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How long does the newbie acceleration curve last? (Read 333 times)

     

    When I think of the newbie improvement curve, I'm thinking of those formerly non-runners who start training consistently for the first time in their lives who PR every time they race, often by a lot. That lasts, I dunno, 1-3 years?--it kind of depends how out of shape you were to begin with, what your ultimate potential is, and how seriously you train and whether you can continue to progress in your training. In other words "it depends."

     

    My first 3 years running my mileage progression was something like 20 MPW, 25-30 MPW, 30-35 MPW.  My 5K times those first 3 years went something like 29:00, 26:00, 24:18, then stagnated there for a while until I bumped up the mileage (to around 40 MPW) in preparation for my first marathon, then had a big 5K PR to 22:50 where it stands 3 years later while my mileage has more or less stayed at around 35 MPW..

    So not sure what the Newbie improvement curve vs higher mileage contributed to the improvements early on, but there is my experience.

    ckerr1999


      Very interesting thread. I was wondering the same thing. I guees I would be a perfect example of a newbe. Started running 8.5 months ago, and still working on building my base. I am averaging 35-40 miles a week now. Other then running for a few months when I was in university, I have never run before. Still seeing significant progress. I think the first time I ran a 5k it was around 30:59, and I think the last time I ran a 5k I was around 24:25 (a number of weeks ago). Right now my biggest challenge is getting above 40 miles a week. Would like to eventually go to around 60 miles a week, but I guess it takes time. Preparing for my 2nd half marathon on May 5, and then my first marathon this October.

       

       

       

       

        You need to give it more than 2-3 months for the improvements due to those higher mileage weeks to show up.  First you need to acclimate to them, then your body will adapt and use that extra ability to improve and you will see the benefits.  It may take another cycle (3-4 months) for that work to reap dividends.

         

        Improvement for a real newbie is usually steady and significant.  Over time, it will become more sporadic and occur in fits and starts.

         

        So if it's about 6 months before benefits become apparent, when will that benefit flatten out? In other words, how long before one would need to consider making the next set of adjustment to training (more aggressive/more mpw)?

         

        MTA: Fixed the number. 2-3 months + 3-4 months = ~6 months


        Feeling the growl again

           

          So if it's about 6 months before benefits become apparent, when will that benefit flatten out? In other words, how long before one would need to consider making the next set of adjustment to training (more aggressive/more mpw)?

           

          MTA: Fixed the number. 2-3 months + 3-4 months = ~6 months

           

          It varies and I would be making stuff up if I tried to give specifics that were generalizable.

           

          Look at it this way...the major benefits of mileage are greater aerobic capacity, endurance, and strength, right?  What we tend to call "base", in one terminology.  Then we add speedwork, tempo work, and race-specific training on top of that.  So the first cycle you up mileage, even if you are adding the faster work on top of your new level of mileage you are likely not fully capitalizing on that new base as it hasn't fully developed yet.

           

          Once it does fully develop, you should be able to train faster/harder/more.  You will get a greater bump in performance than when you were doing it during the same cycle.  This is why one needs to be patient in looking for the improvements.

           

          As an extreme example, I took a huge step forward in the training and mileage I was doing in 2002-2003.  I ended up over-trained.  Probably due to anemia that went a long time undiagnosed, I was never fully able to reap the benefits of that training and I struggled through 2004-2005 to make any gains.  Then I figured the anemia thing out, took a couple months off, and re-started my training.  While I quickly returned to my prior abilities due to fixing the anemia, all of a sudden I was finally at a place where I could capitalize on the base I had built and really add hard training on top of those miles.  I went from 16:02 5K to splitting 15:39/15:18 for 10K in 3 months.

           

          It takes time to consolidate your base and really use it to further your training.  Sometimes it happens fast.  IMHO it will usually take at least a cycle (3-4 months).  Sometimes longer, depending on where you are at.  If you are anemic and overtrained it may take 3 years.  Wink

          "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

           

            One of the problems is that people tend to go through different phases in their racing.  Early there are a bunch of 5K's then some 10K's then some half marathons and rarely any 5K's anymore.  Then maybe some marathons and no 5K's or 10K's.

             

            To really make it work you would need to go through and run each person's race schedule through a equivalent calculator so you were somewhat back to apples and apples.  Of course then you would need to sort out the bad day races and blow up races and poor weather races and factor those in somehow.  Pretty daunting task just thinking about my trying to chart my personal progress let alone a bunch of other folks to get some kind of a chart.

             

            For sure there is a huge jump withing the first 4 to 6 months.  Even Dtothe2nd had one of those.  On 6/9/12 he logged a 25:45 5K for a very mortal 8:18 avg pace before he made the dramatic huge leap to a 20:23 5K (avg pace 6:34) on 12/1/12 6 months later.  Of course now just 4 months after that he ran a half marathon at pretty close to the same pace as he ran is 5K at on 12/1 so I'm guessing his 5K PR is soft and could be easily broken.

             

            For me it seems like I make progress in stair steps rather than a straight line type curve.  Also I think part of it is that you remember the true great race where the stars aligned and expect that to happen on every race and it doesn't.  My 5K PR was like that where everything went perfect and now 6 months and 1,000+ miles of training later I would still need to have a pretty good day to beat it.

             

            Let's see if this chart will post, this is my personal race results with a column for 5K equivalent pace that I ran through RunningAheads equivalent calculator.

             

            <colgroup><col width="75" /> <col span="4" width="64" /> <col width="266" /> </colgroup>
            Date Race Time Pace 5K Equiv Comments
            11/20/2010 5K 0:30:23 09:48.1 09:48.1 was running once or twice a week maybe
            12/10/2011 4mile CC 0:37:04 09:16.0 09:05.0 had been running about 4 months
            2/11/2012 14K 1:19:33 09:10.5 08:26.0 Started running 25+ mpw 
            4/14/2012 15K 1:28:02 09:28.0 08:40.0  
            4/28/2012 13.1 1:55:55 08:50.9 07:54.0 Goal race - perfect weather - good day
            5/12/2012 11 mile 1:41:53 09:15.7 08:23.0 Started LHR training for summer
            6/9/2012 10K 0:54:15 08:45.0 08:16.0  
            7/4/2012 10 mile 1:33:09 09:18.9 08:30.0  
            9/8/2012 10K 0:49:18 07:57.1 07:31.0 Breakthrough - stars aligned - good day
            10/13/2012 5K 0:24:07 07:46.8 07:46.8 blew up - bad day
            10/27/2012 5K 0:22:39 07:18.4 07:18.4 Another breakthrough - great day
            11/10/2012 13.1 1:54:23 08:43.9 07:48.0 Tough course - warm and windy
            12/8/2012 4mile CC 0:32:03 08:00.7 07:52.0  
            1/12/2013 2 mile 0:14:55 07:27.5 07:44.0 Started running 50+ mpw
            2/9/2013 2 mile 0:14:32 07:16.0 07:32.0  
            3/9/2013 14K 1:09:59 08:04.3 07:25.0  
            4/6/2013 13.1 1:48:29 08:16.9 07:23.0  
            4/13/2013 15K 1:18:47 08:28.3 07:45.0 actually more of a tempo run - not all out

             

            First time I've ever put it all together like that and looked at it.  Seems that I did pretty well in the fall after going pretty easy with base building all summer last year.  Not sure if I will stick to base building over the summer this year like I did last year or not.  It will be interesting if I am able to have another breakthrough cycle of races in the fall this year.

            Age: 46 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

            Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27

              I ran senior year of HS, fall semester of college, then on my own for another 3-4 years before injury and life took hold.  A quarter-century and 40 pounds later, I started again in Fall 2009.  My recent progression (goals are in parentheses; I'm in shape now to hit the 5k/10k/HM goals):

               

               

              5k

              8k

              10k

              10mi

              15k

              HM

              Marathon

              2009

              48:09

              1:48:58

              2010

              22:02

              43:55

              1:09:47

              1:36:56

              3:37:38

              2011

              20:36

              2012

              19:24

              41:38

              1:09:07

              1:02:47

              3:18:38

              2013

              (sub-19)

              33:20*

              (sub-40)

              1:07:46

              (sub-60)

              (sub-90)

              (sub-3)

               

              [* = physical issues cost me ~1:10]

               

              Training:

               

              Year

              Miles

              Avg. Pace

              Duration (hrs)

              2009

              564.0

              8:41

              81.5

              2010

              1796.6

              8:44

              261.3

              2011

              1015.0*

              8:47

              148.3

              2012

              2140.3

              8:24

              299.5

              2013

              683 (est.)

              8:16

              93.3

              [* = injury, 1625mi/93.5hrs cycling in there]

              “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman

                Clive, nice progression!

                - Joe

                all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

                GinnyinPA


                  As a new runner, I find this discussion very useful.  When I started running in 2011, I ran a 5k at the end of C25k, then another two months later after increasing my mileage.  There was a 2 minute difference.  I was thrilled, though I know my speed still wasn't anything to brag about.  I felt really hopeful about eventually getting out of the penguin class.  I then started training for a HM and did no racing for the next couple of months, so any difference in my pace wasn't obvious.  Then I got injured and was off for 8 months.  When I started over, I was really slow and felt discouraged because it seemed that it was taking a long time to get back to where I was before my injury.  I've avoided doing 5ks, because I doubt I'd be able to race at the speed I was 15 months ago.  However, keeping track of my runs here on the training log shows me that my easy pace is definitely changing.  I have been building my base, before starting HM training in the summer.  Reading that it takes a few months for the additional miles to have an obvious effect is helpful. I would like to eventually do a FM, but not at my present speed.  As an older runner, I figured that I would be likely to get slower as I get older, so it gives me hope to read that many people continue to see progress for several years, if they really work at their training. 

                    I "re-started" to run in 2006-2007.

                    2008: OBX marathon- 5:12 hours, average training pace 12:00 min/mile

                    2009: Marine Corps Marathon-- 4:35 hours, average training pace around 11:00 min/mile

                    2011: Buffalo Marathon-- 4:25 hours, average training pace 10:00 min/mile

                    2012: 26.2 with Donna-- 4:15 hours, average training pace around 10:00 min/mile

                    2013: Georgia Publix Marathon, average training pace 9:30/9:45 min/mile

                     

                    Now running on average 9:15-9:30 min/mile long runs, sub 9:00 on anything 5-15 miles.  Hoping for a sub-4:00 soon, and next up Boston Qualifier.  Biggest factor is a 15-20 pound weight loss between 2011 and 2013 and going from averaging 35-45 miles per week to 55-65 miles per week.  Going to do a major dietary shift this summer, hopefully that will make a huge difference too.

                     

                    Hang around here on RA for very long and you will learn that Nobby and the other running gurus are not particularly interested in training pace.  Time spent running is a lot more important.  Just FWIW.

                    Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

                      I'm in my sixth year of running, having started at age 55.  I have enjoyed pretty steady improvement, but it should be noted that during that time I have become aware of the need to keep increasing my running volume, and have done so significantly.  So, yeah, maybe that's not all newbie acceleration curve.

                      Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

                         

                        Hang around here on RA for very long and you will learn that Nobby and the other running gurus are not particularly interested in training pace.  Time spent running is a lot more important.  Just FWIW.

                         

                        same vein, I ran a faster "easy" pace when I ran a 1:31 half than when I ran 1:19.

                         

                        But the race paces back up your training speed-up, jojo.

                        2013 Goal: Make 3:00:16 go away - FAIL.

                        2014 Goal: Make 3:00:16 go away.


                        delicate flower

                          I've only been a runner for about two years.  My newbie accelerometer was good for 15 months.  PR's came easy.  I ran marathon #2 in month 15.  After that, PR's became a lot tougher and required a lot more work.  I'm missing basically the first four months of this year though after ACL surgery, so I'm taking a huge step back now.  Who knows how long it'll take to get back to where I was.

                          roboknee.

                              I'm missing basically the first four months of this year though after ACL surgery, so I'm taking a huge step back now.  Who knows how long it'll take to get back to where I was.

                             

                            About a year from the date of the surgery.  In about 1.5 years you can be rollin' new PRs, my friend.

                            - Joe

                            all running goals are under review by the executive committee.


                            delicate flower

                               

                              About a year from the date of the surgery.  In about 1.5 years you can be rollin' new PRs, my friend.

                               

                              I'll be happy if that is the case.  That's sort of what I've been thinking.  I'm hoping I can start building miles again come fall.  May-Aug will be just trying to get my knee used to running again.  LOST YEAR. 

                              roboknee.

                                I'll be happy if that is the case.  That's sort of what I've been thinking.  I'm hoping I can start building miles again come fall.  May-Aug will be just trying to get my knee used to running again.  LOST YEAR. 

                                 

                                If you want to know how I went about this, you can have a look at my training log for 2009 and 2010.  ACL surgery for me was February 2009.  The absolute most important thing is to be very patient and come back slowly.  If you look at my log you will notice a couple of false starts where my miles ramp up and then go back to ZEROS.  These happened when I ramped up too fast and had to shut it down.  Slow and steady wins the comeback race.  Good luck, man.  PM me any time if there is anything I can do to help.

                                - Joe

                                all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

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