Advice on Post-Grad runs: Like the vast majority... - Couch to 5K

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Advice on Post-Grad runs


Like the vast majority of graduates, I did not finish the programme being able to run 5k at the end of it BUT I did finish the programme being able to run for 30 minutes which was absolutely amazing for me. I've had about 3 weeks now where I've continued to run for 30 minutes still (as on week 9) and I was hoping that something would have improved in this time, but what has dawned on me is because I'm not pushing myself now as nothing is changing. 30 minutes is still 10 minutes of getting my breathing and feet to work in conjunction before continuing on as usual till the end. My speed hasn't really changed and due to time constraints my distance hasn't either (I could run further if I ran for longer), so I decided I needed to go back to the drawing board.

As I'm just about managing 3k in 30 minutes I suspect that B210k is probably a bit out of my reach at the moment. There's not been much on this forum about them but I'm trying the C25k+ podcasts now. I've done Stepping Stones for a week now which slowly increases your pace from 150bpm to 160 ( I think - can't quite remember the numbers) throughout the run and my first attempt at this was the first time I'd actually managed to hit 3km in 30 minutes (although did feel a bit sick the last 2 mins of the run) so I was chuffed with that. This week I've tried the speed/intervals podcast which although a shorter duration of running it alternates again between jogging and running - and this is where I realised my 'normal' running pace is actually a jogging pace. Now don't get me wrong, I'm in no way despondent about this because like I've said at the start, the fact I am actually putting one foot in front of the other in a (fairly loose) running motion, is something I never thought I'd be able to do, but, that said I do want to be able to run as apposed to jog now. I will probably do these interval podcasts again for the rest of the week but I've had a thought and I'm wondering if anyone else has tried it. I'm thinking of starting the programme again from week one, and this time rather than walk/run intervals, I will go at my normal jog pace for the walks and then try and speed up for the runs. What do you think?? Has anyone else tried this or has anyone else got any ideas or thoughts on how they progressed on the post-grad runs?? I don't want it to start getting a bit samey as I'll end up getting bored hence another reason for mixing the last few weeks up and my thinking is, by doing the programme again but this way it would give me another 9 weeks now of different runs, hopefully progressing time/speed/distance (delete as appropriate).

17 Replies

Hi Jan, The thing that got me running faster was increasing my distance. After completing C25K I did a mixture of short and longer runs, and got to (a slow) 5k after a few weeks. I continued with this and got to 6k the following week, at which point I began the '10 is the magic number' 10k programme. Last weekend I did my first parkrun, and I surprised myself by running the whole thing much more quickly than I'd ever run 5k before.

Obviously this all takes time out of your day, but for me more distance definitely led to more speed over 5k. Good luck!

JanB76Graduate in reply to telford_mike

Thanks Mike.

Where I've got the opportunity I'm going to try and do longer runs, but you know life, it has a habit of getting in the way of things, ha, ha, and I think I'm going to be constrained to 30 min runs for the next few weeks now, but I do take on board what your experience has been and will bear that in mind for when I've got a bit more time.



To an extent you work in a similar way to a car. 30 minute runs give you a tank that will power you for 30 minutes at your pace. Unlike a car that tank does grow slightly doing that. Back to the analogy though... if that car speeds up slightly it uses its fuel faster. In your body this would put in some speed. So, I see you’re likely to be time constrained for a while... have you tried varying a run down in duration and pushing to go a little faster? If you have a sports watch, try running 30 seconds per kilometre faster using the pacing setting, and go for 20 minutes. Keep your 30s on the other two days though. If no watch there are cadence and pacing apps available out there.

Or you could go more extreme and run 500m even faster, walk and get your breath back, then 500m again, then you’re done. Next time do 3 repeats, keep upping until you have 4K and hold there.

JanB76Graduate in reply to UnfitNoMore

I like the idea of the pacing apps, I'll have to have a look for them as I've not looked into them yet, thanks


UnfitNoMoreAdministrator in reply to JanB76

No worries. I did this kind of stuff in my youth. One day was slow and my distance, next short almost sprints (you don’t need that for 5k) next was 400m intervals, day 5 was long, day 5 was slow again and 6 was the run. Then had a day off and did the same runs in different orders, with changes in my sprints and interval distances.

JanB76Graduate in reply to UnfitNoMore

And yes I like the idea of doing one mixed up speed run and then the other two as my 30 min runs.

UnfitNoMoreAdministrator in reply to JanB76

Should give you pace... it’s not immediate, but when the 20 gets easy, you put that pace on one of your 30s


The C25K + podcasts will help improve your speed and stamina.

I think if you are wanting to see improvements then variety is the key - if you're running 3x a week why not try an easy paced 30 minute run, an intervals session (you could use the speed podcast for this) or hill training run and a longer 'distance' run building to 5k at first (assuming you haven't run that yet) and slowly increasing the distance you cover each week.

It also sounds like you haven't quite decided on what you want to improve - so deciding your focus will help as you'll feel you are working towards something specific.

Most of all find what you enjoy most - is it lovely solitary runs in the country; improving on you speed; running with a club; or taking on a park run - work out what you like and do more of that.

Happy running 😊

JanB76Graduate in reply to DebJogsOn

You're right Debs, I haven't decided where I'm going with this just yet. All I do know is that I want to carry on enjoying running and I would one day like to get to 5k (and do a Park Run) but I also want to run and not jog which I am now thinking I do after starting doing the C25k+ podcasts.

I love running along the prom where I live, nothing more relaxing than watching the waves either rolling in or crashing against rocks, but I'm also intrigued to run as part of a group hence the Park Run ambition.

Great advice though, thanks for your time


DebJogsOnGraduate in reply to JanB76

No worries - it sounds as though you want to up your pace - which the C25K + podcasts will help with. If you find running to a beat helps (it certainly still helps me on the days I'm feeling like I want a bit of structure) you can get more running tracks from audio fuel or download them from Podrunner - the music is really pretty bad but if you can tune out and run to the beat they might help.

JanB76Graduate in reply to DebJogsOn

Ooh, thanks, will give that a go.

I'd stopped listening to my own music during the programme as I was finding the different tracks were all different paces which was driving me mad and in the end I opted to listen to some funny podcasts rather than music on my runs so I wouldn't be all over the place which is probably why I go at a slow pace now, but at the time it worked and yes, I definitely do want to increase the pace now.


Have you read the guide to post C25K running which points out that you need to mix up your pace and don't try to get faster on every run, which will likely lead to burnout.

Three weeks after graduation is still very early takes months to build a strong running body.

Be patient and work on a structure to your running.

Lots of people say the are going to repeat C25K as you propose, but I have never heard of anyone completing it.

JanB76Graduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

Thanks Ian, I’d read that I think the week before I’d graduated but since going solo have probably forgotten most of the advice, I’ll have a re-read thanks



I found going from couch to 5k to graduate was easier. I didn't realise the app made me think too much about my runs. Now I just go out and run.... I use map my walk and am running much faster now. I just need to up the distance. I have cracked 3km about 7mins a km but need to start adding distance now. I would try just running, without an app or anything, just music and c how far you can go. U may be focusing too much on 30 mins. Try and enjoy a run and see where it takes you!


Sounds like you're getting a whole bunch of sensible suggestions. Mix it up a bit and have some fun. Keep one of your runs as a "slow and steady" but do some other things with the other two, one of the C25K+ podcasts or some simple intervals/fartlek type stuff.

You'll get there and your pace will get better.

Working on my cadence (i.e. steps per minute) was key for me. Stepping Stones or one of the Podrunner podcasts can help with that.

But mostly just have some fun xx


Jan, I am actually filling exactly the same ...I have graduated on beginning of August than I have run for 30 min 3 times a week. No improvement of speed and distance..3k in 30 min. (But still feeling good afterwards)

Yesterday I saw advert in local park ;5k run for fun, 18th October...oh no I wanted to attend . Well today I went to the gym and decided I will try to reach 5k....I did it ..45min run/jogging no stop. I want improve the speed now as my mind can do 5k.

JanB76Graduate in reply to Swartois_75

45 mins!! That’s good going if you were only doing 3k in 30 mins before.

I’ve not progressed that much but think I might bite the bullet and attempt 5k one time just to see how long it would take.

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