5k time and improvement

I recently decided to get off the couch and try and take up athletics. I ran a 5k at the weekend and have done 2 sessions at a local athletics club. I am 22 and I have done no previous training before this, my 5k time came in at 18:07. If I try to stick to going to athletics twice a week and runnning park run on saturdays how much would I be able to improve this? Also does anyone have any tips on how much I should be running to try and improve and the sort of things I should be doing?

Any advice would be great, thanks.


  • You got 18:07 in an accurately timed 5k without 'previous training'!?

    Err, surely you must have had some form of fitness/training behind you, even if its not track. I'm guessing that you are a footballer or a competent natural sportsman or athlete who has previously participated actively in other disciplines. It would be wrong to big yourself up without telling the full story on a forum where so many train very hard and will never get near 18 mins for 5K.

    Nobody but a real natural can run 18:07 without a half decent fitness base. I'd stick with it, you might have a serious talent.

    If you are serious about really improving your time further I'd speak to the coach at this local athletics club. He'll certainly be impressed with a newbie who can run a time like that off no previous training. I'd also look up the McMillan online calculator for a few ideas on training paces based on your 5K.

    Best of luck, if you are being straight with us you may well be a very exciting talent........... 

  • As above^^. Good time mind.
  • Tom Watterson wrote (see)

     If I try to stick to going to athletics twice a week and runnning park run on saturdays how much would I be able to improve this?

    Not as much as if you supplemented this with building up lots of slow, easy miles to build up a proper aerobic base. If you really do have enough basic speed to run a decent 5k time off no training, your potential will be a lot greater.  But yeah, basically anyone at the athletics club will be able to steer you in the right direction.  Don't get sucked into the temptation of racing your training sessions - consistent training over a number of months will get your times down nicely, if you can avoid injury.

    Also, see if you can break 18 mins at a parkrun some time soon, and let us know which one you did.  image

  • Princes Parkrun, Liverpool. He ran 18:09 and not 18:07. He also got off the couch around 2 months ago and ran the Liverpool Marathon. Ran for cross-county and athletics team at school. It's still a good time - but it's hardly a couch to 5k if it's 8 weeks after marathon training!


    Isn't it amazing what you can find on google these days! image

  • Haha fair play
  • I thought something was up!

    I'd say that a marathon (including all the preparation) completely contradicts the 'no previous training' assertion. A real natural just might be able to bag as competent time as this over 5K without much preparation........but you need training to run a marathon at any pace!!!

    Its disrespectful and ego feeding to make out that your time comes as a result of 'no previous training' when it is rather short of the truth. There are people here who have been chipping away at their times for years trying to aspire to goals nowhere near this sort of 5K time.

    I'd say keep training, you are obviously pretty good. Rather better at running than apparently bullsh##ing. With a bit of maturity and humility it'd be great to hear of your progress in the future.

  • Tom Watterson wrote (see)

    Any advice would be great, thanks.

    I think a forum alias would be a fantastic idea in future.

  • Haha it is amazing what you can find on google is completely wrong, I did a marathon however i did no training for it and was for charity reasons only, which is when I decided to maybe start running with some encouragment from a friend who is a runner. I play football once a week with my friends at a 5 aside game. I have always been able to run but have never trained other than the football I play mentioned above. You should maybe check with me before googling and drawing the wrong conclusions.I had 18:07 on my watch from that 5k park run. Thanks for the advice about the slow aerobic miles, do you have any tips on how far each individual run should be?

  • Google wasn't completely wrong when it told me you ran a marathon now was it? You said you had no previous training yet you ran in the cross-country team for Lawrence Sherriff School in Rugby?

    Maybe you should think twice before coming on internet forums pretending to achieve solid 5k times off no training (8 weeks after a marathon) that many people dream of achieving after many years. Unless of course you claim you ran a marathon on absolutely zero training which would probably be even less believable bull**** than the first attempt. 

  • 'I have done NO previous training before this' turns out to be more than a slight exageration. I often wonder if this is the established way of trolling a running forum. 

  • Haha I think I know my life a little better than google. I ran 2 races for my cross country team in 6th form and that was nearlly 5 years ago, forgive me if I'm wrong but I don't think that counts as training? I did no training for the marathon because I thought it would be alot easier than it was, I didn't run it all I walked some. If you find someone of my size and build I promise you they could get round a marathon with no training. One reason I know this is the guy who I did it with also did no training. I didn't say I have never done any exercise in my life I said I have never done training which is true. I was asking for some training tips because I don't know what to do.

  • Exactly, you just failed to disclose the important factors of this "life" to make yourself out to be naturally better than you are. How many miles a week were you clocking up on your bike this year? Did you do that from your couch too? image

  • Do about 6miles a week which again is not training haha. I did not claim to be some suerhuman athlete, I posted the time I have to go off and asked if I could improve this with training and what training should I do. For some reason you seem to think I'm trying to make up some alter ego. I did not realise that doing a couple of runs back when I was at school and that cycling to uni would be so improtant and that you would class this as training. Also kind of stalkerish you know I have a bike, maybe you should stop using google now?

  • Tom Watterson wrote (see )I did no training for the marathon because I thought it would be alot easier than it was 

    Considering you didn't train at all this year, it's strange then that you would mention a two week period of not training on your twitter feed. Need I continue?





  • Really? you are a bit weird, when I signed u to the marathon i went running for a month about twice a week I then stopped about in July ish as the novelty wore off and the football and olympics came on the tv. The effects of running for that month would surely have worn off by now? Also again you are finding random bits of exercise I have done. I did not say I have never done exercise, I said I have never trained for running. Do you have any advice on the training for running which is what I actually asked for or would you like to google a photo of that one time I played football back when I was 12?


  • Yes, I'm definitely the one looking silly here image


    I have no advice that could help unfortunately, if you rolled off your sofa one day and almost ran a sub 18 5k, I suggest you go and speak with Alberto Salazar and he will prep you for Rio. Good Luck.

  • I don't know who that is and I appreciate the sarcasm. The get off the couch and start athletics was meant as a little tongue in cheek phrase as I'm known for being lazy and doing pretty much nothing with my mates, I personally do not consider playing football once a week and riding into uni 2 mornings as training maybe you see it differently. I love that you have cared so much to stalk me on the internet but why go to all the bother if you don't actually have any adivce? Yes I ran/walked a marathon but I ran about 8/9 times before it, this was months ago so as I see it that would leave me in an untrained state now wouldn't it?

  • Not quite Tom, the benefits of training can last quite a while.....especially when they are maintained with other exercise such as  football (which is a terrific way of keeping you in good running shape), you hint that you are slim too, so its not like you've apparently piled on the pounds in some couch potato state.

    It would have been rather more transparent to say that you dabbled with athletics at high school in 6th form and you have recently run a marathon with what many would consider to be a low level of training.

    For what its worth, in my first race since high school I posted a 39:38 10K off minimal 'running' training. But It'd look really disrespectful to all the other posters who comment in threads such as 'Can I do a sub 40 min 10K with this training schedule' if I were to neglect that I'd spent the previous 14 years training very hard in martial arts/boxing and gym work.

    But no hard feelings mate.........at 22 I probably was guilty of exaggerating a touch or neglecting to tell the entire truth in all manner of situations (especially to the ladies, or to my mates.....about the ladies, or how much I could drink, bench press, how fast I drove my car......whatever!!). We mature.

    What you can take away is that right now at 22 (if that is your real age image) you can run a solid 5K. If you want to get very good you could work your way into a decent weekly training plan. I know a local runner who took up running in his mid 20s who has recently ran a 15 min 5K.........and believe me, he wouldn't have been close to 18:09 at 22.

    A great book to read would be the Daniels running formula by Jack Daniels (not a joke....thats really his name!). Its on Amazon.co.uk. Its quite technical but simple to follow.......seeing as you are of 6th form stock, I'm sure it'll give you every answer you are after and more.......best of luck.


  • Thanks for the advice, I had no intention of disrespecting anybody or understating my fitness levels, I just did not view what I have done as running training and spend most of my time watching movies on the sofa so that was what the getting off the couch bit was about. More of a hint at doing something better with my time than me saying I am overweight/unhealthy etc.

  • I think people on here are being unfair and taking what you said out of context. You have had only basic running experience but great natural envious ability. I don,t have great exsperience of running but join a running club. Failing that increase your long runs and your times should drop. If your in uni do they not have a cross country team, I did two x country races recently bloody hard training. Good luck with your training, but definitely join a club.
  • So, leaving googling and false modesty aside for a moment, it's still an impressive 5k time. I mean you won't be knocking on Mo Farah's door anytime soon, but for someone relatively new to running, i woudl take encouragement from it, that you have a degree of natural ability that could be developed further.

    Now, how best to do that? First thing, as mentioned above would be to join a running club or an athletics club. The advice and experience you'll get from other runners will be of enormous benefit. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to running or training, and it'll take years of continual adjustment for you to find out what works for you best, but if you start off learning some of the basic principles that will help to along the right path.

    Reading through the thread on this forum will help, and contributing regularly with the results of your own training will help others who are in your position now of wondering how best to proceed. I find runners to be a very collaborative bunch, and more than willing to share the benefit of their own experience.

    A running club will also add some social aspect to your running, which will help stave off the boredom, as running long miles always by yourself can sometimes be plain dull.

    In addition, one of the previous posters mentioned increasing your weekly mileage. I second that. If you play footy fairly regularly, and cycle a bit here and there and have run a bit here and there, you may have developed a certain level of fitness, which along with your natural ability enables you to run ~18min 5k. Now to improve you'll need to be specific in your training. Your body will make adaptations because of the strain you put it under. The adaptations will be specific to the type of training you do. It's doubtful that any activity you do now will have developed a big aerobic / endurance base. Middle and long distance runners have HUGE aerobic bases. This is because they spend months and years running high mileage during certain periods of their training. So, rather unintuitively, the way to run quicker is to run for longer. You need time on your feet (at a slower pace, to reduce injury risk) to build this endurance. This will make running your 5k's seem easier at a given pace, and you'll rely less on your anaerobic fitness. I can't stress enough the importance of putting in the miles.

    There really are no shortcuts to becoming a good runner, and there's no better way to do it that just doing it.


    Good luck, and enjoy it.

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