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Couch to 5K
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Pace for running and walking

I'm on W3D3 of the C25K. First of all, I'm running it on a treadmill because the weather isn't great here in Michigan right now, and I'm hoping to get my pacing and into some sort of groove before moving outside. I've read that it's a good idea to take it slow, but I'm just not sure what that means. the past few runs I've actually added on more run at the end during the cool down and then took a few extra minutes to cool down. Today, I picked up the pace and increased incline a little more, but my calves were pretty tight and I had to back it off a little for the last two runs.

I'm a 50yo guy, about 30 lbs over where I'd like to be, and definitely not fit — somewhat active, but not fit. I woke up a few weeks ago and decided I want to get fit for the next 50 years of my life. So, C25K seemed like a good place to start.

I'm just curious what pace some of you are/were walking/running at this point. Not so much to match it, but just for comparison.


23 Replies

hi jbroox, welcome to this here running malarky, program and forum! all the way from Michagan too!

well done on your first step towards fitness :-) i hope you keep us all updated as to how you're getting on.

in relation to pace, my walk is a fast one, to get myself warmed up ready for running. I get myself in to a nice rhythm. But my running pace, is well, a snail's pace!! sometimes I feel like im not getting anywhere fast but Im going as fast as me little legs will carry me. if i step it up a little then I dont get through the days runs. I just want to run for 30 mins/5 kms continuously and I dont care at the moment how long it takes me!! All the technique and steping it up a bit will be tackled when Ive graduated ;-)

i think you need to see how you get on in relation to pace, find your own comfortable one. it may come when the runs get longer.

best of luck

keep running!

ali :-)


Hi, I use a treadmill. I'm a 36 year old woman and about 2 st over what I'd like. My next run is run 2 of the 6th week.

My treadmill is set at a slight incline and I walk at 4.3 and run at 6.1...although for the recent 20 min run in week 5 I ran at 5.4 and will probably do the same for the 25 min runs. My husband walks at my running speed! I don't care though...I'm sweating and feeling challenged so I think it's got to be doing me good and I'd rather finish every run slowly than not complete because I'm trying to go to fast. I'm hoping running is going to stick in my life so I've got plenty of time to speed up :-)


*too* fast!!


Hi Imnorunner

It's really good to read this thread and I love your post. I'm 40 years old and I'm lucky enough to not struggle with my weight (now acne is another matter altogether!). However, despite looking fit I am anything but. I started C25K a few times but never got very far. I'm sure that's because I tried to jog faster than I was capable of and therefore found it too hard. This time around I'm going to jog at a slow pace. I agree with you I'mno - I have plenty of time to increase my speed if I can make this a life long habit :) x


I'm male, 45 used to be mega super overweight but thankfully no longer, I use a treadmill which I've got setup with MPH/Miles instead of KPH/km. I run with a 1º incline to compensate for wind resistance, walking at 4.5 mph and I was in week 3 running at 6.2 mph. I'm currently nearing the end of week 7 and for the longer runs I've brought my running speed down to 5.8mph with a 6.6mph sprint at the end.

I hope this helps.


Ha — I'm definitely not ready for 6+mph. That's probably not going to happen for a while. Someday, hopefully!


I'm 53, female, not overweight, but have always been very unfit and poor at sports. I walk at 3 - 3.5 mph and ow run at about 4mph - for my graduation week runs I still hadn't got up to 4mph! (I was overtaken by a dog walker on my graduation run...) At that speed I can talk, and am not totally breathless, but my heartrate doesn't feel comfortable if I push to go any faster. But I'm running and getting fitter each week.

There is a *huge* range of speeds appropriate to different people - even those of the same age and gender can be widely different. As Ali says, what feels right for you, as you are at the moment, is the best way to judge it.


'ow' - 'now'


I have wondered this as well. This week I have been on the treadmill due to a free weeks pass at a gym I'm on week 3 and walk at 5.3kmph and run at 7.2kmph, I think outside though I run a little bit slower. It's all about what you feel comfortable with and being able to complete the runs. Good luck and just listen to your body.


Wow, some fast walkers here. I'm 53, female, and overweight. My walking pace is in the 3 - 3.5 mph. I did most of the program "running" at the same speed as my walking. It wasn't until the last couple of weeks that my running pace increased ever so slightly to between 3.5-4 mph.

I suggest sticking to the program and not adding on extra running minutes. You risk injury by pushing yourself beyond what your body is ready for. You can always add more walking time, though. What I did each run day was the 5 minute warmup walk, the running according to the current podcast, 5 minutes of cooldown walking, and then without stopping I continued to walk until I'd covered 3 miles.

Also, if you haven't already, consider doing some stretching and strength training on some of your off days.


First of all, where in central TX are you? I used to live in Austin, which is also where my wife grew up. All of her family is still there, so we get down there fairly often. We love Austin and the Texas hill country, which should be covered in Bluebonnets fairly soon, right?!

I must admit I'm a little bit of an "outside the box" kind of guy. Mind you, I am being careful to pay attention to my body and not push too hard. The extra 3 min run before my cool down (I add an extra 3 minutes to the cool-down at the end) the past couple of runs is just a little psych out for myself. Since I still feel like I can go a little further, it helps me to think that I might actually be able to do the extra time running next week. I was more concerned that if I was not having trouble pulling that off that maybe I wasn't pushing myself hard enough in general.

I have been stretching a lot. My calves were really tight my first couple of weeks, but now that I am doing stretching exercises on my off days and before a run I am feeling much better. And I do usually add walk time — usually an extra ten minutes.


I used to live in Austin, but now I'm in the Dallas area. Overall I like Austin better. You're right, bluebonnets should be here any moment now, can't wait for them!

It's good you're paying attention to your body, and I understand wanting to give it your best effort. You seem very determined so I'm sure you'll get it all worked out. Here's hoping your calf muscles will loosen up and stop giving you grief.


Thanks for all the input. This is very helpful.

I've been walking at about 3+mph (4.8k) and running at 4-4.5mph (6.4-7.2k). I have pushed the running to 5mph (8k), but my calves are really tight when I finish 3 minutes. I generally have my treadmill set to at least 2º incline and sometimes go up to 8 or 10º for walking at the end, then drop it back down again a little at a time to cool down. There are a lot of hills in my neighborhood, so I'm trying to get myself ready for the real world.

I'm struggling with a mind game — recalling all those "old men" I've driven past for years who barely seem to be moving and look like they're about to pass out along the side of the road at any minute. Of course, I was driving and they were running. And now I'm the old man. Ha! Definitely a different perspective now. :-)

Anyway, I'd really like to be able to do the 5k under 45 minutes at some point. I keep reminding myself that I'm only on week 3, and I couldn't even make it through week 1 without stopping half way through and stretching. Now I'm finishing each course and I feel like I could go on, which is pretty exciting for me.


Hi. I'm 57 going on 20. Did C25K last spring and totally changed my way of liif in all sorts of ways that I hear coming through frm your own post. ike most, I struggled in the beginning and a 45 min 5K would have been unimaginable. But today I can comfortably do 27 mins Not fantastically quick - someone on the 55-59 age group of my local parkrun has a time of about 19 mins. But I think 27 mins for an old geezer isn't bad and I'm CERTAIN that you could do the same in a few months time.

Go for it and enjoy it!


I've been reading some of your posts and I really appreciate all the inspiration and encouragement you give to C25Ker around the world. I found a post you wrote yesterday about your run in Lisbon when I was doing some Google searching, which was how I found this website. I was definitely inspired. So, I'm feeling rather honored at the moment that you posted on my question. :-)

A 45 minute 5k is definitely the goal in the back of my mind at the moment. I'm just not sure how to pace/push myself to realistically get there.

Also, this has been a struggle week for me because there is a ColorMeRad 5k in town exactly one month after I should be finishing the C25K. My daughter told me the other day that she was going to run in it. And I've been toying with surprising her and joining in it as well.

Now, I haven't told anyone I'm doing the C25K thing. Initially I was afraid I wouldn't complete it — everyone I know who has started has not finished. But now I feel really motivated and excited that I can do this. So, then I was thinking how fun it would be to just come home with a runner's tag after completing a 5k and surprise everyone. Then when I heard about my daughter registering for this 5k, I decided I could just show up and run it with her.

But, all week I have been talking myself into and out of registering. Each day I have moments when I think I'll be ready, followed by moments when I'm afraid I won't. Ugh! Today is the deadline, so I've got to make a decision.

I would love to see my daughter's face if I showed up at a 5k to run rather than just watch. I always talk about how much I hated running XC in high school, but now I'm kind of liking my runs and find that I can't wait for my next run.

Okay, well this was too long. Thanks for your encouragement, again!


This might be a bit cross-posting, as I've responded elsewhere - but the bit about 45 minutes - you're already running faster than I was at wk 3, I think, and, as a 53 yr old female, I did a 5k last weekend (4 weeks after graduation) in 45 min 55 seconds. So you've a very good chance of doing it in less than 45 I should think - quite a lot less, I'd guess!

I'd suggest focusing on getting to 30 minutes first, without worrying about upping the pace until week 9 (or maybe after) - less chance of injury that way.

I just looked up color me rad - looks like fun!


Hi jbroox, glad you have found some inspiration to get moving, I know how hard it can be!

In terms of running speed have a look at this,


Its a bit of an eye opener and to run 5k (3.1 miles) in 30 minutes the pace is pretty past!!

Good luck and enjoy yourself.


A handy little sheet, that is! :)


Wow - thanks. This is really encouraging. If I can stay at the pace where I'm most comfortable running right now I could actually complete a 5k in 45 minutes. Okay, I just realized that many people would be reading this and thinking, "Wait, did he just get excited about possibly being able to complete a 5k in 45 minutes?!" Hahaha! Well, you gotta start somewhere, right? I'm just thinking that I want to be able to finish while there are still people at the finish line. Surely there will still be people there in 45 minutes, right?! :-)



I am 27, female, and about 6 stone overweight (an improvement from the 8 stone when I started!). I'm on W8 now, and I run outside (haven't yet braved the treadmill, but I will have to soon as I want to practice before getting new shoes and having gait analysis done). My average pace is about 8:45 minute kilometres, walking is about 11 min/km, and my fastest (but please note, in no way, shape or form, sustained pace is 5:20 min/km).

I don't know how quick that is in kph I'm afraid, but I reckon I'm heading on a 41 minute 5k at the moment.


I started off walking at 6kph and running at 9kph which I found ok. But now I am getting into the longer runs it's too difficult so from around week 5 I walk at 6kph and run at 7.5kph which is just right for me. I am 41, 5'2" and 8st 10lb.


Hi there, I thought I would chime in too, although there are a lot of encouraging posts already! I'm from the US too, but living in India so it's very hot and I've been taking it easy on pace so I don't have heat stroke. I started out on the treadmill walking at 5.4kmh and running 6.4kmh (around 3.9mph) on a 1º incline. I've run in the past much faster at a 6mph pace, but found that I kept quitting after a few weeks because my calves and shins hurt. This time around, I wanted to sustain my running, so I slowed to basically a "walking" pace for my run.

After 5 weeks on the program, I started mixing in runs outside and was surprised that I actually run faster outside. If you're worried about tight muscles, maybe try this as the weather gets warmer in Michigan...start out slow on the treadmill, build up your muscles, and then add in outdoor runs and allow yourself to go a bit faster once a week or every other run. This way, you also prepare yourself for running the outdoor 5k in a month (from what I've read, definitely practice running outside before doing that 5k!)

One last thing, from my experience adding in that 8-10º incline at the end is what's going to kill your muscles. Try removing it until you graduate from the program. Good luck!


Thanks for the input. We're getting snow here today, but hopefully Spring will be here soon. I have also read that running outside is completely different, so I am looking forward to getting some runs in outdoors... hopefully soon. I'm just really appreciating that the treadmill is eliminating any excuses at the moment — definitely value in that.

I took my run today a little slower, which helped. I'm not sure that my foot placement is exactly right. I'm hoping to get some expert advice on that soon.


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