Does speed matter?

I've started running at the beginning of this year - well, it's a bit like running - only slower! : -)

I couldnt even do a mile without thinking I was going to die in January, but am now up to 3 miles comfortably and over 4 miles to push myself but I am slower than a herd of turtles in peanut butter. My average pace is only 12:39 - sometimes slower than that. Does it matter? I am entering my first 5k next week and hate the thought that I am going to be the last to finish! :-( I feel like everybody is pointing and laughing at the best of times, and this is starting to dent my confidence a little. I have done everything I can to try and increase my pace, but nothing seems to work.

I have MS so should just be satisfied that I am able to get out there and do something, but dont want to make myself look silly.

Is speed all that important, or shall I just keep plugging away at distance rather than disappointing myself over and over on the speed front?


  • SailorSamSailorSam Forumite
    22.8K Posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    I think it's more important that you're running than how fast you are.
    It's not as if winning is important.
    Liverpool is one of the wonders of Britain,
    What it may grow to in time, I know not what.

    Daniel Defoe: 1725.
  • VestanPanceVestanPance Forumite
    1.6K Posts
    Speed only matters if that's what you are training for and aiming for a particular time.

    The chances are you won't be last at your 5km. Even if you are nobody will be pointing and laughing. Everyone who runs had a starting point and they know it takes determination to build yourself up.

    On where you go after your 5km that depends on what you want and what you enjoy. The best training is to mix it up and do both. Do speed work were you push yourself over shorter distances and do easy paced runs over longer distances to build up stamina.

    The main thing is to find something that motivates you and that you enjoy. I know people who do nothing but short speed runs, and other that do nothing but distance as that's what they like. I know someone who's ran 50 marathons but refuses to run 5k's as they're too fast and hurt too much!
  • LizlingLizling Forumite
    882 Posts
    If the 5k you've signed up for is either a Parkrun or a big, fun-run style event, there's very little chance of coming last because plenty of people will end up walking. If it's a little local race organised by a local club, then yes, you might be last but you'll probably get loads of encouragement.

    You'll get faster as you run further, at this stage.
    Saving for deposit: Finished! :j
    House buying: Finished!
    Next task: Lots and lots of DIY
  • theEndtheEnd Forumite
    851 Posts
    I feel like everybody is pointing and laughing at the best of times, and this is starting to dent my confidence a little.

    Really, no-one ever laughs or judges everyone in an adult sporting event.

    Coming from a cycling world, the person who finishes last is very much respected.

    A big event in France, they mention first and last only.

    It's actually quite a great moment. Thousands having a well earned drink cheering on the last finisher flanked by the police out riders.
  • StuC75StuC75 Forumite
    2.1K Posts
    ith running its about competing with yourself and how you feel. Just find your pace and it will be enjoyable. Ive ran the leeds 10k the last couple years (after never really running) and its been good. The atmosphere can push you on more - even to the point that I had a bit left for a sprint finish :-).
  • NotBotheredNotBothered Forumite
    172 Posts
    Thank you everyone. You've boosted me no end. And you are right - I would never laugh at anyone who came in last as fair play to them for keeping going, so why would other people behave any differently - Full of my own paranoia much! LOL. Its a Race4Life but my first time of running with "spectators" so really nervous! I know I can do the distance, just not sure how long it will take me - but if I dont give it a go. I'll never know! : -0

    Thank you everyone. Its over a week away, so plenty of time and opportunity to take myself off into a corner to have a stern word with myself :-)
  • ChrisJJChrisJJ Forumite
    198 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Well done for running at all! The most important thing is if you enjoy it and get something out of it. And running with MS too - you should be proud of yourself.

    I accepted quite some time ago that I'll never be a 'racer'. I often say that when I'm running I'm overtaken but old people and toddlers - walking :rotfl: People always think I'm joking, but I'm not :o I have ME, so I try cut myself some slack, but still push myself a bit too much at times.

    Good luck in your 5k!
  • Good luck in the 5k!
    Speed really doesn't matter - someone has to come last so even if it's you, you are still miles ahead of all the people who stayed at home on the sofa!
    Race4Life is a really inclusive event so you'll probably find the back of the race is busier than the front - and some people will walk the whole way.
    You will probably get faster over time - I just knocked 6 minutes off my 5 mile time which I never thought I would do when I first did that distance about 3 years ago. If you want to get fast do speed work, if you aren't too worried about it just keep getting out and enjoying it.
  • PasturesNewPasturesNew Forumite
    70.7K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Speed and winning aren't important. What can be important is how others make you feel about that .... rebrand yourself by saying "I'm more of a power walker than a runner", that'll stump 'em. You're also not "directly in competition" with them (in their head), so no mocking if you do come last.
  • barbarawrightbarbarawright Forumite
    1.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    The first time I completed 5k it took 45 minutes. I've only knocked 10 minutes off that. I've done two 10k races, taken 1hr 18minutes for both of them and wasn't anywhere near last. So don't worry. And even if you are last, so what. You're faster than the people still on the sofa. Plus, with a 5k, you'll only be last by, at most, a few minutes which means there'll be plenty of people still around to cheer you. Which they will do because they'll be so pleased they can pack up :rotfl:
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides

British Gas prepay meter users... pay less for gas from 1 April

MSE News

The 'odd Easter flavours' thread 2023

What bizarre food stuffs have you spied?

MSE Forum

Energy Price Guarantee calculator

How much you'll likely pay from April

MSE Tools