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3063 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Jan 6, 2012 12:23 PM by squilky
squilky Pro 91 posts since
Jul 18, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Jan 3, 2012 11:08 AM

Starting the year off confused...

I completed the Couch to 5k back in July and ran my first 5k in October. I finished my first 5K in 29:14. I ran my second 5K this past weekend, and finished in 31:33. The fact that I finished the second 5k more than 2 minutes slower than my first, was very frustrating to me. I finished in the top 50% of runners overall, but I was in the bottom 1/3 of male finishers. I looked at the results page and saw people 30 years older than me, with better finishing times. Not a minute or two better than me, there was a 70 year old who finished in 21:57. Nearly 10 minutes faster than me. It makes me feel like I am just not pushing myself hard enough.The other thing that frustrated me was that I had to stop and walk twice during the 5k. I ran the entire way in my first 5k.


So Im left very confused now. I would like to work my way up to a 10k and possibly a half marathon in 2012, but I would also like to push myself to run faster, especially in shorter races like a 5k. Looking for some suggestions. Should I just not worry about my speed and focus on increasing my distance? Starting doing more 4 and 5 mile runs and not worry than I average an 11 minute mile. Or should I revisit the couch to 5k, and work on doing each phase faster? Really hoping to get some guidance and suggestions.

Couch to 5k completed: 7/15/2011

USPTO 5K 10/16/2011; 29:14 110/238

Bull Run Festival of Lights 5K 12/31/2011; 31:30 324/683

Primal Mud Run 4/14/2012; 1:29:29

Cody's Crew 5k 9/16/2012 31:15

  • Jasko123 Legend 461 posts since
    Apr 18, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jan 3, 2012 11:44 AM (in response to squilky)
    Starting the year off confused...


    Please do not be discouraged because the circumstances you have described are totally normal.  Remember that a particular course difficulty influences whether or not you may have to stop and walk.  Also, if you have the opportunity to push out additional miles in training, then that will (overall) increase your endurance and speed for race pace.  Consider that there really is no way to completely prepare for any given challenge on a particular day because there are too many variables, so take your focus away from the completion time of others and concentrate on your own accomplishments in crossing the finish line.  Again, the priority should be on distance and the speed will come along naturally.  You do not need to re-visit couch to 5k, just keep moving.  Enter as many races as possible, including 5k, 8k and 10K...they will all improve your performance and confidence. 

    Wishing you many happy miles.

  • skypilot77 Legend 1,077 posts since
    Dec 16, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jan 3, 2012 1:11 PM (in response to squilky)
    Re: Starting the year off confused...

    Run enough races and you'll see there are good days, and there are bad days.


    There are tough courses, and not so tough courses.


    There is the variable of weather.


    Last year my best and worst 5k times varied by 8 minutes.


    I ran 16 miles the other day, and it was 22 minutes better than when I ran the distance on the same course in September. I am not is that much better shape. It was just a real good day.


    Carry on.

  • Terranss Legend 268 posts since
    Feb 14, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jan 3, 2012 2:58 PM (in response to squilky)
    Re: Starting the year off confused...

    Hi squilky,


    Good advice above--don't get discouraged!  I am curious to know what your race training was like between your first and second 5K's, though...  At least on the surface, it sounds you're looking for a structured plan to help you improve and to run your best on race day.  I would recommend a Hal Higdon training program for you, something structured that is beginner-friendly but will still help you improve.  Check them out here:  Maybe, as was suggested earlier, you should look into his 10K plan, something that trains you for longer distances.  With endurance will come speed, and following a plan such as this will no doubt help you with your 5K goals, too.


    Best of luck, and run healthy!

  • Joseph Tree Legend 378 posts since
    Oct 22, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Jan 3, 2012 4:19 PM (in response to squilky)
    Starting the year off confused...

    ...the other thing to keep in mind is that you are only on the very bottom of your learning and conditioning curve.  You will need to run many times and many miles before you even begin to have a real good feel for what your body's good for.  Something you may have read about is "listening to your body."  Well you have only just begun to get you ears tuned.  This isn't a fault.  You have indeed made huge progress.  It's just that, like in karate and other martial arts, you are just ready to begin to really learn when you get your black belt.


    Goode luck!

    Barefoot / Minimalist Runner

    ...not maintaining this these days..

    07/29/2012 Marsh Creek Raptor Run 10 Mile Trail Race

    07/15/2012 Quadzilla 15K Trail Run, Trexlertown, PA 1:37 (2011, 1:49)

    04/29/2012 Lehigh Valley / St. Luke's HM, 1:43:15 (2011, 1:54:20 )

    03/19/2012 Kutztown Fool's Run 10 Miler, 1:18:15 (2011, 1:30:20)

    02/26/2012 Ugly Mudder 7.2 Mile Trail Run, Reading, PA 1:20

    11/27/2011 Dirty Bird 15K Trail Run, Birdsboro, PA 1:40

    10/08/2011 Lehigh Gap Nature Center 10K Trail Run (6.38 miles), 59:20 (10/07/2012)

    Started running (again) May 5, 2010

  • PaintingLady Legend 906 posts since
    Dec 12, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Jan 3, 2012 5:33 PM (in response to squilky)
    Starting the year off confused...

    squilky, congratulations on finishing 5K & running the two 5K's. There can be several factors as to why you ran the second slower that the first. First, did you continue to consistantly train and run between the two races?  Was there a difference in the terrain of the courses? A hilly or trail course can slow you down a lot compared to a flat course. Elevation, weather conditions, what you have eaten prior to race, and lots of other factors can affect your time.

    Also, do not compare yourself to other runners, no matter thier age, at this point. Check ANY race results and you will almost always find the men in those older age groups are VERY competitive.  Lots of those 60+ guys have been running for years, and you have been running for only a few months.  Train consistantly (3--4 days per week) build your base, after several months add in some speed and strength (hills) sessions and you will see great improvement. There are plenty of good training programs availble for free on the internet, Hal Higdon is a very good and popular one. Build up first to 10K, then if you feel like it, go to half marathon and then on to marathon, if that is your goal.  Increase mileage in a systematic way to avoid injury and burnout.

    Good luck and happy running.

    Marie from Tennessee

    Training for Disney 2013 Goofy Challenge.....Yes, I'm certifiably CRAZY!

    61 year olds must be out of their minds to run a half marathon followed by a full the next day!

    Disney Half Marathon 1/7/2012 2:37:59

    Bear Hunt 5K 9/24/11 28:28 pb

    Trojan Trek Trail 5K 8/6/11 31:45

    Expo 10K 5/28/11 1:01:28,

    Expo 10K 5/26/12 1:05:39

    Eastman 10K 9/8/2012 1:01:11 pb

    "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

  • Webpro11 Legend 258 posts since
    Feb 27, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Jan 3, 2012 6:01 PM (in response to PaintingLady)
    Starting the year off confused...

    Squilky You already got alot of good advice from ALL the previous post. I just wanted to say that time on your feet ("Paying your dues") Is the one way to improve. Almost everyone has been in the same position. Look at my run times below. I never ran before. I now sometimes amaze myself. . Don't worry about your speed. Just be consistent. Run 3 or 4 days a week. Speed comes in time. Your being to hard on yourself.

    Next year this time you'll be amazed at your progress. Once you build your endurance your speed will follow automatically. Celebrate every run no matter what the pace. Some runs are better than others. Chart your runs on a calendar. Look back every few months and you'll see the the progress. I use training Good luck. Looking forward to reading about your progress.

    2012 Races: Tony from Florida

    Jan.7,2012 Walt Disney World Half Marathon Orlando FL 02:09:14 PR

    Oct 7 2012 Chicago Marathon Chicago Illinois 05:17:43

    Feb 10, 2012 Rock N Roll Half Marathon St Petersburg FL

    2011 Races:

    Started running at 58 ( Nov 23rd 2010)

    Half Marathon Results

    Oct 31,2011 Fl Halloween Halfathron 02:18:22

    Sept 4, 2011 Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll Virgina Beach Half Marathon 02:28:20

    April 30,2011 Country Music Half Marathon Nashville TN 02:56:02

  • protometal Pro 124 posts since
    Aug 31, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Jan 4, 2012 3:08 PM (in response to squilky)
    Starting the year off confused...



    I think everyone gave you good advice. I toyed with running in 2010 but finally got "serious" last year. There were periods last year where I felt where I was just not getting faster. However, looking back, I was really getting better, but I had just hit a little plateau and after a little while, I was getting faster again. Weather (hot / humid) was a big factor as well. The work I put in during the hot summer made me much faster once it got cooler. By the time October came around, I was able to finish my half-marathon about 10 minutes faster than I thought I was going to be able to when I signed up for it.


    Right now, I have "slipped" a little bit in my race times because I haven't gotten as much running in due to the cold and because it just seems harder to run and breathe when it's in the 20's. However, I'm noticing some positives too. When I do long runs (5 miles and up to me is "long"), I am doing them at a faster pace with a similar perceived effort.


    I'm no expert, but the one tip I can give ya is to try to follow a plan such as the Hal Higdon ones, at least in spirit. I try not to run "junk miles". Each time I run I try to have some sort of purpose. Certain days are long run days, others are shorter runs near race pace, etc. It doesn't mean I am out to kill it and am a slave to my Garmin, but mixing things up helps. The one goal I have this year is to work that "speed workout" into my schedule every week. That kinda got dropped last year due to time constraints and, if I had to skip one of my runs, as a beginner, I think I made the right call based upon my goals.


    If you want, check out my blog (not trying to sell anything like certain 'goofballs'). Look at a post or two from June and July when I was frustrated and then look a couple months later up to now. You might see some experiences that mirror your own.


    Best of luck to you!


    "Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right"-- Henry Ford

    Upcoming races: Super 5k 2/3/13

    Select Recent Results: Brooksie Way Half Marathon - 1:49:09 (Half Marathon PR), Open Door Julie Run 5k - 22:16 (2nd place age group, PR)

    Check out my Running Blog: .

  • runazrun Amateur 16 posts since
    Sep 10, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Jan 5, 2012 5:02 PM (in response to squilky)
    Starting the year off confused...

    If you want to run faster, you have to run faster.  So yeah, at least one work out per week (maybe 2) run at a faster than normal pace (after a warm up).  You may only get 2 miles in at first but build from there.  In another workout, run slower but longer, time and distance.  This will build up your endurance for the 10k.  Run 4 times a week if possible.

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