How slow should I go. W4 R1: Hi. I've completed... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K
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How slow should I go. W4 R1

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Hi. I've completed week 3 and struggled today with w4 R1. I ran for 13 of the 16 mins and managed a 5 min run. I've been running on a machine at the gym. I've set the machine at 1.5 degree incline. For walking I use a pace of 6.2 km/h and the running at 9.7 km/h. My thinking was that this would just about get me to 5k in 30 mins. How much slower should I go?

10 Replies
oldest β€’ newest

It's difficult to comment, because speed is relative. I'm 5ft 2 and my brisk walk pace is 12 minutes per km (5km per hour). Your brisk walk pace is my slow run pace.

Your run pace is something I can only dream about ! Well, I think I've hit it in the past, running DOWN a steep hill.

I've read elsewhere on here, that only 10% who finish it manage to get to 5k in 30 mins. 5k in 30 mins is a good time.

Given that you didn't manage all the runs today, that would suggest to me that you do need to slow down a bit. Or how about you try it slower and see if you manage all the runs, that might answer the question !

At the moment, my slow running pace is 9min 30 per km (6.3 km per hour) this is done on a treadmill.

My long run pace, which I do outside and therefore can't control the pace I run at, I simply run, is around 8min 30 per km (7.1 KM per hour).

Thanks. That's really helpful. I'm 5ft 9. Aged 49. BMI is around 25. I will try again at around 8 km/h. Thanks again


My running pace is only a little faster than my walking pace, especially if I am running uphill! that seems like quite a hike up to me. If you are struggling with the run you are doing then slow down, it is not about 5k, despite the name, it is about 30 mins of running (but c25k is a catchier slogan!)

If you go too fast you risk injury, but going slowly builds up your stamina and gives you a more steady base to go on from.

Well done in getting this far, slow and steady, wins the race!! 😁

in reply to Smelliepoo

Thanks. I will slow down.

I've got as far as W4R1 and to be honest found the transition from W3 a shock meaning I had to do a couple of W4 practice runs before I could manage either (then both) of the 5 minute runs. I'm not using a treadmill so have to gauge my own pace and as I was struggling to go the whole time kept remembering the advice to 'slow down & then slow down some more'. On my successful W4 run I felt as if there was no speed difference when I 'slowed' to a walk at the end of 5 minutes, but I was running as both feet were off the ground at the same time, so I.m happy that I wasn't cheating. I've realised that the aim of this program is to be able to run for 30 minutes, despite whatever it's called, and not to be able to run 5K.It's taken me a while to absorb that fact, but now that I have, I know that speed and therefore distance should improve eventually, but for now it's not important...

in reply to Alast

Thanks. Sounds like good advice.


Can you speak clear ungasping sentences as you run?

If not, you are going too fast.

It is all in the guide to the plan.


Well done on getting to week 4, 9.7kph is a very good speed but it may be one you cannot maintain as the run lengths increase.

How slow can you go? That's a simple question to answer, as slow as you need to go to get to the end of the run that you are attempting; and as Ian says, you need to be able to complete the run in clear ungasping sentences.

I also completed the program on a treadmill, twice, both my own and many in hotels, be wary though, do try to run a little outside as I ended up with a pacing issue as I relied on the treadmill for pacing.


For just now don't worry about getting to 5k in 30 minutes.

If you're struggling to complete a run you will need to slow down.

After your rest day try that run again and set the pace slower on the treadmill.

Good luck and well done πŸ€—


In addition to the above, there is absolutely NO NEED to put the treadmill on any incline, let alone 1.5%. Why have you done that?

For a beginner, 9.7 km/h is quite fast... you should consider slowing down, otherwise, yourisk injury.

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