Is a 12 minute/mile a good time for a beginner?

My partner and I have just starting running to try and get in shape and lose weight. We go running (jogging
really) about 3 times a week on grass and put in times of around 10/11 minutes per mile. We can both manage about 2 miles, but feel we could be able to do 3 or 4 in the next few weeks.
I wear a heart monitor and during the second mile it showed as around 170 to 180bpm (I'm 29).

What kind of times should we be aiming for, and how quickly might we expect to improve ?

All comments welcomed!

Graham (and Sarah)


  • I am a beginner and a 10 min miler. My plan is to get up to 6 miles non stop (I was up to 5 until I got the cold from hell for 2 weeks) and then look to improve my speed. The logic is to build stamina before speed.I ve heard that speed work can expose the untrained to a greater risk of injury.

    There are buckets of programs on this site. As for the heart rate issue there is some calculation to find your optimal level but I cant remember it. Its probably on this site too

    My advice:

    1. Forget times & heart rate
    2. Build stamina & strength slowly
    3. Enter 10 k race
    4. Get drunk when you finish 3
    5. Introduce speedwork

    Good luck

  • Is that "get drunk when you finish 3 10ks" or "get drunk when you finish 3 miles". I vote for the latter.

    I tend to run 8:30 - 9:00 min/miles, and I consider myself a beginner: I agree with WG - the general advice seems to be to go for "time on your feet" so start with rather than speed.

    But I guess it depends what you're aiming for?
  • It doesn't matter if it's 2, 12 or 24 minutes - you're out ruuning! Do what feels right and you will get faster as you go any way.

    All the best

  • The usual and best advice is to start slowly, don't increase mileage by more than 10% per week, walk if you need to, forget the HRM for now. Work on 'time on you feet' and don't worry about speed. It's not an overnight thing but it doesn't take for ever either.

    What you will find is that your cardiovascular system improves faster than your musculoskeletal system so beware running too far just because you are not so out of breath. Stick to the 10% rule and you should avoid injury. You will be surprised how quickly it builds up.

    Best of luck,

  • When doing your long run to build stamina,forget your heart monitor for now and run at a speed that allows you to talk in short sentences.
    Good luck!
  • Hi Graham, I just started running in May, it took me about 3 weeks to run a mile without stopping, 11 min mile,

    in 8 weeks I was up to 3 mile, 10 min mile,

    then I got shin splints and had 2 weeks off,

    in 14 weeks I was up to 5 mile, 9.75 mile,

    in 20 weeks I was up to 8 mile, 9.3 mile,

    in 25 weeks "today" I did 10.5 mile, 9.3 pace.

    If you told me 25 weeks ago that I would run 10.5 mile I would not have believed you.

    My breathing has been very laboured up until about 3 weeks ago and now after about 4 or 5 mile I start breathing normally, until a hill that is.

    So stick with it, it does get easier, and more and more enjoyable,
    all the best,

  • I haven't done all the max heart rate calc etc but still find my HRM very useful especially when I was starting out. I noted my heart rate when I was getting out of breath and tired on a run, I then made sure I kept just below that limit by slowing down or walking. The upshot of this was that I could go for longer runs and build up my stamina. If you have a tendancy to go off like a whippet and die after 10mins it can help you be more disaplined.

    I will probably be shot down in flames by the more technical amonst us. But thats what worked for me.
  • Oh and by the way I am 47, I lost 2 stone from Feb to May then I was stuck, then I started started running in May and lost another 1.5 stone, and I am now 12.5 stone and feel great......
  • Yes whereever you start at you will improve fast if you train 3 times a week and take it sensibly. I started from a position of being fairly fit (but never having run) and could get round 6k in about 27 minutes and have managed to get down to sub 40 for 10k now. Not spectacular but I'm happy with that.

    Look for improvement over months though rather than run by run - and follow the general rule of not upping mileage too fast just because you feel you can.
  • Gaz,
    You are an inspiration! I am 12 stone 8 at the moment but lost 7 lbs last month. I run a 11 - 12 minute mile - can you tell me does the running automatically get faster and easier as one loses weight or is it the regular running that makes things easier? I am 49 and female and dont want to be 'fair, fat and fifty' next year. Any advice welcome. Oh, I also hate sticking to calorie controlled diets but I suppose thats the only way forward - literally!
  • Hey Gaz,

    You've really made be believe I can lose
    the weight (I'm 15 stone) to help with my running. My legs tend to ache after running, I have to leave it at least 1 (maybe 2) days before I can go again and
    I think a lot of this is to do with
    the extra weight I am carrying. If I don't rest my legs, mostly the shins, hurt too much.

    Gaz: What kind of diet changes did you make, roughly how many calories were you eating a day ?

    Big G (Graham North)
  • Gaz

    I would be interested to know how you did it as well. I put on weight when I started running as my thinking was "well i am a runner now so i can have another pint/ poppadum/slice of pizza". Didnt work and i am now tracking what i eat via an online tool Its excellent I would advise anyone who is seriously trying to lose weight to check it out (its FREE!)

    I would still be interested in your approach

    Cheers & well done
  • Hi,Big G and FL,
    as I have only been running since May I am no expert and can only say what I did, which was a bit trial and error, and most of the info I got was from this forum and Runners World mag, and I must say I got some great advice.
    To start with I just cut out chips, crisps, biscuits and all the usual nice stuff and started eating more fruit and drinking more water, 2 litres a day, also cut right back on alcohol, I didnt diet I just started to eat more sensibly.
    When I started running it was awful, the fat just wobbled all over and I couldnt get my breath, but I stuck with it, But after about 5 weeks I got very bad pains in my shins due to the wrong shoes and doing too much too soon, so I rode my mountain bike for two weeks to keep up my fitness, and then got back into it slowly.
    I think as you get fitter and the weight comes of you do get faster and it does get easier, but I wouldnt bother too much about speed at first just concentrate on getting out there and building up your fitness.

    I run 4 times a week, about 27 miles a week now, longest run 10.5, they say to only increase your milage by 10% a week, but I only increase by 1/2 to 1 mile a week, the way I see it is there is no rush, easy does it, and listen to your body.
    I now find I can eat what I want, within reason as the running is keeping me stable, I want to get to 12 stone but as with running there is no rush and I will get there.
    Hope I have helped you, and I wish you all the best with your running and weight loss, I know its an old saying but "If I can do it anyone can" and I was out of shape.

    Good luck, Gaz........
  • And Hi to Wheezer Good.
  • Gaz:

    What was wrong with your running shoes to give you problems with your shins ? This is the part of my legs that hurt the most.

    Big G
  • Just checked out that site, very impressed.

    The only annoying factor - most of the food is American. However, it does let you add in your own food and its nutritional content.

    Thanks Wheezer Good!

    Big G
  • Big G,
    I was sold New Balance 854s (severe pronation shoe) because the shop says I over pronated badly, the block in the heel to stop pronation is like half a brick and has no give.
    So I went to another shop and he says I only over pronate slightly in my right foot and the left foot is neutral and he says I am landing on the block in the heel and sending shocks up my legs, in fact he says the NB854 is a bad shoe and he dosn't know how anyone can run in them.
    So I got a pair of Nike Air Span Triax 3 and my shins have been a lot better, I still get a twinge from time to time but no where near as bad as it was.

  • Gaz,

    Quick question re the diet. Did you go off the sauce? Ive been off it for two weeks now but I ve got a deadly thirst on today and I reckon its going to be beer o'clock time soon. Also i am not really a have one/two type iam a binger!! (but only once a week)

  • Wheezer Good,

    I lasted about 6 weeks of the drink, but I thought what the hell I like a good drink so once a week isnt going to hurt, I usually have a drink on the night of my long run as a treat, you have to have treats to look forward to.

  • Umm, don't know whether anyone has mentioned this, but keep some kind of training log. You'll look back and be amazed at how far you have come.
  • Trickle

    You can do all that + food analysis, goal setting etc at

    I have been going on about this all day but its really good & FREE


  • Interesting thread this one.It has described me in one way or another.
    1.Beginner-ish...well i last ran in 1981!And have just started again.
    2.Overweight...Big style 16.5 stone.
    3.12 minute miler, or there abouts.
    4.And my nemesis,sore shins.

    I am training on grass at the moment (not the medicinal type)and hope it helps to lessen the chance of injury.Three weeks now and so far so good, of following the Runners World beginners schedule.
    I will keep a watch on this thread and perhaps post back with my progress.
  • I've never really posted to newsgroups (and I've worked in the computer industry for 8 years), but these threads seem to have attracted my interest. The whole website is pretty cool actually.

    ...but you guys know all this so I'll shut up and get back on the cycle machine..only another 300 cals to go...

    Big (but getting smaller) G
  • Keep going Big G! We'll look out for when you change your nickname!
  • Wheezer Good
    I checked out the web site - thanks a million! Its brill and free. I feel inspired by you all. Anyone fancy creating our own on line slimming group?
  • Short answer

  • Re:
    Found another site more tailored to us in the UK:

    its got most of the foods available in the UK, but it COSTS!! £7 per month.

    I'm sticking to as I've entered most of the foods I eat on a regular basis (yes I know, I need to get
    out more...and I will if it ever stops

    Again, I'm nothing to do with this website but a big thanks to whoever it was who suggested it in the first place!

    Big (2lbs lighter than yesterday ?!?) G
  • FL

    go to Health and injury and join the thread that is fat/fit club which has a different name each day - today is Buxom Beauties and join in !

    ps good luck with fair fit and fifty - im going to be fast fit and forty next year - not fat fed up and forty!
Sign In or Register to comment.