I've been running since February, training for a 5k roughly, but my pace has not been increasing at all. I started from no physical activity to C25K and completed it without much of a problem, but things aren't improving at all. I run ~3 miles 3 times a week and then 1 longer "run", usually 4-5 miles. It usually ends up being a combination of run and walk because after 3 miles or if I push my speed, my stomach starts to really, really hurt.
My best pace has been roughly 10:00 over 5k, usually when I'm able to run the full time I end up at 10:30-11:00. I'm 5'6, 153 lbs, so I'm not really out of shape.
Like I said, it starts to hurt if I go too fast or too far, sometimes it hurts even before that. I breathe at 2 steps in 2 steps out but faster does not help nor does it feel natural.
I'm starting to get kind of depressed at the fact that I can't run how I want to run. I want to do the longer runs more often but they end up taking over an hour. Saturday I did 4.5 and it took 57 minutes which is just embarrassing. When it starts to hurt I can't help but stop and walk, if I try to go any faster, even the slowest possible jog, it flares right back up.
What should I be looking at, what should I be trying to improve? What can I possibly do to get rid of this pain so I can improve my pace?
If more information will help I'll be glad to provide it. I really want this to end.
aside from an actual medical reason for your stomach pain it could be two things I have experienced.
Cramping/stomach pain could be simply not enough water in your system at the time of running. Do the pinch skin test, if it doesn't snap back like an elastic, you need more water.
It could also be your technique, which I will sadly say the Insanity DVD workout helped me change, and also turned my 5k 9 min a mile pace to a 5k 6:50 avg. pace in just 2 months. I am not recommending you waste money on Insanity (although it was, in general a good workout). What I would recommend is to daily spend 5 minutes doing various knee high exercises at fast intervals. This forces your body to be upright, breathing properly and also lifts your knees high which in turn causes your running step to be a little straighter and a little longer, at least I have found.
Also, make sure when running your posture isn't horrendous. This can cause air flow issues as well, which could cause stomach pain.
I am no professional athlete, I started with a couch to 5k program about 3 years ago, and run up to a half marathon now on weekends (depending on the week), but try to run 5k's 3 times a week as well. My 5k non-race pace is around 8min, while my 10k+ is around 9min. Race day I try to drop 60/90sec off my pace and I mostly achieve this.
Again, none of the above will help at all if you have an actual medical issue though.