The Couch to 5K program specifies both a time and a distance in its definition. To satisfy both the time and the distance, one should run at a 10-minute mile pace. My pace is closer to 12-minute miles. I have not worried about it, nor do I intend to. Every experienced runner I have talked to has said the most important thing is to build up your body – the legs and the breathing – so that you can shuffle along for the desired time. As your leg muscles get activated, there is further development of the capillaries and it allows them to take greater advantage of the oxygen available. At the same time, your heart and lungs get better at providing oxygen. These improvements will naturally lead to a faster pace, and it takes time. I trust these higher-level athletes and that is why I do not worry about it. There are people who do the Couch to 5K program at 6 mph (10-minute mile pace); and there are people who are doing 3.6 mph jogs. But if the dedication is there, reasonable goals are within reach. And I have no ambition of setting speed records!
Despite my love of numbers, and my philosophical obsession over them, numbers don't do much to motivate me. The trick to stay motivated is to find something to actually be passionate about. And I am developing a passion for a variety of questions:
1. Why are people capable of running such long distances?
2. Biomechanically, what is the best way to run?
3. Why do so many people run for the fun of it?
I'm pursuing these questions, but I am also interested in your answers.