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Am I always just going to be slow?
31

Elbels · 16/01/2021 15:04

The great comparator Strava has just made me feel horribly depressed. Everyone I follow (friends, incorporating running around working and children rather than professional athletes) seems to be cracking out super quick times and I plod along at the same speed and never seem to improve.

I run around 40km a week and live in a very hilly area but my 1km time is rarely faster than 5.45 and if I do 5.30 splits for 5km I really feel like I'm pushing it. A couple of new runner friends consistently achieve under 5min kilometer splits and I just don't understand how!

Do I just accept this is me and that I should be proud going out every day and being motivated? If not how do I improve my speed?

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fellrunner85 · 16/01/2021 16:34

Sounds obvious, but you've got to run faster to run faster. If you're doing 20-odd miles a week, all at a steady pace, you won't get any quicker because you're never asking your body to run faster - or showing it how.

Speed training is the key. When I first started running I got my 5k time down to 25mins very easily (basically just by running more!) but shaving extra time off after that takes proper effort- such as intervals, fartlek, or old-fashioned but effective 400s.

If you're not doing any speed work at the moment, I'd recommend making one of your weekly runs a speed session - warm up, intervals for 20 mins, then warm down. In time, you can start doing more structured stuff, but even one session a week to start with should have an impact. Good luck!

Oh - and ignore Strava. I'm fairly speedy but still a tortoise compared to running clubmates on Strava. Comparison does nobody any good. (Unless it's during a race of course!!)

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Rgy3250999 · 16/01/2021 21:21

I wouldn’t pay much attention to Strava. I used it for a while but then I found the analysis bit where it gave elapsed time and this was far different from the moving time it puts on my profile - sometimes this could be 5 mins different on a 5k, despite me not stopping at all. It makes no sense and when you read up, it’s not very accurate.

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M0rT · 16/01/2021 21:26

I know nothing about running so can't advise on speed. But just wanted to say I avoid walking up hills if possible so to me your commitment and consistency to running in a hilly area is impressive.

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CMOTDibbler · 16/01/2021 21:26

What I've learnt from running is that I will never be fast. I can work hard on my speed and I never get below 25 min for 5km - it just doesn't happen for me. But I can trundle along at 30 min per km for 10 km, and 13.1 miles quite happily, so am pretty happy with that. And doing the training plans to get faster does not make me happy tbh

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fellrunner85 · 16/01/2021 21:28

5 mins different on a 5k is crazy; and won't be an issue with Strava. It'll be your GPS - were you running Strava using phone GPS rather than a watch? If so, that'll be it...

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AnnaSW1 · 16/01/2021 21:30

I'm slow too. It doesn't really matter!

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LtGreggs · 16/01/2021 21:33

40km a week is quite a lot of running. I do about 35. On a standard 'normal' run, my fastest km would be around 5:45, often more (this morning was a 10k at 6:05 overall) - so I'm probably similar to you.

I made a specific effort to learn to run faster this year - my fastest 5k time is now 4:35 a km, so my 'fastest' is way better than my 'usual'. Yes, you can learn if you want to.

The pp is right that if you want to go faster, you have to practise going faster. You don't need to run any more miles, just do some of your miles in a different way. One session a week of specific speed training would make a big difference - hill reps, sprints, 1km best efforts, whatever. You could join a club if you like the sociable idea of that, or just get a programme off the Internet?

Also, find a pacemaker to run with. I am much faster when I go with DH for example. (He's 8 inches taller than me, and male - he has some natural speed advantages Grin)

Also don't compare too much - just enjoy!

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nbee84 · 16/01/2021 21:35

And I was proud of my sub 30 5k 😂 Fastest split was 5:12 but most were between 5:43 and 5:48. I don't think you're slow, particularly with hills.

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JiltedJohnsJulie · 16/01/2021 21:35

Do I just accept this is me and that I should be proud going out every day and being motivated? If not how do I improve my speed?

Do you actually want to run quicker or are you happy doing what you're doing now?

I run really slowly but I run and that's enough for me, I enjoy it and it makes me feel better.

Have a look at some Japanese Slow Jogging videos on YouTube, they should make you feel positively speedy Smile

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Daisydoesnt · 16/01/2021 21:35

OP how old are you??

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trilbydoll · 16/01/2021 21:39

My fastest 5k was 33 minutes (on flat!) and I honestly felt like I was speeding along Usain Bolt style (my shorter legs being the only visible difference Grin) I think you get into a standard stride and it's hard to force yourself out of it. Like a pp said you could do speed intervals once a week if you really want to speed up, it depends how much it matters to you.

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schoolcook · 17/01/2021 09:36

I've been running since September starting with C25K and I'm still taking nearly 34 minutes to do 5K.

I've stopped comparing myself to anything or anyone or I'd give it up as a bad job !

I think the fact you're running that distance each week is incredible.

Obviously I can't advise you on speed because you're already faster than me Grin

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ProbablyFault · 17/01/2021 10:08

I used to think I was a slow runner, and then I stopped running, so don't do that! Now I need to start again. Just remember that you're faster than you would be if you were sitting on your sofa.

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lljkk · 17/01/2021 10:38

I'm on Strava.
i never notice how fast other people are. I know they must all be faster than me. But I couldn't say specifically because I never notice. I think it's a habit that you notice -- change the habit. I look at where they were, what they did, when it was, maybe how far. Why be interested in how fast?

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BogRollBOGOF · 17/01/2021 11:35

Hilly routes make it much harder to maintain speed.
5:30 mins/km is good anyway. It's a sub 30 parkrun (I can only achieve that on a flat route)

I live at one of the highest points of town. I can either drive down to flat routes in the valley (or have a slog uphill in the final 2 miles) or go in the opposite direction for hilly trails/ cross country. In my head it's race pace that sticks so most runs inevitably feel slow. I ended up plotting frequently used routes by length/ height gain and it was interesting to see the variations in how technically hard some routes are compared to others. It shouldn't be surprising that lots of my casual 5ks are 45+ mins no where near my 28 min pb, but the only like comparison is the distance and hills, mud, road crossings and stiles mean that they are totally different beasts.

To change performance, mixing run styles with intervals, tempo runs and hill repeats will improve general speed.
I use the C25k+ podcasts for targeted runs.

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MsMartini · 17/01/2021 13:51

You sound fast to me Smile. My fastest ever 5k was 27 mins, bu I usually run 10-15k at between 6.5 and 7 mins per km. I don't train to run - I run to train (strength). I love my runs for the chance to switch off, burn some calories and build some stamina without pushing myself (because I do that with my other stuff).

There is some great advice on here about improving speed but it sounds as if you are fit, enjoy your running and would be considered fast if you had different friends - so it depends what you want.

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CeeCeeEnnEss · 17/01/2021 16:22

I’ve been a runner for years and never got a sub 30 5k, but can run 15 miles no problem. Comparison is the thief of joy, just enjoy what you’re doing!

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Boopear · 17/01/2021 16:30

Echoing above. I'm blooming fit but will never be a fast runner (32 quickest 5k). I do sprint intervals and everything (just to make the rest seem easier!) but been running for years with no real improvement. I'm fine with it though - I have a theory that a lot of it is physique related... I'm was a fast swimmer from the start (solid shoulders and thighs), but I'm just not cut out to be a speedy runner. And that's fine 🙂

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4Mongrels · 17/01/2021 16:35

Follow me, you’ll feel like you’re sprinting in comparison!

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rookiemere · 17/01/2021 16:39

Blooming heck - that sounds fast to me - I've been trying for about 6 months with no success to get under 7min 30 s per km.

If you do think you could get faster, the way to do it is apparently running for longer distances , so when you go shorter again your body is used to more effort so can go a bit speedier.

Or just hang out with slower friends.

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fellrunner85 · 17/01/2021 17:32

If you do think you could get faster, the way to do it is apparently running for longer distances

This isn't true. It's easy to think this is true when you're a fairly new runner, though, as you'll still be at the stage when just doing more running makes you faster - ie you haven't yet plateaued at the level you'll naturally maintain through regular training. You see this a lot when people run their first marathons too - they tend to PB at every distance during training, simply because they're doing a lot of mileage.

But once you're a more experienced runner, you start finding that running long distances has the opposite effect. You get used to running at 8min mile pace, or whatever, for 15+ miles ...so you lose the sharp "edge" of speed work.

Personally, I've never been slower over 5k and 10k than when I've just come out of a stint of marathon training. It's speed work over short distances that makes the difference. There's a reason why pro athletes do speed work rather than just chugging out the miles!

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Annoy · 17/01/2021 19:52

@schoolcook

I've been running since September starting with C25K and I'm still taking nearly 34 minutes to do 5K.

I've stopped comparing myself to anything or anyone or I'd give it up as a bad job !

I think the fact you're running that distance each week is incredible.

Obviously I can't advise you on speed because you're already faster than me Grin

Crikey! I’ve been running for 5 yrs and still average 35mins for a 5k Run
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Elbels · 18/01/2021 09:58

Thanks friendly folk.

I'm in my mid-30s and no kids with a desk based job so getting out and runnng is the way I've stayed sane this past year.

I was never a sporty kid, teenager, or woman in her 20s so while part of me is amazed that I'm able to run and can clock up those miles, the other more competitive part of me thinks I should be better. But equally I'm not built like an athlete, I'm tall with short legs and clomp along more cart horse than racehorse!

However yesterday after reading these posts I tried to run faster (purposefully choosing one of the flattest routes I can do) and it worked! So I guess I need to be mentally stronger at pushing through.

But also I will just enjoy the fact that I can run and time isn't important.

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emmathedilemma · 18/01/2021 12:13

I disagree that you have to run faster to run faster, I know a few people who using MAF training to run faster - they're some of the fastest runners i know. I wouldn't compare yourself to others too much, it's quite clear just by passing people in the street that a lot of people run everywhere like it's a race! I would concentrate on improving your stamina through slower longer runs and do some targeted speed work reps once a week.

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rwalker · 18/01/2021 19:09

I think we all plato at our own natural running pace . The thing is anyone can train to run faster diet, rest days ,training plans interval and hill work you will speed up.
And as a result of that all the fun and joy is sucked out of it .You end up obsessed with times/pace and no doubt injured.
Just experiment do 2 days going without your watch timing/pacing you do 1 run for a planed route and do another run for time say run for 20 minutes then turn round ,honestly it's liberating

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