How fast can I get?

6 messages
08/10/2009 at 15:39

Hi, first time poster, so please be patient

 i've been running for about a year. only very recently with any dedication or routine. i started from a pretty poor fitness base, and have got noticably fitter in the last few months, but not much faster.

initially i could not complete 5k without having to slow to a brisk walk. my breathing has improved and i can cover ~10 miles in about 1:30:00 without stopping, and my 5k and 10k paces are slowly improving, but I'm not really pushing myself, so I feel like now I can start to test my speed.

i am wondering how other runners know when they've reached a plataeu with their speed over a certain distance? my 5k PB is about 25min, but i've done little specific speedwork, so could probably shave some time off, but i've no idea how much. I know i'll find out eventually if i just keep pushing myself harder on the fast runs, but i'm just curious what other people found when they'd started running? does your pace over a certain distance get much better as you train more, or do you reach your own level pretty early on, and only make minor gains thereafter?

Thanks for any advice/opinions

08/10/2009 at 16:30
AgentGinger wrote (see)

initially i could not complete 5k without having to slow to a brisk walk. my breathing has improved and i can cover ~10 miles in about 1:30:00 without stopping, and my 5k and 10k paces are slowly improving, but I'm not really pushing myself, so I feel like now I can start to test my speed.

That's some serious progress - well done!

 As for improving your times, simply going out and running will improve your race times naturally, simply through your heart being able to utilize oxygen better. However, if you want to get good improvements (and over a shorter time period as well), then - like you said - doing some speedwork sessions and tempo runs will knock some serious time off.

In terms of speedwork, try something like this: Find a 400m running track (or a 0.25 mile stretch of quiet road - the distances are roughly the same) and run the 400m at your goal 5k race pace. Jog slowly back to the start and repeat 8 - 10 times. 

For 10k, I have found that running 1600m on a track (which is a mile, give or take) at your goal 10k race pace, with 400m jogs recoveries, about 4 - 6 times is a good session.

A tempo run, once a week, will probably see the biggest benefit in your 10k time. Run at a pace that is about 15-30 seconds per mile slower than your goal race pace, for about 20 minutes to begin with, gradually adding on time each week.

These sessions tended to work for me, although I haven't done any 5k - specific speedwork in a while, so chances are there are better programmes out there than the ones I mentioned above. 

Edited: 08/10/2009 at 16:31
08/10/2009 at 17:27

Thanks SPsyduckM (can i call you duck? or SP?)

i'm hoping to get my 5k time down below the current 25min mark (hovering above at the moment). i've no idea what a realistic target is though. sub 20 mins within the next year? seems dramatic, but after lifetime (31 years) of very little exercise i'm surprising myself with some improving fitness, and i'm still relatively young, by recreational runner standards. i hope to continue running til i'm old and grey, as i've found that i enjoy it, but in the short term, i want to see what my limits are.

thanks for the speed tips. i'll work on the speedwork, and keep plugging away trying to make the runs count.

08/10/2009 at 17:41
AgentGinger wrote (see)

Thanks SPsyduckM (can i call you duck? or SP?)

i'm hoping to get my 5k time down below the current 25min mark (hovering above at the moment). i've no idea what a realistic target is though. sub 20 mins within the next year? seems dramatic, but after lifetime (31 years) of very little exercise i'm surprising myself with some improving fitness, and i'm still relatively young, by recreational runner standards. i hope to continue running til i'm old and grey, as i've found that i enjoy it, but in the short term, i want to see what my limits are.

thanks for the speed tips. i'll work on the speedwork, and keep plugging away trying to make the runs count.

You can call me whatever you want - I'm really not fussed

Sub-20 within the next year could be doable, as long as you focus on 5k specific work and intensities, and don't get injured.

Longer runs will be beneficial as well - if you want to do 10k as well, then up to about 10 miles will be sufficiant.

I'm sure there are vets on the forum that can give more - and better - advice than I have, I'm not exactly Mr Experience

09/10/2009 at 10:21

i went to the gym last night, and had a rare run on a treadmill, and ran a 24:05 5k although i'm not sure how comparable a treadmill PB is with running on the road, given that the road tends not to move underneath you.

anyway, a bit sweaty and out of breath, but generally finished pretty strong. the hardest thing was the breathing, which suggests there's room for improvement with cardio/resp training.

i'm doing  a half marathon this sunday and i've also signed up for the brighton marathon next april, so i'm hoping that some speedwork will help me to get a reasonable time in brighton.

as for this sunday, i'll just be pleased to finish it without walking/stopping, and i can use the time as a benchmark to improve from for the marathon.

09/10/2009 at 11:35

I had a good treadmill/incline session taped to the running machine at home - I'll see if I can remember what it was. But that's fantastic for cardio without running too fast.

Good luck for Sunday - remember, you can only do your best on the day. Come out feeling proud and happy with what you've acheived, and you can do no more.

Edited: 09/10/2009 at 11:35

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