Couch to 5K
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very worried about speed

Now I know you arent supposed to be and its a miracle I can even run 1 minute let alone 25 (yes Im on week 7) but Im getting a bit concerned about whether or not Im doing this properly.

Firstly Im doing this on a treadmill and it usually takes me 20 minutes to do 1 mile according to the machine. Im not sure how to read the speed on the machine but that would mean Im doing about 3 miles/hr wouldnt it?

It seems awfully slow but when Im running it doesnt feel slow at feels a constant and good jogging pace. Im confused about how people seem to be doing twice as fast as this would seem like flat out running to me. (Im 5 ft 2 and have short legs/stride and size 3 feet).

I cant see how I could possibly do 5 k in 30 minutes at this rate. Is this biazrrely slow?

11 Replies

Curious as to why your treadmill doesn't give you a mph or kph for running speeds.

When I started my walking speed was 4.0kph running 6.0kph, after week two I was able to up to 4.5kph walking and 6.5kph running. I graduated at 7kph. I found it not too hard to push that up to 7.5 and then 8. I tried sprinting intervals managing 13kph for very short bursts but hurt my back, which was not pleasant.

If the 20 minutes to do a mile *doesnt* include your warm up then yes that's 3mph which is 4.8kph. It's slow but a jog is a jog.


Im not that sure how to use the settings (second hand) but I do the incline or plain old manual and just press the speed button "up". Anything over 2.9 ish isnt manageable for me


I'm a little shorty too with very short legs as well so find the speed quite hard to get. What I have done is to try and lengthen my stride but I run outside so its easier perhaps than a treadmill to adjust your speed and stride. If its easy enough to speed it up why not try going faster for say 3-5 minutes then slow it back down for 2-3 mixing it up will build up your strength and stamina also increase your distance. But having said all that I wouldn't worry at this stage of the programme just concentrate on working your way through every week. The speed really does come once you can run for 30 + minutes without stopping. You can then work and build on your distance to cover the 5K. I don't think many females actually finish week 9 and are able to cover 5K in the 30 minutes it would be nearer 40 minutes. The main thing is enjoy it, it should be fun and not a stressful experience for you. :)


you could take off the incline and make sure you are not running uphill and you might find you can go faster. I use a treadmill and walk at 6.5kph and run at 7.5-8.5 (I always have to reduce my speed to get through the last few minutes!) What about planning a walk round the neighbourhood which you know is a mile and try walking that? If it takes you 20 minutes then your treamill settings are correct, but if you do it more quickly then I might be inclined to suspect the readings.


On my treadmill I walk at 3.0 mph and run at 4.0 mph. The latter is really a gentle jog (I could walk at that pace fairly comfortably). I'm not sure I could run at 3.0 mph though as it does seem slow (even by my standards) which leads me to suspect that the treadmill is misleading you. As happier suggests, maybe you should map out a mile long, level route and see how long it takes you. Whatever the case, speed really isn't improtant (though it is nice to know, which is why I do half my runs on the treadmill) and you should be proud to do the runs that you are.

If you know the make and model of your treadmill why not look online for a manual? It seems to be possible to find manuals for most equipment online these days.


Thanks all. Yes I will have a look for the manual..its a reebok i run. The speed when its on 3 and over is such that I cant even keep up walking.


I'm on an irun and walk at 3.5 mph and run at 5 mph sometimes 5.5. I think the settings are out on your model tbh! Are you in mph as opposed to kph?


I know that I walk at around 20 minutes a mile, and jog at around 13-14 minutes a mile, and that's slow compared to most people. Sounds like something is probably wrong with the measurements. As someone suggested, measure out a mile using mapmyrun or mapometer or something similar, and then time yourself running that. Let us know how you get on!

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Well I was so upset I had 4 days off and today said Id get back on and start with a higher speed. I went to 3 for walking and could hardly keep up and then popped it up to 3.3 for the run. It was pretty full on running for me and after being on week 7 and making 25 minutes, I could barely run for 3. What a setback :(


I graduated April this year with great intentions did the whole programme on the treadmill and am still unable to even run 5k. However I do run 3 times a week for 30 mins I am just over 5ft with size 4 feet and run slow have now resigned myself to just running for exercise and not getting caught up in the hype about running 5k in a frankly ridiculous time. Be kind to yourself you are getting fit we are all individual not all of us will reach this goal but we are exercising. Keep running you are doing great.


I think the thing is to really not stress about the speed at all, I do think for some of us the couch to 5k title is a bit of a misnomer, it really should be couch to 30 minutes, if you get to 5k great, if you don't no sweat (or actually quite a lot of sweat usually)

I got myself into quite a lot of trouble at one point running too quickly because I wasn't sure about pacing on the treadmill, so my advice would be just to run at a comfortable pace, you're a runner no matter what pace you keep.


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