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Are some people just slow runners?

(33 Posts)
hideandsqueak Thu 04-Dec-14 16:11:22

Started running (again) about 6 months ago and now I'm doing 5k three times a week and enjoy it. All good except I am so slow it is embarrassing. I have to go out after dark as otherwise small children on those push scooters overtake me.

I am not naturally athletic. Am I just destined to be a slow runner? I was told as I got fitter and stronger i would naturally get faster but I just seen to be staying at the same pace. Is there any hope or any suggestions?

bestofthesunshine Thu 04-Dec-14 16:17:24

How long does it take you to run 5k? I can do it in about 26 minutes which isn't a terrible time and I'd be overtaken by small childen on scooters at that pace.

bestofthesunshine Thu 04-Dec-14 16:18:10

Get a Garmin and push yourself to go faster each time if you're interested in improving your pace.

Doobledootch Thu 04-Dec-14 16:24:16

I used to run at about 10.30 a mile, I can now average under 9 mins (just) for 3 miles, I used to think I'd never get faster.

I got faster when I was half marathon training and had an interval session each week. It was generally 10 min warm up, run as fast as you can for 1 1/2 mins run slowly for 1 min repeat x number of times then 10 mins cool down

It was amazing the session after this was always a run for 35 mins and each week I got faster.

You might be able to find some kind of programme for doing this with a bit of googling.

Good luck.

feetheart Thu 04-Dec-14 16:33:21

bestof - 26 minutes is bl**dy fast, those scooters must have motors on smile

hideandsqueak - I started running nearly 6 years ago (at the ripe old age of 46) and for the first 3 years I ran at about 11:30 a mile regardless of distance - 5k or 13.1 miles! I pottered along and loved it.
Then, for no reason I could fathom, I started to speed up a bit. This summer I finally joined a running club and running with others has really pushed me. I did a half marathon in 2:12 which is about 10:15 a mile and can do 5k in 26:52 (parkrun PB last week)

So advice - parkrun, parkrun, parkrun (no scooters allowed just ignore the zippy child runners smile) and find a friendly, all-abilities-welcome club (lots do beginners courses which are great). Other than that just enjoy it, being fast isn't everything.

Lottapianos Thu 04-Dec-14 16:38:33

Im' a slow runner, it takes me about 34 minutes to do 5k and I've been doing it 3 times a week for about 2 years now. I don't massively push myself though, just work to finish the course.

I got a Garmin for my birthday and would like to build up to 10k, but should probably get a bit faster and stronger first. Have heard that High Intensity Interval Training works well for building fitness, like Dooble described

It depends what you want to get out of it. If you're just running for sanity and peace and quiet or whatever, then carry on plodding. Its entirely up to you. At least you're still doing it!

hideandsqueak Thu 04-Dec-14 17:37:07

Thanks! Some really good ideas. DH has a Garmin so may give it a whirl this evening. It takes me about 35 minutes to run 5k. Id really like to get faster for when the clocks spring forward and I am forced to run in broad daylight grin

Suzannewithaplan Thu 04-Dec-14 17:58:06

I'm naturally pretty slow, I dont really see it as a problem.
I dont run because I need to get somewhere quickly, I do it for the various mental and physical benefits and on the score slow running works for me.

mechanical stress to the musculo-skeletal system is (I think?) generally lower with slower running.

EdithDickie Thu 04-Dec-14 19:44:36

Same as Suzanne, I really like that actually, about not running to get somewhere really quickly.

I started at about 12 minute miles 6 months ago, now 11 minutes per mile and I am generally very delighted with myself grin

Suzannewithaplan Thu 04-Dec-14 19:49:28

I prefer slightly longer distances in any case, ideally like to run for at least an hour at a time so I guess I pace myself for my intended distance.

MeanwhileHighAboveTheField Thu 04-Dec-14 19:56:43

Interval sessions, hill reps and fartlek smile

LordEmsworth Thu 04-Dec-14 19:59:30

Erm, it takes me about 35 minutes to run 5k and I wasn't aware I should be embarrassed about it! I'm never going to win a race but so what...

I didn't think I was getting any quicker but then I got a Garmin. Every single run I was knocking a few seconds off my time; I hadn't noticed it myself but the precision and record of the Garmin proved it. I suspect you may be getting quicker without knowing it...

hideandsqueak Thu 04-Dec-14 21:20:38

Tonight Garmin has informed me it took 39 minutes to run 5k - obviously the kitchen clock has been lying to me!

actiongirl1978 Fri 05-Dec-14 07:52:41

I wouldn't worry about it. I ran for over two years before changing my approach.

For the first two years I ran for pleasure, fresh air and to keep on top of my chocolate, wine and scone calories. Then I decided to do a charity race for a friend and absolutely loved it.

So now I am trying to do an interval and hill session once a week, a long slow run and a run for pleasure which is at my 'normal' pace. And I am getting incrementally if not dramatically faster. I've knocked a minute off my per Km pace since September.

Also, strength has made a difference. I have been doing a lot of lunges, weighted squats etc and building up my glutes and quads has made a huge difference, particularly to how I approach hills and running fast at the end of a normal run.

If you want to make a difference try some of this. If not, then continue to run for pleasure, it is an absolutely brilliant reason to run!

fascicle Sat 06-Dec-14 13:14:02

The way forward is definitely to vary running sessions - intensity, duration, running surface etc. It's very hard to improve speed if you stick to the same session run. That said, please don't overthink your current speed. Faster doesn't equal better.

pootlebug Sat 06-Dec-14 14:49:14

I used to be a slow runner. I was quite happy being a slow runner, but I was very much convinced that I just 'was' a slow runner and that was how it was.

After several years sitting on my bum and doing no exercise at all I got into it again. This time I discovered interval training. I am running much faster in my late 30s than I ever did in my 20s, and faster and further than I thought I could ever run. That said, it does take commitment…..there are plenty of days I really, REALLY don't want to push myself through the harder work of intervals instead of a nice easy scenic jog. But it feels great after, and even better when you race and realise how fast you can go if you push yourself.

annabanana19 Sun 07-Dec-14 09:06:30

I think im average. Can do 5k in 26/27 and a 10k in 56. HM time is 2:12.

Id love to be a bit faster. But I dont think its in me. I dont like 5k's as I find I have to push myself! But its the thing to do and I can do them!

I have a garmin and its the best! Never go for a run without it.

holmessweetholmes Sun 07-Dec-14 09:22:06

I'm a slow runner too! I got my 5k time down to 28 mins briefly a couple of years ago, but that was when I was trying to train for a half marathon (which I have not yet succeeded in doing).

I think that to get faster, you really have to want it, and you need to have a sort of plan. Make your longer runs longer, so that 5k feels short by comparison, and do a sprints session once a week.

My mistake with running is that all my runs are too similar and there's not enough difference in pace between my longer ones and shorter ones. Only when I change this do I get (a bit) quicker.

But remember - as I saw on someone's t-shirt at Parkrun - 'Slow miles are better than no miles!'

Doyouthinktheysaurus Sun 07-Dec-14 09:27:15

I'm naturally pretty slow, I don't care!

I could probably do a half in 2:10 with training but at the moment I'm not that fit and do 10 miles once a week at about 10:45-11:00 mile pace. Shorter runs I can get faster but I can't run below 9 minute miles at all. I feel like I'm sprinting, it's crazy! I've run for 4 years so I can't see things changing much.

I'm built for distance rather than speed! I honestly don't care though, I tend to run off road where I see less people so I'm not often overtaken. Plus, I run for my sanity more that anything else and speed makes no difference to that......

EssexMummy123 Sun 07-Dec-14 09:37:21

26 minutes is pretty good - they say that a good race time for a new runner's first 5k - and by that i mean someone who has been running for 6 months and then trained for a 5k for 3 months is 25 minutes.

I am a slow runner too. 35 mins for 5k, 70 mins for 10k, 2hrs for a 10 miler and 2:41 for a half marathon. Never seem to get any quicker regardless of what training I do. I just make sure I enter big races only - never been last in a large race (was once last in a small race and hated it) . You'd be surprised at some races like a half marathon where people walk from the start. Keep going you're a lot faster than those who aren't running at all.

fascicle Sun 07-Dec-14 11:53:15

I'm built for distance rather than speed!

That's the other thing - people tend to lean genetically towards either sprinting or longer distances (something to do with make up of fast/slow twitch muscle fibres). You can't be good at both. A case in point is the ex sprinter Iwan Thomas who now runs marathons (for fun and charity, I think) - his marathon pb is just under 4 hours but generally it takes him 4 - 4.5 hours.

annabanana19 Sun 07-Dec-14 19:07:16

I prefer distance to speed.10 miles is my favourite. I can do that in 1:35.

I'm not sure I'm built for either distance or speed to be honest fgrin. I think I'm primarily built to lounge around on the sofa eating bonbons and getting fatter - but I do like to fight against destiny.

I tried a 10 miler for the first time this year anna, took me 1 hr 59 ( I'd arranged a time based sweepstake in the office for charity so was determined to be under 2 hrs) but I really enjoyed it. Half kilamathon is a distance I like too - around 8 miles.

OP you need to change your mindset about this.
It doesn't matter if you're slow, I'm slow, middle aged and not particularly trim, but the worst and only harassment I've had was being called a power ranger by a bunch of teenage kids one time I was out with my pink running jacket.

iwantgin Sun 07-Dec-14 19:18:23

I'm slow too. However am happy with that.

I have never yet completed a parkrun in under 30 minutes. Never.

My 10k time is always over an hour.

I did a Half Marathon a couple of years ago- and that took me 2hrs 42 mins.


Still faster than those who are sat at home NOT running.

but if you do want to get faster there are ways to improve. Can you join a running club ?

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