5k 30 mins to 20 mins in 5 months

I've just started running again after a few years of laziness and weight gain.
To challenge myself I have taken a bet on with friends I can't go sub 20 mins before October 7th.
My most recent run was 3k at 5.20 pace. I finished strong but was completely done, I had pushed myself hard.
So early signs arent promising it would seem.
However 4 years ago i was running 5k in sub 24mins according to Map my Run. All i did then was play 5 a side weekly. No training at all. I also drank and smoked then.
I'm 15 kilos heavier than I was so I have a a fair amount of timber to shift but I no longer drink or smoke. I have a resting heart rate of sub 50 and I used to be very fit in my youth when I boxed. So there are some positives and negatives.
I have a training plan which starts Monday via Garmin Coach.
Any thought or suggestions gratefully received.
But I'm more interested in if people think it is possible. Although this may be how long is a piece of string.....

Thanks :)


  • I would say that if you really commit to it, then it probably is doable. 20 mins is a fast time, but not insanely fast in the scheme of things.

    If you have 15 kgs to come off, then that will be a huge factor in whether you make it or not. Hitting sub 20 I've found only really takes 25-30 miles a week, so it's not a massive commitment. Be sure to do some speedwork at least once a week and get a good long run in at the weekend to build your endurance base. All the best, let us know how you get on.
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    It's a challenge, losing the weight will be key, as will not being injured. October is not that far away in running terms so it might not be this year. Have a go but running might be your long term exercise rather than a short term goal you may or may not meet.
  • fb220fb220 ✭✭
    Looking to do something similar to would be great to hear how you progress!
  • That's really impressive, well done.
  • First week has gone ok. Just easing into it with some easy paced runs. <div>Will see how my long run on the weekend goes. Target is 45 mins in the aerobic zone. </div><div>Weight is coming off slowly but feel slimmer!</div>
  • Ive done a 5k in 19.56 at a body weight of 240lb and height of 181cm. (Bmi 33) Been training for almost 4months. My first 5k was 28mins on 1st of feb. I weighed 272lb then too. In 4 months ive dropped 30lb and run sub 20min. 
  • fb220fb220 ✭✭
    > @adogslife said:
    > First week has gone ok. Just easing into it with some easy paced runs. <div>Will see how my long run on the weekend goes. Target is 45 mins in the aerobic zone. </div><div>Weight is coming off slowly but feel slimmer!</div>

    How has it been going? Any tips?
  • pax11pax11 ✭✭
    I'm also following this as I'm in a similar situation. Used to run a lot but have put on a lot of weight and stopped doing anything. I started again a couple of months ago. I'm doing a 5k time trial every week or two and am down from 32 minutes to just under 28 and have lost 7kg from a mixture of running and cycling. My PB from about 15 years ago was about 20:30. I did 21:30 in a park run about 7 years ago. I still need to lose at least 10kg. Not sure I could get under 20 minutes but would be good to get close!
  • So felt I was making good progress. I am training by working to Heart rate for set times, as opposed to a pace. <div>Pace has been improving for same effort etc. started threshold runs last week and they went well. </div><div>But.... twinged my calf on Friday. Couldn’t do my long run on Sunday or my easy run scheduled for today. So having a few more days off. </div><div>But very frustrating after a pleasing start. </div><div>To put some numbers behind this I ran a 5k in 33 mins around a month ago. Ran a very easy paced one in 30 a week ago. Reckon I’m down to 28 mins or so. </div><div>Hopefully this jiggle clears up ASAP. </div>
  • GuarddogGuarddog ✭✭✭
    Take it steady, adogslife, hopefully it's a low grade tear in the calf and will mean no more than a few days rest. It's worth rolling and icing it and perhaps investing in a pair of compression socks or sleeves if you don't already have them. It's frustrating, but when you start stepping up the intensity it happens.
  • pax11pax11 ✭✭
    I'm restricting my running to 2 or 3 times a week. The cycling helps me to get fit and lose weight and reduces the risk of injury from running. I've already had a bit of a niggle in my left ankle and don't run for a few days if it comes back.

    GWS adogslife
  • pax11pax11 ✭✭
    Any update adogslife? My training and weight loss is going ok and have taken another minute off my 5k and another kilo off.
  • pax11pax11 ✭✭
    Down 10kg now and going to try another 5k at the weekend. Looking at my times, they're almost in direct proportion to my weight. It almost seems like losing weight is better than training!
  • I started a similar challenge at the start of lockdown. I have progressed from a 35 min 5k down to 24:30, the aim is to go sub 20.
    I am training properly now, not just going for a run.
  • I’m following this with interest too. I only took up running in April, when running half a kilometre felt like an achievement. My first 5k was 34m. Now it’s a 29:06. My ultimate aim is to break 20mins, which I think would be a brilliant achievement for a 48 year old. I’ve just started Pete Pfitzinger’s 10 week 5k base training and will follow that with another 10 weeks of 5k race training and see where I’m at then. <div>Having said that having to rest this week after having a verruca removed, which is rather frustrating. Can’t wait to get going again soon. </div>
    48 year old beginner running since April 2020
  • BE CAREFUL! Although a 20min 5k is not mega fast, it's a big shift from 30mins and if you're carrying a little more weight then previously you carry a high risk of injury if you push, push, push. Last year I got my 10k from 61mins to 41 mins and felt on cloud 9. But with too little focus on strength & conditioning, mobility etc I really hurt my hip. 6 months of physio, sports massage, little running, dry needling, new shoes and half a tonne of frustration later and I'm running a 50 min 10k!
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