Going slow: Finally managed to start a run at... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

115,197 members146,856 posts

Going slow

ArthurJG
ArthurJGGraduate

Finally managed to start a run at something like my easy pace. The result was my slowest ever all-run 5k but then that was the idea wasn’t it, to learn how to cover 5k slowly enough to have the reserves to run further. Previously even when I thought I was starting slowly I always ended up doing the first km in 6 minutes then slowing down - and if the first km took longer it wasn’t by choice but because I was below par that day. But today I could have done it in 6 minutes and deliberately chose not to. I’ve never succeeded in doing that before and it feels strange to do 5k in a time six minutes slower than my PB, actually one minute slower than my previous slowest, and be happy about it!

Very counterintuitive to deliberately run a slow time but everything I read here and elsewhere tells me that’s how to progress, by doing the majority of training miles at ‘easy’ pace and only a minority at or near my best pace.

17 Replies

Brilliant Arthur. You’ll have no trouble running further now, surely. Good self control there! 🏃😀

Are you heading for 10k? I am - but my first ‘race’ isn’t until next August, so zero pressure. 😀

ArthurJG
ArthurJGGraduate in reply to cheekychipmunks

Yes and no. I don’t especially aspire to be a 10k runner on a regular basis but I won’t get better at 5k if my upper limit is 5.1k will I? If I can run 5k regularly and chip away a little bit at my parkrun PB I’ll be happy.

But I’ve noticed 5k training plans for races always include a weekly run that is much further than 5k but at an ‘easy’ pace. I entered a typical parkrun time into an online calculator: 33’15” which is an average of 6’40” per km and it said my ‘easy’ pace should be just under 8’. Well that made sense because on the few occasions I’ve gone beyond 5k so far I’ve finished up doing 7’30” or 8’ towards the end - feeling I could sustain that pace for longer but no way could I speed up.

So I set out today to try to stay between 7’30” and 8’, with the Fitbit telling me my pace every three minutes. First km was 7’ then it stayed between 7’30” and 8’ for the rest of the run, 5.5k in 42 minutes.

I did wonder whether I should offer to pace 38 minutes at parkrun to help me with my ‘easy’ pace. I’ll need to practice a bit more to be more consistent first though.

cheekychipmunks
cheekychipmunksGraduate in reply to ArthurJG

Those are interesting stats. I’ve definitely found that not trying to push it has helped me - but then again I’m not sure that I could. I’m doing one longer run each week, and I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my split times. I think it’s a case of taking time developing running legs, which can’t be rushed otherwise we risk injury.

Being a pacer sounds a good idea for you, and maybe after a couple more to hone your timing skills, it should suit you down to the ground.

Good luck! 😀

ArthurJG
ArthurJGGraduate in reply to cheekychipmunks

Actually I did the calculator twice and I now realise the figures I quoted are based on my PB (31’55”) rather than the more recent and more typical 33’15”. Here’s the link if you want to explore it yourself:

runnersworld.co.uk/rws-trai...

cheekychipmunks
cheekychipmunksGraduate in reply to ArthurJG

Ahh great, yes I’ll have a look. 😀

UnfitNoMore
UnfitNoMoreGraduate

Very good work there Arthur... slow down to speed up is the old adage, but it is sometimes difficult to find that gear... well done indeed.

ArthurJG
ArthurJGGraduate in reply to UnfitNoMore

Thank you. I think what helped me were my first longer runs: I’ve only gone over 6k twice, most I’ve done is 7.25, but both of those runs I slowed down after 5k because I had to rather than because I chose to - and that taught me what that pace feels like. I still went a little faster than that for the first k but it was still a lot slower than my usual start and not too much faster than ‘easy’ pace.

The other thing was that when I learned what that pace felt like, it felt like I could keep going for much longer. I didn’t, because I know the ten percent rule and the risks of overtraining, but I felt like I could have. So when I tried that online calculator and it came out with pretty much exactly that time as my ‘easy’ pace (based on my average parkrun time as ‘racing’ pace) it just confirmed for me that when I see ‘easy pace’ on a plan I now know what pace that is for me.

UnfitNoMore
UnfitNoMoreGraduate in reply to ArthurJG

That’s great... easy is the hardest to get right I think

Oldfloss
OldflossAdministrator in reply to UnfitNoMore

More haste less speed, as my Nan used to say!

Craftysue66
Craftysue66Graduate

Pace is definitely the secret which is why I've resorted to the gym for now but will start running outside a bit after graduating to see if I can regulate myself as I hate being indoors on a nice day like it was today.

Oldfloss
OldflossAdministrator

Running at a slower pace is hard to do, if it is not your natural happy pace... and you have done well.

My happy pace gets me to 5K ( as a single run) in 35/38 mins. At that happy pace... after 6K...my legs do feel as if they will just carry me forever.

Each week I try to get in a short ( sometimes speedier), run...nearly always a 5K run and then Sunday Runday, my favourite day.. is a long steady, just see we where we get to, run...the last one before I hit the Injury Couch ( not running related) got me to over 14K....but..it does not feel that far...:)

Just keep at it and relax...look around... and let it evolve? Interesting for me... do you try consciously to beat your PB? Is the faster pace your happy pace...or is it subconscious?

ArthurJG
ArthurJGGraduate in reply to Oldfloss

I SOMETIMES actively try to beat my PB. I haven’t done so recently partly because I’ve missed some runs here and there and I’m not in a place where that would be realistic. Also I realised when I did my PB that a lot of things had fallen into place at once and it would be a while before that happened again so when I do go for a fast (for me) time again (maybe in a fortnight when I’ve entered my first charity race) my realistic target will be my SECOND best time. I think the direction I want to go in is to get better at 5k rather than become a marathon or half marathon runner. But I only graduated in July and I’ll be 60 next year so I’m content with gradual progress. And I know that to get better at 5k I have to be capable of running further when not at full pace.

Oldfloss
OldflossAdministrator in reply to ArthurJG

It's really interesting...I started this and graduated at 65.. now at 68 running further than I ever imagined and recently..without trying , other than some new running techniques..am getting speedier!

ArthurJG
ArthurJGGraduate in reply to Oldfloss

No speed for me today as I’m tail walking at parkrun - so I’d better get myself to Montrose.

Tartancat
TartancatGraduate

Well done on successfully slowing your pace. I'm trying to do this on my longer runs, but my feet keep finding their "happy pace" as soon as I stop concentrating, and that happy pace doesnt feel so happy once I hit 6km! I'm still at the point where the slower pace feels awkward though. I guess I just need to practice more.

I checked out the calculator too - really interesting

ArthurJG
ArthurJGGraduate in reply to Tartancat

I don’t know if I have a happy pace? Or maybe I have more than one. On a 5k I tend to go at 6’ for the first km or so then slow down to 7’; and if I go further than 5k I naturally slow down to nearer 8’ and each of those feels like my natural pace at the time. Even when I did the PB just under 32’, what happened was that I slowed down from 6’ to 7’ after 3k instead of after 1k but it was basically the same pattern. It may be inexperience of course. I’m still a newbie and maybe the ‘happy pace’ will find me in its own time.

Tartancat
TartancatGraduate in reply to ArthurJG

I'm a newbie too! But what you've said is really interesting so I'm going to experiment with going slower and see what happens 😊

You may also like...