I have been walking/running a 4km track each day for the past 7 days, and always finish in a time period of 30 minutes. Prior to this, I had not done any regular running before, but I played a regular non-endurance sport about 3 years ago, and occasional running.

I wish to improve by running the track in 25 minutes, but even today, on day 7, I still struggle to complete the 4km track in 30 minutes. Is it normal to show no improvement after 7 days, and how long does it take to see improvement? (Note: Obviously the time will vary depending on the person, but is there a normal range? E.g. Doctors have normal ranges for blood sugar levels even though everyone's blood sugar levels are different.)

  • How much of the track are you walking?
    – Baarn
    Commented Jan 13, 2013 at 10:33
  • I run about 15 minutes of the 30 minute track in total. I just run until I can't run anymore then I walk. Then as soon as possible I run again etc. The track is hilly so often it takes me longer to recover while walking up the hills.
    – Kenshin
    Commented Jan 13, 2013 at 11:47

3 Answers 3


I think a simple way to improve your time would be if you could run the whole track. I myself am not running as regular as you, so I cannot tell you how fast you should see improvements, but after I horribly failed to run a consecutive 5km when I was running for the first time, I tried to step down a bit.

The program I would advise you to look into is called the 3:2:1 program covered by @JohnP in an answer to one of my questions.

I would also recommend a program created by a cross country coach named Barry Pollack, dubbed the 3:2:1 program. In this, you have 6 runs per week, 3 short, 2 medium and one long. Your medium run is double your short runs, and your long run is 3x your short run.

I never really did the 3:2:1 program myself as I wasn't running every day, but I applied some of the aspects to my training. Depending on your long term goal after you reached the goal stated in your question you might want to modify how you train, too.
I would, in your case, try to do a shorter but consecutive run on one day and the long run with walking on the other day. You should also put a bit of variation into the choice of your track, simply to prevent falling into patterns "This is the point where I always start to walk; I need to walk now".

Have a look at the Couch 2 5k Program, you might find some other ways to improve yourself in it, too. Although you probably don't need to start in week one or two, be careful and don't overestimate yourself. It is sometimes better to step down a bit to be able to change the approach to a workout.

  • Do you think any improvement can be made by my current plan? For example, assuming I run the 15 minutes always, will I start to feel less tired after those 15 minutes after x weeks or so of running?
    – Kenshin
    Commented Jan 13, 2013 at 12:04
  • 1
    I don't think there is a good answer to that other than: "It depends". Your body has to adapt to running, it might take you another week, it might take you months. I needed about four months to be able to complete the 5km consecutive running, I could have achieved this goal earlier but I simply didn't try as I didn't put a lot of focus on running. Sometimes I ran three times a week, and sometimes I didn't run at all for two weeks. At the moment I am running every two days, and I try to push myself further.
    – Baarn
    Commented Jan 13, 2013 at 12:15
  • It also depends on your long term goal that you have after you completed the 4km in 25 minutes. Improve speed or improve distance. My answer covers how I'd do it when you try to run a greater distance, as that is your current problem. If you want to improve speed on the same track you might also have a look at other methods e.g high intensity interval training (HIIT). (I've never done HIIT, so this is just a wild guess)
    – Baarn
    Commented Jan 13, 2013 at 12:20

Focus on trying to run the whole distance, even if you have to run at a walking speed. A week is too short a time to see improvement.

  • 2
    Care to explain why running the whole distance is important?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 8:27
  • Well, since he's looking to improve his 4km lap time, the first thing to do would be to walk as little as possible during his run. Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 11:25

I suck at running. So this is my answer as a sucky runner who still sucks but is much better than when I started!

Bring a stopwatch.

Figure out a good 'steady state' running pace. There will be some trial and error here. But this will be a 'comfortable' pace that you could run on fairly level ground for some distance.

Map out your track using landmarks, hard sections, easy sections. Now you just need to work out a strategy on how to run the course.

During the easy parts, maybe pick up the pace just above your steady state. This may be for just a portion of the section, say for 100m.

During the hard parts, drop to steady state or lower. Plan which sections are best for recovery. Time your self during each section.

There will be some trial and error. But once you have a plan and stick to it, it's easy to improve incrementally. All you have to do is improve slightly during each section of the track by a few seconds, and these start to add up.

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