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TOPIC: New to Running - What is a good "time" for a 5k?

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June 26, 2011 5:13 PM
I am doing the Couch to 5k program. Since I am new to running - I wonder how long does it take before a person is really ready to run a 5k? The Couch to 5k is a 9 week program - but I suspect it might take me longer. Also I don't really know what's a good goal to work toward - speed/time wise before signing up for a 5k? ie: should it take me 30 mintues to run a 5k or what? I am almost 49 - and new to running - I figure it might be next spring before I sign up for a 5k - just want some idea of what I'm shooting for. I don't want to walk it or take too much time to complete it running. Help!
June 26, 2011 5:17 PM
In the couple of 5k races that I've done, the times have been anywhere from 22 minutes to 55 minutes.

My times for the two races that I've done were 42 minutes and 39 minutes. I walk a fair bit.

I think you should pick a race and sign up. Regardless of where you are in your running training.
June 26, 2011 5:17 PM
Ultimately, the C25K program think u will be able to do a 5K in 30 minutes, so that should be ur goal....any time under that should just make u feel VERY PROUD of urself :0)
June 26, 2011 5:20 PM
Yeah, I ran my first 5k in just under 30 minutes, it was 29 something - I had to stop for a quick wee on the way round!!! Good luck with your race, just do the best you can!!!!xx
June 26, 2011 5:20 PM
You can EASILY do a 5k! I promise! Just start slow and walk when you need to. Just keep it at a pace where you feel comfortable and every day you run, try and run a little farther. I promise you can do this! My bet is that if you stay dedicated, you can do one this fall/winter! Feel free to add me if you would like! flowerforyou
June 26, 2011 5:21 PM
You'll be surprised how fast running gets easier. I'm starting week 5 of C25K and I'm already doing 2+ miles in my 35 minute sessions - even though I'm still walking almost half! I agree that you should pick a race and sign up. Even if you're not running fully yet the race will feel rewarding and give you something to work towards.
June 26, 2011 5:22 PM
My fiance and I did the couch to 5K program and ended up deviating from the program because we liked running so much!

Our original goal was a 5K under 30 minutes. The first real 5K we ever ran I came in at 33 minutes, he did it in 34. After a month we were running them in 25 minutes or less.

My best 5K ever was 22:55, his best 5K ever was 22.

Keep in mind we got a little crazy about running and now we run 6 times a week so it might not come that fast. When I was running without a buddy I was happy with 3 miles in 35 minutes because i had no one to push me.
June 26, 2011 5:24 PM
No matter how fast or slow, or if you walk some or not, be proud of your time. smile The only one you're competing against is yourself, and you'll get better with each one.

That said, the men who win locally finish around 17 minutes, which is just insane. Young women who win are typically around 20 minutes. Then there's the rest of us mortals who are anywhere between 25 and 45 minutes. Thirty minutes is good. I was hoping for 30 for my first, and squeaked under at 29:40, and got a little faster since then.
June 26, 2011 5:24 PM
There's no good/bad time- finishing it is all that matters! My first 5k was 38:00, my most recent was 32:39. I never actually finished the C25k, I'm asthmatic and still have to walk some. Just find your own groove and make it work for you :)
June 26, 2011 5:27 PM
Your first one you should just focus on finishing. My first was 41 minutes, second was 36, third was 29... it all gets faster when you keep doing it! Don't worry, you'll have tons of people finishing before and after you! Just enjoy the experience... racing is amazing!!!!!
June 26, 2011 5:28 PM
Any time is a good time as long as you are out there doing it!! You are doing better than most of the population that is sitting on the couch (or still in bed, as most races start early)!! I've see runners knock it out in 17 minutes and I've seen people take close to an hour. A lot of people believe that a "good" time is around a half an hour. That's the ballpark that I'm in. Just sign up for a race and do it. It will give you motivation and you will have a ball. I was "hooked" at my first race!! I didn't start running until I was 44 years old and was battling breast cancer. I'm 52 now and doing ultra marathons on trails!! When I ran that first race I had no idea I would be where I am today!! Good luck and happy trails!! drinker
June 26, 2011 5:29 PM
I started doing 5K runs about 5 months ago and have found that I have gotten a little faster. However, I am a slower runner. I will run the full 5K where I see many people walking then running much faster than I do. I guess I prefer to keep a steady pace throughout the entire run. That's what has worked for me anyway :). Good luck!!
June 26, 2011 7:44 PM
Such an inspiration - when I find myself whining (which I don't give into often), I will think of you!!! Thanks.
June 26, 2011 7:46 PM
Thank you everyone for your input - very helpful. Everyone is so encouraging - I really appreciate your normalizing it for me! I tend to have very high expectations for myself.
June 26, 2011 7:50 PM
Don't shoot for a target time for your first race, just pick one, sign up, and go out and do it - take whatever time you get - that will give you a baseline and you can then compete against yourself in future races. At 48, times in your age group will range from 25 minutes up to an hour. The time doesn't really matter, you are really competing against yourself when starting out. Eventually, if you get hooked on racing, you can work on more serious speed work and training, but at first, just go out and have fun and be proud of yourself for getting out there, which most people aren't doing :-)
June 26, 2011 10:19 PM
I am starting C25k next week and I just want to say thanks for asking the question, it has been on my mind too and there are some great answers on here. Any time is better than no time at all.

Good luck on your runs!
June 27, 2011 3:36 PM
There's no such thing as a "bad" time. smile

Just completing a 5K makes you a winner in my book!
June 27, 2011 3:42 PM
Running can sometimes be hard on your body but its great for your soul. Some of my best memories are of races or just runs I've done in beautiful locations around the world.

Just focus on finishing the race and having a good experience and you'll be fine.

Bob--who ran his 17:19 5k PR at age 34.
June 27, 2011 6:10 PM
A lot of people would say don't run for a time, but if you're competitive like me, that's just not going to fly.

I'd say for your first 5k any time under 30 minutes is good. To keep up with the fastest, though, you're going to have to be pushing right at or under 18 minutes.

I wanted to keep it under 30 for my first 5k, and 25 was my next goal which I (just barely) met. I'm going for under 24 next time. It's kinda how the game's played.
June 27, 2011 6:37 PM
I want to do the C25K really bad but am a little apprehensive but just may give it a shot... It's tough to jog/run at my weight but I do a little here and there as I can... good luck!!!!
June 27, 2011 6:46 PM
It's taken me longer, but I started on the treadmill and running on the hard ground seems to take more out of I also had a hard time with the running times so I kind of readjusted it to fit what I needed. I started over and worked my way up to now running 5 to 7 mins with 2 min walk breaks. My first 5K (in two years) is on July 4th.

When I started over I was running 10 seconds at a time, then worked my way up. My 5 to 7 min. runs were actually accidentally ran, I was suppose to be running 3 mins and looked down at my watch and it was at 4:45 mins so I kept going to 5 mins and it felt great. I am in no means fast, I run at around 4 mph.

Start slow, add time as you see fit, add speed as you see fit. This is what I have been doing and have been working at it since the end of April and I have been injury free smile

Good luck to you whenever you decide to start.
June 27, 2011 9:01 PM
any time is a good time to run - but I prefer going out when it's not too wet and not too hot
June 28, 2011 1:25 AM
The C25k program is about running continuously for 5km OR 30min, not 5km IN 30min. Lots of people dont get that then feel all let down when they dont make that goal.
Any running is great running, so be proud of that fact.
Also, aim for distance first then build up your speed. If you run too fast just to make someones idea of a good 5km time you are going to hurt something and not be able to run at all. Slow runs are just as important as fast ones.
It took me 10 weeks to complete the C25k as I got a cold and took a week off, I was also 33 and had 2 x 6mth old babies so running on no sleep lol.
You can do this.
June 28, 2011 6:06 AM
I am also doing the c25k and signed up for a 5k in Aug. I just started week 3, but ended up doing a 5k with my husband last Sat. I ran what I could and walked some. I ended up with a time of 34:40. So now I have a time to beat in Aug. Most runners work at beating their last time. If you want to sign up for one now, walk/run it and create a baseline time. Then do your training and work at beating your time. Also once you are able to run work at beating your last time. That is one of the things about running you are working at your pace, the only one you have to worry about beating is yourself. I know I'm not a 20 year old runner, so I am not looking to win the race, just finish it and feel good about myself.
June 28, 2011 6:09 AM

There's no such thing as a "bad" time. smile

Just completing a 5K makes you a winner in my book!


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