Next goal after C25K?
August 16, 2011 11:12 AM   Subscribe

What to do after finishing Couch to 5K?

I ran in my first 5K last Saturday, and finished in about 30 minutes. I'm running around 10 minute miles, and I typically run 9-12 miles (three or four 30-min runs) a week. I've been running for about three months total, and just in the past couple weeks has a three-mile run started to feel 'easy.'

I want to increase my mileage (not too concerned about my speed) and start training for a 10K. What's the best way to do this? I'm not in a rush or trying to hit any deadline, I just want to challenge myself a little more.

I found the B210K online, but the workouts seem super long and I don't really want to go back to walking in between running; I'd rather run straight through. What's a reasonable amount to increase my mileage/time by every week? I'd rather go by time than by distance because that's easier for me to track. Should I increase up to, say, 33 mins for a week straight, then 36 mins, etc, or is it better to do something like two 3-mile runs and one 4 mile run?

I looked at Hal Higdon's training page, but I don't want to do all the cross-training, strength training etc-- just run.

Thanks! I'd love to hear where other people went after their first 5K :)
posted by queens86 to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
One way that has worked very well for me when I wanted to increase distance, was to find new routes for longer runs. You can do this by car if you're a street runner and/or by sites like this one if you happen to be in the US.

I've found that when I run a "current" route that I've run much, it's sort of become hard wired as to pacing, distance, etc. When I try new routes, since my brain/body doesn't know as much what to expect it motivates me and keeps me curious to keep pushing on.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 11:24 AM on August 16, 2011

Mixing shorter and longer runs is a good idea. Two three mile runs and one four mile run sounds great. Don't increase distance too fast and make sure you have easy days along with the harder (i.e. longers) ones.

Sign up for another 5K! Sign up for a couple before your 10K. You can set a time goal (or place goal) if you like, but you don't have to. Run another one and see how it feels. If it goes really well then set some goals for your next one. The last 5K I ran I had three different goals depending on how I felt after the first mile. I felt okay and decided to go for the most aggressive one.

There is nothing wrong with taking Hidgon's plan and skipping the whole cross training stuff (or just consider walking around the neighborhood t be "cross training").
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:28 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

You might want to google "one hour runner". That's what I did when i wanted to move on from C25K. An example of the program to get up to about a 10k-ish distance is half way down this page.
posted by gaspode at 11:29 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

Well done!

When I'm just running to run, and not training for anything in particular, I like to do runs on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Tuesday and Thursday are X miles, and Sunday is 2X miles. Then the next week I add 0.5 miles to X.

So for week 1 it's 2, 2, 4.
Week 2: 2.5, 2.5, 5.
Week 3: 3, 3, 6.

This is just one little structured thing that keeps me on track. I'm not doing that right now (right now I'm working on swimming/biking/running), but a few years ago it took me from 0 miles to a half marathon, with no cross training or other work on the off days, just running on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:37 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]

My wife did the B210K for a bit, but found it to be pretty ridiculous, like someone just took the C25K program and figured that a training program has to include walking intervals, so they have you walk for a minute between 20 min runs. She's found the one hour runner program that gaspode mentions to be much better. She's currently working her way up to a 10K, with the eventual hope of doing a half marathon.

Going through the coolrunnings site (where the C25K program basically comes from), one of their training guidelines is to increase no more than 10% each week, so if you're running 30 mins at a stretch, you can pretty safely add 3 mins to each run.

If I were doing it myself and training for a longer duration run, I'd start by adding 3 mins to each of three weekly runs, then the next week "bank" those increases into one longer run, so two 30 min runs and then one 40, which seems to match what my wife tells me about one hour runner. But I'm no expert or fitness consultant.
posted by LionIndex at 11:41 AM on August 16, 2011

Keep your current running schedule, 30 minutes 3-4 times a week.

Pick one day and make it speedwork, either intervals or Fartlek.

Pick another day, make that your long run. Increase 1 mile per week until you are at your 10K distance.

I know people that have done this for half-marathons (train up to a 10 mile long run) and full marathons (up to a 20 mile long run).

Good luck. Feel free to memail me if you have any questions.
posted by I am the Walrus at 12:51 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Be careful of running too many days a week.

"I found the B210K online, but the workouts seem super long" The time you spend training is going to have to increase.... If your time on the 5k is 30 minutes then your time on a 10k is probably going to be a little more than an hour.
posted by gregr at 1:00 PM on August 16, 2011

I'm not arguing that you HAVE to increase faster, but the 10% rule is one of those "sounds great" rules of thumb that has been repeated SO many times that no one questions it. This article from NYTimes [sorry] explains that the only study done showed that both the group groups in the study had the same injury rate.
It's not necessarily a bad idea to increase only by 10%, but listen to your body. If you can increase by more and feel good, then great!
posted by atomicstone at 1:46 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do a four mile run three times a week and a slower six mile run on the weekend, with a rest day afterwards. As you get fitter do the four mile runs faster and faster and add distance to your 'long run' till you can do eight or even ten miles straight. Quality is better than quantity, if you run too much you'll get bored or tired or injured so rest days are as important as training days. Doing a few abdominal curls or press ups on your rest days only takes a couple of minutes and won't do you any harm. That will leave you plenty fit enough to run a decent 10K.
posted by joannemullen at 5:37 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! The one hour runner program looks good; I might try that. I figure at my pace that should get me close enough to a 10K, and I like that it goes by time rather than distance.

If I want to run four rather than three times a week, would it be too much to add another 30-min run to the one hour runner program?
posted by queens86 at 6:48 PM on August 16, 2011

Just FYI, there is a school of thought (eg. Jeff Galloway) that if you have a few walk breaks in the middle of long runs, you can boost your mileage and reduce injury --- and critically, your time really doesn't decrease at all.

You might not want to do take walk breaks because you feel stupid, or don't want to bother figuring out when to do them, or for some other reason, but "I want to be faster" turns out not to be a very good reason.
posted by barnone at 2:30 PM on August 17, 2011

Last October (2010) I looked in the mirror and found myself unhappy with my health and appearance. I decided to do something about it and the Couch to 5K program is what worked for me. 10 months later and I am in the best shape of my life. I look good and more importantly I FEEL GOOD!

I found with the Couch to 5K program that by week 7 I stopped using their suggested plans for running/walking and took it up a notch into just plain running. One of the first things I did when I caught the running bug was invest a little money into a sports-watch that tracked my running. Nike Sportband is priced somewhere around $90 and it tracks your pace, time, distance, calories burned. A small sensor is placed in your shoe and it keeps track of everything as you run. You could also download any number of running apps that work in conjunction with the iPhone if you have such a device.

For me it was about seeing my running in numbers. It was always about distance for me in the early months of my running (only at this for a year - yet it seems so long ago) life. Setting a goal for 5 km or 7 km the week after or hitting 10 in three weeks was something that kept me focused and motivated. I also started to take notes and keep track of my distances and times. Create a blog and track your triumphs as well as your failures. Find other runners and talk with them about tips and training methods and injuries that you may encounter.

I went from 160 lbs to 130 lbs in two months. I lost 3 waist sizes and I now run 4-5 times a week with my first half-marathon scheduled for mid October. Running has changed my life and I owe it all to the Couch to 5K program, genius way to lose weight and stay fit. Good luck with your future runnings.
posted by Fizz at 8:29 AM on August 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

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