Very slow running pace? (Week 8): Hi! I'm on... - Couch to 5K

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Very slow running pace? (Week 8)


Hi! I'm on week 8 of couch to 5k now (run 2 tomorrow), and I've made it through every run so far. I'm really struggling with pace - I seem to be averaging about 8:30 per km, which I know is really slow. Instead of pushing through at my natural pace when the runs got longer, I just seemed to slow down and now I can't seem to speed up again.

I'm usually a rower, but obviously can't row at the minute and I've always been bad at running so I thought I'd give this a go. It's helped my running but I know from rowing races I have the endurance to run so I'm not sure why I'm finding it hard? I also seem to recover so quickly - in the last 5 minutes of running I feel like there's no way I can run any faster, yet after 30 seconds of walking I'd feel ready to run the whole thing again at the same pace?

This is my first post on here, and I'd be so grateful if anyone's had the same experience!

7 Replies

Welcome to the forums and great job on the plan!

I do have the same experience, deliberately. I’m currently following a 10k race plan and have to do lots of recovery (slow) runs and long (slower) runs to maintain and build endurance... I don’t finish them fast either, that’s for other days! In many respects you’re running this the right way... an old adage of running that serves well says “work on pace or distance... never both” there’s a bit missing but that’s for much later. So when you’re going longer it’s best to go slower... and as every week here is going further, that should be your only focus.

As fitness rises, so will your comfortable pace, and then at some point you can start working on speed if you wish... for now it’s all about that endurance.

It’s never too late to read the guide to the plan and here’s a link that tells you exactly why slower running is better for distance runners

Enjoy closing this plan out.


Hi ,

The key to all of the running is - run slowly. Start of slow and steady , I’m at 148 beats per minute.

I’m currently W 6 Gran ran # 1 this morning . Unfortunately , the outside temperature affects me in a negative way . Although I was out at 7:30 am it was 16 d , I knew I would struggle to make 5K - and It did , it took me 40mins!

Last week , the same run took me 37 mins albeit a lot cooler.

So the key , go slow , everyday can be so very different . Good days and not so good days .

Aim for your target and shout YES - I’ve done it W9R3 . This programme is about getting you ready for the magic of running when you have graduated :)

Parkruns here we all come :) 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️😆


Welcome to the forum and well done on your progress.

This guide to the plan is essential reading

and includes advice on minimising impact, stretching after every run, hydration and strengthening exercises, all of which will help.

Pace is entirely relative and really should only concern you if you aim to be competitive in your running. Slow runners live longer

Assuming you keep up three runs per week for the next few months, you will almost definitely see an increase in your pace, as you build strength.

Enjoy your journey.


Well I run even slower than you, I am about 9.45 per km. I graduated in April and have done a lot of consolidation runs. I was about 10.55 per km when I graduated and have slowly got faster. I am not bothered about my speed, I just want to finish my run and be happy with what I have achieved. My runs are ever so slowly getting longer, I can now run for 36 minutes and getting closer to the 5km each run. We are all different and shouldn’t compare ourselves to others. Slow and steady is my motto 😊


Well, there a four excellent and detailed answers on here already. Believe them! And welcome to the forum. You are doing brilliantly. Some folks are so knackered at the end of each run they can’t imagine ever running again. So a 30 second recovery time is brilliant. Go you! 🎉 Finish out the plan, don’t worry, and then consider your options. You will have lots, and there’s a Consolidation Club to help you. For now, just keep calm and carry on. 😄👍👏🏼


You clearly have good aerobic conditioning as illustrated by your quick recovery. However, just as swimmers and cyclists find out, running fitness is very different, no matter how good your 'other sport' fitness is. Your legs simply aren't used to it. It's impact and the strength required takes time to build - it's much slower to build than cardio. It takes 1-2 years of regular running for the body to get completely adapted to it.

Just carry on as you are, don't stress about the pace. It will come in time if that's of concern to you.

Wow thanks, I wasn't expecting so many replies! I definitely feel a lot better about my pace now, and I'm just trying on working on knowing mentally that I can do it without having to stop (I have to go through stiles on my route and I probably use this short break as more of a rest than I should). I just did Week 8 Run 2 today, and it felt harder, but it was so hot and humid and social distancing on field footpaths is pretty impossible, so I swear I'm having to stop all the time. Does anyone else find the same? Running in the midday heat probably isn't the best idea in open fields, but I keep telling myself it'll be so much nicer when it turns to autumn and I can run then!

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