Am I expecting too much

I'm a 65 year old male. I've been running now for nearly a year, I started the Couch to 5k programme and found it really good but I can't seem to progress from 5k or do a faster pace than around 6.40 min/km.

Am I expecting too much at my age? Is it feasible to go faster, run further, or did I ought to be happy with what I'm doing and not push it?


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15 Replies

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  • I am a 60 or so female, I have been running 2.5 years. This has been my experience.

    I found my 5k speed increased very slowly during my first few months of being able to comfortably run the distance, but then plateaued. I spent quite a bit of time during 2016 doing speed interval runs and the like to try to increase my pace, with little overall effect. My parkrun PB in October 2016 is all of 10 seconds faster than the one set the previous April, and I haven't been within a couple of minutes of it since.

    In 2017 I switched focus to adding distance. This has been more successful in that I can now run 10k albeit at an even slower pace.

    You certainly can't change both at the same time and in my experience distance is a bit easier to crack than speed.

  • What have you been doing to (a) run further, (b) run faster?

    Speed may well come in time but to run further, you have to.........well, run further. Certainly don't try to increase distance while running at top pace. Decide what you want to work on either run by run, or preferably planned for a week in advance.

    Many graduates continue to run three times per week and increase the distance on one run by a maximum of 10% of your weekly total. If you work out a route beforehand, if you don't have any tracking devices, then you can work out where to run to to increase distance by, say, half a kilometre. The following week try to add another half kilometre. It is probably best to have a realistic target, perhaps 10k, when you start this. You could of course just increase the duration of the long run by five minutes each week, which will have a similar effect.

    For speed, many people find the C25K+ podcasts useful, or just create your own intervals at slow recovery pace and a pace faster than your current pace. Intervals are tough, but work for most.

    It is said that after the age of sixty you are unlikely to create many new speed PBs, but it is also said that a new runner will continue to improve for seven years. Both of these statements may have a grain of truth and they are the sort of thing that bulks out the pages of running magazines.

    My favourite motivator is parkrun, which is where I have achieved all my 5k PBs. The other thing to question is whether it matters at all, unless you have specific targets.

    Keep running, keep smiling

  • Great post... good advice as ever... :)


    This 67 year old just had a PB :)

  • How did IannodaTruffe get to be sooooooooo wise?

  • Many weeks and months and years of running... experience does count for many things :) He is a force to be reckoned with :)

  • As are you my dear!

  • I am very ancient..........

  • But, not as ancient as me :) Although.... I am still quite cute too :)

  • I can't compete there.....

  • :)

  • Love the wisdom.

  • I don't think you're expecting too much - you just need to focus on your expectations and manage them. We also can't just have expectations and think that's enough - we have to set a plan. I'm not the person to give advice on how to achieve your expectations but what I will say is that only by having goals can you achieve them!

  • You're doing just fine. 5K is an admirable distance and you should stick with it. The main things are this :

    1. Your heart and lungs are saying thank you.

    2. Your mental health is saying thank you.

    3. Your joints are saying thank you.

    What more in life could you EVER want?!!! Keep at it and keep ENJOYING it.

  • I agree with everything that everyone else has said, but I would also ask: what is it that you want to do? Why do you run?

    It's all relative. If I could sustain 6:40 mins/km for 5km I'd be ecstatically happy. My goal at the moment is distance, although that just seems to have happened... I'm not quite sure how. It does mean that I have slowed down considerably. My 5k pace used to be around 33 mins and it's now somewhere around 39 mins - but I can run 16k. Not without a break, and it takes a very long time, but that's what I'm doing at the moment. Mostly, I run for my health, mental, physical and spiritual, which means that I go somewhere new, push myself a bit harder up the hill, enter a race, stop and take photos or smell a rose in someone's garden. But work out what you're looking for and then work out a plan towards that aim. And most of all, enjoy it. Happy running!

  • Thanks for everyone's advice and comments. I don't really know what goals I want to set, I guess my initial aim was to get to 5k and lose a bit of weight and get fitter, this I have done which has amazed me. I reckon the next step will be to run further if I can, I think I will try the C25k+ programme and see if I can get to 10k eventually.

    As others have said the main thing to do is enjoy it and I am certainly doing that, I never thought I would be able to run further than a few yards, I've never been particulary sporty at all. Thanks again.

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