Finding a sensible pace when running solo - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Finding a sensible pace when running solo


Hi everyone, long time reader, first time poster...

I'm currently up to week 3 (second attempt at the whole programme) and I'm really struggling to keep my running intervals at a sensible speed - how does everyone manage to run at a sustainable pace? Looking at my stats on Strava I can see my walking pace is around 15 minute miles but my running pace is always around a 7-8 minute mile.

I completed a 5km run with my wife at the end of last year where I managed to average around 11 minute miles, but whenever I'm running solo my pace always runs away with me (so to speak) and I'm worried that I'm going to injure myself and it'll just be a form of HIIT - and won't actually allow me to increase my distance. I've tried different types of music etc... but I just can't seem to slow myself down. I'm around 100kg and I've been getting shin and ankle pains - I know it's a case of too-much-too-soon, but I just can't seem to get into a steady jogging rhythm.


10 Replies

I think you really need to be very aware of your pace to slow it down . For me I found it harder to breathe thats how I new 😊



you are right it is very easy to get carried away. Its not just us newbies but more experienced runners misjudge their pace as well. It just takes time.

you need to check in with yourself and consciously ask the question could i speak in whole sentences? Am i at conversational pace? If the answer is no then you slow down. Some forumites talk out loud just to check :)

I'm guessing your Strava can do audible updates, if so use them. I have recently changed the settings on Runkeeper so i get updated every half km with my current pace. I know what my sustainable pace is so if i'm over i know to slow down a little.

At this stage many C25K runners are running at or slower than their brisk walking pace so please be careful as you dont want to be on the IC if you can help it :)

happy running


For me I made a breakthrough on pace by using the stats... I set off to see how little ground I could cover on a run, and it was amazing! Running slower is, in my opinion, harder than increasing pace it feels unnatural at first. I use Nike Run Club guided runs a lot and the coaches spend time reminding us to keep it slow, especially in the first few minutes, so that maybe an option for you later in the plan... they were my soundtrack once I got to the 25 minute runs.

Great job so far... enjoy your journey.


Thanks for the reply - trying to cover as little ground as possible (despite sounding counter intuitive) is a really good idea, and the complete opposite of what I've been doing. Will give it a try tonight!


Have you watched the video about Japanese slow jogging technique on YouTube? (Just google it). I found it very useful for giving other points to think about. And RunKeeper also lets you set pace notifications for however often you want them. 😄


If you haven't already, you could give the podcast format a go as that comes with its own music which may help with pacing. And spoken word can help too - I defy anyone to sprint through the Gardener's Question Time podcast.

That said, if you are currently completing the sessions, the learning may just come as you carry on through the programme.


It is very hard to make much sense of the plot that you included in your post. If it is W3 then I would expect to see 90 seconds and 3 minute periods of running, separated by 90 seconds or 3 minutes of walking. Each of the runs would be at approximately the same pace, and a slower for the walks. But the graph is all over the place. I assume that you have plotted both Pace and grade-adjusted pace (GAP). Assuming that the plot starts with the warmup walk, then you'll have a higher number for pace (minutes to cover one km) and a lower number for the running pace. That is consistent with the chart. But then there are five running segments, not the expected four. Anyway, I am being too analytical.

What I want to say, though, is there is no consistency in your pace . Each run has quite a wiggly pace, and each run is different from the other runs. You know that you are running too fast, and want to slow down. Slowing down will make your running more consistent, and easier to sustain. If running to a playlist with an appropriate BPM to match your cadence, or running to a metronome, or wearing a running watch that displays your pace (and probably can tell you to slow down) doesn't slow you down, then your body has a few mechanisms that can help you. Your body has (probably) 100+ muscles and ligaments in your legs, and your body can help you break, pull, tear or strain any one of them, resulting in a period on the injury couch and a speed of zero. Ankle and shin pains are an indication of over-striding, and so you can work on reducing your stride-length by taking more quiet, nimble paces.

I suspect that the simplest approach, though, will be to ask your wife to run with you, and get her to pace you.


Welcome to the forum and well done on getting started.

This guide to the plan is essential reading and explains the recommended easy conversational pace..........if you cannot speak clear ungasping sentences as you run, you are going too fast.

Enjoy your journey.


As an example of what IannodaTruffe is talking about, I was able to discuss wills, trusts and powers of attorney with a solicitor and make an appointment whilst out on my run this week.

Concentrate on your breathing. Try breathing with your mouth shut. Just as a pacing strategy, not as a general running technique. Useful if you don't have a solicitor to run with.

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