I reckoned I could manage 14 minute miles at a fast walk, I did so walking to the shop one lunch time so thats 42-45 min for 5k. Almost as quick as the ParkRun times of some runners I know.

So, to prove the point, I had already done a 32min 4k out walking the dog, just about 40 min 5k pace if I had kept it up.

My problem now is that I have to see what I can do. Can I do better, is a 38 min 5k an acheivement or an under achievement, I honestly don't know and so am in no position to talk. 

So, with no training, special equipment, sports drinks or gels and the dog, can I run 5k in a respectable time?

The Challenge

Earlier this year, I tracked my walk with the dog on my phone and about 1-2k in, I realised I was clocking about 8:30 min/km pace.

I upped the pace a bit and managed to do 4k in under 32 minutes! In fairness, it was a bit more than a brisk walk, more a fast walk with occasional jog but I did have my coat on and I did have the dog with me, so having to stop, fetch her ball and give her an occasional treat sort of offset the running after her I reckon but still, it wasn't parkrun so not a bad effort considering there was NO effort.

With this I had managed to match a PB in the office, which is remarkable but now I'm wondering what if I actually tried. What if I had my gait analysed, had my running shoes specially fitted and got some trendy lightweight running gear, what time could I achieve then?

Nah, how about I just put a bit more emphasis on the running part and less on the walking part and see what I can do? Bearing in mind I haven't run since my youth when I was at school and involved in sports, except for a spell 14 years ago when I 'briefly' took up jogging in the evening.

It bored the arse of me and my runs got shorter each time until I stopped bothering at all.

I had missed out on signing up for 'Fit steps' class and I didn't have time to get my self a powerhoop so I had to go into this unprepared.

So, I'm calling this 'The walking the dog faster than a parkrunner 5k challenge'


Preparation, well this will be a short chapter. I've done none. To be honest there is some trepidation as I take this on. I don't feel particularly up for it and apart from the weekly 5 a side tournament once a week at a previous company 3 years ago, I haven't run at all. 

None the less, I'm ready to go, hoody, three quarter pants and my adidas trainers, Nutmeg's doggy bag of treats and poo bags, oh and not forgeting my pace maker for the day, Nutmeg herself, my 2 yr old Sprocker Spaniel. 

Salcey forest is the destination. It should be quiet enough and there is a good variety of scenery and routes to keep the boredom at bay.

The best selfie I could manage, Nutmeg was in no mood to hang around. 


Straight into it then and Nutmeg's off like a rocket as usuall and I'm into a natural jogging pace. It's pretty flat to start with and Nutmeg runs off down one of the more woody routes. I follow, not my original plan, it's a longer route but its flat and I don't really care at this point. 

Managing to take some pics as I go, although this blurry one of Nutmeg does at least show the chosen route. 

About 1/5km in and we hit the mud. Sort of expected it this way and slowed me down a little bit as I tip toe round it. I used it as a walk rest but a little time lost here I think.

Should have had my wellies gait assessed.

Distance: 1km

Time 07:35



The 1s't Km went by like nothing and into the 2n'd wer'e soon back on the gravel path.

More mud

Conditions didn't look any better but soon cleared into a nice running surface. This is where we start to get into some uphill sections. Towards the last part of the 2nd km was mostly undulating up and down hill.

It is remarkable what difference running uphill makes as it is at least twice as hard even on the slightest gradient. I upped the pace for the 2nd km to make up for the hill's and managed to keep my pace.

Distance: 2km

Time: 15:09



Pretty well all uphill to 3km so lots of walk breaks. Managed to get into the pace of running uphill and persevered my way through it (if there is such a word).

Walking is what costs the time. It's not rocket science, it's a 3rd slower. Anyone who says they 'run walk' like its a technique is bullshitting you, its just walking for a rest in between runs. Walking adds nothing! 

Anyway, I didn't want to run a circuit because of the conditions as we entered into the forest so I took advantage of a straight bit and ran on past the half way point for a bit then turned round. 

Nutmeg has easily done 5k by now.

Nutmeg is still sprinting along and I lost her for a moment as she disapeared into the woods. Don't think she expected me to go back the way we came and had run on. I could say this held me up a little waiting for her but she found me and we were soon back together. 

Managed to keep up the pace nonetheless.

Distance: 3km

Time: 22:40



Back down the hill I came up, so took advantage of this and ran as much as I could. Nutmeg is looking tired from her sprint to catch me up but still going strong.

Was hoping to get 32-35mins for the 5k but didn't think I could make it now. My pace was down, or so I thought. The 2-3k section took its toll, however the section times later would show the contrary. 

Do you get these in Parkrun?

For a bit of fun I took a diversion over some felled trees, otherwise a pretty uneventfull section and managed to get my fastest km. 

Distance: 4km

Time: 28:54



The final km was truly the hardest. I could have gone back the way I came through the woods but chose to stick to the main path. Not sure if this was a good idea in the end. The hill to the finish was knackering although I didn't fancy doing a sprint finish through that mud. 

Should I stop to tie these or carry on. Carry on!

I powered up the 1st hill section but that was me done. Walked quite a bit here and took advantage of the level bits to run again. Was glued to my phone for the final 1/2km waiting for it to end, hopefull of still getting under 35mins but was losing the battle.

Head down and I just went for it to the finish. The relief when I saw 5k on my phone made it all eventually worth it.

All the top athletes swear by them I believe 

Mc Donald's awaits! 

Distance: 5km

Time: 35:44



So, I did it and to be fair perhaps it wasn't exactly 'walking the dog' but in all, I don't think it was too hard, I pushed towards the end but if I wasn't going for a time it would have been quite easy.

From my times, I was getting quicker as it went on which is totally different to what I thought during the run. I certainly thought I had lost time around the 2-3 km mark but it would seem that the drive to get up the hills made me faster. Not surprised I sped up at the end because thats when I realised my pace was down and started to push. 

The hills make all the difference and going for a time also made it a lot harder and I reckon I still stand by my original opinion that just jogging is probably not that hard. I say probably because of course, this is my story and it will be different for the next person. Of course this was only 5k, 10k may be a different story but I'm not going to do it. Will I do this again? Not sure. I'm better informed now and think I can pace myself better. I could also choose a flatter route and with less mud, sub 32mins, possibly.