28 Dec 2010

“How can I get my speed up without killing myself?”

Author: Matt Young | Filed under: Ask the Coach

Debbie Asks:

I’ve been running for 3 months and have completed the Couch to 5k program. But I run really slowly (about 4.2 to 4.5 mph). It is still really hard and sometimes I have to walk. When I try to run faster, sometimes I throw up. I can do 5K, but it takes about 40 to 42 minutes. How can I get my speed up without killing myself?

Running a 40-45 minute 5k is just fine starting out. In fact, running slower at a manageable pace is better for you in the long term. I often coach runners to run as slow as you need to finish the distance. Speed will come as you build your endurance and the most important part of your training is building your endurance base. So keep running at a pace that you can sustain for 3 miles and then slowly add distance to your runs, about 5-10% each week to your total weekly mileage. You can do this by adding .5 miles on one run each week. As you begin your running career it’s also a good time to work on a good form. Check out the good running form link in the helpful links section. And for more detail on building your base refer to the previously posted question.

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