Faster or further?

I've hit the magical 30 minute mark a few times, and am wondering what the best way is to improve (I am quite a long way from 5k after 30 mins). I am thinking of mixing up some runs of the "see how far I can get" variety with some more interval-type runs - slow jog with faster sections, or fast walk with faster sections. But is it better to work on speed or distance, or both? Should I be trying to go faster (covering more distance in 30 mins) or further (getting up to 5k, regardless of how long it takes)? Is there a best option? Will I end up doing both anyway?

12 Replies

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  • I would think that mixing it up would keep away boredom with training in just one specific way. If I could run for 30 min non stop (one day soon I hope) I'd be interested to know what the difference in distance covered would be for the following: 10x(r3w1) vs 5x(r6w1) vs 3(r10w1) vs 2(r15w1) vs r30

  • Ooo, a maths problem!

    In all of those, you have 30 minutes of running, the only difference is in the amount of walking that you do (10 mins, 5 mins, 3 mins, 1 min and 0). If you always ran at the same pace, then you'd cover more distance for the one with the most walking, because you are doing the 30 mins total running, but with extra walking added in. But if you run faster when you run for a shorter period of time then it will depend on your relative walking and running speeds for each running time period...

  • I realised this as I pressed send :-( .. perhaps just add the "missing" walking mins to the cool down walk or fiddle the length of the walk breaks to get the benefit more evenly?

  • Its too HOT for my brain to work properly!

    I do parkrun at r1w1 which takes 45 min ish. In the park doing c25k its taking aound an hour to cover 5K currently

  • I'd go for both. Extending the distance you run (for instance training for a 10k) should make your 5k time better, and any speed training (such as fartlek) will also aid with your speed.

    I'd be tempted to do a healthy mix of the two. When I graduate I intend to do one speed session a day, and then one 'long' run a day myself. I've already done a few speed sessions, and I have to say- they're fun! :)

  • I reached 30 mins almost one year ago and kept running for 30 mins. I think my best run was about 4.5K and I kept going back and forth between 4k and 4.4k all the time. Now I'd like a new goal... should I train for 10K? What's the best way to do it? Can anyone recommend podcasts? Listening to NHS's podcasts was the only way to improve for me, I have not reached any new goal since my 30 mins graduation...

  • I entered a 10k then downloaded a plan from Runners World website, this REALLY helped me focus and gave me confidence to build up the time I could spend running (albeit at my slow pace!).

    It does ask for your recent best time over 5k to start with. I had just done a parkrun so I had a time. I would warmly recommend you do a parkrun if there is one you can get to as they are friendly and fun AND if you regularly run 4 to 4.4k I definitely think you will have no problem doing 5 in that setting. But if not then run 5k on your own and time that.

  • as a general rule it's best to go for distance first, speed later so if your goal is 5k keep going until you reach that, then work on speeding up. Intervals are the best way of speeding up so you could try going through the podcasts again running at your normal speed during the walking sections and running faster during the running parts. Good luck :)

  • After graduating I just took my time and built up to 5k, then stuck to that for a week or two then tried to go a little bit faster.

  • I go to running club twice a week - recently we've had the option of training sessions rather than "just" going for a run. Over the last couple of weeks we've done hill sessions and speed sessions, both of which should help with speed. Doing the training sessions with a group really helps with motivation - it's hard work and any encouragement is welcome. It's also good fun.

    On top of that, I'm aiming to do a long run at my own speed (slow) each weekend to see how far I can get. I think I find it easier to pace myself if I'm running alone and hope this will help me manage longer distances.

    I'm hoping the mixture of different training will help prepare me for a half-marathon in October. I'm loosely following a plan but being flexible according to what is going on at running club.

    I'd recommend you try a local running club - I'm quite shy and it took me weeks to pluck up the courage to go along but I'm really glad I did. The more experienced runners are really helpful and encouraging - no elitism !

  • hi not much to add but i worked out a route to do the programe to. my route started out at being 4.2 k which in the first week or so it took me another 6 min to get back home after the podcast ended. after another couple weeks (w3-4) i was able to get home roughly the same time the podcast ended. now i have increased the route to 5k which i can finish in podcast time of 40 min though this incluses my cool down and warm up. (i did w9r1 yesterday) however i keep an eye on teh landmarks and only travelled slight further after the 30 min run then i did during week 8 although im actually running 2 min longer.i have found it hard to gague really as the podcast time vary from 34 min in week one back to 30 min, then 35 min and now 40 min (week 9). if you run the same route you get familiar with the landmarks and can see that you must be improving if you go further in the same time

    i have noticed that each time i run i am going slightly further though its only a small ammount each time. i think increasing speed is the same as increasing distance. it may only be a personal observation but i find its my overall pace which is more consistent then it was even 2 weeks ago.

    good luck though

  • I agree with totalbeginner. I'm not going out specifically to increase speed but am generally (although not always) finding I'm running slightly further in the same time.