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Couch to 5K
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3x30 minute runs now how to improve

Newly graduated, literally yesterday and I am trying to think of what to do next. How long to stick at 30 minute runs for before trying to extend that. I have downloaded the stepping stones podcasts but heard they were tough. Would I be better waiting a couple of weeks before attempting them? I am only covering about 4k in my 30 minute runs so not quite reached 5k yet. Perhaps that elusive 1k I am missing should be my next goal increase the distance see how long it takes me then try to reduce the time it takes me to do it.

10 Replies

Oh that's a hard one. Do you see yourself as short and fast - commenting on distance here - or long and slow? Or do you have in mind that you'd like to crack the 5k before deciding? It's tough to work out what to do I guess. If you felt you could have gone faster in your runs, then maybe the speed challenge is for you. But personally I'd like to do the 5k just to say I did. Don't know if that's any help at all? But regardless of your choice I am sure you will enjoy your running as a nice shiny happy graduate (my phone just gave me the option to type meal after the word happy!!!!)


Just keep doing the 3 x 30 for a couple of months first. Our joints and tendons strengthen at a much slower rate than muscles so it is best to consolidate for a while to allow them to catch up. You may well find that you become a bit quicker/cover more distance during that time but don't make a conscious effort to do so.

You have your whole life to get faster or run further. Make sure you build a strong foundation on which to do that.


Consolidate the 30 minute runs, and take some time just to run, because you can, as Rig says, it all takes time.. C25K is just the beginning...the distance and the speed often creep up with lots of different runs.. almost unnoticed!

Enjoy the journey :)


Give the stepping stones podcasts a try, I thought they were OK. Then at least you'll know if they might suit you, or you need something else. Has anyone mentioned Parkrun 😊


I'll mention parkrun............... everyone should try it at least once. Many people walk the whole thing, so you don't have to wait until you have completed 5k. It is the real world equivalent of this forum.......... supportive, inclusive and celebratory. Register your club as NHS C25K, just to get the message across to the rest of the world.

Try running for fun in beautiful landscapes.........hard to beat for making you feel really alive.

Keep running, keep smiling.


Park run? before I can do 5k? I am now picturing my legs turning to jelly at the mere thought. Honestly probably more lack of confidence and fear. The irony is was out yesterday with the kids and all I could think was that this would be a great place to run surrounded by trees and deer.


You most definitely can do the park run - i did one last weekend as the first of my W9 runs. I was prepared to walk when I needed to but I ran the whole thing (veerryyy slowly). It took me 41 minutes but I wasn't the last home. So go and do it - no need for jelly legs. And people were so friendly and encouraging - with a special round of applause for first timers.

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Give it a go - honestly you'll be fine🙂 and the only time you'd ever be last is if you volunteer as the tail walker 🤗


I hope you don't mind; I said this yesterday and I am a slow typist so I'm cutting and pasting.....

I graduated with 3.7k in 30 minutes about 2 months ago. I think that that post graduation period is a bit tricky as you try and work out how to go forward without the structure. I have tried various things; running increasing distance (at an increase of 10% per week), running shorter runs but quicker, doing the stepping stones podcast, doing week1 of C25K but jogging the walk bits and trying to go faster for the run sections, setting out without a clue what will happen, running for 30 minutes, running in France on (yikes) hills.....

and here (for what it's worth) is my insight. It doesn't really matter what you do. Try and do different things, mix up speed and distance, try different routes, go on holiday....Just make sure that you run 3 times a week (or thereabouts) and take it slowly. Find out what you can do, what you want to do and BE PATIENT. I ran 7k last week and that seemed to make my next 5k much quicker... I don't really understand WHAT is happening, but I am just very happy that it is, that I am (touch wood) injury free and growing in strength, stamina and confidence as a runner

Other people love Parkrun or other organised events. Some people like setting speed goals or distance goals, others like to see where they end up...

I think its like learning any thing new- like the piano, you learn to do it and then find out what you want to do- classical, jazz, pop, or slashdeathmetal....Have fun


I graduated mid July and began to extend my time firstly to 35 mins and then 40 mins. I've since been trying to run 5k three times a week and have managed 5k several times but so...ooo slow. My quickest so far 40 mins 33 and the next one was almost a minute slower and I felt disappointed. I'm beginning to feel like I'm not going to get any faster but I'll keep trying and my next target is sub 40 mins.


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