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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