Some encouraging numbers: From this forum and... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Some encouraging numbers

Oldbadknees profile image

From this forum and from reading around a bit, it seems that everyone can run much faster than me. I know it's not about speed, it's about getting off the sofa, but I decided to look up what the average time is to run a mile during a 5k run.

I know it there are lots of variables: age, weight, height, gender etc, all of which would naturally place me at the slower end, which I'm comfortable with. I wanted to get a feel for what the average time for a woman of my advanced years would be. I found this page:

For my age group (60-64) the average for women is 14.47 (for men it's 13.52). Checking on my stats, my slowest was 14.36 including walking and my fastest 12'50. This has cheered me up immensely. I'm thinking of joining Park Run once it restarts and this has encouraged me to think that maybe, just maybe, I won't be the last one home.

29 Replies
Instructor57 profile image

Haha, we all know it's not about numbers but we can't help checking can we 🤣The important thing is stay injury free and enjoy your runs !

I have just got my parkrun wristband so ready to go also 😁👍

You actually inspired me to sign up for Parkrun instead of just thinking about it!

Instructor57 profile image
Instructor57Ambassador in reply to Oldbadknees

Haha, that's Brilliant ! Well done 😬👍

nowster profile image
nowsterGraduate in reply to Instructor57

I got my wristband and cards a few weeks ago.

Instructor57 profile image
Instructor57Ambassador in reply to nowster

Took me a while to bring myself to a point where I was prepared to pay £15:95 for a wristband 🤣

Blimey depressed now. I’m 16 MINUTES!!!! That’s ridiculous why even bother may as well just walk.

backintime profile image
backintimeGraduate in reply to Hepsibah

nooo, it was an average that was quoted - which means that some people are much faster and some much slower.

You know that, despite age, some of those people are whipping a mile out much quicker than that, which means that the average must have some much slower ones too to even it out.

please don't feel that you have to attain a set speed to carry on with the programme and carry on running

Hepsibah profile image
Hepsibah in reply to backintime

Hmmmm, I understand the table. It’s good that the lady is faster than average I get that she’s pleased, just feel rather deflated I’m below average that’s all. Thanks for your advice tho 🥴

backintime profile image
backintimeGraduate in reply to Hepsibah

When I was doing C25K I was running slower than that, my first 5K (so 3.11 miles) was just over 50 mins. So slower than that average. I went on to run 18k before I had an accident and I am signed up to the Paris half marathon this year.

It really really isn't indicative of what your potential is. I do not mean that you should follow my choices, just that it's not the whole picture.

Hepsibah profile image
Hepsibah in reply to backintime

I’m not giving up. U helped. X

backintime profile image
backintimeGraduate in reply to Hepsibah


Oldbadknees profile image
Oldbadknees in reply to Hepsibah

I'm so sorry, that's not what I wanted to do to you! It's not about what anyone else can do, it's about what YOU personally have achieved. If 4 months ago me heard today you say you'd just run 20 minutes I would have thought it was so far beyond me I'd have slunk off and eaten chocolate. You're doing fantastically, slow and steady is good. Please don't be depressed 😘

Hepsibah profile image
Hepsibah in reply to Oldbadknees

Of course, I know. My bad I shld ve been inspired by your post to get faster not whinge about being below par. No worries I’ve had hours to reflect now and I will toughen up/stop being depressed. I probably needed that reality check. Everything is relative, so it kinda is about what others can do. That’s life!

nowster profile image
nowsterGraduate in reply to Hepsibah

That's the average time for a MILE in a parkrun. A parkrun is 5km or 3.11 miles.

Back of the envelope calculation: 15×3 = 45 minutes to complete a park run.

Don't worry, though, there are people who walk parkruns, and there's always a back marker volunteer to make sure everyone is accounted for.

Hepsibah profile image
Hepsibah in reply to nowster

Hi nowster, yes I do understand the chart and averages. I know what a mile is and what 5k is and how to convert to miles. I am informed. I was just airing my feelings is all. Someone has to come last, in anything. No shame. It’s all good. Everyone has their own priorities. 👍😍

Speedy60 profile image
Speedy60Graduate in reply to Hepsibah

The difference between running and walking has nothing to do with speed; it's about getting both your feet off the ground during your stride. If you're not in a hurry to get somewhere or being chased by a tiger, slow running is the very best thing you can do to improve your cardiovascular health. In fact, it's what the human body is designed to do. Just ignore everyone else and do your own thing. X

Hepsibah profile image
Hepsibah in reply to Speedy60

I am doing my thing, however I am aware of other people, not driven by them just aware. X

nowster profile image

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backintime profile image
backintimeGraduate in reply to nowster

I hate that - plus those sites that say I can't look because I refused cookies lol

Last year I had a rather serious operation and I can say hand on dodgy heart nearly everyone will be faster than me 😁. I have thrown out the word speed and trying out the word constant instead. Who knows it may even be a benefit.

HeavenstoBetsy profile image
HeavenstoBetsyGraduate in reply to amisfit

Well done you! I think as long as we aren't sitting on the couch but moving in a forward trajectory at a speed that we can manage then HOORAY!!! don't overthink it is my opinion.

Run as fast as is right for you, and care much less what everyone else is doing! This time last year I couldn't run at all and I am now fitter than when I was 52 (I am now 62)! Stop caring about other peoples achievements and just keep moving forwards running into your future at whatever speed is right for you.

Thank you. I think that is the key point "speed that we can manage." Over the last few months I have had instances of feeling ill and some of it may be the heat but may also be an element of going too quickly initially I have been told, even though it didn't feel particularly quick, so I am trying to run at a more even pace and if I need to slow down to do that then so be it.

That is good advice. I am the opposite I was sort of fit. I was running regularly but sort of because I was sick but didn't know it. We addressed the sickness with an op and then I could barely walk let alone run so my competition is not other people but my former self. I am lucky in that I should be able to get back to where I was, hopefully 😀

Speedy60 profile image

I'm reminded of a junior minister who said that the government wouldn't be happy until all students attained average results. 🤯

Someone has to be last at the parkrun, it's perfectly honourable. I'll be available on request if anyone wants to hire me for the role. 😊

Hepsibah profile image
Hepsibah in reply to Speedy60

OMG just what I said. Someone has to be last. But nobody wants it to be them!!!!!!🤣🤣🤣🤣

I wouldn’t worry about being the last one on the parkrun…. I’m on week 8 and I’m shuffling along at 15.32 per mile on my walking pad treadmill and I still enjoy it! I might be very slightly faster when I’ve gone outdoors as I have to find my own pace, but it won’t be much. Besides a lot of people walk on the park run so there’s no worries about being last! Good luck on the parkrun; I’m hoping to do my first Parkrun before sumner is out!

Impetuous profile image

If you need some reassurance you won’t be last you can always look up the results for your local parkrun. e.g. this is my local run:

Based on your current pace I’d estimate you’d have had a good 30 or so people behind you at that last run. 🙂

I started running at age 66 and am 69 now. I decided right at the start I had missed out on the possibility of becoming a speedster. Mo Farah’s records were safe from me!! So, I opted for running slowly and gradually extending distance. A much more achievable target and a great way to build up strength and fitness. After about 18 months, my pace began to pick up too, of its own accord, when I wasn’t looking. All a question of enjoying what you can do and accepting, even ignoring, what you can’t. 🙂

John_W profile image

"From this forum and from reading around a bit, it seems that everyone can run much faster than me. "

Well ... it appears that this is incorrect. What was your evidence for claiming this?

Ok, I haven’t conducted a thorough peer reviewed analysis of multiple learned journals but I have read a lot of posts on this forum and various online articles. Give me a break, I’ve only been running for 3 months and I have a busy life. The only speeds I noticed anyone admitting to were sub 10 minutes which is what led me to conclude I’m slow. This was borne out when I calculated how long it would take me to, for example, run a marathon (not that I plan to). If I took say 13-14 minutes per mile that’d be around 6 hours. Not fast. My nephew ran a marathon in around 3 hours and was saying he felt it was slow. Yes, I know he’s 15 years younger than me, fitter and taller but comments like his make an impression.

My intention when I looked for some stats like this was to see how much of an effect age and gender had on average speed. Now I have some figures I’m slightly better informed.

I’ll amend my statement to ‘most people who run 5k can run significantly faster than me’. This assumes that most runners are younger than me and many are male. I believe these are reasonable assumptions given I’m at the higher end of the age range, though I have no idea what the female:male ratio is for runners.


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