Hello (former) slow joggers

Lietchi Posts: 3,296 Member
Well, I've been jogging since November, on treadmill only. I started jogging for 15-30 minutes at 6.5kph (4mph) and my current 'best' is running at 7kph on average for an hour, and up to 8kph (5mph) for shorter intervals. (You'll notice I'm not a 'real' runner yet by the fact that I don't use "minutes per km/mile" to judge my speed, I can't get my head around those (yet) :smile: )
I currently run 2 to 3 times a week, I still need a lot of recovery time.

I joined Strava recently and I'm depressed at discovering how fast my friends are running :wink: I prefer to go for longer runs (1hour) but I'd like to increase my speed too. So I was wondering what strategies you've used successfully.
I've tried doing shorter runs while incrementally increasing my speed, but I'm not sure how long I should run at each speed and how big these incremental speed increases should be. The other thing I've been doing is going for my typical long runs, but doing 5-10 minutes at a higher speed at the end of the run.
I'm not sure what a reasonable timing is for increasing my speed. I'd be ecstatic if 'some day' I could run at 8kph for an hour. But having increased my speed by 0.5kph in 6 months seems very slow going (even if those 6 months also includes building up to 1hr non-stop).

Also, I've noticed that I have trouble if I start my runs too fast (legs cramp up), while that same speed can be fine at the end of a run. I'm guessing that this is because I don't warm up properly. So I was wondering how you other slow joggers out here do a warming-up. Should I walk briskly first, or rather jog at a snail's pace and then increase to my regular slow pace? And for how long?


  • gradchica27
    gradchica27 Posts: 776 Member
    Do you do any strength training? I noticed a huge (for me) speed increase while simultaneously not running as often/long when I added in strength training. Went from 10 min miles to 9 to 8:30 without actually working on running speed.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,274 Member
    Start your runs really slowly on the TM and increase the speed every 2-3 minutes by .1. After a mile or two of warm-up you can either continue to do a progression or do a ladder i.e. 4.5 mph - 5.5 then back down to 4.5, or alternate 2 minutes at an easy pace with 2 minutes at a harder pace. OR do 2 minutes hard with 1 minute recovery. When I started running, 6 mph was as fast as I could go for 1 minute. Now I can do 8 mph for 1 minute, but barely. I can, however, do 7.6 for 4 - 8 minutes. I find it harder to go fast on the TM than I do outdoors as I feel less in control. You may find that true as well.

    Finally, don't compare yourself to your friends. You are where you are. There are faster and slower runners than you. Take pride in what you can do, not what you can't.
  • MaltedTea
    MaltedTea Posts: 6,287 Member
    I'd generally incorporate speed training (and sometimes hill training) into weekly running routines. That said, this was when I was training for marathons and otherwise enjoying endurance running. While I could fish around for my old printed routines, Runner's World and a whack of other websites have many more monthly routine ideas and variations (for example, treadmill based).

    Remember...if you go long, you're likely going to go slow(er).

    Also, no need to compare yourself to others. You're literally running your own race. Good on you for ALREADY being a real runner!
  • Shortgirlrunning
    Shortgirlrunning Posts: 1,023 Member
    Strength training has helped me increase my speed. Also running hills has helped increase my speed over time.

    Working on distance will also help you be faster at shorter distances.

    Intervals can help with speed. I’m a big fan of audio guided runs. I use Aaptiv (which is $14 a month) I think the Nike app has free ones. And there are a lots of speed work runs you can do.

    Don’t compare yourself to other runners. You’re running for yourself and you’re only competing against yourself.
  • Hanibanani2020
    Hanibanani2020 Posts: 523 Member
    I found I would run a k then up the speed slowly my decimal points so I did 8.2km then 8.4 the next time etc. I also incorporated loads of strength t
  • briscogun
    briscogun Posts: 1,056 Member
    I'm a treadmill runner too, and quite slow. I finished C25K a while back but I did the whole program running at 5 mph, which is not fast. After I finished the program I wanted to try and get my times down. When I first ran a 5K it took 37:30. Today I got it down to 33:40. I've been adding 0.1 to the speed every week or so, running a bit longer if I have the time, and I add a sprint to the end. It seems to be helping slowly but surely.

    I'll never be a fast runner and I'm okay with that. I don't even think of myself as a runner really even though I can now run a 5K three times a week (who woulda thought?). My goal is to try and get as close to a 30 minute 5K as I can without hurting myself. So we'll see...

    There are a ton of good articles on the interwebz about how to increase running speed. Run for distance, run sprints, run up hills... they probably all work but find one you like that woks for you. Good luck!
  • lorrpb
    lorrpb Posts: 11,465 Member
    “Slower” runners are probably less likely to post their runs publicly on Strava. You’re comparing yourself to the better runners, relatively Speaking. Just keep going!
  • Kodekai1988
    Kodekai1988 Posts: 49 Member
    Longer runs are useful, but obviously slower.

    What does a shorter run look like for you? I think you need to her your head around minutes p/km so you can track your pace - it’s much easier.

    The classic combo is: long runs, tempo runs, hill work, and sprint work, strength training. I got my 5k time down from 38 minutes (hadn’t run in years) to 25 minutes in 3 months using a proper training plan I created using the above. So anyone who says they’re never going to be fast, never say never! I’m still not fast in the grand scheme of things but now believe I’ll get there.

    Someone mentioned stride length which is true - just make sure your stride length isn’t too long. The Running Channel on youtube is a great resource for beginner runners.
  • littlegreenparrot1
    littlegreenparrot1 Posts: 558 Member
    I run trails outside and don't really worry about speed, there are so many variables that can affect it.

    If I were to decide to focus on it I would do intervals, crank it up for a minute or two, then slow back down and repeat. Eventually you can maintain the higher pace for longer and so your overall pace gets quicker.

    My goals are distance related, and more along the lines of getting a bit further up the hill than I did last time :smile:
  • Hanibanani2020
    Hanibanani2020 Posts: 523 Member
    So I ran with the dog for the first time today instead of the gym and I was quite slow but he thought it was the best thing ever even if he did almost kill me a few times 😂. I actually enjoyed the slow run and am going to try and incorporate more road running at a slower pace instead of just faster at the gym. You might be into something.
  • dewd2
    dewd2 Posts: 2,447 Member
    JimDew wrote: »
    Fast/slow is all relative to the person and their fitness level.

    I found my best increases in speed were directly related to my stride length. Even a slight increase in stride length makes a nice difference in speed.

    My observation

    Be very careful here. Over striding is a big time injury risk (as well as it actually slows you down if you get too exaggerated). Your steps should be quick and short. "Stride length' is increased by the force you push off to the next step. It's the distance you body travels while both feet are off the ground. It is not achieved by landing far in front of your body.

    I realized this is probably what you meant but it could be easily misunderstood by those who don't run (and don't know proper mechanics).
  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,128 Member
    "Comparison is the thief of joy" (T Roosevelt)

    You've only been running since November, don't worry about speed yet; focus on building your aerobic base and then start thinking about speed a bit more (even most experienced runners do about 80% of their running in Z2/low Z3. I had a very wise coach nce tell me not to worry about running a fast 5K until I could run a slow 10km.

    In any run (unless you're racing a 5K where it's pedal to the metal the whole way) warm up gradually and then increase your pace.

    Be patient, be consistent and have fun.
  • amyepdx
    amyepdx Posts: 750 Member
    I agree with doing more running outside. At least for me (also a slow runner), the treadmill gets a little scary as I approach 6 mph. Running outside, you can try increasing your speed in spurts and then slow right down if you need to without having to worry about changing the setting on the treadmill. Map My Run is also a great aid to see your progress. Also if you can find a nice track, the you don’t have to worry about traffic, curbs and potholes.