First race advice needed


I'm running my first 5k race tonight (RFL Battersea). I'm just wondering how I should pace myself.

I run most of the time on the treadmill (so my speed is obvious) and when i run outside i tend to just plod as slowly as I can. But I'd like to get a decent (for me) time tonight. How can I judge my speed?


Poz (number 290)


  • Possibly too late, but here goes....

    Most races have markers at each km - not sure if yours will though. Just run like it feels to run a fast 5K on the treadmill (effort-wise). If you're used to running on the tready with no incline, you can expect your race time to be maybe a minute slower than your fastest 5K. Work out what pace you need per km, and adjust your effort depending on whether you hit your expected time at the first marker. The idea is to keep roughly to an even pace. Hopefully you'll have some left in the tank for a big push in the final km or half km.

    Very important - try not to go off too fast! You'll pay for it later. You may well feel that you can go like the wind early on, but be cautious.
  • Thanks Swerve - you're not too late!

    I usually run with a 1% incline on the treadmill, in an attempt to compensate for the lack of wind resistance..

    This is making me realise that my training should be a bit more directed. hmmm. I'm not sure what my fastest 5k time is on the treadmill. Not very helpfull! I think its about 30mins, so I'll try for 6mins/km and see how I do.

    Thanks again

  • Poz,
    Best of luck and go for a pace where you can utter phrases to someone beside you but not have a conversation.
  • Given the time of my posting you have already finished. Hope it went OK. I am on a schedule(beginner) for 5k race in 6 weeks. I also use a treadmill. How did you do? As treadmill times go I'm improving, but that doesn't take into account actual road running with weather against you etc
  • Well, I got round!

    a bit of a cock up at the start - for some reason i thought the start time was 7.30, when in fact it was 7. 'Read the instructions' is going straight to the top of my pre-race check list!.

    So I arrived just as the race started - I joined the back of the field and crossed the start line at about 9 mins. This would have been fine, except most of the people at the back were walking, so I was held up alot and had to do lots of weaving around. I also took swerve's advice about starting slowly a bit too seriously - my time over the first km was 7,30 - much too slow! I speed up a bit as the crowds thinned out and my time for the 2nd km was 6,40 (ish) - still loads slower than planned. I tried to put some speed on and finished at 32.25 - so not too much of a disaster. I sprinted the last 200m and had lots of energy left, so I definately mis-paced.

    But I *really* enjoyed it! Its definately inspired me to try again (a new pb shouldn't be too difficult to achieve!).

    I find running outside *much* easier than running on the treadmill. Its mostly psychological, I think - its much less boring - there's more to think about so you don't focus so much on how tired your legs are, how long you've been going etc. In decent, cool-ish weather its more comfortable outside than in the gym too. It was perfect last night.

    Where's your race Grumps? How's the training going? Good Luck!


  • Well done! That is a good time and you will deff be able to make a new PB next time.

    I have got my first race on Sunday - York R4L. I haven't yet got up to where i had planned on the schedule - but think I should be able to do 2 lots of 15 mins, With a short walking break, then run whatever is left at the end. I am looking forward to it - if a bit nervous.

    I ran this morning, but as it was my first am run it didn't go too well. I wasn't expecting it to be such a shock to the system after waking up! Well another run tomorrow then a day off before the race...

    I hope I will also have some energy left at the end to sprint over the finishing line - and look impressive for my family watching!!
  • Poz, I still haven't decided about a race. Swansea are having some 5k runs and I am tempted to go for one of them. Truth be told, I am running to get some fitness and to lose some weight.
    Good for you with your run. I think you should be happy with your time. You can only get better, don't knock yourself. WELL DONE !!
  • WelshpoppyWelshpoppy ✭✭✭
    Grumps,Swansea are having 5k runs also on 21st i think is a 10k and then cardiff are doing marathon and 1/2 marathon 28th september, so lots of races too aim for.I am doing RFL in Swansea 18th may and then will do the 10K and the 1/2 marathon if all goes too plan.
    Live each day as if it was your last  give it all you have to reap the rewards.
  • I've been looking at the Swansea 5K series as well. I wasn't going to run a race until the Pembrey RFL on June 22nd but I might well be tempted to do one of the Swansea runs.
  • I've only been at this for 3 weeks so going to stick with my schedule for now. I can see definite improvements so probably will do 5K run just to prove it to myself. 10k's and 1/2 maras definitely out of question for quite a while. Especially as I do my running on a treadmill.
  • I have a tip for those going from treadmill to road - if you have a heart meter, use it. If you're heart is going at about the same pace, then you're probably using about the same amount of energy. There's probably a lot of wrong science in that, but I like it.
  • Hi everybody - I am a beginner runner. I was told by one of my friends to start off by not running as fast as you can but to start slowly and gradually build up over the weeks. I am thinking of entering a 5k. My current times are around about 21 mins. How would that fare in the average 5k race? (If there is one)Thanks everyone!
  • thats bloody brilliant

    Im a 10 min miler o a good day
  • HAB! That's very respectable. I would suggest that you check out the results pages from your target race, or similar ones, and see where you think you would come. This information helps you stand in the right place at the start. On Half Marathons and Marathons they tend to have boards erected for where to stand in respect of your expected finish time.

    Fetch. Using the HRM is a good way of maintaining consistency and getting the best out of yourself on a given day. Your approach is a good one for the situation described. More advanced approaches are elewhere.

  • blisters - I still classify myself as a training beginner, even though I've been running for over a year now - my training has been very unstructured, but I am building up a list of simple rules to follow. I'd love to hear more about the advanced techniques you've mentioned.

    The 5k time that Poz has given looks like it's about half way up the league table on my site. I would suggest that if this time was obtained during training, that there'd be an improvement on this in a race, particularly Poz's first one, as the adrenaline goes mad :-)
  • Just a quick note to say I think your site is amazing!.
    Ive just started to take the running a bit more seriously and this is a great place to record everything.
  • Thanks Mumstheword - we try our best :-)
  • how can I improve from high 17 mins to breaking 17? how can you pase it just right so that you are not falling out of the pack or having a massive sprint left at the end? thanks
  • OMG!! i can just about jog 5km in 38.5 mins!! that is sooooooooooo slow!! just about to re-start running as have not been out for months, got a 10 week training plan, and am aiming to do it in 30mins b4 entering a race! is that still too slow? thanks, dolly
  • Dolly, I can beat that. My fastest 5K so far is 43 minutes.

    I'm so slow that if you blink ......... I'm even further behind than I was before!
  • I think it is best not to think about a time in your first race. it is best that you complete the race, because if you don't complete it your confidence will drop. on you compete in a few races you will start to naturally find a good pace to run at and it all becomes easier.

    when it  came to me running my 1st race it done it out of the blue, but i had a generally good fitness background and running style 'so i've been told'. i went out with a time in mind and when after it. i ended going out far to fast and get a stitch after 4-5km. i had to walk around 1km then i said to myself instead of droping out i will finish it, ended upcompleting the race in 49:37. after that i had alot of confidence and have went on from that and now i have completed my 10km in 40:00 and 5km in 17:02.

     hope this help some off use out there. i had found it just takes time to get the expirence. but you can never stop learning.

  • just looked there and saw the date of the last post. i think i am just a bit to slow to reply.
  • Great old post for me

    im running my first race this sunday 18th,5k Tipton Victoria Park, i have been worrying about my time and placement, i usually run about 10 minute miles so anything under 30mins will be great but i still have visions of me plodding home last. Great post Alan

    Makes sense to mentally just to complete your first race comfortably to give one the confidence and that tiny bit of experience to go forward. 

  • yea and once you are close to the finish line say last 100-150m or can see the finish line pick your pace up a good bit. finishing strongly also helps the confidence. good luck in your race and Let me know how got on.
  • Cheers Alan will do
  • Hi Alan

    ran 26.50, thanks for the advice, forgot about the sprint at the end fortunateley the lady who i tagged along with shouted lets go with 100 yds to go and we were able to put in a decent finish.

  • Thats a great time. You should be proud. blow your 30mins time right out. Now you'll be after a time under 25mins. How did you feel after the race.
  • Hi Alan

    sorry wrong info i ran 26 59,just seen the official time on Tipton harriers web site, only 9 second difference still below 27 mins, still chuffed to bits.

    Felt great afterwards a bit blowy when i finished thats all, legs felt strong they are a little stiff this morning and there is a dull aching in my right hip,i still had some left in the tank at the end, great experience although a bit nreve wracking but well worth the effort, very cold and windy so i reckon in the right conditions there is room for improvement.

    Just entering the Action Heart 5 miles which is on my doorstep, thats being run in february 24th, improve my strength and stamina its described as a challenging course set myself a time of 60 mins to do that because of the hills on the course, thanks again Alan and everyone else fro the support and advice.

  • Hi all, I'm quite new to running and I'm looking to starte entering some races.  SO far, I've only really done training on a treadmill, and am quite aware that I need to get started outside,  and was wondering how I'll fare outside on  the streets!

    My PBs on the treadmill with no incline are  5km: 19 mins 13 secs    and     10km: 44 mins 54 secs.

     Thanks a lot!

  • Leon Chen, breaking 17 is a tough one. Maybe try running with a faster partner, and stick with them the whole way...probably with slightly negative splits. Good luck.
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