Couch to 5K
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Am I running too fast??

I think im running too fast, I have completed week 1 run 3 yesterday, I was walking at about 7kph and running 10.5kph, allthough I didn't find this week too hard, I did notice the distance I had covered on all 3 runs was around 3.5km, which made me wonder if I need to pace myself a bit more!!?? Is my stamina likely to improve in a few weeks when I will be looking and running longer distances without stopping?? I kinda figured I would need to be running at 10kph to run 5k in 30 minutes, so set the treadmill at that. Any ideas? Should I slow down and work speed up slowly, or carry on at this speed??

13 Replies

AAhhhhhhh!!!!! The old 5k in 30 mins which drives me insane. It should be 5k in whatever you can manage for your age, weight, stamina , fitness level. You can build up to 5k in 30 mins but I think to drum this into people during the initial programme makes a lot of people push themselves harder than they are able to or could cause unnecessary injury.

Maybe people who have failed at certained levels wouldn't have if they had not been chasing the magic 30 minute.

Sorry for the rant but this is my bug bear.


The C25K programme is designed to get people running from 0 to 30 minutes in a 9 week programme. This means that there are a lot of people out there trying this programme with a variety of fitness levels. So listen to your body and do what is right for you.

Some of us are tortoises, and occasionally some of us are hares (I am a definite tortoise). Listen and learn from your body - if you are struggling then go slower otherwise push yourself. Aim to be able to hold a conversation while you are running - I still struggle to run and breathe at the same time and still search for that oxygen tank behind the next tree!!!


If you are comfortable with it then carry on. We all start from our own place. I found I started out quite fast, but slowed down and started thinking about pace once I got to week 5.

As long as you don't feel uncomfortable that is the main thing.


Thanks guys :)

I wouldn't of been able to hold a conversation at the same time, so need to slow down for sure! I tend to always do everything too fast, but running fast seems to be a natural pace for me, I think I will aim to run slower and pace myself, theres no rush eh!!


I found that my first couple of weeks were pretty slow, then I sped up for weeks 3-4, and I'm back at a slower pace again now. My legs would be comfortable going quicker, but my lungs scream NOOOO if I sustain my "happy leg pace" for longer than about 4 minutes. Just do what feels right for you!


Oh stop it! You ate only going too fast if you can't complete the session =)

If you finish its not too fast. Keep it up!


Yes I'd agree, if it feels like your natural pace then you're fine. As long as you're feeling okay & able to finish the runs as Greg says, you might find you slow your pace naturally as the running segments lengthen - just listen to your body.


I think the main thing is that you learn to pace yourself. You will almost certainly find that as the running intervals get longer, you need to slow down a bit at the start so that you can sustain your pace throughout the session. The ability to pace yourself is probably the most important thing you can learn during the C25K program - don't worry too much about your speed and distance, you can work on those later.


I'm smiling to myself here. Different strokes for different folks! I wonder if there is a gender bias in these answers.

My (female) view is do what feels right for you...


I go on and on about slow and steady simply because I think it would be a real shame if people gave up with c25k just because they didn't feel they were fast enough, by measuring themselves against something that doesn't fit their fitness/age/gender. We never hear about the people that drop out, but it's clear that not everybody graduates - I just want to encourage as many people as possible to hang on and keep going!

Anyone who wants to go fast and push themselves is more than welcome to do so if they want!

But I think it's worth being aware that *if* you start feeling it's all very hard work, it just might be because your body isn't ready to sustain so high a pace (or so much distance) yet, and dropping it for a bit might make it all more enjoyable - and make it more likely that you will keep it up, and stay fitter.

Keep on running! :)


I think it is important (and sometimes very difficult) to try and avoid comparing your own performance and progress with that of other people. We are all different ages and levels of fitness and fitting our running around different circumstances. It's natural to compare your results with others but do try to only judge your results in comparison to your own previous achievements - as long as you are able to see yourself progress you are doing brilliantly. Don't despair if you have a bad run or two, we all have them and they are usually just a blip.

I always tell myself that I would like to still be running in 30-40 years time so gradual improvements are fine and far better than overdoing it and injuring myself. That doesn't stop me from pushing myself but it helps when I'm making decisions about whether or not to run when feeling ill or injured.

Happy running !


Totally agree, it's a shame everyone hasn't got access to a HR monitor as they are really the only true test of your achievements. If that makes sense. I think of running as a test against myself rather than others, so improving against a month ago or three whilst still making sure I enjoy what it means to run to me.

And to the original question, keeping pushing it if it feels right, but you may have to slow a litte in the longer runs.


I don't know if it would be practical for you, but have you thought of getting off the treadmill and running outside? Might be easier to pay attention to how your body is feeling without the readout of the treadmill to worry about? Personally I have never liked treadmills, I would far rather be outside


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