I am absolutely thrilled to say I have today completed week 5 of the couch to 5K plan. A twenty minute run!!! Never thought I would actually get to that point when a year ago I couldn't manage a minute running (I had a break which is why it took so long to get here). I'm feeling good for it, although my back is starting to pinch now!!
What I want to know if how fast should I be aiming to run? I run with a couple of friends who are more experienced runners than me and they run a lot faster and I often get left behind, I feel like i'm barely moving above a walk compared to them!! I had a look on my GPS monitor I use and I am running between 7.5 and 8km/h.
What speed should I be aiming for and what can I (eventually) do to speed up?
Well done you - it is a great feeling isnt it! I started from scratch too not so long ago and can remember the day I ran for 20mins without stopping and it felt so good. I can run 14 miles now, but only because I literally went from 20 mins to 25 to 30 etc etc over the last year. Your pace seems fine - it is much better to be able to run 20 mins at a slower pace than others than try and keep up and feel you have to give up after 10 or 15 mins because you are spent. It is hard to run with people who are faster than you and often they just arent able to slow down or remember how hard it is to be a beginner. You will just eventually get faster although later down the line if you carry on running there are lots of ways to condition your body to go faster eg interval sessions. But for now I'd just keep with the C25K programme and the speed will come by itself.
Do you run with a heart rate monitor ? The reason I ask is that is might be more important to know that you are running at the correct level for your heart, rather than thinking about how fast you are running.
For example, if your optimum running heart rate was 140 Bpm, as you get fitter you will find that for the same running speed your heart rate will start to drop. Which then means you will have to run faster in order to run at the 140Bpm again. By constantly trying to remain at the same heart Rate you will automatically start running faster in order to retain the same level.
PS : I do not know your optimum heart rate, you will need to do a test or read up on the subject. There is a lot to learn but definately worth it.
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