Question from a beginner

Hi All,

I started running about 6 weeks ago. I'm not fast by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't think I'm disasterously slow either.

My intention at the moment is just to stick at it on the assumption that I will get faster as time goes by. I'm doing 4/5 days per week but only between 1.5 - 5 miles each day. Overall my biggest week has been a whopping 11miles! I'm planning to continue to increase very slowly until I get to about 20 miles per week (ideally 3 'longer' runs with just a couple of miles per day on the days in between).

Assuming I manage this and am still enjoying it, I might look to follow a training plan or do something a bit more focused but figure I'm best just getting into the habit first and hopefully build a bit of much needed fitness in the meantime.

So... before this becomes too long to read, my question... I've just put the time of the run that I was most pleased with into the pace calculator (run was 3.03miles in 27:11). I was astonished to see it reckons my easy pace should be 11:15 - 12:38. The slowest I've been in 25 or so runs is 10:05 which was on a jaded Friday plod of 2miles. Even my longest run so far was approx 5miles at 9:40pace.(all of this according to runkeeper)

Am I doing it all wrong? Is it really important at the moment if all I'm trying to do is get into a habit and build up some miles? I'm trying to only 'race' once a week with the rest at a pace that is 'testing' but doesn't leave me exhausted by any means (well after 5mins anyway!)


For further info, the pace calculator says easy 11:15, tempo 9:25, Vo2max 8:30 speed form 7:53, long run 11:15-12:38

The entire range of all my runs is from 7:35 (1.4miles) to 10:05 (as above) with the majority being 8:45 - 9:15 or around 9:30-9:45 for 4miles+


A realise I'm far from a 'runner' but any advice is welcomed



  • I'd say ignore the pace calculator, listen to your body and run at the pace that feels "easy" for you. 


  • As above calculator's can be useful but mostly they are a bit bobbin's just enjoy your running. image 

  • Thanks for the replies. I thought/hoped that would be the answer. Just thought I should check as I guess now is the time to get things right rather than get into bad habits before I've really started

  • Just keep logging the runs as it's the base fitness you'll build Over time. Sounds like you are doing great so far. 

  • Thanks for the replies. I will continue with my current plan. I seem to be still steadily improving both top speed and sustaining a speed for longer. I managed to do 3miles pretty comfortably today at a slightly faster pace than I managed 2 miles at 3 weeks ago so feeling pretty chuffed.

    I guess as long as I'm still going and enjoying the 'beginners improvements' I'll just keep doing it as I am.

    A few months down the line, once I'm nearing 'elite' status I'll come back for more advice image

  • Hello all my dedicated followers! (Sorry, sarcasm is my speciality!)

    Just thought I'd post a quick progress update. Still following my original plan. I'm now up to 15miles per week with most impressive results being a longest run of 7.5miles at 9:30 per mile and the same 3mile run as mentioned in my opening post down to 24:45 (2.5minute improvement in 6weeks!).

    I'm beginning to have a bit of a change in thinking regarding running...the idea of running slowly felt more forced and I had to conciously make an effort to do it, now I'm quite happy most days to just go at a nice relaxed pace. I think the fact that when I do 'go for it' I am seeing some improvement really helps. I guess I still have a few weeks of 'beginners imrovement' to come (at least I hope so!)

    Plan is still to keep building up for another 2-3 months nice and slowly until I get to 20miles/week... after than... who knows!

  • Hello, didn't see your original posts, or I would have said that the pace calculator is meant to be based on a race time, which would have been way faster, so the times were coming out too slow for you because you based it on a training run. Sounds like you're doing really well though - I trained like that (regular, short runs at a comfortable pace similar to yours) for the first three years and did surprisingly well when I started entering races.

  • Hi literatin, thanks for the message.

    I'm hoping to do a park run soon so i guess from there I'll have more of a realistic base to work from although in fairness I'm sticking pretty much with the 'anything is better than nothing - just keep doing it' approach.

    Also strangely pleasing to hear you started at a similar pace (even though you might be being kind image). I recognise your name from having read a bit of the forum so assume you know a thing or 2... off to have a bit of a stalk now!

  • Ha, not sure I 'know' that many things... but I was wondering how long I'd been running the other day so searched through old e-mails and found one where I was telling a more experienced running friend about running about 4 miles at around 9:30/mile pace. That was just under 5 years ago and I'd been running about as long as you have.

  • Hello again avid readers!

    Thought it was time for a(n) (ir)regular update.

    Parkrun as mentioned in my last post has now been done. I was expecting based on training runs that I 'should' be able to do about 25-26mins so was well chuffed to do it in 23:53!! In fairness I think that was literally the best I could have done... the comments at the end of 'come on run through the line' were no doubt well intended however I was focusing on staying upright by that stage rather than what speed I was going at!

    It's nearly 3months since my initial post and without doubt I have improved significantly and hopefully have significant further improvement to come. I just had another look at the pace calculator based on my parkrun time which is what brought me here in the first place. It seems my long run pace should now be 9:44 to 10:59 which seems much more realistic to me. I'm potentially still running a little too close to the 9:44 end of this but at least I'm now more or less in the range.

    Future plans... still pretty much as they were before. i'm continuing to work my way towards 20 miles per week in 0.5mile increments... 17miles this week so nearly there. Once that's done I'm likely to have a break for about 3 weeks then want to start doing a training plan. Currently expecting to follow runkeeper's 55min 10k plan just because I'd like to follow a runkeeper plan to see how it goes although I guess I probably should be able to do better than 55mins now so I might try to follow the plan but push a little harder than it suggests with the idea of going for a sub50min race at the end of it...then again maybe by the time I get to the point I'll actually do something totally different... who knows!

    Ultimately my target remains 4miles in 30mins although I guess that will realistically be a by-product of training for other distances rather than specifically training for 4miles.


    Anyway, what an astonishingly rambly post saying not a lot... back in a bit!




  • That all sounds good. Well done! I will make a note in my diary to look out for the next installment in 6 weeks' time.

    Why 4 miles in 30 minutes rather than any other target?

  • Last post 12th September, today only 3rd October...this is practically turning into a daily blog!

    Thanks for your response literatin, it's nice to know that despite the lack of updates and pretty dull nature of what I've written, someone is reading! Why 4 miles in 30 minutes... a couple of not particularly good reasons...

    Firstly when I started out in May I thought a 30min run in the morning seemed like a nice idea, to do 3 miles in that time was achievable more or less on day 1 so next obvious target was 4miles.

    Secondly and maybe more importantly, a long time ago when I was around 13/14 I remember doing the 'fun-run' which was part of the local marathon day. I'm 99% sure it was 4 miles and I pretty sure I did it in just under 30 minutes (although given my inability to repeat the feat it does seem unlikely!) so I guess I'm trying as a 30something to achieve a new peak level of fitness!

    I've not actually done a 4 mile run for a few weeks, the last attempt (training run) was 36mins but based on 23:53 park run I guess I should be looking at about 32mins if under race conditions so just 30secs per mile to find (and some obscure event that have a 4mile 'race'!!)

    I've got I question to ask but will save it for a separate post...


  • So, my question...

    I have now entered a half marathon in March! I am very keen to follow a run keeper training plan in the build up but am in 2 minds between doing the 2:15 plan and the 2:00 plan.

    The 2:15 starts at about 20miles per week which is roughly where I am now and builds to a maximum of 40. For longer runs, it seems to suggest about 11:30 per mile pace which I think I would find reaaly slow

    The 2:00 starts at 25 and goes up to 45. For longer runs it's closer to 10min miles which although I would probably find challenging over longer distances, it's closer to what I currently do (and closer to what various pace calculators suggest for me based on parkrun time).


    My dilemna is basically do I follow the 2:15 plan and probably find the mileage tough but the pace easy or if anything too slow and in effect use the training plan as a way to effectively build mileage without pushing too hard...I can always do another HM later in the year and push harder for it... I follow the 2:00 plan which is likely to really push me from the start but mentally is more likely to be the sort of time that I think I would be pleased with?

    I feel I 'should' do the 2:00 as it's more at the level that I am and want to be at but the additional mileage and challenge make me reluctant and sway more towards the 2:15 plan for now then maybe the 2:00 later next year.


    Either way the plan doesn't start for about 8 weeks so I have time to decide.


    Anyone got any thoughts or advice?

  • Maybe really easy for us all to give you cr*p advice as we don't know you and your fitness level but baised on your parkrun time I would be tempted with the 2 hour plan see how you cope with it and if it's to hard just drop down to the 2.15 plan?

  • BikoBiko ✭✭✭

    Why not do a 2:07 plan where you do the 2:15 plan but just speed up a little bit, 10:45 miles for example?

    Whilst these plans are very useful (I used one running up to my first HM) it's unlikely you'll stick to them rigidly as something will come up whether that be illness, work commitments or whatever that means changing it slightly.

    I'd also suggest not hitting it too hard so as to cause injury. But that's perhaps me erring on the side of caution. Also, completeing a HM at any pace is a great achievement and shouldn't be underestimated.

    Ultimately you have to decide yourself what you're most comfortable with. As Cake suggests, I'm not sure we can give you the answers really. It's all about how you feel.


  • Just discovered this thread, and I'd like to say well done on doing things in the right way - small increases are best in terms of avoiding injury and maintaining your interest in running. 23 minutes is an excellent time for 5k if you've not really run much before, and I would imagine you will bring that down substantially eventually if you carry on in this way. Are you by any chance able to find one or two intermediate distance races before your HM to test out your race pace? I'm thinking of a 10k, which is approx half of a half marathon, or even a 10-miler? Running with other people in race conditions can be helpful in terms of telling you what you are and aren't capable of. It's possible you will crash and burn if you try to  hit or even beat two hours, but also very possible that you will find it a comfortable pace. Running another race in Jan or Feb might help you work this out. Which half is it?

  • Wow, 3 replies... I'm developing a following! Only kidding, thank you all for taking the time to respond.

    I appreciate that I'm asking for answers based on nowhere near enough info. In reality I'm the only one that can decide. I kind of feel that I 'should' do the 2:00 plan but deep down I think I'd prefer to do the 2:15. I like the idea of a '2:07' too... maybe do the mileage and routines according to the 2:15 plan but aim to go 5-10% quicker than suggested. Once raceday comes I can then decide what to go for on the day.

    I have struggled with the idea of running slower most of the time but think I have finally got it although probably still need to slow a bit more. Then again I'm only doing about 4miles on average at the moment so once that increases I guess I'll be only too happy to slow a bit more.

    I'm signed up for Warwick 1/2 towards the end of March. I have some other commitments in November  so realistically it will be early December before I can commit to a training plan. Warwick was the nearest I could find 16weeks after that. (Actually I think there was also one in Coventry or Stratford but last year it had a field of 100ish with the majority being sub 2hrs so I figured something bigger and lower quality!).

    I was actually looking earlier to try and find a suitable 10k to see what my time in that would suggest for a 1/2 so might well do that.


    Anyway, plenty of food for thought... thanks again...


  • Look at other plans? there are loads that are free on the net hunt around and see if you can find one that fits what you want? It sounds like you want to be somewhere in between their two suggested plans. you can just say when your event is and it does a pre plan section then the last x weeks as the proper plan, there are plans on here under the Training section.

    Take a peek at this


  • Umm... I seem to be consistently inconsistent in posting!

    So, 2 months on from the last update and I'm still running although it's been sporadic at best over the last few weeks. Training plan for March's 1/2 started this week so assuming I stick to it, I'm back to 4-5 runs per week and who knows...maybe even more reason to put some more updates on here!

    For the training plan, I've settled on the idea of doing the 2:15 plan but doing everything about 1 minute faster than suggested making it closer to a 2hr plan.

    Parkrun best is now down to 23:37 which was a few weeks ago. Last week I did 23:54 having only run 3 times in the previous month so pleased not to have slipped too far. It also means 3 of my 7 parkruns have been 23xx (and at 3 different venues) so looks like that is definitely my pace for now.

    This week is fairly easy on the training plan, Tues, Thurs and Sat 4miles each and 7miles Sunday all at easy pace which with my modification is 10:30.

    So far Tuesday completed at 10:29 so all good so far!

    Will aim to update after the weekend...

  • Hello.


    Brief update on the last week...


    Tues: 4miles at 10:30

    Thurs:4miles at 10:30

    Sat: Parkrun in 23:40 (3 seconds slower than best) plus 1 mile in 11:00

    Sun: 7miles at 10:30


    So week 1 of training plan done, all at 1min/mile faster than the plan says apart from Saturday which included parkrun at full pace.


    This week is pretty similar with just an extra couple of miles so hopefully easy enough...

  • Week 2 update...

    Wed: 4miles, Thurs: 5miles, Fri: 4miles all at 10:30 Sunday: 9 miles at 10:10


    All nice and comfortable, including Sunday which should have been at 10:30 but it just felt easy so I kept going pretty consistently without ever really pushing too hard.


    Week 3 is pretty similar except for the introduction of some 1mile intervals on Thursday.


    In other news, I've ordered new shoes as my current ones seem to be on the way out after only 350miles...I'm a bit disappointed but a look around the forum suggests somewhere between 300 and 500 is about normal. I'm probably a bit heavier than the average runner (14st+) so I guess no surprise that mine have lasted on the low side of the scale. I've ordered exactly the same as I had but online so 30% cheaper.


    I've also entered a 10k on the first weekend of January so a bit of a test of where the first month of proper training has got me...



  • Another weekly update:

    Tue& Thurs 5miles at 10:30 (Thurs should have been intervals but runkeeper screwed up)

    Sat Parkrun in 23:30 (7 second record!) and an extra 2 slow miles

    Sun 10.7miles at 10:04 (should have been 10:30 but just went with the pace that felt 'easy' - kept the same through to the end pretty comfortably).


    Have been reading the 'Team GB' thread - brilliant read, I wish I had similar levels of ability or self belief! I think in place of 14xx 5k and 1.57:30 marathon ambitions I'll put 19xx and 2.59:xx as lifetime ambitions.

    This coming week is 5miles Tue/Thursand Sat (which may or may not include a parkrun) and 11 on Sunday, all at 10:30 easy pace, the following Sunday is my first (at least for the last 15+ years) 10k...currently hoping for about 55mins which should be easy enough although who knows...

  • Wow, actual weekly updates for three weeks! I'm impressed. image

    PS: well done on the parkrun PB.

  • Hello!

    Couple of weeks since an update so briefly...week 4:

    Tues 5m at 10:30, Thurs 5.7m at 9:16 (inc 3 quick in the middle - 8:30, 8:25, 9:26), Sat 6m at 9:45.

    Sat was intended to be a long run of 11m but sadly my knee gave way after 6m. It had been a bit sore for a couple of weeks so clearly building up to something. I think it's ITB but generally not bothering me to much, I had a few days off then...


    Thurs 4m at 10:30, Sat 4m at 10:20 Sun Blymhill 10k in 1hr 20sec.

    Couple of points to note on Blymhill... it was VERY muddy, the winning time was apparently about 5mins down on previous years so I'm claiming it as being as good as 55mins which was what I was hoping for and I think it was slightly long (it was officially 'approx. 10k') - runkeeper measured it as 6.40m so about 10.2k so I'm claiming under 1hr anyway!!

    Really enjoyed it despite conditions, I officially finished 101 out of 196 so slightly disappointed to have missed top 100, top 50% and 1hr all by about 30 seconds!

    Knee is a bit sore but not bad.

    Training plan for this week I think hits 30miles for the first time so should be interesting...

    Just before I go, thanks to lit for still checking in on me!




  • PS, meant to say in 10k, started slowly and finished well so I probably could have been faster overall. Runkeeper mile splits were:

    1 9:58

    2 9:48

    3 9:33

    4 11:16

    5 9:06

    6 7:47

    7 7:55 (0.4miles)

  • So, a slightly overdue update... I'm a bit demotivated at the moment, hence the late update...more on that in a minute. First what I've done...


    Last week:


    Tues: Total of 5.4miles at 9.13/mile inc 12 x 400m with 30sec - plan said 131seconds each, I varied from 111-134 with an average of 125... found it really tough - probably something to do with going far too fast for the first couple!

    Wed: 3miles at 10:37 (plan 10:30)

    Thurs: 6.6 @ 9:32 inc 4 x 1mile with 2mins - plan said 9min miles for the reps, I did 8:47, 8:50, 9:05, 9:08 - again probably a little too fast to start but really enjoyed this one - was hard but felt easily in reach. Mile 3 and 4 both started with relatively big uphill sections so was tough to get the pace up enough.

    Fri: 5.1 @ 11:53!!! This was the start of my problems...this should have been Saturday's run but I did it Friday as I wasn't able to run on Sunday so I moved the weekend forward by a day. My knee got really painful again and I ended up walking the last 1.5miles (I had been at about 10:45 until then).


    That was it then for last week, I skipped the long run of 12miles as my knee wasn't going to stand it.


    Since then, I did nothing from Friday until Wednesday when I went for 3miles which was done at 9:28 but knee hurt again. I hadn't felt it at all for 2-3days which is why I tried again but since Wednesday it's been a bit sore walking so I think that's me done with running for a couple of weeks.


    Really disappointed but there is no way I can run on it...I feel like I'm just waiting for it to go completely and end up doing serious damage. I think my problems started because I kept running in my old shoes for probably 2-3 weeks beyond their useful life. The complete lack of any stretching probably doesn't help either. So now a couple of weeks of figuring out how to stretch and how to use my newly purchased foam roller and I'll give it a go again...fingers crossed.

  • Ouch, sorry to hear about your knee. It might be worth going to see a physio and getting him/her to teach you how and what to stretch and how to use the roller. A good sports masseur would probably do similar. I get reasonably regular sports massage when I am doing high mileage for marathon training and I usually get a free lecture on stretching thrown in at the end!

  • Just a thought: problems with the ITB (a long piece of fibre that runs from your pelvis to your tibia around the outside of your thigh and stabilises the knee) present as pain on the outside of the knee. What you'll often find with it is that you can run a little while, then the pain becomes too much to bear. Your problem might be that. Of course, see someone to get a proper diagnosis, but in the meantime if it sounds like ITB syndrome, try using a roller on the outside of your thigh.

  • Looks like some good stuff on this site:

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