Problems with Active’s 5K-to-10K App

Problems with Active 5K to 10K App

I’m a quitter. I gave up. After around a month of trying to stick with the training plan that came with Active’s 5K-to-10K app, I gave up and went back to my own running regimen to get myself ready for running a 10K.

That’s not to say that the Active app didn’t help or isn’t worthwhile–it did and it is. But there are some definite issues with the program that doesn’t work for how I exercise.

The Good

The best part about Active’s program is that it really does ease you into running the longer distances. You start out each week with a shorter run, followed by interval training and tempo/fast runs, and then end the week with a longer, steady run.

Like their Couch-to-5K app, the increases are regular but not punishing. There’s no reason if you’re capable of running around a 30-minute 5K that the 5K-to-10K program should be that punishing. If you do all three runs each week, you’ll easily get into 10K territory by the end of it, and you won’t even feel that you had to push yourself too much.

The Bad

And while all that sounds great in theory, it didn’t work for me. At all. I found myself bored with the program because of one simple fact: each run was time-based, not distance-based.

I was told to run for 20 minutes on the first day of each week. Every week. Which is fine, but for a 5K runner looking to increase endurance and distance, 1/3 of my scheduled runs being 20 minutes long was simply unacceptable. And those shorter, introductory runs continue all the way through the program–with their maximum time being 25 minutes.

On top of that, I mix up my runs between treadmill and outside, so a 20-minute run on the treadmill is between 1.8 and 2.0 miles for me, while outside that more likely approaches 2.5 to 2.8 miles.

That’s a huge difference.

And when you add in that the longer, steady runs and the tempo/fast intervals were also time-based, I couldn’t keep a consistent increase. I was stalling out, even though I should have been steadily increasing.

An average day’s run for me right now is about 4 miles (5 if I have time). And using the 5K-to-10K app, that would still be around 2 miles. And that’s absurd. And it doesn’t help me in the least get prepared for my 10K or half-marathon goals.

Verdict

Overall, the app is fine. It does what it’s supposed to, but it doesn’t seem to cater to the intermediate runner I feel like I am. It’s a great program for someone who’s never run a longer distance than a 5K. But I was running the 10K distance last fall on my own, so the Active app isn’t really geared for me.

If you’ve never run a 10K before, the app is fine. And if you don’t mind time-based instead of distance-based tracking, the app is fine. But if you’re like me and see 5K as the baseline of what you want to run on a given day (and it should be if you are looking at a 5K-to-10K app in the first place), and/or if you mix up your running pace by being both indoor and outdoor during any given week, the Active app probably isn’t for you.

Have you had better luck with other training plans and apps out there? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments!

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B.J. Keeton

B.J. Keeton

B.J. is a geek, gamer, podcaster, and livestreamer. He has been the co-host of the Geek to Geek podcast since 2016, and he helped start the Geek to Geek Media Network. His biggest pet peeve is when someone spells Wookiee with only one E. One time, he told his friends he liked vegetables maybe more than he did Star Wars, and they made him put a dollar in the jar. That should tell you everything you need to know about him. Find him on Twitter as @professorbeej or on Discord as @professorbeej#1337.

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3 Comments

  1. Nazaniel

    I actually found pretty good training plans on the About.com website:
    http://running.about.com/od/racetraining/a/basichalf.htm

    That’s the plan I used to run my first half marathon, and I found it worked quite well – neither overtraining nor undertraining, and it’s all distance-based. I felt better every week on the long runs, and managed the half distance – but had nothing left in the tank afterwards. I think that’s a good way to finish your first one though.

    They don’t include hills or speed intervals until the intermediate plan, but moving from 10k to half marathon is enough of a jump that I think they’re right to just focus on the distance. Even though you’re a running intermediate, you’re still a half-marathon beginner 🙂

    Reply
    • B.J. Keeton

      I actually really like the look of that training plan. I’m going to keep that one in mind as I start moving toward the half-marathon this summer.

      And yeah, I’m still definitely a newbie/beginner in the HM bracket. I’ve done 10km before, but no more than that. I know I’ll have to really kick it up for the fall, which is why I’m very glad I’m a teacher and get summer break to really focus on this kind of stuff when I can. Thanks for the link/info.

      Reply
  2. 5k Training For Beginners

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