Is 5k really possible

Hello, I'm new to this and in need of reassurance.

I've entered the race for life in July and I've been running for 2 weeks. I can manage a very slow mile at about 5.5mph but after that my legs wobble and i am burning up even when running in rain and wind. I thought I'd walk 5k today to see how far it is and there is no way I'll ever be able to run that far!!!!

Is it really possible to build up to running 3.1 miles in the next 12 weeks?

All comments are very welcome ??


  • Hi, Its more than possible!! In 12 weeks youcan make some real progress, Start again at the beggining with a walk/run programme, If you have a look around on the training section of this site you will find a begginers 5k training prog, usually 8 to 10 weeks so don't worry you will be fineimage 

  • ...and if you DON'T manage to do it in 8 to 10 weeks, don't give up! Not everyone can. We're all different - different sizes, shapes, medical histories, mental attitudes ... all sorts. So yes, have a go at the beginners' plan, but if you're struggling at any point, then just repeat that week until you can do it, and then move on.

    Honestly, there's no law that says you have to do it in the prescribed time. Certainly push yourself, and get used to being puffed and hot and sweaty. But don't hurt yourself. End each session feeling hot and red and sweaty - but proud.

    We've all been there. image
  • and actually - if you've only just started, a mile at 5.5mph isn't at all shabby! Slow down! Seriously. image
  • Short and sweet but the answer is yes, it is possible.  Just keep at it image it will become easier. 

    You could look at some of the training plans for people staring out at 5k's - the principle might be to go for longer, but to introduce bits of walking and slowly build up so that you run more and walk less and less until you are running the whole way.

    Good luck and enjoy!

  • If you have only just started then Jj is right, slow down.

    What i would suggest is that do the full 5k at a very slow pace just so you have done the distance and maybe do that 2/3 times for the first week or so and then see how you progress and feel a from there.
  • The Runner ... I am afraid I disagree there, for a new runner following a beginners plan is best and I doubt if they would have you starting off with the full distance regardless of speed, it is likely to ened up in injury of course dependant on the base fitness that is there

    Slow down to a conversational pace, take walk breaks if you need them and enjoy it  image
  • You can definitely do it. I would forget distance and speed at the moment and just run for a set period of time, building up slowly to about 30 to 40 mins. You have loads of time until the race. My wife is doing the race for life as well and she has a plan purely based on time rather than miles. Also you can run for a mile already which is really good in 2 weeks. Good luck and enjoy the race.
  • I suppose each to there own. What ever feels best. Thats just the way that i started and that was after being a heavy smoker for 12 year. The other thing i would say though is spend a little time warming up, stretches etc.
  • Thank you I feel better already. I've downloaded C25K and i will stick to it and hopefully build up the sensible way!
  • Warm up certainly, but don't stretch cold muscles. Beginners generally would (should!) go slowly enough that the first few minutes will serve as a warm up anyway. And as Meldy says, "doing the distance" really isn't to be recommended at this stage.

    Keep at it. Don't give up. Go slow. Repeat ad nauseam. image
  • I would agree with you on that i just never took that advice when given and still always stretch before a run and i don't know why. But yes just take it steady. I found that completing a target distance at any pace always did me good mentally as i knew then that i could do it because i had if that makes sense.
    Any running is great though so this goes out to every one just keep it up.
  • yer majyer maj ✭✭✭
    Sundaygirl - 18 months ago I started C25K and I could barely manage 60 seconds of very slow running. I can still remember being on week 5 of the programme and wondering how on earth I would manage to keep running for 8 minutes.

    As everybody has said - slow right down, repeat weeks if you need to and you will get there. It's like swimming the first 10 metres - getting started is the hardest bit.

    Good luck!
  • I did the NHS Couch to 5k plan using the podcasts and found it brilliant.

    Like you, I wondered how on earth I'd ever get to the 5k distance when I could barely run (shuffle along) for 60 seconds.  But I just got out there, did walked and ran when the woman on the podcasts told me to (occasionally paused it for an odd extra walk when I needed it).  I repeated some weeks here and there and got to 5k in the end. image

     Now I'm joining in races and parkruns (look up parkruns in your area, they are brilliant) and loving getting out for my runs.  I'm not the fastest, as still stick in the odd 30seconds of walking here and there when I need it; no shame in that!  I'm still out lapping everyone on the couch. image

    Stick to a sensible beginners plan that will build up your fitness and confidence, repeat any weeks/runs if you feel you need it. take rest days in between runs, and enjoy!

  • Jj wrote (see)
    and actually - if you've only just started, a mile at 5.5mph isn't at all shabby! Slow down! Seriously. image

    Yup, x 100! I run marathons and longer distances and I usually do my long runs at 5.5mph. When I'm going up hills I go even slower! Don't worry about what speed you're going at for quite a while yet. If you just started a couple of weeks ago and you can already run a mile then you're doing great, so just keep building on it a little at a time. If you want to go further, slow down a bit. It might feel like you're just shuffling rather than actually running, but that's the trick to being able to keep going for longer.

    I've done a couple of the Race4Life events, and loads of people walk them from start to finish, so if you haven't quite built up to running the full 5K by July, don't worry and don't let it put you off! Good luck. image

  • Absolutely possible.  Slow down.  NO EVEN SLOWER!!!

    The first few weeks are by far the worst.  Gradually, your endurance will improve.  And then going from 3.1 to 6.2 is WAY easier than going from 0 to 3.1.  By fall, you could be running a 10k instead of a 5!  image

  • I remember that feeling - is 5k even possible????  Now I'm looking to break 20k before the end of the year. image  It's possible.  Just keep at it, take walk breaks if you need them, and you'll be there in no time. image
  • Stick with it, you've plenty of time to reach that goal.

    I'm 7 weeks into the plan and week 3 was my epiphany. Something just clicked and I've ended up tweaking the plan a little to suit me. At the moment I run 9 mins and walk 1, repeated twice. As a test today I did a run for as long as comfortable (no pushing it) and managed over 21 minutes with no walking. I stopped when I felt I needed to walk for a minute, it was just a test run. I was absolutely astounded at that, back in week 2 I felt like giving up, I struggled like crazy. Stick with it, get out 3 times per week and in a week or two you'll start to feel like the planned weeks are too easy. That's where I made the mistake of jumping ahead and I overdid it. Luckily I realised before injury and dropped back closer to the plan. I've some very very slight pain in my shins which is because of the overdoing it so I now need to rest up for a good few days. If you can, in a week or two as your run intervals increase go and get your running style/gait assessed at one of the specialist running stores, it's usually free. You may end up coming out with a new pair of trainers and/or moulded inserts like I did but it really was money well spent and made a huge difference.

  • would recommend joining parkrun if there is one in your area - its free, and there will always be someone to help and give advice

  • I started in January with the NHS C25K podcasts and worked my way through them and am now running 2-3 times a week.  I do at least one 5K (my parkrun) and another if I can fit it in or a 3.5K if I don't have the time.  This is on top of two very hard hour long boxing classes that I attend!

    I am not a natural runner and like Evie May, if I need to walk for 20 paces or so, then I will.

    I remember the feeling of reaching 5K for the very first time.  I smiled the whole way home on my warm down walk - I was so very proud of myself image

  • Hi Sunday, cannot fault the advice that's been given. Take it all in like I did and after a while it will all fall into place, you will be so proud of yourself, and you will either get "the bug" and carry on to do more races or if it is not for you, you will know by then. Like everyone has said, slowly and surely does it, but most of all enjoy!!

    M...eldy, what does pirate mean next to your post?? Keep seeing it everywhere but hav'nt a clue! 

  • Pirate = RW forum triathlete, 'True' Pirate = RW forum Ironman Triathlete.  

  • Ok, cheers Pethead.

  • Very do-able, but build up like everyone says.

    I started with in November gone with a 13-week programme to get to 10k from The Beginning Runner's Handbook - that worked for me. At the time, it was a slog to run one minute, walk four minutes and repeat the planned number ot times. Six months since my first run after 24 years and I'm off for a nine mile trail run this morning, got my second 10k and a trail half marathon in June, and building up for the Kielder Marathon in October.

    Just make sure you're enjoying the experience - even if it's a battle in the early weeks. image

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