Couch to 5K
55,105 members87,654 posts

Feeling discouraged :( Will I ever be fast(er)?

Well, I graduated about three weeks ago and now the initial sense of achievement had begun to ware off - I'm struggling not to feel really discouraged by my lack of speed :( It doesn't help that a couple of friends have graduates since and are merrily sailing along doing OVER 5K in 30 min - leaving me feeling a little disappointed with my 36:32 pb!

So the question is - Is there any hope that I will speed up and how long is it likely to take? I'm now doing one speed/ interval session a week and plan to increase distance on my weekend run. Will this plan help or am I just destined to be slow?

Could really do with a motivational pep talk from any ex-snails out there who have sped up with time/practice - before this downer makes me give up altogether!

8 Replies

You'll get faster with time, but you can't expect it to happen overnight. Carry on with your intervals plus distance and you WILL see an improvement in your 5k time sooner or later.

The extra distance will help as you'll gain more stamina to go further, which hopefully means you can push yourself harder in a shorter distance and speed intervals will train you to be able to run at a faster rate for longer and will help your body get used to more of a lactic acid build up at a faster speed.

I've only done a few speed based runs myself (I graduate at the end of the week, but do C25k slightly differently), but I've already noticed an improvement on my times - if only slight. My first 5k was in 32 minutes, and I'm now down to 30:46- which I mainly put down to being able to make that last 1k at a faster speed push.

You will get there, don't get discouraged, everybody is different. Don't compare yourselves to others- we're all different, we all run differently and we all have different stride lengths. My lovely other half has just started C25k and his speed is close to mine already because he has stupidly long legs (darn being short).

Just think- three/four months ago you quite possibly weren't running at all. Just the fact that you're running 3.1 miles is awesome: and you should be proud. Just keep going at your own pace and try to beat yourself every time.


ONLY three weeks ago you graduated, please don't feel disheartened about your time, trust me, and all the other graduates, you will improve but it takes time, and more time and then a bit more patience.

The best thing about running is that the only person you are competing with is yourself! So direct comparisons with other runners is neither helpful or beneficial, and will only get you down.

It might be helpful to do a parkrun once a month and watch to see if your 5k time improves.

I also found that by doing a slightly longer 'long run' once a week was great for boosting my confidence and helped to fuel my need to see improvement. Some runners get quicker and quicker, some runners do longer and longer distances. But over time you WILL achieve both.


You will definitely get faster as you get fitter. Most forums just say carry on running 3 times a week, ie, 1 shortish easy run, one run where you try and run faster in the middle a few times ("intervals") or hill sessions, and one longer run (building up your distance by 10% a week) and this will bring improvements in speed.

After graduating I took 42 mins to do 5k. I have started doing parkruns every so often and my most recent result was 36.25.

You will get there, dont compare yourself to others, that's just not fair. Think about the amazing progress you have made since starting and give yourself a pat on the back for how well you have done!


What Deryn said !


Have just found the new c25k+ podcasts on iTunes- some called stamina and some called speed. I graduated a few months ago and I have got faster (36 mins to 32.20) using the intervals & distance combos as above.

I've been stuck with no improvement for abot 4 weeks now though and am totally losing my mojo and inclination to run when I feel I'm not getting anywhere.

Itching to try the new ones though- we'll all be sub 30 in a month!!!!!


Yes you will get faster- I was a real plodder but I have improved and to be honest it crept up on me, after gradauting I just kept doing the last pod cast for about 2 months, wben I started to get bored with that I found pod casts for bridge to 10Km these have brought back to me the challenge of interval training and running for longer times. I am happy to say old men out walking their dogs no longer overtake me (!). Keep at it, dont compare, do it for yourself.


Thank you so much everyone for your encouragement. TJFlute, your right - its only been three weeks and I need to go easy on myself and give my body time to improve and not be too impatient!

I also know that comparing myself to others has always been my 'achilles heal' and I really need to stop doing it because it can be so distructive. My husband said to me that the only person I should compare myself to is someone my age, my build and with the same ability level - in other words - Myself!! so that is what I'm going to try and focus on. Improving MY times and distances - not trying to match someone elses.

majicfee23 - Have just found the new podcasts, thanks for the tip-off. Now downloaded and ready to use :) They look fantastic and just what I need right now to keep me motivated and give me a new focus. Thank you NHS Choices! The structure of Couch to 5K really suited me so having a new structure to follow is really going to help keep me running :)

Thanks again everyone x.


You are doing a LOT better than me. I can't remember when I graduated but it was a good few weeks longer than you and my time is still 36 mins, approx (if I get that far)! Ages ago I stopped worrying about time though. I've had a week off due to illness and all I was worried about was whether I still had the urge to go out or pop on the treadmill and run. I did yesterday, it was awful, but hey ho, it will get better. Keep at the inclination and the rest will follow.


You may also like...