Couch to 5K
62,275 members95,034 posts

How fast to run?

Just done week 1 and after each session feel like I’m dying! 57 and at least 3 stone overweight 😉

My question is how fast is a run? I use a treadmill and alternate between walking at 2mph and jogging at 4mph (I know 4mph is a walk to most people ). But for someone who gets out of breath climbing stairs I don’t want to risk a heart attack!!

Is it a waste of time unless you are doing 6/7 mph?

11 Replies

Hi Yellowduck, the pace you are going is fine, speed isn't an issue, if you are struggling then go a bit slower. Well done for completing week 1, it will get easier, keep posting as you progress through the programme. 😁

1 like

How fast you run is as individual as you are. Run at a comfortable, sustainable pace. It is about building your stamina by increasing the length of runs, so you need to go at a pace that allows you to do this.

If you struggle, then slow down.

Don't compare yourself to others, this is your journey and your pace. Once you have built your stamina, then you speed will naturally increase over time (providing you keep up regular running). The important thing at this stage it to get in the mileage. Fast or slow a mile is still a mile.


You're meant to run at a pace that YOU can maintain for the duration of the run. For some peole it's 4 mph. For others it's 3 and I'm sure there are some from whom it's 6 or 7 mph. We're all different, and this is a learning-to-run-for-30-minutes programme that teaches you endurance rather than sprinting performance.

So run at whatever pace works for you. And if it feels too hard, then slow down.

Good luck, and happy running.


It's definitely not a waste of time! Run as slowly as you need to, as long as the motion is that of a run. If it feels that hard, it might be worth slowing it down further; it doesn't matter if you're going no faster than you would walking. You can think about speeding up once you're feeling more confident; for now all you need to do is keep going.

Well done on finishing week 1, and keep going! In a few weeks you'll be thinking back to week 1 fondly and of how easy it sounds now.

1 like

I’m at the same stage as you, so no expert, but am also taking it real slow! My run is barely faster than my walk, and my brisk walking doesn’t need to be very brisk at all to get my heart rate up!

I reckon that anything is better than nothing, and I’m pretty sure I’m already feeling an improvement in my stamina, so slowly does it is just fine with me!


Hi Yellowduck, my King Charles Spaniel gently walks off leash and with no effort, beside me while I jog. That's how slow I go and I don't care because to me its about finishing each run. Well done you for joining us and giving it a go.


A run is defined by the fact that both feet should be off the ground simultaneously on each stride. However slow, if you do that you are running. Go as slow as you need to.

I can't advise about actual speeds but what you are doing is certainly not a waste of time. Many unfit people do brisk walking for a few weeks before starting C25K.

Well done on getting started. You won't regret it. Good luck.

1 like

Listen to IannodaTruffe , and the other replies... speed is not even a consideration!

Just run.. comfortably and enjoy it... :)

"It matters not how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop."

1 like


Moving to become never, ever a waste of time:)


Hey yellowduck,

Welcome! Like you I’m in my 50’s and need to lose a couple of stone. My OH took up running about a year ago and runs like the wind lol!

Me, I’m still working my way through the prog and never, ever thought I’d get this far (wk8!).

I too run on a treadmill, I started with same pace as you but as my strength and stamina has built I’ve managed to up that a little. I’m now walking on 5 and running on 6.5 but as I say I started were you did so don’t beat yourself up-you are doing the RIGHT thing for you, so well done.

I think this forum has taught me that ....

patience is needed,

....speed is irrelevant,

....any movement is better than none

......and the key is resting in between each run as well as stretching before and after. Remember to drink plenty of water after the run and most of all be proud of every achievement 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽


Hi I saw your other post and wanted to let you know. I started out running between 3.7mph and 3.9mph. But as has been said here you need to go at your own pace. To me 4mph would have been too fast at the beginning!


You may also like...