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I'd like to get some runner's perspectives on this one.

I'm wondering what I might reasonably expect my 5K time to be. I currently run it in 28-29 minutes.

I'm 31, 6'2, 200lbs, and I run a maximum 3 times a week. I always aim for 4 runs, but only seem to be able to squeeze in 3 — some weeks only 2. I started the Couch to 5K in early summer, but only really intermittently. I've been running reasonably steadily since early September. I clocked my first 5K maybe 3 weeks ago. I've already gone from about 32mins down to 28.

Any guesses on how low I could go? My current big goal is sub-25mins.

Thanks!

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I am 6'2" as well, but at 235lbs my 5K best time was 23:00 or so. But that was after a long season of speed work (reps of 200, 400, 800 or 1600 meters on the track) once a week and a tempo run every week. Took a lot of work to get there. –  geoffc Oct 17 '12 at 20:20
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Just as an aside, apocryphal lore (And I've seen it borne out in about n=9 cases) is that for every lb of weight you lose, you gain 3-5 seconds per mile of pace. So, if you were 185 lbs, that would be about 45 seconds faster per mile, that would take off ~ 2:30, so you would be in the 25:30 - 26:00 range for the same effort. Other than that, your key is consistency, and 5-6 short runs are better than 2 long runs. –  JohnP Oct 17 '12 at 20:39
    
What's the top speed you can run at on a treadmill? Smartcoach gives you a good idea of what you can achieve runnersworld.co.uk/racing/runners-world-smartcoach/3057.html based on what you're comfortable running at –  Chris S Oct 23 '12 at 10:38
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3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Definitely think you can go sub 25 minutes. The key with running is "Accumulated fitness". The more often you run and the more consistently (say 4 days a week for an entire year), the better you will become.

So how do you get there?
1) Run often - minimum 4 days a week but slowly see if you can fit 5 or even 6 days a week into your schedule
2) Run consistently - run every week. Don't skip.
3) Add variety - vary your pace, vary your distance, add intervals, add distance, etc.
4) Extend your long run - try to get to 90 minutes by adding 5 minutes a week. Once you get to 90 minutes, try to make the run faster. One week make the last 5 minutes medium. Next week make the last 10 minutes medium, etc.

Good luck! Let us know how you progress.

P.S. I have worked with runners of all age groups. Anyone that has 1) desire to improve 2) discipline in training and diet and 3) even a small bit of athletic talent can improve. I have seen the following as good age goals for male "non-runners"
under 30 - 21:00
30 - 40 - 24:00
40 - 50 - 25:00
50+ - 26:00

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Great answer Christopher. Thanks so much. Do you actually mean run 90 minutes? In one day? Seems like quite a lot now as I struggle with 30 while doing my 5k! –  saltcod Oct 17 '12 at 18:28
    
Yes, I do mean 90 minutes at one time! But there are lots of ways to get there. Without knowing you, your history, etc., I would recommend either of these 2 variations. 1) add 5 minutes a week to your run for 2 weeks and then go back to where you started in week 3. Begin week 4 with 5 more minutes. ex. 30, 35, 30, 40, 45, 30, 50, 55, 30, etc. OR 2) do a split run where you do 15 easy, walk 5 minutes, 15 easy. Add 5 minutes to one of the easy each week until you get up to 90 minutes total. Good luck. –  Christopher Ickes Oct 18 '12 at 17:35
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It's always nice to see people getting into running :)

I personally run my 5k's around 15-17mins. However, I think that time really doesn't matter, it matters whether or not you pushed yourself. I vomit after every race, but I always feel good, physically as well as mentally because I know that I did my best.

Don't worry what your time is, just do your best. (I know that sounds "cheesey", but it doesn't matter if you don't push yourself).

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Great to run 5K that fast! You could improve the answer by some more detail, e.g.: Do you push yourself this extreme every time your run? How often & far do you run? –  FredrikD Oct 17 '12 at 20:10
    
Haha thanks :) And yes, I push myself a lot more than I probably should with any official race. I really don't train all that much in honesty, just 2-3 times a week, my friends and I go on 5-6 mile trots. –  Gavin Sapp Oct 17 '12 at 20:17
    
There isn't really a secret as far as I can tell, my friends and I may all just be extremely gifted runners. I apologize that I can't really provide much more than this, but all I can say is that you have to do your best. –  Gavin Sapp Oct 17 '12 at 20:18
    
It may be true, but I am highly skeptical that you are running 15 minute 5k's on a 2-3 "trots" per week. That's about a 4:49 pace, and generally takes quite a bit of consistent, planned training. –  JohnP Oct 17 '12 at 20:37
    
Like I said, I really am not sure. Although 4:49 minutes really does sound wrong.. If i'm correct on this, my average try-hard pace is a 5:10 mile. I'm probably incorrect on 15 mins then, thanks for pointing that out :) I'll time my next 5k coming up in a couple weeks :) –  Gavin Sapp Oct 17 '12 at 21:25
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Realistic is very subjective, but I think that the numbers of the German Sports Badge could count as realistic, as they are considered to be achievable by every more or less avid athlete.

For a 5k run the numbers are:

       18-29  30-39  40-44  45-49  50-54  55-59
men:   23:00  25:30  28:00  30:30  33:00  35:30*

*) this activity is not recommended for people over 55, they should talk with a medical professional before attempting.

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Thanks for this. If the German's can do 25 minutes! –  saltcod Oct 17 '12 at 18:27
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