How hard do I push?

We get the “How hard do I push?” question pretty frequently.

Each workout leaves plenty of room for interpretation, so there’s a certain art to figuring out what works for you. Do you jog through that 90-second interval like you are pacing yourself for a 30-minute 5K or do you power through like a maniac and end up gasping for dear life by the end?

The answer (as it tends to be) is somewhere in the middle.

Pick a comfortable pace that challenges you without overdoing it. If you are just building up your fitness and working towards being able to finish a 5K without walking, just completing each interval at a moderate pace should be enough to build your strength and stamina to where it needs to be.

Remember, each of our programs are designed to help you work towards your desired speed and distance.  By sticking to the plan, even if you aren’t blowing the doors off of each individual workout, you will get stronger as you work your way through the program.

At the end of the day, it’s not an exact science, but there are some general rules that can help you start thinking about how hard you push yourself during each workout.

You might not be pushing hard enough if…

  • …you could hold a conversation during a run interval.
  • …you don’t need to catch your breath at the beginning of a walk interval.
  • …you aren’t feeling muscle soreness the day after a workout.
On the other hand, there are a number of signs that you might be going too hard, particularly if you are just starting out.
You might be pushing too hard if…
  • …you couldn’t hold a conversation during a walk interval.
  • …you struggle to complete your cool-down walk.
  • …you are still feeling muscle soreness after one or more rest days.
Finding the sweet spot between under-training and over-training is the key to developing fitness over the long haul.  If you go too easy, you won’t get faster.  If you consistently go too hard, you aren’t giving your body a chance to recover and build strength.
Regardless of your goals and fitness level, it’s always important to evaluate how hard you are pushing during each workout and how your body is responding to what you’re asking it to do.
Remember, the name of the game is to challenge yourself without overdoing it.  Mastering that skill is the key to becoming a serious runner.

2 responses to “How hard do I push?

  1. Are there any plans to include conversion to kilometers and kilograms in the c25k? That is the only thing holding me back from buying it

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