How to do 5K in a quicker time?: Just wondering... - Couch to 5K

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How to do 5K in a quicker time?


Just wondering if anyone had any tips on completing Park Runs/5Ks in a quicker time? I finish C25K in 2 weeks but pretty sure I won’t be able to do a 5K in 30...just wondered how I could improve after completion and achieve this goal or how long it realistically could take after completing C25K program to run a 5K in 30? Thanks!

14 Replies

I completed C25K last month, at a very slow shuffle jog. Am now on Wk3 of a second round, but running faster in the 'run' bits and doing my slower shuffly jog in the 'walking bits'. No idea if this is scientific, or will work, but am hoping it will up my speed

in reply to Garfinator

Thanks, that sounds like a good plan!

Suppose it depends where your at now, more miles in the legs will naturally improve your speed , I graduated and was completing 5 k in around 38 mins or so, 3 months since and I got under 31 the other day .... during the week I run at what I’m comfortable at or you’ll put yourself of it maybe around 33-34 mins and push a bit at parkrun on a Saturday.....

There are speed podcasts etc but I think get the miles on those legs before those as we are very much novices and don’t want injuries . So in short it gets easier and you’ll naturally go quicker it’s only in the last month that I find 5 k easier and know I don’t want to stop and have started extending 1 Run per week, I did 7 km this morning 46 mins and enjoyed my music ... best of luck only a few weeks until graduation ☘️

in reply to Cuig1975

Thanks so much, this is very helpful! Yes that makes sense about perhaps focusing on getting more miles in the legs after completion and just building on that. I ran my first park run 5K on Saturday in 36mins (last 5 walking), so will try and use weekly park runs to help build my stamina. Thanks again and good luck with all your running! Congratulations for graduating C25K!

in reply to futurefit

There’s nothing wrong with that time at all I’m working towards a sub 30 but that could be months away and I’m not too bothered I’m getting out 4 times a week , 2 mornings before work at 6 am and could move mountains after I found the evenings with kids etc hard to manage ..... best of luck and keep posting


I graduated from C25k almost 2 years ago. After graduating I was running Parkrun in 32 to 35 minutes. I just really wanted to get around without walking.

I agree with previous advice. Run 5K 3 times per week including your Parkrun. You will naturally get a little faster each month.

A good tip for Parkrun is to find a Parkrun nemesis. Someone whom you recognize each week who is 30 seconds faster than you. Aim to finish ahead of them and then pick a new Parkrun nemesis. They will help pace you and you’ll get new PB’s. Say hi and thank them in the finish funnel.

Concentrate on getting comfortable at 5K. Speed will come in time. After 2 years I am only consistently running sub 30 minute 5k times now. Interval training is great for improving pace, but just get used to 5K first and enjoy it.


in reply to damienair

Thanks very much! This is also very helpful! I like your park run idea! 👍😉



1 longer run a week, as slow as you like

1 'short' run a week, as slow as you like, maybe 20 minutes, or parkrun.

1 'interval' run a week, alternating burst of higher speed running with recovery walks or jogs. Some people repeat W1r1 with run/jog instead of jog/walk but that is probably too much for a first time. Try W1r1 with run/walk intervals and try to run just a little bit faster than your usual pace. I just do my normal run, but run faster between telegraph poles on the village road.

in reply to MarkyD

Brilliant! What a great plan! Thank you!!


I read here once somewhere "to run faster, first you have to run faster" and its true.

Get into a rythym with your running and then on a good day just push yourself a bit more... doesn't even need to be the whole way, just here and there, on the easy bits. It's amazing how much more we can give when we want it 👍😉

in reply to GoGo_JoJo

Thanks very much! That’s a good point and very helpful!


You will get faster as you get more miles on your legs and when you graduate I will send you a link to a guide to post C25K running which includes advice on getting faster..........which basically says spend most of your time running slower and then push hard on intervals.

How long that takes depends on your fitness and your dedication to your running. I believe most people could run 5k in 30 minutes if willing to train hard enough to build their fitness, but less than fifteen percent of graduates on this forum achieve that by graduation and many never do.

If you buy this month's "Women's Running" magazine there is an article about preparing for your first Parkrun, or improving your 5k time if you are a seasoned runner. I'm sure the guidelines apply to both sexes, oh, and gender neutral just to be PC.

if you are a bloke, ask a woman to buy you a copy, or say in a loud voice at the till, it's for my wife/mum/girlfriend/sister....

in reply to Langley-Loper

Haha! Thanks for this! I’ll get a copy! Sounds interesting! Maria

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