Couch to 5K
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Some training advice for taking things forward and training for a 10k using a mix of different runs

So I had a discussion with mrqwest in another post and quite a few things came up which I thought would be helpful for other runners on here. It's basically different training techniques that I have picked up online and from different people regarding increasing your speed when training for a 10k. However I'm sure a lot of the advice would be useful for people who have recently graduated and are wondering how to take things forward.

mrqwest GRADUATE 5 days agoReport

My first 10k (and bear in mind, this is the only time I've done 10k) was 1hr 6mins or something in that area. I'd love to get that below an hour which I will this year.

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mark909 GRADUATE 5 days agoDelete

I've read some of your other posts and understand you are quite busy. You really want to be doing 3 different types of runs a week to build you speed and stamina. One day should be intervals. I was doing a 22min pyramid interval session I bought from audio fuel. Another day should be running at tempo or race pace. I was doing this for around 40-50min. Another day should be a long run. Do a run of between 1 and 2 hours at a slow leisurely pace. This worked for me getting under and hour. Unfortunately I buggered up my plantar, a previously unknown part of my body, after running on tarmac when I usually run on woodland trails.

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mrqwest GRADUATE 4 days agoReport

Hey Mark, thanks for the reply. I've never really understood what a tempo run is? Is it-like you say-race pace? How do I know what my race pace is? Presumably I don't run as fast as I can?

So my weekly training should look like this: -

Tuesday - intervals between jogging & running at a fast pace? Any guides for times?

Thursday - Tempo / race pace will be 5k as fast as I can?

Saturday - long slow run, between 1 & 2 hours.

That makes sense. When I was running last summer, I was hitting 6min/km pace or a smudge quicker but at the moment, i'm doing 6:30min/km on average. My longer run on NYE was around 7min/km or maybe a bit slower. When I'm running at 6:30min/km or so, I feel like I'm unable to keep running for an extended period (a couple of k) before I need to stop for a rest so presumably I'm running too fast?

This is the sort of advice I'm looking for? So far, I've just been running aimlessly with no real knowledge / plan or target.

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mark909 GRADUATE 4 days agoDelete

Yes before I got injured that was exactly the plan I was following.

I found a good marathon training plan online but altered the time spent training to suit my life style more. It described the advantages of doing the different types of runs.

So this is what I was doing:

Tuesday - 20 minute pyramid interval training session using audiofuel power up 2012. You might think 20 mins isn't a long time! Well wait until you do this! You do a warm up run then sprint for 30 seconds, jog for 30 seconds, sprint for 45 seconds, jog (okay well gasp for air) for 45 seconds, sprint 60 seconds, jog (well convince yourself you're not going to die) 60 seconds, sprint 75 seconds (I never managed to get this far!), jog 60 seconds, sprint 60 seconds, recover 45 seconds, sprint 45 seconds, jog 30 seconds, sprint 30 seconds, 5 min cool down. I found my lung capacity to increase loads and found I wasn't getting as out of breath after doing this for a month. Here's a link to the audiofuel page. It was only £4.49 and worth every penny.

Thursday - 40-50 min tempo race. This is the speed you want to run the race at. I think you need to do a couple of races to get an idea of your race pace. I found I went faster with people around me and was going too slow initially. I was using this for training for a 10k however so you might want to decreased it slightly. However if you are training for a 5km I would think it would be better to train to build your tempo pace up to 40 mins as it will give you more stamina.

Saturday/Sunday - Long slow run between one and two hours. Yet again I used audiofuel to work up to this. I started off with this one

then moved onto this one when I was a bit fitter

Interestingly I was trying to run to the pace of the high intensity work out when I did my 10k. However it seemed too slow with people running past me so in the 10k race I actually ended up running faster than the pace in this workout.

I was also trying to do one bit of cross training every week. So either swimming on a wednesday evening or mountain biking on the weekend on whichever day I didn't run on.

Phew that turned into an essay! Maybe I should create it as a blog so other people will see it!

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mrqwest GRADUATE 3 days agoReport

Mark, thanks so much for your advice.

I'm not training for a marathon (can't imagine running for 3 or 4 hours or how I would stay entertained) but I wouldn't mind attempting a half marathon so I guess the same plan applies.

Funnily enough, I've just read a review of an AudioFuel interval plan on another website and that really sung it's praises so I think I'll grab that tonight. £4.49 is a bargain. I've also noticed they do another 'longer' one and the bundle for both is only £6.49. What's the music like though?

At the moment, I'm trying to get my fitness back up. I can run 5k at 7m/km which is slower than what I would run at (6m/km) but I find I can't sustain that pace for 3k so presumably it's too fast for my current fitness.

What would you suggest for this?

As for my slow runs, I had a look at the guide Swanscot linked to below and that says my slow run pace should be around 8.30m/km so I'll give it a go but can't see that being feasible.

What's the benefits of cross training?

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mark909 GRADUATE 3 days agoDelete

To increase your pace I think you just need to keep building on your fitness and pushing yourself. Doing the three different running training sessions will help you to improve this. Maybe you're running too fast at the moment and just need to slowly build on your pace once you get your stamina back.

The times I gave you are what I was using for training for a 10k.

I really like the audiofuel music although i imagine it's not to everyones taste. The interval training is instrumental rock stuff with drums and guitars. The other music is dance and electronica music.

I don't really know my times per km like you do but I like the audiofuel stuff as it gets you to run in time to the drum beats so each song has a different bpm. You feet hit the flow on each drum beat so you run faster or slower depending on the bpm.

You can listen to samples on the website. Believe me the 20 minute session will be more than enough to begin with! It doesn't sound long but it's the hardest training session I was doing. You will also want to find somewhere flat to run around as it's not really suitable for running on the streets to.

As for your slow runs just find a pace that you can keep going at without breathing heavily. Have you got to the stage where when running you can breath like you would whilst walking yet? I was amazed when I found this happening. That's the pace you should be going for. Once you get settled into things you'll be amazed at how long you can keep running for. Once again I found the audiofuel mp3s good as there's someone telling you how long you've been running for and once you get to 40mins theres cheers for every additional 10 mins you run after.

I think the benefits of cross training are that you can exercise on your running rest days, you'll be working muscles that don't get as much of a work out from running. You'll also be decreasing the risk of injury as you'll be strengthening other parts of your body. I think swimmings good as it's low impact and has benefits to your lung capacity. I also find it's nice to have something else to look forward to instead of just running all the time!

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Phil72 GRADUATE yesterdayReport

Thanks to both of you for his exchange, loads of useful info, gonna try mixing my training more. Thanks

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swanscot GRADUATE 3 days agoReport

I trained for my first 10K using a similar mix of runs as Mark. I used the calculator given here: to determine my tempo and long. slow run paces.

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Such a wealth of information there Mark, thanks again for sharing it out. I'll be drawing up a proper plan to start next week (hurt my knee yesterday) but will be along these lines:

Tuesday - Intervals

I'm gonna grab the AudioFuel power-up 2012 interval mixes. The 20 minute one and 32 minute one for the future. Bargain at £6.50 for the two.

Thursday - Tempo run

Still undecided on this run because I don't know what pace to run it at but I'll go and see how I feel. It might just be a gentle run with pushes here & there to speed up before getting too exhausted.

Sat / Sun - Long Slow Run

Minimum of 7k but like Mark said, try to get out for at least an hour. There's plenty of hills in my area so will get those muscles cooking on the uphill stretches!


Haha yes good luck with the 32 minute one!


Thank you both for the excellent and sensible advice.


Yes. Thanks for that. Loads of stuff to think about.


Thanks for sharing that! I am building up to 10K using a mixture of runs each week - 5K+ speed podcast, a (fast as I can) 5K and the B210K podcast. I'm hoping as much as anything else that the variety will keep it interesting!


Loads of helpful advice here thanks! I am using the 5k+ podcasts at the moment but think I might drop the stepping stones and use the audio fuel rollercoaster one as a tempo run guide. The stepping stone one played twice might be ok for a long run, I can pretty much plod along for ages at 150 bpm. I might do this with a 2 min walk half way - and start off quite modest with 40 mins this week, 45 mins next etc.

My current goal is pretty modest as I haven't yet run 5k! I will try to break that milestone this week...

Have fun!


Amazing set of information, thanks guys!


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