Couch to 5K

How to Pace?

I ran week 8, run 1, and thought it was going pretty poorly. My legs seemed to ache the whole time, and although I originally hoped to aim for a personal best, I down-graded that plan to merely finishing after about 2 minutes.

It's okay that this feels awful, I told myself. I am just tired from my last run, and adjusting to the longer times. So I will just go my extra-slow shuffle-jog whenever I need to, and it will be good enough. It doesn't matter that I am slow, just that I keep going. (I did a harder-than-usual strength training routine before the run, so I decided to cut myself some slack.)

And I was *definitely* slow at first, especially going up the hills. Laura told me I was at the halfway mark at roughly the same spot in my route as when I run for shorter times.

But somehow, I made it all the way to my goal (3K) by the time she said to slow down and walk again. (It's true, 3K in 28 minutes is really, really not fast, but I had only gone that distance once before, and it took a full 30 minutes.)

I seem to have no concept of pace. I can't tell if I am going faster than before or not. Strange, isn't it?

I guess it is a skill that will take me a little longer to learn. I am still thrilled to run for 3K. Eight weeks ago, I could maybe have run a single block, and I am not certain about even that...perhaps if chased by a rabid dog or something. I am amazed by how far I have come in such a short time!

5 Replies

Funny you should say this...I just finished W5R1...first time 5 full minutes x 3, yet, at the end it had actually take 3 minutes LONGER to do my "course". Guess it really DOESN'T matter as long as we are out there doing it....


Pacing is the hardest thing in this whole game in my view. I think it just boils down to experience and running loads and loads and loads.

I have two definite paces (of runnign that is) there is the one I run at when my mind wanders and I am just 'cruising' and settle into unconciously and there is another I can run at if I keep concentrating which is faster.

It probably took a year for me to start to get a really good handle on it and can now guage how far I have run so far pretty accurately even without my GPS!

Also I pretty much only use my GPS for pacing these days so I know my target pace for a distance and keep a check that I am keeping it, which more and more I am better at judging and I find less and less that I need to correct along the way.

Just time I am afraid :-)


Hi Greg, does your Garmin tell you your pace as you run or afterwards? Thanks


You get it while you run.


I count in my head to get into a rythm if I'm finding it hard to settle...'one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, etc...' It sounds pretty boring but it helps me focus on pounding away at the footpath. I'll stop doing it without realising too, which normally means I've found it! Or I've seen a pretty dress in a shop window!

I use the RunKeeper app on my phone and every 5 minutes it tells me what my pace it, today I kept thinking I was going faster than it was telling me, so my idea of pace was way off there! I blame the heat though...:)


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