speed vs distance

Hi Everyone,


I made a training plan for myself for the next 30 weeks.   My ultimate goal for this year is a 5k then a 10k.   Next year I would love to do a half marathon maybe.....   So the plan is to encompass those goals.

I sent it to 2 friends both of whom run marathons and have a lot of experience.   One told me to work on distance - long slow runs to build up my stamina.   The other one told me to work on fartleks to increase my speed first.

So, I'm confused!   My plan is a long, slow distance buildup over 30 weeks eventually running 30km.   Doesn't seem like I can attach files else I would attach it to give you all a better idea!

So what does everyone think - distance or speed?





  • Hey Fiona

    I like your goals.  They're a stretch, but not over the top.  As a beginner (I'm assuming you are?), you need to work up your distance first, with a series of varying distance runs, plus a longer run.  When you do a shorter run, you can go a little bit faster and a slower on your longer run.  Interval/ fartlek, etc, will help you build speed into your running, but it's something to look at once you can run at least 6 miles comfortably and have been running for several months.

    I'm not sure from what you say, if you mean building up to a long run of 30K or as a weekly mileage target.  If it's the first one, then I wouldn't do it as it will put too much strain on you.  Like I say, aim to build up to around 6 miles for now.

    One stage at a time Fiona.  

  • Hi Faithsdaddy,


    I'm currently running 5.5km (that's about 3.8 miles I guess) comfortably but not at any speed - about 45 minutes right now as I am a beginner and overweight.   I would like ot be running it in less than 40 minutes over the next few months. 

    My goal for the next few months is to do two 5.5km runs and one longer run on Sundays that will start from 6km gradually moving up to 10km (which is 6 miles) over the next 2/3 months.   Once I can do that comfortably I will plan my next goal!!  

    I was planning on 4 runs but both my friends said that with rugby training as well that would be too much in one week! 

    I was planning on distance over speed so thanks for the good news!!

    My plan is to build up to 30k run eventually by next year sometime.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    One foot in front of the other.............

  • I'd work on distance. Speed work comes with a higher risk of injury.

    Anyway your runs aren't slow anyway. Most of my miles are at 6mph and I race marathons. Keep your runs at a pace you can chat at.
  • If you play rugby, you will probably pick up a few knock and strains along the way that might get in the way of a 30 week training plan.  Be ready to adapt as necessary.

  • I couldn't run this week because of the huge bruise on my thigh where some "girl" rucked me!!   So I can adapt no problem!   Sometimes I can even put my hair in a ponytail without help after a particularly viscous game image


    Luckily the season is over for now until September so it means that all my weekends are free and I should be pretty bruise free for  several months so I can really concentrate on my running!   Apart from a few tournaments that is.....

  • In my opinion distance. I feel speed is easier to work on once the stamina over distance is in the bank.

  • I think you can do a bit of both to be honest.

    There will be runs where you are looking to stretch how far you go and others where you are running a familiar distance and then you can look at shaving the seconds off your time.

    The biggest piece of advice I would give will be one that has been said many times before and that is be aware of doing too much too soon whether that be too much distance or too high a pace. As someone who has no patience at all for such things I can atest to how painful the results can be!

  • Well, I done some calculations and it appears that just doing distance is also helping my speed!!

    I started running on the 9th of March this year and it took me 51.57 minutes to run 5.6km, now it is taking me 44.55 minutes for the same run.   So I have dropped from an average speed of 9.10 minutes per km to 8.04!!

    So I am delighted!   It is still pretty crap and slow but to me that is a huge difference!

    I just got back from a 2 week indulgent holiday in Italy so my 1st run tonight I may be back to 9.10 mins :O)   But at least now I know that there is some progress in speed as well.

    I also do sprint training during rugby practice (I use the word sprint very loosely here as I am a prop forward!!) so I guess that must help some!

  • I'd go with endurance as the focus. The training benefits tend to stick once gained without needing to bust a gut week in week out. This will also give a good base for speedwork further down the line. I'd focus on endurance as that is where your aspirations are, and throw in the odd fartlek / tempo session for variety 

  • Yep, endurance is the way forward for me!

    I'm simply not built for speed!

    I think once I can run about 10km comfortably then I can add in the odd speed session!

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