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Couch to 5K
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What does 'slow' really mean?!!

Probably a daft question...but I'm Just on week 2 and trying to jog v v slowly as everyone advises (have suffered with bad knees on previous attempts).

I'm confused tho!...

...Does 'slow' mean lowering the bmp (I can't do this very successfully at all..I'm comfy at around 150 minimum)..or

...Does 'slow' mean taking v v short stride lengths...e.g. placing one foot around just 0.5 metre in front of the back foot...does this make any sense??

Thanks all!

5 Replies

Just finding your own pace... your breathing should not be laboured...you could hold a conversation , but not sing a song :) Although I do blast out the odd line from any favourite song I have, occasionally! Usually terrifying the odd passing pheasant or rabbit!

Landing lightly and trying to relax into the run is the thing... kissing the ground with your feet, is what I call it...helping reduce the impact on those knees..You just move in a comfortable, sustainable style :)


I know nothing about bmp - never tracked or thought about it, however...

I aim for feeling comfy - the feeling of running within my ability with comfortable breathing - " happy pace". I do start with shorter paces and in the second half of a run extend my stride a little more - but if I overdo that I just rein back in. One person's slow will be another person's fast I guess. Yesterday I chuckled because someone posted their "slow" - it was almost twice as fast as my "slow"!! Who cares!? I'm out there loving it after half a century of believing I couldn't run! 😃

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Both! Slow bpm so that your lungs can take the run, and short stride lengths to reduce the impact to the joints. Try shortening those steps to see if you can feel a difference on your joints, but if your lungs are taking the current bpm then try keeping them quick. I play around with mine occasionally, it's tough to change. I find it easiest when running around other people.

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Try talking out loud as you run. You should be able to talk, as you would when walking, without having to pause your speech for breath or gasp. Once you can do this, speed up until the faltering speech begins, then ease back to the comfortable pace. This is your easy pace. As your lungs develop you will be able to speed up, but if you are gasping in short breaths, then you are not going to get an adequate oxygen supply and you will tire quickly.

It doesn't matter if you could walk faster, so long as you maintain the running action.

Your footfall should be below your body, not out in front, that is overstriding which often leads to heelstriking and more jarring of the knees.

I wouldn't pay much attention to your bpm. If you have not ascertained your true maximum heart rate (as opposed to the estimated value on your device), then it is only giving you ranges based on averages. That said, if you find your easy pace, as described above, you can check what your hrm is registering as a reference.

Keep it simple and enjoy it.

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I think I'm finally finding my personal 'slow' style that I'm now comfortable with..and it has made a huge difference to my ability to finish the runs...i love it !

Thanks to all for giving such amazing advice to someone who initially thought 'slow' meant having to run like Mo Fatah, but in slow motion!!..I now know it means little steps and short strides!.


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