What is the average pace? : I'm currently... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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What is the average pace?


I'm currently running around 5k every other day at a slow and steady pace normally taking me 40 minutes, is this a slow pace or normal? My friends who are much shorter than me seem to be going much faster?

33 Replies

You asked the same question a month ago and the answer has not changed.If you look at this poll of graduates healthunlocked.com/couchto5.... you can see what distances people ran in 30 mins during the plan.

Your pace might be slow for 20 year old, fast for an 80 year old but is obviously average for you.

Does it really matter?


5km in 40 minutes isn't slow. That's 8 min/km.

Everyone's different.

Your shorter friends might look as if they're going faster but they aren't as far away. Or something like that… 😉


Worry not about your pace Speedydonzalez that time is a great one. Enjoy the running not the speed !

MummycavModerator in reply to Imc50



By the way, slow runners live longer womensrunning.com/culture/s....

mrrunGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

No truer word has e'er been said. 👍

Captain_AutumnGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

Hey that's amazing ! And quite reassuring 🙂 is that the science behind the Japanese slow jogging chap's method?

DanBlueGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

The study concluded that "strenuous joggers have a mortality rate not statistically different from that of the sedentary group". For someone who likes to push myself a little on my runs, it makes me wonder if it was worth getting off the couch!

IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to DanBlue

Slow running builds capillary density and more numerous and powerful mitochondria, all of which aid blood supply throughout the body, whereas fast running can destroy muscle capillaries......why go fast?

DanBlueGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

I just find running slowly for maybe an hour to be a little bit boring and feel more engaged when I try that bit harder. Obviously due a rethink!


In terms of amateur recreational running, anything goes. One minute per kilometer, or mile, or meter, yard, whatever. Your time IS THE time. And your time is the best time. When you turn pro you will have firm, definite answers. You'll know exactly what your requirements will be if you want to qualify for the Olympics or anything else the pros need to qualify for. In those terms, the ladies 5km world record stands at 14 minutes 43 seconds, or 2.88mins per km. Not bad, I'd say. Until then....


Well done great time. It doesn’t matter what time you run 5km just do it in what’s comfortable for you instead of trying to compare with others as everyone’s different. Keep it going😀


Have you considered increasing distance. You can have fun with new routes plus it might help eventually with your pace for 5k.


Hey Speedydonzalez ,

What is your goal re: 5k? What are you trying to do? Are you aiming to be the very best you be? The fastest you can possibly be?

SpeedydonzalezGraduate in reply to John_W

I would like to run a little faster and longer but find it really hard to get beyond 5k.

John_WAmbassador in reply to Speedydonzalez

Ok and what is the significance of your friends being 'shorter'? Is your height an issue? And... when did you graduate?

SpeedydonzalezGraduate in reply to John_W

No I'm 5ft 8 and my friends are around 5ft 4 yet they seem to run faster and I always thought if you are taller you should run faster?? I graduated in November.

John_WAmbassador in reply to Speedydonzalez

Height doesn't really come into it to be honest. Otherwise, you'd see basketball-sized players doing more marathons and 100m sprinting, no?

Your pace is directly determined by 2 things: your stride length and your cadence (how many steps per minute you take).

Longer legs will give you a stride length advantage but they can be more difficult to 'turn-over' to give you a high enough cadence.

Shorter legs have their advantages :-)

So... you only recently graduated. You have a running journey of many years in front of you hopefully and right now you'd like to be faster and be able to run longer than 5k.

If you had to chose right now between being (a) quicker over 5k or (b) being able to run further than 5k at your current pace ... which would you chose?

SpeedydonzalezGraduate in reply to John_W

Probably further!

John_WAmbassador in reply to Speedydonzalez

Going further is really quite simple. But it's better to think of being on your feet longer in terms of time, rather than distance.

At the moment you focus on doing 5k, which takes 40 minutes.

Look at the C25K program and specifically Weeks 7, 8 and 9.

Why could you not apply the same type of progression to your current 40 minute run?

IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to Speedydonzalez

To run further you need to run slower. In fact, to run faster you need to run slower too. An easy conversational pace builds capillary density and mitochondria, making your body more efficient. This needs to be a minimum of 75% of your running time, then in the remainder you work really hard on speed using intervals or fartlek.

Read this mensrunninguk.co.uk/top-fea... and reappraise your situation.

I think it is very easy to become fixated on time (I know I did), but I have just decided to ignore it.

Although I keep track of my pace still, my km times vary between 6 - 6:40.

I’m 6ft 5, male and 47 if that makes any difference.

nowsterGraduate in reply to Fitzy110

Same here. 6ft 0in, male, 52 summers, and 75kg.

I can run fast (4'33"/km), but not for long. There was a "speed challenge" on the Bridge to 10k forum in the early weeks of December.

I can run 5km in 30 minutes (6 min/km or slightly faster), but not without getting some sort of injury it seems.

I can run 12km in 1 hour 23½ minutes (about 7min/km) and feel absolutely wonderful afterwards. (Though a bit stiff and sore the following day.)

But in those runs, my pace might drop down as slow as 9min/km if I'm going up a hill.

I'm not concerned about speed at all. I do it because I enjoy it.

Fitzy110 in reply to nowster

I’m never going to reach 4.33 pace, that’s great.

The best I can do is keep my same pace over any distance I have run to date (22km is the furthest so far).

nowsterGraduate in reply to Fitzy110

22km? That's more than a half marathon! 👍

And then I look at the stats of some of the locals on Strava and they're often much faster than 3min/km.

As others have said, "Comparison is the thief of joy."

Fitzy110 in reply to nowster

I couldn’t agree more about comparing times, it just makes you feel bad about your own, when we should all be pleased we are getting out and running, regardless of the speed!


I experimented with cadence this morning. I usually run at 162 steps per minute and can sustain that pace. When Mambo n. 5 came on a playlist I increased cadence to the song beat (around 177 steps per minute). Pace increased, but I cannot sustain that yet for longer than one song 😂 but I will work towards higher cadence after graduation.

SpeedydonzalezGraduate in reply to TwiggyL

I have noticed also that I speed up depending on the song 🤣

MummycavModerator in reply to TwiggyL



I think you’re going well! I’m doing pretty much the same thing as you (I’m 5’11” - so long legs don’t make me fast!) but 6 months after graduating, I do sometimes feel I still have some fuel in the tank when I finish. I did 7.5K today ( longest run ever by about 2k) partly by accident due to a technical issue with my Strava and it was fine. I don’t think I want to speed up - I feel I’m at a comfortable natural pace for me but maybe once a week when I have time, I’ll try to increase my distance.

SpeedydonzalezGraduate in reply to Maurs12

Amazing, well done! Yes I must admit I do enjoy going slow and steady so like you I think I'll eventually increase my distance, it's just getting past that pain zone!

Run46Graduate in reply to Speedydonzalez

The rule of thumb if you're aiming to increase your distance is to just do 1 longer run a week. So 2 runs of 30 minutes or 5K (which ever suits you and you prefer) then 1 run that's a little longer...you could try 45 mins one week, then 50 the next and see how you go. Most importantly for your long run, as well as being hydrated is to take it nice and slow, slowing down a little more than usual helps you to manage those extra minutes 😊


I found that in order to run faster I had to run further. The more my stamina increased the easier it was to put more effort and speed into what I then considered a "shorter" run.

Try it. Instead of going out to do 5k, plan a run of 2k but make a concerted effort to run either all or portions much faster. See what happens...

Since then I got hooked on further (and further still) and really don't care about speed 🤣

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