Question for experienced runners

Hey, so I’m new to running. Really new. I’m 23, 5’3” and 200lbs. I’ve never ran in my life.

Now, I started doing the couch to 5k app and figured I need to go 6mph to run the 5km suggested in this program by the end. So I started and almost died for three weeks. I repeated workouts and after the run sections I would nearly throw up, I was light headed. Wasn’t good.

So my friend told me maybe I should slow it down to 5mph. I gave it a go today and went 5 minutes without stopping with two minute walk breaks 4 times. With couch to 5k, I was doing 1.5 minutes and it was more exhausting with two minute walk breaks 4 times over.

My question is this: which is better? Speed or distance? Should I continue at 5mph until I can run the 5k then slowly work up to running 6mph or should I continue running the 6mph workout? Thanks.
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Replies

  • jamesnexusseven
    jamesnexusseven Posts: 16 Member
    I'm new too so I feel your pain. I have a set route I follow every other day I go running. I do not follow a programme. I just try to increase the distance I can go before I stop for the first time.

    My route is currently about 3.1km which I complete in about 23-26 minutes. I stop and walk about 2-3 times. My best is 2.3km without stopping. I was ill last week though (dizzy) so didn't run at all. It's affected my run last night and Sunday night.

    Good luck to you though. Just try and go for distance. I think keeping an eye on your time and trying to improve it over time is the best way. Your better to jog for 15 minutes instead of sprinting for 30 seconds. It's the sustained excersize that will help you.

    James.
  • RunForPizza88
    RunForPizza88 Posts: 56 Member
    Honestly, don’t worry about the speed. You are getting out and doing it which is great! For your weight at that height I think your suggested speed of 5mph is just fine but if I were you I wouldn’t focus on pace for now!

    You’ll be surprised too, as you drop weight and have more practice running, you’ll naturally get a bit faster and/or your current pace will begin to feel easier.

    Female here 5ft1 can run 5k in under 23mins but my general runs during the week are slllooooowwwww, about 6.3mph so if that helps to put it in to perspective for you I don’t think you need to worry about running 6mph!

    You’re doing great!! Just enjoy it :D
  • girlinahat
    girlinahat Posts: 2,956 Member
    if it helps, when I started c25k my walk breaks were at 3.2mph and my runs at the beginning were at 3.7mph. I think throughout the entire programme I never got faster than 4.2mph.

    the object is to build cardiovascular endurance. You muscles will get stronger faster than your cardiovascular system which is why the programme is designed to ease you in gently. Go too fast during the run intervals, and when you hit week five and try that 20 minute run you will fail and keep repeating weeks.

    I think it is better to run slowly and not repeat weeks, than to try and go out too fast and give up. Chances are you won't get to distance in the time - I think my first 5k was 34 minutes, and I doubt it's a lot better now. @rheddmobile has some good suggestions on how to adapt the plan.

    Keep at it, but honestly, slow down. Even if you could walk faster than your 'run' speed, it doesn't matter, the programme is about increasing endurance, NOT making you a fast runner - that bit comes later.
  • tvm1970
    tvm1970 Posts: 140 Member
    tarisa01 wrote: »
    My question is this: which is better? Speed or distance?

    Neither. The best method is time on feet. Think about working up to running for 30 minutes over the nine weeks instead of aiming for a particular distance.

    Speed isn't important, that will come later.

    Distance isn't important, that will automatically increase as your duration does.

    Endurance and time on feet is the way to start.





  • funjen1972
    funjen1972 Posts: 949 Member
    Nice job on starting to run! You will be amazed at the benefits of your hard work.

    My best advice to you is slow down. There are still times when I push it too hard on a long run and almost run in place to catch my breath so I can finish the distance without stopping.

    Slow and steady is the way to go when you're starting out. Speed will come with time.
  • susanpiper57
    susanpiper57 Posts: 213 Member
    I started running about 8 years ago, and I was never able to run more than a couple of miles without walking a bit. Eventually I figured out that I was going too fast, and I slowed it down and built up my endurance so that I could run double digit miles without walking. Once you build up your endurance, your comfortable pace will naturally get faster. As someone else mentioned, try to run at a pace where you can talk a bit while running, that is your sweet spot for every-day runs. You can work on speed after you've gotten your body used to running. Good luck, running is my favorite way to exercise, the mental benefits are great!
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,609 Member
    tvm1970 wrote: »
    tarisa01 wrote: »
    My question is this: which is better? Speed or distance?

    Neither. The best method is time on feet. Think about working up to running for 30 minutes over the nine weeks instead of aiming for a particular distance.

    Speed isn't important, that will come later.

    Distance isn't important, that will automatically increase as your duration does.

    Endurance and time on feet is the way to start.





    Agreed. Which is better depends on goals and where you are as a runner. For you, time should be most important. But specifically to your question... For most people, more time translates to more distance... so between speed and distance, focus on distance.
  • oilphins
    oilphins Posts: 240 Member
    Every one here is right. Don't worry about your speed and how fast you finish. That will come with time as you get your cardio up. When I first started running, I had to stop numerous times doing a 5k. Then it became only 5 times, then 4 and so on until I could do a full 5k without stopping. I've been running now seriously for about 10 years and have done 7 half marathons and now try for better finish times. Eventually once you get to the point where you can do 5k without stopping, you can then try to get faster but just focus on getting your cardio up before you try anything new. I was also about 200 pounds when I first started and am now at about 175. Running will get a lot easier when you weigh less as well, especially on your knees. Good luck to you.
  • fitoverfortymom
    fitoverfortymom Posts: 3,453 Member
    edited October 2018
    Run for distance, don't worry about time.

    This. Just go slow when you run. Slower than you think. Truly run at a pace that allows you to have a conversation. Stick with it. If you enjoy it, then keep doing it. Many of us started exactly where you are.

    Think about participating in the MFP monthly running challenge thread to keep setting goals for yourself: https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10698516/october-2018-monthly-running-challenge
  • Tacklewasher
    Tacklewasher Posts: 7,122 Member
    I know my first 5K, after completing the C25K, still took about 40 mins.

    Slow down so you can run the time intervals while doing the program. When you can run the full 30 mins, you can start working on speed (slowly).
  • kdbulger
    kdbulger Posts: 396 Member
    It's okay to be ridiculously slow (I am!). Find a C25K app that focuses on time intervals, follow it as far as you can, then add minutes until you reach 5k at whatever is a easy, slow pace for you.

    I'm pretty new to running myself, and what I'm learning is the harder I push, the harder my body rebels. The key to running is that it's a long game, and that the majority of your runs (especially as a newbie!) should happen at your easy, conversational pace.
  • mbaker566
    mbaker566 Posts: 11,234 Member
    i've been running for a few years and i still run 33min 5k on my best day.
    speed (hopefully) comes with time.
  • firef1y72
    firef1y72 Posts: 1,578 Member
    I didn't break the 30min 5km until around a year after I started running, (and specifically training to build speed). C25K is a great program to follow but the best advice I got was to slow down and then slow down some more. Once you're running the 30min you can extend the time you're running for until you're up to 5km, 10km, half marathon, marathon or whatever and speed will normally follow with the help of such delights as hill and sprint intervals