how to improve?

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17/03/2009 at 16:54

I have been running regualrly outdoors for about six weeks now and I can't believe how much I have improved. - I run about 5k three times a week.

In order to improve, do you think I should increase my distance or my speed?

I would really like to enter a 10k race, but know I need to improve still.


17/03/2009 at 16:58
Increase distance but slow down a tad. It's all about being able to do the miles not how fast you can do them
17/03/2009 at 17:05

Thanks. Its easy to get a bit carried away with things. I still puff and pant but in my head i'm Paula R.

How long does it take before you feel like you are a 'proper' runner?

19/03/2009 at 11:15

Don't have the answer BUT after a winter lay-off my 4 mile run which was taking around 40 mins took 48 mins last night.

Like you In my head I am an athlete but my body has not yet got the message. I am going totry running 3 times a week and hope that my times/fitness improves.

19/03/2009 at 11:51
I didn't feel like a 'proper' runner till i'd done my 1st race. I gues it varies for eveyone but having that goal to finish a race was what got me to it and after that it is trying to better the time you did it previously
19/03/2009 at 12:58
If you're increasing your distance then make sure it's not more than 10% per week. i.e. 5km runs one week, 5.5km runs the next etc. Increasing it too much too quickly will cause injury. I should know!
19/03/2009 at 13:59

Thanks for the advice. Sometimes I feel like my body plays tricks on me.

I go for a really good run and feel amazing afterwards, then do the same run a week later and feel like death. - I think my body wants to lull me into a false sense of security and then when I start getting cocky it goes ..... HAH! Got you! Go back to trotting at a snail's pace.

I am a bit scared about entering a race as I am worried I might end up in some super fast sprint and feel rubbishy at the end. - How do you know if a race will be supportive of first timers? Do you just have to go and find out?

19/03/2009 at 14:07

Hi Verity

Don’t compare yourself to your last run, compare yourself to how you ran last month. That way you will see improvements. We all have good runs and bad runs, it is par for the course, just don’t let the bad ones out you off.  

Have a look at the events calendar on here to find a race you fancy, then if you look on the website for that race you will be able to find last years results. The events ratings on here have a beginner’s friendliness rating as well I think. But in any 10k you will have people that do it near 30 mins and some people that take closer to an hour and 30 mins. Don’t worry about that the first step is just to go out and do it.

Edited: 19/03/2009 at 14:08
19/03/2009 at 20:13

that's reassuring. I guess I should just take the plunge.

Thanks for the tip about the events calendar. Will definitely have a gander.


21/03/2009 at 18:58

Verity, sounds to me like you are doing great! i know what you mean, sometimes during a run my body actually feels like Paula Radcliffe and other days my body does not feel like it belongs to me at all!

 The events calender is great i found a perfect 10k run local to me for my first event and a duathlon in October which is my main goal. This is such a great way to get some focus and motivation.

15/04/2009 at 20:06

Hi Verity, I have just read all the replys related to your first message and felt quietly reassured and relieved that I am not the only one with nervous doubts about this running lark!!

I too run one day like I am training for 2012 then the next run can hardly get to the end of my street. This uncertainty makes me doubt my ability too and worry if I enter a race it may be a day when I cannot run, then how demotivating would that be!!!

However, I have entered a race, apparently a hilly one at that. The Marie Curie,Daffodil run, Kelmarsh on 10th May.

I really want to run it all and not walk, even if it takes all day. I did a 5k earlier this year and found the pace quite fast and the runners very serious, so I am hoping charity runs maybe bring out less serious competition and more encouraging and fun.

P.S Has anyone got any tips for Kelmarsh, for a novice like me!!

15/04/2009 at 20:14

Race for life 5k is a good fun race and not full of competitive people.

 I've done 5k's 10'k and a couple of times each and this year I've entered 2 x half marathons, June and Oct!! No idea if I can even finish but I find if you try you surprise yourself. 

I'm still doing small 5k's this year and a 4 mile run dressed as a nun next month. If you enter it's a good insentive to keep improving. 

But as people say, go distance and slowly and you will see improvemnets over time. 

Good luck guys

15/04/2009 at 20:30
A Nun, wow, dont trip over your habit! That will be all you need!!
16/04/2009 at 05:51
It's worth mentioning that there are some Race for Life 10K's about. I'm doing one in Leicester in July as my first race. I figured that it would be mostly full of people like me, so there's less a chance of me being right at the back
18/04/2009 at 21:15

Hi All

that has happened to me this week, after the easter choc fest this week is like I have never ran before, its very strange, its like my body wont work. I am doing the race for life 5k in May and want to do a 10k this year so you all sound encouraging

19/04/2009 at 10:36
Lisa Humphrey 4 wrote (see)

Hi All

that has happened to me this week, after the easter choc fest this week is like I have never ran before, its very strange, its like my body wont work. I am doing the race for life 5k in May and want to do a 10k this year so you all sound encouraging

It'll be just a blip. Sometimes you fall off the wagon a bit and have a crap couple of runs, but it will come back again and you'll get back on form. Just keep going
29/05/2009 at 17:44

Hi there

Ok did the 5k in 29mins so am training for a 10K in July any tips



29/05/2009 at 18:35

Hi all

The common thread seems to be having good runs and bad runs for no apparent reason,believe me as you progress with your running this will never change, it just happens.As for entering your first race just do it then you have a target to aim for. I always have the incentive of a race to keep my training going.

I hope you find a suitable 10k Verity

Good time for your 5k Lisa,what training are you doing at present for your 10k plunge,what ever it is it seems to be working.


30/05/2009 at 18:04

Hi Jimma

Currently running 3 times a week with 2 strength training workouts. I vary the running only doing one longer steady run a week with my friend who, because she runs slower than me makes me pace myself better. I think we are going to increase by a k each week, the race is July 26th so my aim is to run this in under an hour with a bit of luck. I love doing interval runs they are my favourite and I opt for these when I am most tired cause I dont feel like I am constantly running.

Could I improve on this da think ???


30/05/2009 at 19:25

Hi Lisa

Sounds to me as if you have a very sensible plan,one longer steady run during which you pace yourself well and you plan to increase this gradually,good thinking.I'm pleased to hear that you enjoy interval training that is not one of my favourites but it is the best way to improve on speed,how do you manage to do intervals when you feel most tired? What intervals do you run.

One other option would be a short tempo run to get you used to running at a faster pace over a slightly longer distance.

You have about 8 weeks of training before your race and so with your time of 29min. for your 5k I can see you getting under the hour.

Keep training well        jimma

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