1

Increase speed w/o sacrificing base building? (Read 1779 times)

    Hello RA peeps! I'm a total newbie runner and this is my first post on RA.

     

    My question: How can I improve my pace without sacrificing base building?

     

    I am a super-slow jogger--I could power walk faster. Currently, I'm jogging 12mpw broken up into 3 easy 4-milers, but my pace is an agonizingly slow 13-min/mi. At the end of my jogs I can maintain a conversation, but I'm definitively jogging at my upper-end distance. How can I improve my pace without doing speed-work? 

     

    I know the simple answer is just run more, but I think I'm simply too slow.

     

    I little background on my training so far... In Jan I started the c25k program and on April 22nd I successively achieved my goal of being able to jog for an entire 5k (I finished in 36:06). I've never ever been a runner. I despised participating in all sports which required running in high school, but the c25k program has really let me see and feel running in a new light. I'm really starting to enjoy my 5am jogs--something I never thought would ever happen. So, post 5k race I signed up here and started logging my training. I wanted to improve my 11.6 race pace, so I started doing some speed work. I figured I'd re-do the c25k, but actually run it instead of jog it. Well, after 3 workouts (1-min run/1-min walk for about 3-miles) my ankles, feet, and calves were REALLY sore and I felt injury looming ahead (I have proper shoes). That's when I read lots you seasoned runners' advice about not doing speed work till you're at least at 20-25+ mpw and to just focus on base building. So, that's what I've done. I've setup a training schedule (goal of achieving 30mpw) where I increase my weekly mileage by 10%, next week maintain, next week reduce by 25% to recover some, next week continue with 10% increase....

     

    I think this is a good plan for me, but I wonder if I've increased too much too soon (I was in the high 11/low 12 -min/mi range at 3.1 mile runs). Should I go back down to 3x3.0mi/9mpw and try to jog it faster, then apply my schedule to that distance? Or should I just continue the way I've planned and expect my pace to come down with more miles?

     

    A little health history: Prior to Jan and the c25k I was over-weight (and still am at 5'8" 185lbs currently). I carry my weight well, but it is still quite a load on the legs.  I hadn't worked out in over 2 years before I started jogging. Last March I gave birth to twin boys. And I just found out yesterday that I'm now pregnant. Even though I'm pregnant I plan to keep adding miles and running, but I'll obviously cut back if I need to. Right now I'm good, but should avoid any seriously hard runs. I'm just glad that I've been jogging for 5-months prior to getting pregnant, so I can continue. Smile

     

    Thanks in advance!

      Best total newbie post I've seen!

       

      Congrats on the pregnancy and the birth of your twins...very cool. Congrats on the weight loss and on your first 5k.

       

      Wow...That's a lot of accomplishments.

       

      Be patient. Your pace will improve. It looks like you have a pretty good handle on what you should be doing.

        Do not run less miles and run them faster. You are in the infancy of training. No disrespect, but you are not fit yet. You need to be fit and build a base before worrying about speed work or your body will break down. Your only speed work should be a race on occasion. That is good and also a way to monitor progress. Keep in mind though that 5K race pace is not training pace. Normally, the pace you can run a 5K in is 90-120 sec faster than comfortable training pace. If this is not you, you need to continue build miles. Your plan is reasonable. Right now, stick too it running comfortable, maybe use last 100 - 200m of a training run to open it up a bit. That's it and the occasional race. You will get there but it takes many months to get running "fit".

        Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!

          Probably all the speed work you need at this point is some form drills a couple of days a week at the start or end of you run, like high knees, butt kicks, fast foot shuffles etc nothing strenuous, about 10-15 steps preferably on grass if you have access to that.  Don't have to do them perfectly either, just what your range of motion allows you to.  These help in opening up the stride, and work muscles a bit differently.  It's good to get into the habit of doing drills early, I think there is value in doing form drills over running an extra half mile if time is an issue. 

            I think stick with what you are doing already - build the mileage up slowly.  You will get faster just by running more.

             

            if you want to build some strength, I would recommend running a hilly route once a week.  If you are like I was when I first started, when I planned out my routes, I avoided hills like the plague.  Hills have been described as speedwork in disguise.  I am NOT recommending that you do hill repeats, just that when planning the route you are going to run, dont avoid hills because they are hard - run your nice easy pace on them.


            Over Analyzer of My Log

              Annabelle,  go give my log a look.  I started running in October and could barely run for 1 min without being out of breath.  I worked up to my first 5k on Dec 5 and ran it in 40 minutes.  I never did anything more than just run a few miles 4 days a week and never ran faster than "conversational pace" which didn't mean I wasn't breathing hard but I could talk out loud or sing without huffing and puffing between words.  The important thing for me was consistency just running on run days and walking on walk days.  No speed work, no intervals, nothing like that.  I figure "when I grow up and become a runner" there will be plenty of time for that.  So just by running slow and adding a little longer time by Jan 16 I ran a 34 minute 5K.  Not once during the month between them did I get close to that pace.  It was mostly 12 and 13 minute miles.  I am still amazed every time I run how much improvement I still am getting without doing anything really different.  So basically I would say at least for me, consistency combined with my weight loss ( 100 lbs since Oct) have made me faster and made my runs more enjoyable than any speed work or drills.

              Rodgers Running

              2012 Goals

              Run a 10K 15K Half Marathon


              Loves the outdoors

                Welcome!  Congratulations for finishing C25K and discovering running.  My history is very similar to yours as I started running through the C25K programme about 9 months after having my 3rd child.  I also had many of the same feelings as you over my pace! I'm still not fast, but I'm consistent and I'm still running. I would suggest that this is what you should focus on, rather than speed at this point. Especially given your newly discovered pregnancy. Try just extending just one of your runs, rather than all of them and throw in a few fast bits when and if you feel like it. Then just keep getting out the door. Add another day of running if your schedule allows. It's early days, you will naturally get faster with time.

                One day I decided I wanted to become a runner, so I did.

                  No disrespect, but you are not fit yet. You need to be fit and build a base before worrying about speed work or your body will break down. 

                   

                  Thanks Tchuck, none taken. I experienced this when I started doing that little bit of speed work after my race. My body hurt and was sending me major warning flags.

                   

                  Happyfeet, the form drills are probably a good idea for me--I could definitely use some work on my form. I've got a nice grassy patch at the end of my route where I could work on them on the good days.

                   

                  LOL, Jeff we don't have many hills in Tampa, so I'm not really avoiding them, but I could find a trail with some elevation changes to run on every now and then just to mix things up. 

                   

                  Philip, it looks like you always walk on your non-running days. I could probably add this to my evening routine and take the boys and the dog for a long walk (longer than my typical 15-minute stroll to the mailbox and back). That would probably help with muscle recovery and the weight loss.

                   

                  nzrun, eventuallly I'll get to 4-days a week, but I don't think I'm ready for back-to-back running days. I get up at 4:30am to run on weekdays, before the DH and kiddos wake up. I've tried the 3-days one week, 4 the next, but something always comes up, weather, late night with a cranky toddler, work, husband out-of-town, etc.... there always seems to be something! Undecided 

                   

                  Thanks everyone for the wonderful words of encouragement and advice! You guys are awesome! Looks like I'll just keep on running nice and slow, adding miles gradually, and eventually I'll get faster. Big grin

                    just run more.  throw away the watch for a year and put one on next year when you are running 5 days a week and at least one of those days over an hour.  you'll be surprised at the difference without really trying to be faster.   

                    In an infinite universe, the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion

                    http://htwins.net/scale2/scale2.swf?bordercolor=white&fb_source=message

                     

                     

                     

                       

                      Looks like I'll just keep on running nice and slow, adding miles gradually, and eventually I'll get faster. Big grin

                       

                       

                      yes!     it will happen naturally

                        Hello RA peeps! I'm a total newbie runner and this is my first post on RA.

                         

                        My question: How can I improve my pace without sacrificing base building?

                         

                        I am a super-slow jogger--I could power walk faster. Currently, I'm jogging 12mpw broken up into 3 easy 4-milers, but my pace is an agonizingly slow 13-min/mi. At the end of my jogs I can maintain a conversation, but I'm definitively jogging at my upper-end distance. How can I improve my pace without doing speed-work? 

                         

                        I know the simple answer is just run more, but I think I'm simply too slow.

                         

                        I little background on my training so far... In Jan I started the c25k program and on April 22nd I successively achieved my goal of being able to jog for an entire 5k (I finished in 36:06). I've never ever been a runner. I despised participating in all sports which required running in high school, but the c25k program has really let me see and feel running in a new light. I'm really starting to enjoy my 5am jogs--something I never thought would ever happen. So, post 5k race I signed up here and started logging my training. I wanted to improve my 11.6 race pace, so I started doing some speed work. I figured I'd re-do the c25k, but actually run it instead of jog it. Well, after 3 workouts (1-min run/1-min walk for about 3-miles) my ankles, feet, and calves were REALLY sore and I felt injury looming ahead (I have proper shoes). That's when I read lots you seasoned runners' advice about not doing speed work till you're at least at 20-25+ mpw and to just focus on base building. So, that's what I've done. I've setup a training schedule (goal of achieving 30mpw) where I increase my weekly mileage by 10%, next week maintain, next week reduce by 25% to recover some, next week continue with 10% increase....

                         

                        I think this is a good plan for me, but I wonder if I've increased too much too soon (I was in the high 11/low 12 -min/mi range at 3.1 mile runs). Should I go back down to 3x3.0mi/9mpw and try to jog it faster, then apply my schedule to that distance? Or should I just continue the way I've planned and expect my pace to come down with more miles?

                         

                        A little health history: Prior to Jan and the c25k I was over-weight (and still am at 5'8" 185lbs currently). I carry my weight well, but it is still quite a load on the legs.  I hadn't worked out in over 2 years before I started jogging. Last March I gave birth to twin boys. And I just found out yesterday that I'm now pregnant. Even though I'm pregnant I plan to keep adding miles and running, but I'll obviously cut back if I need to. Right now I'm good, but should avoid any seriously hard runs. I'm just glad that I've been jogging for 5-months prior to getting pregnant, so I can continue. Smile

                         

                        Thanks in advance!

                        Annabelle:

                         

                        This is actually the very topic I'd covered last week at MDRA's Beginning Women's Running Class.  

                         

                        As you know, whatever you do, your body needs oxygen to carry out the task.  The more strenuous the task (i.e.; run faster), the more oxygen is required.  The first time you get out and run a few blocks (after years of sedentary life style), your body will go in a  shock; your body screams for more oxygen simply because your body needs to carry out task of pushing your entire body weight with one leg into the air and then catching it again with the opposite leg and you repeat that for, what, about 1200 times to run one mile.  Most likely your body cannot carry the task of transferring oxygen from your lungs to the working muscles (mostly your legs) so your body really screams for more oxygen to get into your system; so you huff and puff profusely to catch up with that need.  You may run, say, 3/4 of a mile at 15-minute-mile pace and you'll be at the death door, sucking as much air as possible.  This is because that was too much work for your body; you had exceeded your body's ability to assimilate, transport and utilize oxygen to fulfill your body's need to run 3/4 mile at 15mpm speed.  So...while you're sleeping (in most cases), your body goes into the repair/construction state and (1) make more red blood cells to pick up oxygen in the lungs and carry it around the body; (2) make your heart bigger and stronger so it can push more blood with oxygen rich red blood cells and (3) dig through the working muscles to create more channels for blood to go through (capillaries) so the working muscles can USE more oxygen.  These are not the only things that would happen while you are recovering (sleeping) but 3 of the main ones.  So next time, perhaps next week or a few weeks later, now running 3/4 miles at 15mpm is not as bad because your body can utilize more oxygen to fulfill that task.  A month or so later, now 15mpm even feels easy and you now can run 14.5mpm WITH THE SAME EFFORT because your body is now adjusted for that workload.  Now you can freely run over a couple of miles at 14mpm with no problem and you no longer feel you're huffing and puffing.  This is because now your oxygen carrying capacity is higher that, what once was "anaerobic" (when you're operating above and beyond your maximum oxygen carrying capacity and therefore you are creating "oxygen debt" to fulfill that task, that you'd have to repay that "debt" by huffing and puffing at the end) effort now is "aerobic".  There, now you had improved your running speed by getting more aerobically fit, in other words, by building bigger and wider "base".  

                         

                        The term "speed training sacrificing base building" is all false at the beginning level because base building work actually makes you able to run faster.  It is quite conceivable to run a sub-3 marathon with base building training only.  Without any scientific research to back me up, I'd say running approximately 20-miles at 7-8 minute per mile pace is easily attainable with base building training.  During that phase, you'll simply get stronger and stronger, and faster and faster.  Of course, that's not what most people want to hear.  Many would like to know the secret to run sub-4 marathon by training 25-30MPW.  Yes, you'll probably need to work on some "speed" workout.  So they would think, well, what if I run all my runs faster...  That'll push my body to go faster.  Well, not quite.  Now you'll be flirting with upsetting your metabolism by getting into this oxygen debt state for too long and too often.  Many enzymes to utilize nutrients only work in a very tight pH level and too much workout beyond this maximum oxygen carrying capacity would create hydrogen ions to lower your body's pH level, upsetting these enzyme functions.  In other words, you continue to do impressive training but your body is not sufficiently rebuilding to make it stronger.  Those who continue to do impressive workouts but his/her improvement not following is a typical example of upsetting this metabolic function.  I see far too many people today run very hard but hardly race up to his/her expectation often falls into this category--they are over-worked and under-recovered.

                         

                        Another trend that we see often today is someone who trains A LOT, like 15-20 miles every weekend but, for some reason, remains SLOW.  This is what I talked about last night at the class; form.  Most people have NO clue how to run correctly, spending hours and hours, plodding along and never learn to run more efficiently.  I showed 2 pictures last night; one of this elite runner whose push-off leg just left the ground.  Another one of a hobby-runner who just ran a 5k race last weekend.  She was running, oh, about 11-minute per mile pace...  Her push-off leg also just left the ground.  But what's intriguing is that, while this elite runner had his other leg at the height of his knee lift, this other runner's other leg was ready to land already.  She had no knee lift whatsoever.  It is interesting to me that so many people today talk about foot-plant (mid-foot running) but hardly anybody's talking about other parts of "running".  Mid-foot landing comes very natural if you bring your knees up.  Good knee lift comes very natural if you push-off with the other leg.  These things come very much naturally hand-in-hand because of action-reaction relationship.  You cannot have a good knee lift if your looking down.  So I drilled them to remember 3 things: upper body stance (keep your back straight), push-off and knee lift.  As we started doing drills, hardly anybody can do any of this!!  They can't elevate their body, get up on their toes and bounce around tip-toe.  Happyfeet is correct; if you do just a little bit of these exercises, say, once a week, or even once in every two weeks, it'll improve your running form immensely and you'll improve your "speed" without trying too hard or trying to run faster.  

                         

                        Now, being pregnant (congratulations, by the way!! ;o)), I wouldn't necessarily recommend bouncing around, hopping all over the place...  But, in a way, you're lucky!!  While your baby is getting bigger inside of you, find stairs of, say, 30-50 steps.  Don't run up and down (you can...IF you consult with your doctor first.  I don't know what up-and-down motion would do to the pregnant body with, well, several things getting bigger...), but place your hands on your knees and walk up the steps; one at a time, if you get the hang of it, two steps at a time...or even alternate it that way.  Go up and walk down for a few times.  If you get stronger, do a bit more, say, up to 30-minutes or so.  Feel the position of the Center of Gravity; don't use your quads only; make sure you feel the back leg straightening up and pushing off well.  Don't just let your front leg "pull you up", but make sure you push off the back leg.  Keep your back straight and don't curl up to the front; open up your chest and look up.  This is enough to strengthen your legs; quads, hamstrings and buttocks; that, once you get back to your full flight of running, you'll feel the surge of speed immediately.  Like I said, you're lucky because you ARE getting bigger and bigger, heavier and heavier and you KNOW that you'll lose a chunk of that weight immediately once you deliver the baby.  THAT is the advantage women have (men don't); it's the nature's weight training!!  Blessed are the pregnant; for their legs will get so much stronger while being pregnant.  And, when you deliver the baby, your strong legs would only have to carry whatever your pregnant weight minus the baby's...and all the gook to go along with it!!  Viola, you'll be FLYING!!  So work diligently to strengthen your legs while pregnant.  Don't even push too hard.  Just a little often would do.  And step-walking is probably one of the best form of strength exercise a runner can find.  Just be very careful coming down; don't try to run down, just walk down.  When your legs are tired, you might stumble and you don't want to do that with the baby inside you.  So pay extra caution.  If you do this in the building, take the elevator down.  You walk up, say, 3 stairs and take the elevator down...  You repeat this 3 or 4 times once a week; and do other aerobic type exercise the other days; you won't lose "base" at all.  

                         

                        For the "other" aerobic exercises, I'd strongly recommend aqua-running and NordicTrack exercise.  My wife used NordicTrack way up to something like 2 weeks before she delivered; you can actually place your belly onto the cushion thingie and do this quite comfortably.  Non-jarring as well.  

                         

                        Another advantage is that, while pregnant, your joint will be more supple and flexible; perfect for better running form.  Also some hormones will be released and a woman gets stronger after delivery.  So, seriously, you'll have a lot to look forward to!! ;o)

                          WOW... simply WOW! Nobby you rock! What a fantastic reply! Thank you! (Was that enough !!!!? Wink

                           

                          I will definitely take your advice and I really appreciate you taking the time to write/share the anatomy/biochemistry lesson (I'm serious).

                           

                          I also feel I probably fall into the...

                           

                          Most people have NO clue how to run correctly, spending hours and hours, plodding along and never learn to run more efficiently. 

                           

                          ... category. I've never really been an "athlete" and have always struggled with "ball" sports (my throwing form is TERRIBLE), so I'd definitely benefit from some form work. I live in a 2-story townhouse, so I have at least one flight of stairs I can work on.

                           

                          Again... THANK YOU!! Smile