Couch to 5K
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Disappointing 9 miles

I'd hoped to manage 10 miles today - that was my target in order to give myself a bit of confidence that I could manage the HM in two weeks time, in spite of my training not going to plan at all. I've done some good training sessions with running club but haven't been having much success with the long runs. After two weeks completely missed due to a nasty cold and sinusitis and just plain feeling exhausted, my planned long run last weekend ended in a 6km limp home and a total distance of less than 8 miles.

Today, I started off with friends for the first 6-7km and was probably quicker than usual as they are both faster than me. At that point I felt quite happy and then branched off on my own to check out "the hill" that is a notorious section of my planned HM. Yes, it was quite steep and I walked some of it, I tried out a chi-running technique for the steepest part and managed to run most of that but should probably have slowed down as I made myself out of breath. Towards the middle of the run I was struggling and wondering if I'd make it back and I had quite a few walk breaks but I did pick up a bit for the last 2-3km I wasn't sure I could have managed much further though. My face felt quite sore and sinusy for much of the second half of the run and my right achilles tendon is sore.

I had a bit of a hiccup with the Garmin but in all I did 9 miles in a little under 2 hours - a much slower average pace than my previous 10k race speed and a slower pace than my usual steady run pace. I'm not sure if that is because I started off so much quicker than usual - the first 3-4km were probably 60-90 seconds a mile quicker than I would normally manage, especially if I was trying to pace myself to last a longer distance.

I really can't decide if I should give the HM a miss this time - not sure if that would be being defeatist or just sensible. If I had 4-5 weeks to go, I wouldn't be worried but I've only got 2 weeks and the week before the race should be an easy one ! I won't be able to do another long run (although I'm doing an off-road 10k next Sunday) in that time but maybe I could plan to start off with a walk/run plan for the HM and that might make me quicker overall and able to cope with the distance ? I really don't know :-(

5 Replies

Now I don't have any experience of anything beyond 5k, but I've read a bit (not the same I know!). It does sound very likely that it was that early faster pace (and a minute or more faster per mile is quite a lot faster) wore you out.

The walk-run idea sounds like a good one if you decide to go ahead. Perhaps you could stick on some walk-run before your 10k, so the overall distance would be greater? Or maybe that's a daft idea. Could give you more idea of what your stamina would be like - but it would affect your 10k time, so maybe not so good.

Isn't it normal for the pace for 9 miles to be slower than the pace for 10k? Have you tried using the race time predictor here: - you can put in your 5k or 10k time to predict a 10 mile time.

Good luck for whatever you decide anyway. I'm sure you'll get to do a HM sooner or later.

And not many of us can say 'disappointing 9 miles' anyway! It sounds amazing to me! ;)


I used the race predictor thing and can say that todays pace fell far short of it !! I think maybe adding a bit on AFTER my 10k might be a possibility, I'll have to have a good look at the route and see if it is feasible.

Our running coach says to wait until the day of the race before I decide so I'll follow that advice and just set out at my usual plod and see how it goes, I'm still getting over my cold so maybe I'll just feel a bit better then anyway.

It was snowing throughout today's run too, most of the time I hardly noticed but I think it was blowing right in my face on the stretches I found the hardest so that won't have helped.

Thank you for the encouraging words. Perhaps I should just stubbornly refuse to be beaten !


To me anyone who can run 9 miles is amazing. You've gone out and achieved 9 miles when still suffering from a cold, in horrible weather and you've run/walked up a steep hill! That is incredible.

I havent any experience of running anywhere near that mileage, but I think from your description you did set off too fast on the bit you did with friends and that has wrecked your pace for the rest of the run. 60-90secs a mile faster is quite a difference.

I sort of relate to this as I'm finding that I've gone from being able to run 5k 3times a week to being incapable of running continuously for 5k and I'm convinced its down to running too fast in the first 2km. I think I've got fitter which makes me run faster without realising, just not fit enough to keep going at that pace, if that makes sense. I'm guessing you may be in a similar situation but at a much more advanced level. So you're almost at a breakthru' in terms of faster speed & longer distance, just not quite there yet.

I realise that you're only two weeks away from the HM so not much time for training. My suggestion would be to go for it, but to start the race slowly - go at your usual pace or even slightly slower to begin with. You can then assess later on in the run whether to gradually ramp up your pace. Perhaps try & delay walking as long as you can, instead just slow down to a very slow jog first then walk if you find it necessary.

Again I'd be careful on your 10k run - I'd suggest you decide beforehand how far you are going to run and adjust your pace to your length of run and dont run at your usual 10k pace.

Wishing you lots of luck for the HM!


That sounds like very sensible advice!


I think you're right. I've improved over shorter distances (although still pretty slow) but can't sustain it for long distances. I can usually pace myself reasonably well for a 10k so I probably need to be more careful with the longer distance.

I think you are spot on about the running continuously for 5k - I managed it soon after graduating but have only recently got back to being able to go that far without taking a walk break and I'm sure a lot of it is to do with trying to match someone else's pace. The times when I've managed it are a couple of races where I just managed my own pace rather than trying to keep up with people in my running club.

I'm going to give it a go.

Thank you :-)


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