Am only managing to run 3.8K not 5K in 30 mins, am I very slow? How far do other 40+, female, novice runners run? Are there 40 min podcasts?

Have just completed the 1st 30 min run in week 9 and am really pleased with myself that I have achieved the goal of running for 30 minutes but am less pleased that I am only covering about 3.8 km ie no where near the 5k I need to be able to run in 3 weeks time for the Sports Relief 3 miles. Am I an exceptionally slow runner or is 5K in 30 mins a bit ambitious for a female, 5ft 2, 47 year old, novice runner? At my current speed it will take me about 39 mins to run 5K. Does any one know of any podcasts I can down load to help me keep running for about 40 mins? Thank you.


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25 Replies

  • I'm in my 40s too, and at the moment I would run a 45min 5k :) Each time I run I'm a little faster though, I've knocked 90 secs off my mile pace this week.

    I'm thinking of using Bridge 2 10k podcasts to work on my pace, when I finish C25k - although I don't particularly aspire to run a 10k, I can skip to the cooldown when I've covered the required distance/seen a welcoming pub.....

  • Thank you and congratulations on knocking 90 seconds off your mile pace, that's a big improvement. Perhaps when I have done the 30 min run a few more times and have more confidence in the fact that I can run for that long I will be brave enough to speed up a bit, I hope so!

  • I do suspect that the podcasts have slightly increased beats per minute as they progress. There are playlists with different bpm rates on quite a few websites and it might be possible to speed up consistently throughout a run by using one.

  • when I finished c25k I didnt manage the full 5k. for me it took another few weeks to reach 35mins which was how long 5k was for me. after nearly a year of running I have now managed to get that to under 29mins but it was hard work!.Im 43 so it probably isnt an age thing :)

    once you can maintain the 30min runs easier you can then think about running a little faster (perhaps in the middle of a run) or from tree to tree. if you look up Tempo/interval/fartlek these are all designed to help improve speed. X

  • Thank you Shelly, I like the idea of running a bit faster for short intervals in the middle of a run, I will give that a go. Did week 9 run 2 this morning and did manage to go slightly faster just because I had the confidence from the previous run that I could keep going for 30 mins.

  • Don't worry, I'm 50+, finished c25k last October and it took me about 35-40 mins to run 5k. My first parkrun, where you get an official time for the 5k run, was at the end of October and my time was just under 35 mins. I have done 6 parkruns and on all but one have improved on my time. I have still to run 5k in 30 mins - I did parkrun a couple of weeks ago and fell short of the elusive 30 mins by 25 secs - recorded time was 30:24! But I shall persist - it's something to aim for :)

  • Hi Caz, Thanks for your comment I feel heartened by this. My 12 and 18 year old children have both done our local parkrun in under 28 mins and I thought I might join them once I have completed the C25K programme but I walked the route the other day, it took me 57 mins to walk and appeared to be up hill all the way even though it was circular. I now feel even more impressed by my children's achievement but think I will put off attempting it myself until I can run 5K on the flat. But it is good to have a goal! In the mean time I am looking forward to reading that you have broken the 30 min barrier in the parkrun soon. Good luck and keep us posted!

  • Hi CaroB,

    I put off doing the parkrun until I knew I could run 5k. However, having done 6 parkruns I can tell you that there are plenty of people who walk the course or run and walk it. We have one 80+ year old gentleman who does our parkrun every week in a time of around 50 mins or slightly less and there are always other walkers in front or behind him.

    My advise would be to bite the bullet, do the parkrun and if you haven't finished the course then just walk/jog to the finish line. You will then have an official time on which to base your future runs and you can only improve on this time! You will be surprised how much faster you run at parkrun as the 'crowd' helps you to move along, and you may even get runners running with you encouraging you along!


  • I graduated C25K three weeks ago and had "only" got to about 3.4k at the end of the 9 weeks. I am working on it, but when I run on my own I still take 45 mins to do 5k on the flat. But when I run with my (7 time marathon runner) sister I go at least 10% faster without really noticing!

    I am very short at 5' 1", 50 years old, plus I still have 2 stone to lose so definitely NOT built for speed, but I am so proud of myself for doing these runs at all. I was adamant I was NOT a runner and in fact hadnt ran since playing hockey aged 16!.

    You dont have to race in your Sports Relief run but the crowd dynamic will probably get you moving faster without realising. Good luck.

  • Thank you for your comment Deryn. So far I have only run on my own but having read about how much faster you run with your sister perhaps I will take up the offer of running company from one of my super speedy children.

  • I'm over 50 and completed C25K less than a fortnight ago and have still to manage 5K. I'm sure it will come with perseverance. I was really pleased to manage the 30minute runs. You are doing really well

  • Thank you

  • (age 42) On my wk9r3 I was quite disheartened to realise that I was not doing 5k in 30 mins. The very next day (probably should have rested!) I went out determined to run 5k - I just added bits to my route until my app told me I'd hit 5k - felt great! It was 37 mins 40 though and I have only been able to bring that down a bit to just over 35 mins. I am trying not to worry about that too much at the mo - just trying to keep running for a solid 30mins a few times a week is a real struggle with the will power and motivation - I find myself stopping for a bit of a walk a couple of times. My running ability seems to vary hugely and I can't pinpoint what makes a good day....

  • Thank you Veglady, it has helped my motivation no end to get so many supportive replies from other women who also need to run for a little bit longer to complete the 5K. It is good to know I am not alone!

  • Hi,

    I've just (this evening) done my first 30 minutes, and covered 2.7 miles, or 4.3k, so *barely* any faster than you, but for me speed isn't the issue at the moment, just the fact that I can run at *any* speed for that duration is an end in itself!

    For the record, I'm also female, 49, and I've never run or done any formal exercise, so this is a bit of a shock to the system.

    This evening there were loads of club runners out there - *real* runners, in leggings (oo-er). Fortunately they were doing the circuit in the opposite direction to me so I didn't have to worry about being passed!

    There are far more experienced people on here than me (who has taken about 9 weeks to get to the end of week 6), so listen to them, but I suspect you're doing a perfectly acceptable speed - you're building stamina, and you need that before you can step up the pace. Good luck!

  • Thank you for your reply, I keep getting over taken by very fit looking women who are out running with their dogs. Perhaps the secret is to get a dog. However the dogs are generally fairley disobedient and so the owners have to keep stopping as the dogs rush off in the opposite direction, dodging dogs can be a liitle annoying but the distraction helps the time to pass and before I know it Laura is telling me I have done another 5 mins!

  • I ran a different route today, a more level one, and measured the distance when I got back - at the pace I ran it would be a 40.5 min 5k. A bit faster because I had to stop when my pedometer fell off!

    So I think you're running at a typical pace for someone in the last couple of weeks of the programme. The important thing is that we are still running! Improve or not, it's better for us than the couch....

  • How is everyone measuring how far they have run? I've just started the couch25K programme. Will be doing Run 3 of Week 1 tomorrow.

  • I have measured how far I run in 2 ways : 1) the old fashioned way with a piece of string and a map, 2) plotting my route on google earth and using the measuring tool. If you look through the questions some one else has asked this and had quite a few good suggestions in reply. Good luck with run 3, when I first started I really struggled to run for a minute but as the end of week 9 approaches I am amazing myself by running for 30 mins and even quite enjoying it!

  • Thanks for the encouragement!! I'll have a go with Google Earth.

  • I've also started using - seems to work well.

  • i'm using a slightly different programme for my C25K which is only 8 weeks rather than 9 but it is my last run tomorrow. they are slightly more realistic in that they give you 35 minutes to run 5k but it is still far to fast for me, an overweight 40 year old female. ( although nearly 2 stone lighter than when i started 8 weeks ago!) last weekend I walked for total of 7 minutes warm up and cool down and did 33 minutes running and managed 4.5k. I walk very slowly so thinking probably max 1/2k walking so reckon i did 4k in 33 minutes. My aim is to run 5k tomorrow however long it takes. ( will deff need to be outside but that is another story) and i will post how long it take, i am reckoning on about 40 minutes of running

  • Hi Mgnmum, Thanks for your reply, sounds like we are running at a fairly similar pace. I did my last run in the C25K program today, I always find the 3rd run of the week the hardest so I didn't push myself to do any more than the 30 mins. I am trying to talk myself into running a bit longer on Monday. Good luck with the final run of your programme, you must be very pleased to have run off so much excess weight. What are you going to do to keep yourself motivated to carry on? I am looking for ideas! I need to keep going for another couple of weeks to do the Sports Relief 3 miles but then I will need a good reason/motivation to carry on.

  • CaroB, i did my 5k last weekend, as predicted 40 minutes 20 seconds. I was finding it hard to motivate myself to go out again now I had achieved that goal and am looking for my next one. 10k is not suitable as i really do not have the time to train for over 1hr 3 times a week. so i am aiming for 35 minutes at present and summing up the courage to do a park run in public. If i run outside it is normally early in the morning by the canal with few people around or in the dark so no one can see me. Pushed myself to go out while my daughter was having a music lesson so had to be back within the 30 mins, managed 3k in under 25 minutes and took 1minute of my mile pace from 2 weeks ago!

  • I'm slow but I get round without stopping, and graduate (hopefully) tomorrow. I'm 56 and never run in my life. I don't think it matters about being slow. As long as you keep going for the prescribed time, you've nailed it

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