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What is a good speed/pace for very beginning beginner runner (C25K)?

posted over 4 years ago | Report

I am old and fat and haven't run in 30 years, but I'm getting in better and better shape through walking and the elliptical, and I like at least the idea of doing the C25k program.

The problem is, not surprisingly, that the running portion is killing me.

I have a feeling that I might be setting an unrealistic pace for the running for someone who is starting at such a low fitness point, though I'm not sure what I've been trying because I haven't been on the treadmill. My normal "really good workout" pace is around 4mph. With that as a starting point, what would be a good goal point for the running? I've decided to try this first on the treadmill, using 3.5mph as my walking pace (so that it's a real break from the running) but I don't know what I should set as the running speed.

  • A
    A Sendmail

    Sorry, I have no idea about the answer to your question. However, I did want to mention that I saw a girl on the trail today whose jogging pace was slower than my relatively fast walk. That said, it looked like she could keep up her pace for miles and miles, so don't be afraid to have the pace be very slow if that's what you need to do.

    Also, let me know if you decide to try the Couch 2 5K! I've been reading a bit about it too. Maybe we could be C25K buddies.

    posted over 4 years ago

  • As a new runner who is also older and out of shape, I can tell you that when I started a very slow jog for me was about 4.2 to 4.5 on the treadmill. Gradually I increased that up to 5.5 and 6 or more if I really wanted to run. But that increase took me months to get to.

    I say just trust your body/instincts to tell you what is a good pace. They say you should be able to carry on a conversation while you run. I find that hard cause even at a slow pace I huff and puff like I'm about to keel over. Learning how to breath properly when running has been an ongoing battle for me, one that I'm slowly learning to overcome but it's taken 3 months to get there.

    Glad to see you are willing to give jogging/running a try. Warning: It's addicting!

    posted over 4 years ago

  • I thought that I would have to be at at least 5.0 mph for it to "count" as jogging, but when I dropped down to 4.5-4.7mph I was able to keep up the pace so much longer! I made the switch when I heard that adage about being able to hold a conversation while you run. I huffed and puffed madly after about a minute at 5.0, but at 4.5 I can make it much longer before my breath starts to give out.

    Good luck!

    posted over 4 years ago

  • Pacing is more art than science... its very much a "feel" kind of thing. So, with your running "killing you" the question is: "what about the running is killing you?"

    If what is "killing you" is muscle and join soreness. Then working on an elliptical might be better to initially to build up your metabolism and core strength.

    On the other hand, if what's "killing you" is energy levels then pace is definitely something you'll want to work on. Slowing down or speeding up your pace by even small amounts can make a huge difference in how far you can go and how tired you get. To find the right pace its best to work with your heart rate as your guide. You want to keep your HR in the aerobic range... this is where your body is most efficient at converting fat and stored carbs into usable energy. The aerobic range is actually a pretty easy running pace and generally slower than most people will naturally launch off on for running. The trick is finding that pace... This involves knowing you aerobic range ( http://exercise.about.com/cs/fitnesstools/l/bl_THR.htm ). For me this is 117 to 150 BPM by tracking my heart rate during workouts I've found that 6 minute Kms to 7 minute Kms keep me in this range and at that pace I can run half-marathon distances.

    The key is finding this range for you and experimenting. For most just starting out runners this aerobic range is usually slower than they think... but as time goes by it will get faster as your body gets into better and better condition.

    Likely more than you wanted to know...

    posted over 4 years ago

  • in reply to what A said:Sorry, I have no idea about the answer to your question. However, I did want to mention that I saw a girl on the trail today whose jogging pace was slower than my relatively fast walk. That said, it looked like she could keep up her pace for miles... read more

    I just started TODAY with the C25K program and could use a buddy or a few buddies :D

    Also to the OP.... I am a couch person with no gym time till now since highschool (over 15 yrs ago). Today I did 3.4 mph for walking and 5 mph for my jogging....it got my heart pounding but i'm not sore anywhere.

    posted over 4 years ago | edited over 4 years ago

  • Thanks for all of the input! I tried day 1 today -- ok, well, I made it for 20 minutes, which was about 5 one minute running cycles, but I'm going to keep plugging. I started the running at 4.2 and did the last one at 4.8. I think I need to keep it down and not push myself so hard, to get the endurance I want to develop.

    And Bo, what you posted was VERY useful to me. I have a heart rate monitor around here somewhere, now I need to find and use it! It's definitely lack of stamina that's the big killer, though I was also having some knee twinges today that are what caused me to stop.

    posted over 4 years ago | edited over 4 years ago

  • Knee twinges can be from a number of causes... a bit of over training... a bit of not the right shoes... a bit of a bounding running style (leaping from step to step versus a more gliding style where its more of a shallow hop)... those are a few. The key thing if the knees are hurting, even twinges, back off a little and/or adjust the running style. If the twinges don't go away from that then... if you run outside... check the shoes for the proper fit and type for your running style.

    Oh, and intervals are great for building stamina! Alternate that with Pace/Tempo runs and add about 10% to either time or distance each week (or there about) and you can build up that core metabolic engine.

    posted over 4 years ago

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