Talk to me about Pace

How many of you were able to run 5k at the end of 9 weeks ? My pace is not improving much week on week which means I may only be able to do 3 / 3.5 kms if I run 30 full minutes. So at that point would you just add on time to the end and take walking breaks if needed ? I've signed up for a 5k parkrun in March so just want to be realistic. When (if) did your pace improve and by how much ?

Last edited by
Skip

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

28 Replies

oldestnewest
  • Sounds like you're doing great. When I graduated two years ago I think I did my first 5k at around 35 minutes. Since then, I've run them faster and slower, only hitting under 30 once, so it may have been a bad GPS signal (but I'll keep it 😉). For your Parkrun, run and walk as much as you like. I walk often during mine. There will be a tailrunner at the end bringing up the rear. Last couple times I did it was around 45 minutes and 53 minutes. So everyone is welcome.

    If you want to get faster post-graduation, try some 20 minute fartleks. Fun, fast and short. Not great for icy runs though. You can also extend your runs by a few minutes until you hit the 5k mark.

  • Hi there, did you use a fartlek app? And if so, which one do you recommend?

  • No app. I just start running normally for a couple minutes then pick something visual to pick up the pace at when I pass, a particular house or tree. I do the same to slow down. And it's whatever speed I fancy, from slightly faster to really quick. Sometimes I'll do it to the chorus of a particularly good running song if it comes up on shuffle.

  • I think you shouldn't worry about pace, it will get faster but it will probably be only shaving a few seconds here and there.

    I sometimes do a sub 30 but my average is about 32. There is no to me limit on park run. You will also find you run faster with others.

  • 5 parkruns so far and my time started at 45:28 and now down to 43:40, slowly but surely.

    Time is not a factor for me it's getting out there and doing it.

    I may get to under 30 mins but I think I am fitter than those under 30 mins as I can run for longer!!!! ;)

  • That sounds like good logic to me!

  • As has been said, now you can run, try fartlek training to increase pace. It really works!!! Be patient. Your times will get better.

    When ever you feel down about your running, just look at where you have come from and what you are capable of.

  • I found that I got faster when I ran further, call it over distance training. But don't overdo it. I got to 32/33 minutes for 5k so just had to keep on running until I got to 5k. That said, do you run shorter faster lighter steps? Apparently that's supposed to be better than longer strides. Good luck but try not to get too hung up on speed, just enjoy it! That's what I do. 😀

  • I have never run 5k in 30 mins and I graduated 2 1/2 years ago. I have however done 100 parkrun. Don't stress about it, take longer, walk when necessary, it'll be fine.

  • It took me ages to get up to 5k after graduation. But (when Im not injured) I can do that now in just under 40 mins. Slow I know, but who cares. I just added on a couple of minutes more running (following the principles of the programme) till I got to the magic 5k. Haven't done more than that in six months of post grad running but have had a few injuries so currently building up to 5k again. Just enjoy it and remember the progrMme is about running for thirty minutes continuously rather than distance. ...

  • Sounds great to me. Took me about 2 years to even be able to slow jog for 5k. I was almost 100 pounds overweight. Have lost 50 of it and was recently able to complete 5k in 32 minutes. I got used to brisk walking the distance over and over and then transitioned to jogging. I have not improved on that time much, but I am focusing on longer distance rather than speed (up to half marathons jog/walk). Speed will go up as I lose more weight. Keep up the good work !!!

  • All of the above. Couch to 5k is really a misnomer for a lot of people (sounds better than couch to 30mins ;) ) and it's the length of time running that counts. For me the improvements came came as I ran for further and longer. Keep at it.

  • Your post and this thread have been so useful and encouraging to me. I graduated in August and have kept up the running but only managed the actual 5K distance in November, running just under 40mins to achieve it. Then in December, I didn't get out as much and tended to run shorter distances. I'm in agreement with everyone here that the main thing is that we are keeping going and feeling so much better mentally & physically for it. Happy New Year to everyone and thanks to all for support and lovely comments. This is a great community.

  • You don't say which week you are in. Are you calculating you predicted pace at 5km. I wouldn't change anything until after graduation, the program has been calculated to look after your joints and muscles as you progress. When you graduate I would keep increasing in little amounts and add a fast spurt at the end to help with your speed. I graduated 3.5 years ago and still haven't done 5km in 30 min and am probably one of the Ones who never will.

    For your event don't worry most events are relaxed on your time. Run as much as you can and walk if need be, at 3-3.5km you will get to 5km no problem on the day by March even if you have to take a couple of walk breaks. The most important thing is to go out and have fun.

  • We can compare ourselves to one another, but it is a pretty futile exercise. I did run 5k in under 30 minutes in Week 9, but I was still less than half the speed of Mo Farah. Users of this forum come in all shapes, sizes, ages and physical conditions, so your question to us all is going to elicit a vast range of responses and there will inevitably be some faster and some slower than you...........and does it really matter, unless of course you have eyes on competing in the next Olympics.

    I wrote this post healthunlocked.com/couchto5... five months ago, addressing your questions from my perspective. I am currently very sporadic in my running due to my ongoing back problem and the joy of being out there running is all I care about and my speed is totally insignificant.

    Keep it up. you are doing this for you.

  • You have to be stronger to be faster, which takes time. Be patient. All good things .... 🙂

  • You are doing fine. When I graduated in September I ran 3.35K in 30 minutes. I chose my username for a reason! This morning I ran 3.8K in the same time. I have run a couple of parkruns with a few short intervals for hills, along with most of the other runners. You are the runner; you don't need to conform to anyone else's expectations. As long as you are getting fitter and enjoying yourself that is all that really matters!

  • 2+ years after graduating and I still cant do a 30min 5k... Bothered... Nope :-)

    But I know that every run I do is doing me good!!!

  • When I graduated I hadn't hit 5k either, but did my first in about 38 mins on a treadmill (it was winter). I consolidated by running for 30 mins 3 times a week for ages but wasn't getting to 5k. I did do the Stamina podcast which is a 35 min run a few times. But for months only managed a 30 min run.

    I increased my distance by starting the Bridge to 10k podcasts (which have 60 sec walking breaks) and can now run for 51 mins (over 7k). The intervals are getting longer and I feel my stamina has improved a lot.

    It has never been about speed for me, more being able to go out running and manage longer distances so I can vary where I run. I haven’t done a parkrun but think by March you will be able to manage just fine...keep going and good luck. Slow and steady is best imo.😊

  • you're doing great and sound just like me. I graduated in December and have never gotten close to 5k in 30 minutes. I am also doing my first Parkrun in March in Killarney when I visit for the first time from Chicago. I don't care how long it takes me, just looking forward to toasting with that pint when I finish:) We only compete with ourselves, and I'm not very competetive! Keep up the good work.

  • Sangy777, from what you have said it sounds as though your target is a little back to front in my view (no offence). My own approach (not saying it suits all) would be to focus on mileage not a target 5k time. You can already run for a full 30 minutes which is fantastic in itself! Your aim is to first complete 5k regardless of time because time comes later. Have you tried increasing your running time to say 35 minutes or 40? Have you tried doing some hill runs? These will help you get to 5k in the first instance by building stamina / endurance. Your park run is likely to include times of between 18 and 60 minutes with you, like most of us somewhere in between......😀. Doing the park run will help in itself as you will be high on adrenaline and if you have to walk a bit...so what?! Best of luck, make yourself proud!

  • I graduated from C25K in April by running Parkrun in 33 minutes. My first sub 30 5K was just before Christmas at a pacer run. These pacer events are the times I try to push myself. Otherwise I just try to enjoy the run no matter what time I get. My comfortable average is between 30-31 minutes. I use the Stamina and Speed podcasts during the week, plus a 20 minute jog and a quick 10-15 blast on my stair master. I live in a hilly area which helps.

  • Thanks everyone. I've just completed week 6 - I have done two 5ks in week 5 by just adding time on at the end and taking breaks if needed - mainly just to prove to myself that it's possible and took 52-54 mins to do it. I am going to just stick to the plan from now on and get to 30 mins from 25 mins gradually. Probably better on my knees (I have 50 pounds to lose).

  • I couldn't run 5k at end of 9 weeks and still can't but I could achieve 5k with a combination of running and walking, which I believe some do on park runs. I think most people don't achieve 5k in 9 weeks but do run for 30 minutes. Hope that helps.

  • Please stick to the programme for now and don't worry about the distance, just aim to run for the allocated time. 52 minutes is a long time at this point in the programme and could be putting you at risk of injury. As you get past the interval weeks and you start to run for longer periods of time your distance will increase without you necessarily trying. Some people push on and run the extra to make the 5k on the graduation run, which is what I did, but some people don't and some people never do! The euphoria of the graduation run helped me make 5k in 39.20 but, with injury, etc, I haven't done it that fast since. Running doesn't end on graduation and your first post graduation run is just the next of hopefully a huge number of runs. You have your whole running life ahead of you to get quicker and to run further so stick to the programme, trust in it, avoid injury and enjoy your running. :)

  • I managed 5k on my last run of week 9 only because I felt I could keep on running/jogging don't know the time as I was only too pleased I did it. It certainly wasn't in 30 mins

    As I see it the c25k programme builds up a safe training course for you to extend your running time it's not against the clock . I will never achieve a 30 min 5k but do park run every week and my times improving .

    You'll be able to do your 5k in March as this programme is designed to do that , I believe it's a misconcept that you'll do it in 30 mins some will most won't most 5k people do run walk

    Just follow the programme and enjoy your achievement

    Your off the couch and you'll get to 5k

  • This might be a little different than for others because I've done all my runs on a borrowed treadmill (gradient setting 2.0), but I haven't hit 5km in 30 minutes either- I graduated on Christmas Eve. The actual programmed runs were typically done between 8.5km/h and 9 km/h, depending on how I felt on that day.

    It's easier for me to see average speeds on a treadmill, obviously, as it's right in front of me, but last time I ran I completed just over 4.5km, as I ran the whole thing at 9.1km/h. I'm slowly creeping up to a full 5km though (and I mean slowly- next run will be at 9.2 km/h!) That said, I know I'll be slower running out 'in public' with hills, etc. but at the moment I'm trying to work on my speed a little before upping the distance with b210k.

    Whatever you choose to do, complete the programme and don't take anything too quickly- I don't think you're supposed to increase speed or distance by more than 10% at any one time.

  • You're only on week 6 and I think you're pushing yourself a bit hard. Just stick to the programme and get to the end of week 9 safely. After that you can think about increasing the distance or pace.

    I found my pace was good because I was already doing 3 weekly gym sessions and swimming before I started the programme... so I had a bit of a head start. But I also took nearly 18 weeks to get to graduation having started again after an enforced break at week 8 due to surgery.

    The strength and flex podcasts can be used on rest days to improve muscle strength...

You may also like...