Best way to use a 5 mile (8km route) to train as a begginer.

Hello, I accidentally started running a few weeks back & want to know more about how to get better, which I guess means faster. I'll explain.   Decided to walk to work to save money & lose a few pounds. I'm currently 85kg (13st 5lb) & I'd already lost about around 1.5 to 2 stone when I thought the walk would help shed the last few pounds.   I'm 35 & I quite smoking about 3 years ago & had never really thought about running, but after the walking got a bit dull I figured I'd see how we'll I could do it at a slow jog.   I have a very nice 6 mile route to work but I time myself over the first 5 miles (8km) where I buy my lunch for later & walk the last mile.   I've only run it about 7 or 8 times but I was measuring myself with the Runtastic iPhone app & my time have or better every run. Starting at a very beginner pace (and walking most of the way) I can now run the distance all the way at an average speed of 11.2kmph, & if I put my mind to it I could do 8km in less than 40mins, (already done it in 42.5 mins) & while I know that's not much to a lot of people hear, I'm actually quite pleased with it, with me only having run it a few times already & all.   Also, oddly, I'm enjoying the running...?!?!?   I realise a 5 mile / 8km route is quite a lot for a beginner to tackle twice daily (I ALWAYS walk on the way back, btw) but it's a great route which I'd like to use to my advantage & help make me fitter/a better runner so I'm learning the distance markers in my head at each 1/2km interval (...there...I said 'interval'...I have a feeling I these might come in handy...)   My question is:   What's a good training regime to set to help get the most out of this distance every/every other morning?   Obviously if a goid training regime means only running for 3 km, I can walk the rest of the distance, so it doesn't have to be a plan that fills the entire distance everyday.   Note: On the occasions where I've run two days in a row, my calfs have KILLED me for the rest of the 2nd day & all the 3rd day when I didn't run.   I DO listen to my body & if my calfs ache badly then I don't run. Simple as that. I am a noob but I'm not stupid.   I have a feeling the calf ache is because my body just isn't used to running so I'm not too worried about it just yet. But if it's not decreased in a few weeks I'll have a better look at it (I think it is be getting better each time though).   Even with the calf ache, I can, & will, walk it without any problems.


  • Blimey...what happened to my paragraphs once it got sent...?

  • I do not want to be a spoilsport but;

    (a)  autumn (rain) and winter (cold & rain) are on the way... and

    (b) runners are very good at injuring themselves

    My objective for you is simply to keep it up!

    I would suggest finding an easier way to get to work (part bus part walk?) so that on poor weather/ low motivation days you have an alternative that involves doing a bit less rather than not at all.

    And looking for an interesting event in the spring...

  • PigeonCake, sounds like you have some natural ability there, I am envious image

    In response to your question - I'll assume that you are right in estimating that you could manage the 8k in 40minutes, that would give you a current 'race pace' of 5 minutes per k (8 per mile).  To make best use of your opportunity -

    Starting out I'd go with Monday run easy - Tues walk - Wed run easy - Thur walk - Fri run hard (your 5min per k), not trying to go faster every day, just trying to keep nice and consistent.  As Sideburn says, runners are very good at injuring themselves.  Once you have that under your belt, you could move to Mon&Tue run, Wed walk, Thurs&Fri run, with Fri still being 'fast' day (giving you the weekend to recover).

    Again, once this has stabilised, change Tuesday's run to an interval session and break the run into a warm up (2-3k) some distances that you run at slightly faster than your race pace (4:45 per k pace, for 400m for example, with 100metre recovery jog x 6-8) and the last k to cool off at a gentle jog.

    Eventually you will need / want to extend your distance / start entering events.  It's addictive image.  I'm sure some of the faster guys on here can then jump in with more advice.

  • That sounds like a good idea. Thanks Louise. As I've never 'trained' before I have absolutely no idea where to start. That's given it a bit more structure & is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks.

    In the 9 or 10 runs I've done so far my fastest time over 8km was 42mins 36secs. So if I kept a closer eye on my pace I think I can do it in 40 mins. There's a bastard hill in an otherwise relatively flat, shallow route. It sucks up minutes and so far it's the only bit I've had to walk part of everytime. Only about a 30 metre stretch but its a sudden, very very steep hill lasting about 300 metres. Once I've got that beat I'll be able to do the 8km in 40mins.

    I occasionally take the train in. It is a possibility, commuting is dead time so I'd rather spend a bit more time and not have to go to the gym than spend less time sat doing nothing on a train. Saves money too.

    I'll have a look at events. I could do a 5k now, to be honest, just not very quickly.

    Thanks for encouragement Sideburn. I'll keep it up & post how I'm doing in a couple of months.

  • PigeonCake, good luck.  Just remember - don't keep trying to go faster every day - you will injure yourself.  Run easy (could hold a conversation and run at the same time) 3 out of 4 times.

  • Good tip. Hadn't thought about that. That's the way it's done is it..? Only 1 in 4 runs are hard ones. That makes sense. Got it.

    Thanks again.

  • instead of starting a new thread, just thought I'd ask...

    ...I ran 5k in 26mins (the whole 8k in 42mins)...

    I noticed a few articles about doing 5k in 30mins or under, so is that a decent time? It's my 11th run since starting on July the 26th.

     Although I'm reaching my limit after building up to that time gradually (better times will be mote difficult from here I think), it still didn't seem that difficult.

  • Actually I ran the 8k in 40mins, not 42...

  • SteadyCJSteadyCJ ✭✭✭

    5k in under 30 mins is seen as a nice target to get to, but you do not have to get to that speed. I only got under 30 mins for 5k many, many years ago. For now I am pleased to do it in 36 mins, everyone is unique.

    When you have been doing the journey to and from work for 6 months, it will be a habit and you will have naturally progressed if you follow Louise's suggestions. Think that this is long term change, if you rush and do too much too soon you are at a high risk of injury.

  • PC, that is a pretty decent time, especially for an overweight(?) ex-smoking beginner.  Like I said, sounds as though you have some natural ability.  Keep up the steady 'easy' work, running at a pace at which you could comfortably chat, for the bulk of your mileage.  If you want to see the paces at which you could target the speedwork, take a look at the runners' pace calculators.  I like McMillan but that's just personal.

    Why don't you look for an event somewhere local and try under 'race' conditions?  That would also have the advantage of being an officially measured and timed course.


  • I'm 5'9" (173cm) & weigh 13st 5.4lb / 187.4lb (85kg). My BMI index says my ideal weight is 12st / 165lb (75kg) so I'm overweight, but I lost a lot over the last 5 months. I was 16st in Febuary.

    To be honest I think the BMI is a load of bulls**t. I've been thinner than this before but it felt unhealthy. I'm happy with my weight, tbh.

    I quit smoking 3 years ago. That's why I can run all of a sudden I think. This was torture when I was a smoker.

    I like the sound of an 'event'. Where do I find out about them? Is it like Fight Club? Is the first rule that you're not allowed to talk about them?

  • This might help.

  • SteadyCJSteadyCJ ✭✭✭

    PigeonCake, once you find and enter your event, please tell us so we can help you along.

  • literatin wrote (see)

    This might help.

    OMG...! You hide them in an 'events' section. No wonder no one cam find them. image Thanks literatin. In my defence I haven't actually been anywhere else on this site yet..

    Thanks SteadyCJ. Just having a look at them now. Will post it up if I decide to do one.

  • Also there are the free park runs held all over tr country every Saturday morning a timed 5k that is completely free. Just sign up online and turn up on a Saturday morning just before 9.

  • Hi PigeoCake

     Speaking as a athletic  coach.  You are doing great for someone who as just started, but do not be carried away by time and speed.  You have to take a long term view of this .

    1 Try and concentrate on keeping motivated

    2 Do not worry about targets

    3 Keep a good diet involving lentils,meat, veg and fruit don't  worry about how much yo eat because the more you run the more fuel you will need 


  • Splendid advice. I figured that once I got up to a certain time then it wouldn't be productive to keep trying to better it. I figured it would plateau & then it would be more about how easily I could keep at it.

    I am having a problem with my right knee now though. It starts to ache a bit at around 2 to 3 km. It hurts to run on, but seems to get a little better after that. I've not been running on it when it starts to hurt & I'm taking a week off running to see if it gets better. Hope it does.

  • I've NEVER worried about how much I

  • Oh... I know it sounds a bit daft but if you only run the one route, make sure you try to run it the other way around as well... So if you normally run it clockwise try anti-clockwise as well at times.

    It's just if there is a camber on the road/path etc... your always putting more weight on one side if you only run it one way round, so could exasperate little niggles, whereas running it the other way around puts the pressure on the other leg etc..

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