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11171 Views 27 Replies Latest reply: Nov 26, 2013 5:36 AM by LisaHelt0 RSS 1 2 Previous Next
LisaHelt0 Rookie 7 posts since
Aug 11, 2013
Currently Being Moderated

Sep 25, 2013 8:38 AM

Semi - Newbie....Speed & Distance Questions

Hi All,

so happy to find this site!

In 2010 I started C25K and ran my first 5k in April 2011. That summer, I broke my foot.I didn't do much after that, and began walking more last year. I began running again January of this year, 2013, and have done another 5k run, and have done some charity walks as well. I have now signed up to do a 5k each month for the next few months, and want to run and improve each race.

I have a goal to do a half marathon, and I want to do it next year.

I don't run every day, as I try to switch it up and do strenght/resistance work and yoga a couple days a week as well. I try to run at least 3 days of the week.

I am 47 yrs old and weigh a little of 200lbs. I've lost 30 this year, and it feels good.

So, my questions here are training questions. First off - running is hard! But I do feel good mentally and physically after I push myself. At this time the farthest distance I have done is only a 5k, and my pace/time is not great. Average 14.5 min per mile.

I really want to get faster, AND be able to go farther, but I'm not sure how to do this.

There are days I will run at home on the treadmill, I named her Millie

I will do interval training, and at times try to increase the time that I am going my fastest....up to 1 min now, wooohooo!

I keep thinking that I need to work on it 1 mile at a time.....doing 1 mile as fast as I can and then slow down or just walk? That's what I did yesterday. I did a two mile loop, and I really pushed myself the first mile to achieve a greater speed, but ended up walking most of the second mile.

I'm feeling kind of stuck.

Any help would be greatly appreaciated.

Thanks so much.


  • shipo Legend 455 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Sep 25, 2013 9:57 AM (in response to LisaHelt0)
    Semi - Newbie....Speed & Distance Questions

    Hey Lisa, congratulations on your running success to date and your plans going forward! 


    Regarding some of the specifics you have in mind for training.

    • At this point I would concentrate exclusively on Long Slow Distance (LSD).
    • LSD running is the best way for you to improve both your endurance AND your speed without getting injured.
    • Some folks preach "speed drills" and such as a means of improving speed for events like 5Ks; simply put, this is a fallacy for runners in their relatively early stages of training.
    • The "speed drill" threshold I typically stay with (and recommend to others) is that until I'm comfortable running at least six miles per training run, and at a pace which is at least 9:00 per mile, speed drills, intervals, ladders, and such are more likely to get me hurt than to make me faster.
    • FWIW, I typically train at roughly a 9:00 pace (and never faster than 8:30) and yet I recently ran a 5K at just under a 7:30 pace.
  • DanaReneeH Amateur 8 posts since
    Sep 25, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Sep 25, 2013 10:30 AM (in response to LisaHelt0)
    Semi - Newbie....Speed & Distance Questions

    I am on my last week of C25k.  I have slowed my runs way down and have felt really good just completing the time.  What I have done is run slowest at the beginning of my run 12:30 pace), speed up slightly in the middle (12:00 Pace) and speed it up again at the end.  I mean slightly.  Even my last speed up isn't that fast - 11:30 pace.   I am doing this on a treadmill and I've found I'm better able to pace appropriately.  When I was running outside I would struggle and I think it was because I was all over the place in my pace - running anywhere between 9:30 and 11:30. 

  • shipo Legend 455 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Sep 25, 2013 11:14 AM (in response to DanaReneeH)
    Semi - Newbie....Speed & Distance Questions

    Running outside does have the side-effect of making your pace vary with the terrain you're running on or the wind you're running into or away from; not surprising your pace changes a bit.

  • shipo Legend 455 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Sep 26, 2013 6:12 AM (in response to LisaHelt0)
    Semi - Newbie....Speed & Distance Questions

    Regarding extending your runs; first off, you're doing great, I wouldn't worry too much about longer runs until running two and a half to three miles without stopping becomes relatively easy.


    As for stopping during a run, yeah, lots and lots of folks do that, especially when first getting in shape; it's all part of the process of teaching your body to go further.


    Back in 2009 I attempted, once again, to restart my running after six years of being sidelined due to a badly broken leg and partially torn off foot; the surgeon who screwed me back together informed me that while I'd be able to walk again, most likely with a limp, my running days were over, period.  Those six years of trying (and failing) to prove him wrong had been extremely frustrating (and not at all kind to my body or my weight), and grasping at straws, I tried running in soft (almost sandy) dirt one day in April of 2009; I went a whopping half of a mile, and IT DIDN'T hurt (at least not my back and my joints, my muscles were in agony).  That month I managed a total of 8 miles, in May I ran 18 miles, 42 in June, 86 in July, and just over 100 in August.


    I told you that to tell you this, the human body is an amazing machine; challenge it and it will adapt, it might take a while but it WILL happen.


    Keep up the good work and please keep us posted. 

  • crl8686 Legend 1,302 posts since
    Nov 11, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Sep 28, 2013 6:31 PM (in response to LisaHelt0)
    Semi - Newbie....Speed & Distance Questions

    LisaHelt0 wrote:


    Thanks so much for the advise.

    Now - any tips on the to push myself and keep going the distance? The 5k is the longest I have done, and that was hard. I feel like I have trouble pushing myself to do a longer run.

    Do others typically stop at all during a longer run, walking any of it? I'm just having such a hard time pushing myself further.

    Check out the writings of John Bingham ("The Penguin") - google his name on the web. He is an advocate of run/walk programs, particularly for beginners, and for runners of all abilities at longer distances (run X minutes and then walk Y minutes, repeat over and over).

    2014 highlights...

    @ 5K: Ontario Mills Run, Ontario, CA, 25:19

    Angels Baseball Foundation 5K, Anaheim, CA, 24:15

    Friends of the Villa Park Library 5K, Villa Park, CA, 24:10

    @ 10K: LA Chinatown Firecracker Run, Los Angeles, CA, 51:44

    Great Race of Agoura - Old Agoura 10K, Agoura Hills, CA, 50:31

    Fiesta Days Run, La Canada, CA, 50:29

  • shipo Legend 455 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Sep 28, 2013 7:44 PM (in response to crl8686)
    Semi - Newbie....Speed & Distance Questions

    crl8686 wrote:


    He is an advocate of run/walk programs, particularly for beginners, and for runners of all abilities at longer distances (run X minutes and then walk Y minutes, repeat over and over).

    One person's opinion, an opinion I absolutely disagree with for more experienced runners.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,387 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Sep 29, 2013 10:04 AM (in response to shipo)
    Semi - Newbie....Speed & Distance Questions

    Actually, run/walk is recommended by many experienced runners, coaches, magazines, etc.  It is a tested and proven technique.


  • shipo Legend 455 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Sep 29, 2013 5:00 PM (in response to lenzlaw)
    Semi - Newbie....Speed & Distance Questions

    lenzlaw wrote:


    Actually, run/walk is recommended by many experienced runners, coaches, magazines, etc.  It is a tested and proven technique.

    Three points:

    • Just because it is recommended by many, does not necessarily make it valid.
    • The above said, when running intervals, ladders, and other speed drills, walking inbetween speed legs makes sense.
    • In the context of Long Slow Distance for reasonably conditioned distance runners, sorry not buying, I don't care how many "experienced runners, coaches, and magazines" opine that it is a good technique.


    Of course it goes without saying that the above is just one individual's opinion (mine in this instance).


    I guess in this case, my qualifying statement of, "often wrong, never uncertain", need apply. 

  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Sep 30, 2013 6:44 AM (in response to shipo)
    Semi - Newbie....Speed & Distance Questions

    I can only add:  We are all just a experiment of one!  I don't use the run/walk but would bet Jeft Galloway would consider himself a experience runner and he ran Sub 2:45 using it.

  • Kelly1066 Pro 121 posts since
    Jul 12, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Sep 30, 2013 11:00 AM (in response to lenzlaw)
    Semi - Newbie....Speed & Distance Questions

    I remember not wanting to walk at all during my runs once I had completed the Couch to 5k Program, because it felt like I was regressing.  The whole point of doing C25K was to be ABLE to run without walking for three miles, right?!


    But what I found was that I enjoyed my runs so much more when I didn't beat myself up for taking a short walking break here and there to catch my breath or rest my legs.  When I refused to let myself walk for even a minute, I ran slower than I felt like running, or I ended up only running for 3 miles when otherwise I might have run for 6.


    Giving myself the freedom to take a break and walk for a minute without a ton of guilt over it has enabled me to run much further, much more often, and have a lot more fun.  I have found that because I'm not completely anti-walking breaks, I actually take FEWER walking breaks because I know I can take one later if I need one, and won't feel like I'm giving up.  I'll run 10-12 miles with less than five minutes of walking breaks during that time, but without those minutes, I probably would turn back after mile 5.


    Good luck as you keep making progress... I think walking breaks, especially as you're adding distance, are a great idea.

    I write a running blog geared towards other new runners at!

    Couch to 5K graduate, September 2012

    First 10K, June 2nd, 2013

    First Half Marathon, September 2013

    Twitter: @iamrunningthis

  • Lisa_JetLi Rookie 1 posts since
    Dec 31, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Oct 2, 2013 9:48 AM (in response to LisaHelt0)
    Semi - Newbie....Speed & Distance Questions

    Hi Lisa,


    I'm glad you're enjoying the challenge of running.  I love the early morning jog.  I know a lot of people don't feel it's necessary; but, I love my heart rate monitor / gps combo watch.  I have improved tons since getting this wonderful thing.  The reason I have improved is that I found I was running in red zone - so I was blowing right through aerobic zone and anaerobic zone and going right to red zone.  I really pushed myself to run further and further without stopping but it was truly hard to do. 


    Once I figured out my heart rate was too high I spent about 4 weeks doing aerobic jogs - trying to jog as long as possible but staying in my aerobic heart rate zone - whenever my heart rate got too high I would jog slower or walk a bit; then I would start again.  I focused on doing 40 minutes and not worrying about my distance - some of my jog intervals were 14+ minute mile pace - I would do 2-3 of these a week and then do 1 aerobic zone run on the weekend - staying in my aerobic zone for the entire distance.  The aerobic zone runs were boring; but, I told myself it was short term boredom for more fun down the line.   That was in August... 

    September I spent time doing anearobic runs; 2 miles during the week and 3.1 on the weekend.  I only did 2 mile jog during the week because of cross training; but I pushed myself more on these runs since they were shorter runs.  So, did it work???   Last weekend I went out and ran 4 miles and averaged 11:27 min pace and I included 2 hills!  I only walked after I got to the top of the hill each time; but, then started again to take advantage of the downhill. 


    To give you a little insight on me - I'll be 50 next month, I carry a little extra weight, I have bad knees, weak ankles, and occaisional hip and sciatica issues. But, I love to get my jogs in...So, I have figured out a way to do it with the least pain as possible.  Because of this I am a believer in watching the heart rate and listening to the body - do whatever the body can do....everyone is different - not everyone is going to run a 9 minute mile; some of us are happy running a mile in less than 12 minutes and we feel good.  So, my advice is to listen to your body and push it a little further than you did the time before. But, it would be beneficial to know what heart rate you're running at.


    I hope this was helpful - enjoy the jog; don't stress about going long distances, and be happy with the shorter distances until your body says it's time.



    "Run at Your Own Pace"

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