First 5k - training


I have just completed the C25K programme and I would like to improve my pace for the Great North 5k, which I'm doing on the 14th of September. I realise that, over the next few weeks, just focusing on comfortably doing 5k will be my main focus, but I would like to speed up too!

Based on my last four runs (just started using the Nike+ app), my average pace is 11'27"/mi, with one run being a treadmill run. I would say my most comfortable pace is between 11:50 and 12:10. I've stated on my sign up to the Great North 5k that I expect to run the 5k in 30-35 minutes.

Does anyone have any tips on improving speed in 4 weeks? Endurance is my priority, but it would be fun to try to improve my speed as well as making sure I cross that finish line! image


  • Hi lm91, am a beginner myself but have read that any 'speed' sessions can take 6 weeks to show results. That said, as you have just started you should see increases in speed just by getting out there. Whats your furthest distance so far? it might help to increase whatever it is by a mile each week - that should help endurance a bit so you would probably run a shorter distance that bit faster plus, just being in a race will help but set a goal and try not to go out too fast else you'll run out of steam.

    A more experienced runner might be able to offer more/better advice and good luck!

  • Thanks for the reply, Andi

    I've only just ran my first 5k, so focusing on miles instead of speed does make more sense. A few weeks ago I was at the 13-14 minute mile mark, now I'm happy at 11-12. Who knows what will happen in 4 weeks! 

    I'm going to start the 10k Runner programme image

  • I imagine it depends how you want to run the Great North 5K?  Just finish it comfortably - then run as you feel in training, but in my (limited - 39 year old but only really running for 3 years) experience 5K is a painful distance that you race out of your "comfort" zone just beyond (faster than) your lactate threshold.  It is hard not knowing your best pace to run at, when I started I used the McMillanRunning website and scaled it up from timed shorter distances (i.e. my 1K or 1 mile fastest time) - it was pretty close to predicting what pace to run in the race).  I was surprised how fast I could run in a race compared to training, though it felt hard at the end.

  • This early, I'd concentrate on getting the miles in. I was in the same position (albeit a bit faster) a few months back, and my time came down considerably just from doing a long slow run each week, increasing it by about 5 minutes each week. Doing a fartlek session wouldn't hurt either.

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