how to improve?

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.




  • Increase distance but slow down a tad. It's all about being able to do the miles not how fast you can do them
  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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
  • 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! image
  • 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?

  • 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.

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

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


  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • 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 image

  • A Nun, wow, dont trip over your habit! That will be all you need!!
  • 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 image
  • 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


  • 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 image
  • Hi there

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



  • 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.

    jimma image

  • 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 ???


  • 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 image

  •  Thanks for the encouragment Jimma

    I run 2 mins sprint with a min walk inbetween at the moment and I do this over 20 mins I know its very wierd to do this when I am tired but I do it cause I get the little rest inbetween instead of constant running.

    What sort of distance would be better for a tempo run ?



  • Hi,

    You could gradually increase one of the 2 min fast in your 20 min to maybe 2.5 or 3 min just to get you used to running faster.Do you know if you manage to cover the same distance in each 2min fast or are you  tiring by the end.The idea of intervals is to do the same distance in the same time for each one and not to go flat out in the first few and then slow up.

    jimma image

  • oh right its easier on a treadmill to do that but must admit I do tire towards the end so maybe going to fast will try and slow up a bit and go longer lol will get the hang of it

    Thanks for advice


  • Hi hope the speed work goes well,you could measure out 400m and cover that in 2min,have a min. walk or slow jog and then do the 400m again,do this 4-6 times each interval taking you 2min and see how you find it.

    Another work out could be a run at race pace If you hope to do 10k in 60min this is 6min per k.Measure out a kilometer and run it in 6min.This gets you used to running at the pace you hope to aim for.This could be gradually increased.

    Good luck.


  • Ok will definately try these suggestions, will let you know how its going

    Thanks You loads



  • Hi there

    Have managed to run my first 10k distance during one of my long steady runs, am well pleased but need to improve the time was 1hr 15mins and my legs hurt after only for a day tho so happy days


  • Lisa Humphrey 4 wrote (see)

    Hi there

    Have managed to run my first 10k distance during one of my long steady runs, am well pleased but need to improve the time was 1hr 15mins and my legs hurt after only for a day tho so happy days


    Well done Lisa!

     I'm training for a 10k next month, and can now run 5k  but need to increase my distance, so I've just read this thread with great interest!

    Looks like I need to   s  l  o  w   my pace down, as I run quite happily, but then run out of puff at about 7K and have to fit in a walk.

  • Hi There

    keep going and let me know how you do, have you got someone you can run with I have found that fab as you do tend to keep going for longer also my friend always seems to find interesting routes, if left to me I tend to run the same old favourites.

    Good Luck



  • Hi Lisa,

     I'm hoping to run with a friend, but as we're both self-employed we can find time to dash out on our own, but organising anything together is tricky!

    I've been playing with my new Garmin Forerunner 50 (eBay bargain!) and looking at the data from my run yesterday. I'm thinking I need to slow my pace down, as I'me currently starting at a higher pace and then dropping down. So, next time I go out, will aim for a 6 min km which would mean I would complete the 10K in 1 hour (hmm - not entirely sure that's achievable, but its good to have a target, isn't it!)

    Still need to calibrate my new toy (mapometer showed my route as 9K, my forerunner reckoned it was 9.5!)

    Let me know how *you* get on as well!

  • ohh I really want one of those garmin things how much was it.

    I also want to do it in 1hour but not sure I can either




  • It was £65 for the watch, HRM *and* footpod image It is a second hand one, but that doesn't bother me at all!!! There are loads on there, mostly new, and much cheaper if you don't want both HRM and footpod.

    I drove a section of one of my runs today, and measured out exactly 2 miles, so I'll run that tomorrow and get the thing calibrated properly... [slopes off  to read instruction book to make sure I do it properly, and don't just make it worse!]

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