Couch to 5K

How do you become a faster runner?

I'm finally on Week 7 after about 13 weeks! My body has not been cooperating. It's been on thing after another....runners knee, a couple of stomach viruses (thanks to toddlers in daycare), a couple of sinus infections. But I'm here...I plan to do run 2 in wk 7 tomorrow. But I'm a snail! I'm also 35 and overweight. But how can I get faster? Or maybe a better question would be how do I determine & record how far / how fastI've run?

6 Replies


Do you have a smartphone, if so you can use and app called endomondo which tracks your run route via GPS and tells you how far/ how fast (and many other cool things too), the simple version is free.

If not I sometimes look at, you can plot your route and it calculates how far - then you need a bit of maths :)

I will hopefully graduate tomorrow, fingers crossed, and have been thinking a lot about this.

People from the local running club suggest increasing distance will have a knock-on effect of increasing speed (i suppose the further you run regularly, the easier and shorter 5k seems) plus also doing some more sprint training - like short runs but faster - 1K in 6 mins or sub-6.

As for gauging your pace when you are already running, other than 'learning' the right pace and remembering it, either using a garmin or other sports watch or the speed setting on a treadmill, I am not sure what else to do.

I would also be interested to know if anyone had a non-techie way of fathoming pace whilst running.



I have been using Runtastic on my Ipod Touch and have been very pleased with the feedback I get from the site and on my Ipod.

The basic App is free but you can upgrade to Pro for £3.99 which even gives you height gained/loss during your mapped run via GPS.


Hi Stephy, do you have a stop watch, is so use it to get your time. If not just use an ordinary watch. Take a mental note of the time you start running, then the time once you have completed your run. Now you will need to do the maths, taking one from the other to give you total time.

Using any of the programs on line like MapmyRun, GoodRunGuide or RunJogwalk map out your route, they will use a Google Earth type map. You will be able to track your exact route. I use GoodRunGuide which then lets you log your time against that route. Have a play about with a couple of the different sites until you find one that you like best.

The other way to get an official time is to join Parkrun and get your time logged by them, its free and they have hundreds of meetings every Saturday throughout the UK. You just need to register with them to get a barcode and off you go.

Good luck for the last few runs.


Whatever you need to do to get faster, I'm clearly not doing it !

Tonight I did some hill sessions at running club and I'm hoping they'll do some speed sessions soon. Google "fartlek" and "interval training" - these should help build speed.


If you can measure your distance (use online mapping software, eg mapmyrun or mapometer) and measure your time (use a phone, watch or stopwatch), you can then enter those two measurements into the sidebar at and it will calculate your pace. Pace is usually how running speed is measured, and it's in the form of minutes per mile or minutes per km. It's better than using mph or kph as it can pick up small changes, eg if you get 2 seconds per mile faster, you can see that.

If you want to treat yourself when you complete the program, you could buy yourself a running watch, which will use gps to measure your distance, time, pace, route, heart rate etc, and give you lots of nice graphs to play with!


Doing longer runs as TheActualSarah suggests seems to be what does it for me. Since graduation I have done one 5k, one interval or hill session and one longer slow run each week and have seen small but definite improvements in my pace every week.

With the awful rain the last wee while I've dropped my longer run in favour of an extra 5k as, much as I enjoy running in the rain (also good for pace!), I can't bear the thought of keeping going for an hour soaked through. The result has been my pace has dropped off by about 10 secs per km although the runs don't feel any harder. I can only assume that it's because of the lack of longer run as it is the only thing I've changed so I think there's something to it.


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