Too slow to race??


 I'm new to the forum but feeling a bit downhearted about my "speed" at moment so looking for some advice/support please.

Started running 2005 and did a half marathon in March 06 which I found a real challenge. Took me 2h 50 and they had opened the road as I was 3rd from last!  Felt I'd let myself down, espec as training partner finished in 2 hr 25.

Anyway, another baby since then and started up again 9 weeks ago. Feel I'm running a bit quicker but seem stuck at 12 min miles. Did our local park run 5K on sat in 36.36 which I should have expected but again 2nd from last and starting to wonder whether I shouldn't bother with the races. It just feels as if my legs won't go any faster. Stupidly I am entered for the same half in March....don't know what to do.

Help please...has anyone improved from such a baseline?




  • Congratulations on doing a half marathon to start with. It does take time to improve on speed. I'm still working on mine as well. I do the 5k in the same time as you. Don't feel too disheartned about where you came on the race, because at the end of the day like someone told me. 'Your out there doing it in the first place!!- Most people are sitting on their backsides, so congratulate yourself on making the effort that you do. Enjoy the running. I've concentrated on times etc and at the end of the day it doesn't always do you any favours. Enjoy running for the time being. Your times will improve eventually. Do I think your too slow for a race?..defintely not..It's not always about the times, it's also about taking part and having fun and remembering why you started running in the first place. Don't push yourself under too much pressure, because it can be damaging mentally and pyshically.

    Have fun, enjoy your run and you can slowly work towards the half marathon in march.


  • I ran the London Marathon in 2001: my training suggested that I'd run it in around 4:15 or so, but I damaged a disc in my spine and finished in 5:28.  I was absolutely gutted, and it took me a long time to deal with it. And what changed my opinion? A non-running friend saying "At least you finished it - how many people can say that?"

    And that's the achievement - you're out there and doing it - how many people do you know who can say that? I've just started running again (and hoping my back holds out) and a distance that  used to take me about 7 minutes is currently taking me over 10 and I feel ready to collapse at the end. But Turtlegirl73 is right - my time will improve, as will yours, if we both stick at it. Right now, I'd kill for a 12 minute mile! And the fact that you're running a 12 minute mile when you're only been running for 9 weeks seems pretty good to me.

    Keep at it, don't rush it, and it will get better.

  • Thanks for you nice comments. It's trying to keep that sense of perspective when everyone zooms off in front of you!  I'll have to start chanting "at least I'm running" whilst bringing uo the rear.

    Hope your back holds out MisterKeith - it must be very frustrating for you

  • March is a long time away! Stick at it, building time/distance/fitness not worrying about speed.
    My 5K times are:
    Oct 06 39:41 & Nov 07 38:21 (off road)
    then I joined a club and increased to running 3-4 times a week, gradually increasing to 15-20miles/week over this year:
    May 08 31:46 & Sept 08 30:54 (parkrun)
    and in December I will go under 30 (just) image
    My half PB in November (with poorly knee) is 2:39:54 and I wasn't last.
    And I'm only knackered when I finish now, rather than half-dead!
    Good luck image
  • Seeing how your times have got so much better is really encouraging. Only doing about 10-11 miles a week at moment but planning to slowly increase. Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope!image
  • My first 5 miles took me 60 mins and I was delighted with that.  6 months on and I can now do it in 50 minutes.

    I joined a running club and running with others really has helped. I am running in a race for my club this week and there is every chance I will be last but I honestly don't mind as I am doing something and enjoying it.

    Your times are not that slow anyway there are many more slower than you. If you keep going you will improve.

    Good luck.

  • Thanks. have you just got faster as you've got fitter or do you do specific speed training?

  • I have started to do some speed work with the club but only recently, so that is not the only reason I have got faster. it just seemed to happen naturally. Don't get me wrong I am not fast but to go from 12 to 10 mm I am really happy with that. Not sure I can improve much more but will keep trying.

    Just remember your not too slow and if you enjoy it keep it up you get to keep fit and if you get faster it is a bonus. There are plenty of races that will suit you.

    I think if we can keep motivated through the winter and not get injured then come the summer the improvement will come.

  • 12mm to 10mm would be great. Feeling positive for my run in the morning. Cheers everyoneimage
  • Sally, to improve your mm pace you just need to incorporate some speed sessions. Mix up your training more, so swap one of your shorter runs for a speed interval and you'll notice how much easier your general running becomes.

    You've got the endurance, now build on it and you'll be surprised what you can achieve image Think back to when you first started running - bet you are faster now than when you started? 

    Do you run alone? I do and I don't race, so to improve on my mm I occasionally run 'sprints' (for me)with Mr S who's a 7mm runner on a slow day... my face looks like this image 

  • Hi to MisterKeith,  I have had three spinal operations two in my twenties and one in my thirties.  I am now 48 and took up running late August.  I was extremely wary about my back holding out.  I have had back pain all my life and have taken strong analgesics also.  However, i took it very slowly and started taking Glucosamine and other supplements and I can honestly say that I have never felt better.  I still get pain but not nearly as much.  I used to suffer with migraines from neck pain as well and these seem to have almost disappeared (touch wood).  I make sure I have rest days after long runs, which is about 6 miles for me at the moment and warm up and down well.  I am now managing 9 minute miles.  There is hope for us all.  Good luck with the running Wendy
  • Hi Siance.

    I usually run with a friend who is naturally a faster runner so when she speeds up I'm left miles 5k time 36.36, hers 29.02!  Hopefully she will help me to speed up. Going out in an hour but might just try a short 2miles to try and make my legs go a bit faster

  • Go for it Sally

    I sometimes try to keep up with some of the faster runners at the running club can't always keep up but it pushes you to try harder and if you keep lasting longer and longer then you will get better.

    I was also thinking about entering races, although we are never going to win one, all these races with thousands of people wouldn't be such a success if everyone who had no chance of winning didn't enter.

    I just try to better my own time rather than worry about being last.

  • you'll definitely improve from that, I wouldn't worry at all.
  • Just keep going. Fingers crossed for you!!
  • Sally. Don't worry about the time, speed will come with time and training. If you want to enter a race go for it, few of us enter with any chance of being near the front, we do it for our own personal achievement. It's a fantastic achievement to have completed a half marathon so well done. I am always near the back of races although I have improved slightly from 36ish min 5k to 32:14. Would love to get under 30mins and am sure it will happen one day. Just keep working at it slowly!
  • I started from a similar position to you about two years ago but today did a PB of 51m in a 10k race. I have never done any specific speed work but just plodded along and as time has gone on and I've got fitter you get faster.

    My philosophy is always to put a similar ammount of effort in, you don't want to end a run feeling like you could have run it faster, you want to end it out of breath, etc. As your heart and legs improve to put the same effort in, you have to run faster.

    What races are you entering anyway?

    At our level of ability we're never going to win any races, so really you're just racing yourself and your goals. My general aim is to finish a marathon at least half as fast as the winner or finish a race halfway up the finishers.

    With practise your time will come down, your baseline is probably the best to improve from if you stick at it you'll be able to knock 30m off that HM time.


  • Quote:
    "I started from a similar position to you about two years ago but today did a PB of 51m in a 10k race. I have never done any specific speed work but just plodded along and as time has gone on and I've got fitter you get faster."

    Well done sir, you've successfully built some good aerobic capacity. This should stay you with years to come.
  • Lyds - that's great, that would do me nicely!

    Cheers Richard. The 5K is a Park run 5 mins from my front door every Sat! I don't expect to be at the front it would just be nice not to to be last or to run with other people rather than behind them!

    Your comments are helping me to push on  with hope! Worked today so didn't do the 5K but think will swallow my pride and try again next Sat


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