Realistic improvements in speed

I started running 15 weeks ago from doing zero activity/cardio in years.

I started with c25k app condensed into 5 weeks then did 5-10k app again condensed into 5 weeks. Past 5 weeks I’ve extended my long run and have just run 13.1 miles in 2:28 this was during an LSD run running that felt tough but leisurely/doable/sustainable it was mainly for time on my feet.

My PBs are 10K 1:08 and 5k 28:23 bout 3 weeks ago. My distance and speed and cardio are improving every week but my fitness is lacking so bad. For example my 5k time I felt so out of breath as though I wouldn’t have been able to keep that pace up for much longer. Which is actually a lot of people’s easy run speed.

I have just signed up for a half marathon in October and wondered what a realistic time I should aim for.

Also how should I approach the next 11 weeks? Speed work? Further distance mix of both?

I was planning to add another days running and increase my weekly runs from 20-25 miles to 30+ miles.

Doable or crazy?

Thanks in advance


  • GuarddogGuarddog ✭✭✭
    Hi carbdodger - congrats on completing the c25k and then stepping up to 10k and half marathon distances. You've actually done the hard part by getting out there and running. Certainly your plans are doable, by the sound of it you've already got the base endurance to be able to run 13.1 miles. That is a big psychological factor.

    And don't worry too much about your fitness. It doesn't sound as though it's lacking at all if you're currently doing 20-25 miles a week. The 5K is a tough distance. It's been made popular by Parkrun and people now judge themselves weekly by what they do on a Saturday. Personally I find the 5K harder than 10K or the half as my expectation is that I should be pushing myself more.

    In terms of training what you need to be aiming for is a mix of speed work and endurance. If you aim for 5 runs a week (giving yourself rest and cross training days) then you should look to be doing two speed sessions, with two easy/recovery runs and then one long slow run to build up your endurance and, as you say, give you time on your feet. There are probably loads of plans that you can download that will give you a schedule leading up to your half.
  • Ian5Ian5 ✭✭✭
    Carbdodger-Well done on getting out.
    I started 4 years ago after 30 years of doing nothing so know where you are coming from.
    Personally I wouldnt do any speedwork,as you are new to it your bones and muscles will be adapting for quite a while so easy running will help avoid injuries.
    If you're going for 30mpw then that will be good enough to show a good improvement.
    I've managed to get my HM down to 1:26 from 1:58 by just doing easy paced runs.
  • JGavJGav ✭✭✭
    Consistent running for the next 11 weeks will do loads for your fitness.  Make sure you have some easier cut back weeks to allow yourself to recover and don't dig yourself into a hole. 

    Speed work isn't strictly necessary for now but you should add in some race pace work, this can be a block in the middle of the long run, a progression run from easy pace to HM pace or a mixture.  Keep it fun and interesting.
  • Thanks for the comments guys. Yeah i keep jumping between plans take bits and pieces from ones online. 

    So i did a 10k this morning and ran 1:02 so better but still loads of improvement needed.

    I think i will do 4 days running for the next month:

    Tuesday- tough full speed 10k (6.2)

    Thursday - 10 k with 1 mile 5 k pace 1 mile HM pace

    Saturday- park run 

    Sunday- LSD 10-15 miles depending on which week? 
  • GuarddogGuarddog ✭✭✭
    Hi carbdodger - might be an idea to make your long slow runs about time on feet rather than distance. The one I worked to started at 60 mins and built up in 10 minute increments over the weeks to 2 hours. As your endurance increases you'll probably find you can push the pace, but remember to keep it easy. 
  • Dont focus too much on speed work, just enjoy your training and avoid injury. And treat your finishing time in the HM as a baseline. 5+5+11 is around about 1 full seasons base phase. I would just do easy miles at current mileage and taper for 2 weeks before the race.

    After the race have a couple of really easy weeks then starts introducing tempos and fartleks into your training regime.
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