could run for 30 minutes without stopping I decided my next target was 5k. Some people run 5k in 30 minutes straight away but I didn't! In fact my first 5k took 50 minutes. :)

    And then I consolidated 5k for a few months and started parkruns too. Just doing the miles improves your speed, I've found. Run at least three times a week and it'll just happen, in my opinion.

    Once my speed had improved a bit (my fastest 5k is still only 30 minutes 30 seconds which is not UsainBoltish) I then did the Bridge to 10k program and now I'm seeing myself as at the consolidating-10k stage.

    Anyway, happy running. x

  • Thank you so much Ann (love your user name by the way) your reply is really interesting - just what I needed actually. I'd be more than happy with 30mins 30 seconds so it's great to hear how you achieved it. I'm going out for a run this evening so I'll aim for 30 mins and see if I can keep that up for subsequent runs. Huge thanks for your help.

  • Great advice Anne. Can I just ask, was just doing more miles that improved your speed? I am trying to get near 30 minutes for parkrun and just can't seem to get there - best time is around 33 mins. When I try and run faster my legs and lungs can do it but I get chronic stitch and I have tried everything... when I up it a notch, I ALWAYS get stitch :-/

  • I'm very lucky that I've never had a stitch since I started this whole running business, rammsteinqueen, so I can't advise about that really. I'm sure others can because I think it's a common problem.

    But in general, yes, for me it's the more miles and long runs that have improved my 5k times - but quite gradually. I don't know if I'll ever break half an hour, but then I would have sworn I would never have been able to run 5k (or 10k) so I should know never to say never...

    I overheard someone saying one day after parkrun that running doesn't get easier, you just get quicker. I find that interesting. I think it might be true!

    I am absolutely not conscious of trying to improve my speed and I don't have any gadget to tell me my pace. I just get out and do my best. I listen to my body to decide how hard to go, basically because (rightly or wrongly) I'm afraid to try aiming for a particular pace and finding I don't have enough in the tank to finish the run... This seems to work. Gradually, anyway. :)

  • Me too! I get terrible Stich when I try to 'push on'... I'm interested to know if anyone knows how to deal with it. :)

  • Hard exhale on the opposite foot to your stitch is supposed to help. I have found it eases a little but doesn't go away completely.

  • Slow down and breathe deeply and slowly. Avoid drinking while running, but if you have to, then sip don't gulp.

  • Why not try the whole C25k programme running the whole lot, but upping your pace during the running intervals. This has the advantage of a ready made structure that gradually increases the demand, without pushing you too hard. I would not be tempted to increase your distance or duration substantially for a few weeks.

You may also like...