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Extending runs in the later weeks - some thoughts

Obviously everyone makes their own decisions about this (and lots of us do add on extra). However, I thought it would be worth sharing something I worked through last night, as something to think about.

I did a bit of calculating last night (because I realise I've been pushing myself a bit too hard post-graduation, I think).

I went back to look at the '10% rule' - ie the idea that to avoid over-training, you shouldn't increase by more than 10% per week - and even then the recommendation is to not do that full increase for every run, and to back off a bit every few weeks. I think you can use the 10% based on time, or on distance. And obviously it's only a recommendation - but it does seem to be a generally accepted one.

Those extra few minutes in the last few weeks are in fact based on 10% a week - I hadn't realised that. Maybe that's why it can feel pretty tough, even though it only looks like a tiny bit more!

Week 7: 25 minutes plus 10%...

Week 8: 27.5 (rounded up to 28 in the c25k) plus 10%...

Week 9: 30.3 (rounded down to 30 in c25k)

So, carrying on adding 10% a week to the running time would look like this:

Postgrad wk 1: 33.3

P2: 36.6

P3: 40.3

P4: 44.3

P5: 48.7

P6: 53.6

Now I know how tempting it is to hurtle towards the magical 5k, but at the pace I go at (around 50 minutes for 5k) it would have been much more sensible to build up to it over an extra *5 or 6* weeks, not just in one week! Mind you, not sure that even if I had worked this out before, I'd have been sensible...

But I have decided not to enter a parkrun until it feels a bit more comfortable (I do have a few twinges in various parts of my legs after yesterday, and I really don't want to end up with anything more drastic). I do confess to still being glad I went to see how long it would take me though.

38 Replies

That's interesting and I agree with a lot of it, in a do what I say not what I do kind of way.

You love playing with numbers Greeners, any chance of converting it to distance? I know time is how we've been reared under C25k but most folk moving on will be using distance going forward.

How long using that method would it take to get to 10K?


Don't know if you've read this article or not Greenlegs:


There's a bit about new goals and mentions realistic time frames. It's probably different for everyone but personally I found it quite enough to maintain 30-40 minutes runs posr grad for 3 months or so. I've since built up to 10k using the 10% rule and it worked for me. Interesting what you say about easing back every few weeks because Wed I ran 11k fine, but was tired today on my Tempo run. Think that I overdid it without knowing - so tempting to push that little bit further but not always wise long term.

On the subject of Parkruns, you'll know when you feel ready and enjoy it all the more so for it.


Thanks - very sensible advice, notbad! I went off and read it, and it included this:

"So if your goal is a 10K run, that’s quite a big step up and it’ll take longer than another nine weeks. Be realistic about the time frame."

30-40 is probably plenty for me for a while. :)


Oh, I love a maths challenge!

Rather depends on what you count as your starting point.

Your last run: "6.3k, which took me 47 minutes"

So, for week 9, that makes 4.02km in 30 minutes, if you hadn't pushed on for longer. Building up from 4k:

So, postgraduate wk 1: 4.4k

P2: 4.8

P3: 5.3

P4: 5.9

P5: 6.5


P7: 7.8



P10: 10.4

So distance-wise you've pushed yourself on nearly 5 weeks extra (ha - pretty much exactly the same as me, based on time, that's funny!) already. This competitiveness is not necessarily so good for us! Where's the rush? :)

If you count your starting point as 6.3k, it would take about 6 weeks - but bear in mind that in effect you've jumped those extra weeks, and maybe haven't consolidated that enough yet, so you could be liable to injury.

The 'bridge to 10k' programme takes 6 weeks - it appears to be based on starting from about a 30 minute 5k, building up to 10k at roughly the same pace, taking about an hour overall, so maybe I should just do bridge to 10k, but with the end distance being 5k instead!

This may be one of those posts where I'm rambling on to myself and not making much sense to anyone else. :)

Just worked out how long for me to get to 10k on the 10% basis, from a 30 minute week 9 run of 3.1km. (3.1, 3.4, 3.8, 4.1, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 6.6, 7.3, 8.0, 8.8, 9.7, 10.7) ... 13 weeks - 3 months! By the middle of May. Not sure I want to though. Interesting... So, by the end of the 5x50 challenge, I could be able to do 10k. Or maybe sooner, if I get faster! (Or later, considering that yesterday was slower than that.)


Cheers Greeners, I suspected you'd be delighted to get your teeth into it.

I had intended looking for a programme to follow but have decided I'll probably just do a couple of shorter runs in the week, say 5-7k and build up my weekend run, bit by bit.

Happy to consolidate for a while too, I'm in no rush.


'shorter runs, say 5-7k' - those are still long runs! :)


Ha ha!

I meant 5 for a couple of weeks then moving up over the course of the thing to 7k, as the runs on Saturday will be incresing to 10, making 7k in midweek a short run.


We are currently week 6 of a week 6- 10K program. ;-) It is suggested to be able to run a 30 min. 5K prior to starting a program. Considering several factor's, I seriously doubt I will ever reach that magical 30. L went into the 10K plan with the mentality of my C25K plan ..I will gradually increase running time and in doing so, build fitness/endurance. Its working! I'm not at a 10K distance, but I Know I can run well over an hour steadily. We all have different ways of looking at things and working toward our goals. I agree with all of your calculations Greenlegs, those professional athletes must know a thing or two about gradually increasing times. ;-) Gayle


I'm really glad that programme is working for you Gayle - you've got a very good attitude towards it!

How are you managing with all that snow?


If I concentrated on distance, it would be totally overwhelming for me and my short legs!! We had 14-16" with more predicted in the next few days. :-( Area business and schools closed for 3 days, which is typically unheard of. Our gym even closed, so I could use that as an excuse to not get on the treadie! I'm fully dreading an hour in that dratted thing! Hoping they clear our city walking/running track and I can go out tomorrow! We had hopes to Graduate" by Wednesday of this coming week but I'm thinking that is out now. We leave Wednesday for a business trip to sunny Florida!!!! Actually, business for Steve, I'm tagging along!!!!


That'll be a bit of a contrast then! Enjoy the trip. :) You could graduate in Florida!


Also, to throw some more numbers into the mix :O if you work on distance and start the calculation at 5k and add 10% onto each week that makes it:

W1 5.5k

W2 6.05K

W3 6.65K

W4 7.32K

W5 8.05K

W6 8.85K

W7 9.74K

W8 10.7K



Sue, are you doing distance or minutes? Gayle


I started a B210K 9 week structured programme Gayle but just couldnt get on with the intervals so abandoned that and decided to just up my mileage each week, aiming for the elusive 10k :)



Intervals send shivers down my spine! I guess there is a reason for them, they are rough going. I like the idea of just gradually increasing time. Many a great runner has worked it that way. Best wishes to you! Hopefully, with Spring ahead, all of us can have a refreshed spirit of sorts and be chomping at the bit to get out there and run.


My brain 'urts.............................................


Sorry! :) It's all because I'm trying to avoid doing the paperwork that I should be doing instead of fiddling around on here...


I hear ya!! I just stick one foot in front of the other... ;-) Gayle


So does mine, dottiemay, numbers were never my strong point but i do know that it was pushing myself too hard post grad that b**!!**ed up my knees last November.

So please be very careful, folks, it only takes one 'too long' run and you might be on the sidelines for weeks too. Of course a lot of (probably younger than me :-O ) people do get away with it which might lull one into a false sense of security... Tricky.

I think the 10% rule sounds exactly right, atm I'm increasing by 2 mins a week only. If I tried to put that into distance I'd probably get it wrong but 2 mins must be okay.


Now there's a sensible person! :D

My calves are definitely telling me that yesterday's long run was a bit too far. So I shall listen to them. Thanks, Mitts. No maths needed!


Easy to be sensible after the event, greenlegs... :-D


I also suffered the post-grad over-enthusiasm, although I did my knees in by deciding that if I could complete c25k I could do all sorts of other exercise too now. Partly inspired by the 5x50, I did some sort of exercise every days for two weeks (running alternate days, with long, hilly walks, Pilates and gym in between), until my knees revolted! :-/ When I see people mention the 5x50 now I think about the sage advice we all hear of having at least one or two rest days a week, and feel that things like 5x50 are ill-advised. I'll certainly choose regular rest days over increased injury chances and an enforced extended recovery but, like Mitts, I had to learn the hard way. :(

About 4 runs ago I did a 10 min run, a 3 min walk and a 5 min run. It was a horrid struggle throughout and I had to force myself to complete each of the two runs. My legs really hurt the next day, more than they had ever on c25k, and I didn't enjoy the run at all. Yesterday I ran 15 mins, walked 3 mins and then ran another 5 mins, and didn't at any point feel like I did on the run last week. Clearly, it's more than a 10% increase in a week, but I'm going by how my legs and lungs feel at present. If I felt as bad again as I did last week then I wouldn't push myself on. My legs have been fine today, although my head has been longing to go for another run!

I think this is the biggest obstacle for post-grads. The structure of c25k, Laura's guidance and the support of your fellow under-grads means that you take rest days and sensible increments as read. Once you graduate you are effectively let loose on the world with an excess of confidence in your ability but without the structure to keep you in check. I wonder how many graduates didn't have to learn this the hard way?! ;)


Thanks for this Legion. I'm interested in what you say about 5x50 - do you think that alternate days of 30 minutes running and walking/cycling would be too much? (I'd agree that doing 5k runs daily sounds a huge jump up, and likely to end in tears!) My understanding was that doing a different activity on 'rest' days was a good idea? I certainly don't want to be encouraging people to push themselves too hard and end up getting injured!

Just read your profile intro by the way - impressive that you've finally got to be a runner after so may challenges on the way. Go you! :)


Doing different kinds of exercise on rest days is fine greenlegs. I think incorporating walking into the mix helps to make it not such an exhausting challenge, well certainly for me. Everybody is obviously different when it comes to fitness levels and as non-athletes we are not going to run every day :O However, mixing it up with walking, cycling, swimming and other activites that they recommend on their site is fine.

You are certainly not encouraging us to push ourselves to injury! It is the second time for swanscot and as a very sensible lady I know she woldnt be doing it again or endorsing it if she felt it was too much for us to take on :)

I am looking forward to it and now see that there ar 14 signed up! Woo ho!



From a personal point of view, as someone with pre-existing 'health challenges', doing the equivalent of 5x50 probably wasn't a wise move. I can't really speak for anyone who is fit and healthy and within their proper BMI range, but I thought my experience might be of value to others, and I am inclined to think that at least one rest day a week isn't a bad thing.

Hopefully when my own BMI is where it should be I can try gradually introducing other activities again, although I think running will always be my favourite one from now on. :) Now there's something I never imagined I'd say! :D


That sounds very sound, legion. You splendid runner, you!


As well as doing walking, cycling or swimming on non-running days, I'd include doing some exercise that works on developing core and upper body strength and stability. I do yoga, but I know others like pilates for this.


I understand what you are saying and when I hear of ones on here picking up injuries due to over-doing it I do wince! :( However, I have managed to stay injury free since taking up this running lark since Augst last year and think it really is because I havent pushed myself over the top and since graduating I just kept going for 30 mins or so for a while until I decided to start B210K.

Then, on listening to the 10% advice, I decided to go with that and just increase mileage by this %age each week. So far it has worked and still injury free! :)


It's great that you've managed to stay injury-free, Sue. :) I just wanted to issue a word of caution for others like me who got a bit too over-enthusiastic when they graduated.


Right on mitts! :-) I feel like an ol' mother hen stressing to the people in the later weeks to "just follow the program" I think sometimes we have that false sense of security and can do too much too soon. Looking back, I now know my knee problems in week 9 and beyond would of been shorter if I wouldn't have been so stubborn and tried to do too much. :-) 4 months after Graduation and it is finally feeling halfway normal. Gayle


You two (and anyone else) keep telling me - I need to hear it! :D Again and again, cos I don't listen! Just went out for a short walk, and could I resist just seeing if the calf would let me run... Daft eejit that I am. (It said no - you just stop that right now!) :)


I'll just chip in to say that *maybe* I overdid it last September/October when I went from 5K to 10K and participated in 5x50... That *may* be what caused my iliotibial (IT) band injury. However, from reading about the IT band, talking to my physio and assessing my recovery, what I think contributed to that more than anything was under-doing it in terms of stretching and a lack of core strength/stability.

I know from my 30 years of hiking that the more exercise I take (walking) the tighter my hamstrings become. I assume the same happened to my IT band with running.

Although I regularly did the 'standing, crossing one leg behind the other and leaning to that side' standard IT band stretch I never felt anything stretching when I did that, so should have looked into other stretches. I now do several yoga stretches that work the muscles attached to the IT band as well as using my foam roller. Plus I have resumed my daily yoga sessions targeting other areas of my body. I am trying to develop my core strength in tandem with my running stamina.


Yoga/pilates sounds good. Now I need to work out how to motivate myself to do it regularly - finding a good local class being the obvious answer. I did the stretch and flex exercises a couple of times, but it just wasn't as motivating as measuring time/distance - I need to work out a fix for that!

Thanks for the good ideas. My core strength/stability is pretty rubbish, so could definitely do with some work.


Yes, do find a class. I go to a yoga class once a week and do a short yoga sequence each day at home based on what the teacher has shown us the previous week or focusing on what I feel needs attention.


As Sue says, everyone is very different in terms of fitness levels. In the past (~4 years ago) I walked 6km everyday on my daily commute when car sharing part way to town, and thought nothing of going out hillwalking or cycling at the weekends.

In my last summer job I stayed at the camp site where I worked and each morning before work I either did a 30 mins yoga session on the lochside, or, on the days when there were too many midges about to stand still, I went for a 10km cycle around the loch before breakfast. Then at work I walked at least 5 km each day leading guided walks. Plus cycled and hiked on my days off.

Doing 5 km every day is not a lot for some people. However I wouldn't consider running everyday as I'm still too new at running for that. Plus, I'd prefer to have other exercise that uses other muscles as well as those targeted when running.


A taxi driver recommended a yoga class to me, he said it improved his running beyond anything he'd managed before. It's something I'll probably look into.


I'm not doing a class - specifically recommended not to for people with my health issues, and it isn't easy for me to find, fit in and pay for a daytime class - plus I can't do it for very long at a time yet (some of my sun salutations are nearer self-sacrifice to the sun). I really like the free Ekhart Yoga/Yogatic on YouTube and Esther's own website (there are more and longer videos available there through monthly subscription, I've not tried them but I would if could cope with it) I think we've talked about this resource before. I'm doing a lot of the restorative yoga sequences which are particularly nice - you feel like you are doing *something* without being all gung-ho about it.


I'll check them out, thanks.


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