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advice sought on improving speed for slow runner (Read 2438 times)


rhetorician

    you can see from my log that I've been running consistent (ish) mileage for most of this year. I am still very slow and would like to work on my speed a little (my ambitions are very modest). My main problem (I think) is that I walk/run a lot and find it hard to put together consistent phases of running. This is partly psychological and partly (seemingly) what I've trained my body to do - how would you suggest I break this pattern? I go out, I run for about 10-15 mins and then I walk (usually very briefly) because I feel too hot, or because I'm not breathing completely easy. I actually often find it harder to keep going at the slower paces (which I think is a sign that my aerobic fitness is not that great?) I know that I could keep going, but somehow I just don't. It's a confidence thing, perhaps. I tend to run much better in the last 2-3 miles of a run, and can keep myself going. It's as if I am always scared that I won't be able to finish.

     

    I've run some intervals (at target pace) and done a little bit of hill work; tempo running I find impossible because I can't sustain speed for very long.

     

    If it helps, I am female, 45, about 5'3" and approx 135lbs. 

     

    Thanks for reading 

    2012 goals

     

    lose 8lbs

    run injury free

    run 3000k

    run sub 60 min 10k

    run 2 hour half

     

    2013 goals

     

    run 1750 miles

    run injury free

    sub 55 10k

    sub 25 5k

    sub 2 hour half


    Black-Toe-Nailed

      My advice would be to buy a heart rate monitor.

       

      With this tool you can start to correctly train your aerobic condition and improve your running as a whole: 

       

      Waht you need to to is to establish your maximum HR and your minimum. You can use any of the usual calculators online: 

      http://www.stevenscreek.com/goodies/hr.shtml

       

       

      The best would be to meassure it directly, there are a couple of systems for that too, but I would suggest to keep it simple for the beginning.

      The idea is to never go above 70% - 75% of your max HR. 

       

      What this accomplishes is that you never get out of breath and too tired.

       

      You should start running, slowly, until you reach the target HR, then slow down, walk or even stop, it doesn't matter as long as you get your HR again below the 70%. Once the HR is low enoug start running again. 

       

      It will take some time but you will build up endurance and in some weeks you should be able to run the whole distance. Giving it more time you will see how your speed at this low heart rate will also improve. 

       

      Note that training for heart rate instead of training for a pace / speed  will make that you train at your actual level of effort which may vary depending on a lot of factors while training for a fixed pace is much more rigid.

       

      There is a very good book covering all the aspects of training with a heart rate meter: 

       

      Here: 

      http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Monitor-Training-Compleat-Idiot/dp/0915297256

       

      Despite it's somewhat silly title it's a very good book worth every penny. To me it meant the transition from doing 3-5 mile runs and being half dead for a couple of days to 35-40 miles per week without even thinking.

       

      You can find heart rate meters starting at 39 USD.

       

      Regards Wink

      --

      "If one can stick to the training throughout the many long years,
      then will power is no longer a problem. It's raining? That doesn't matter.
      I am tired? That's besides the point. It's simply that I just have to."

      Emil Zatopek

        Just stop the walk breaks. You put in enough mileage, and your times for some of your workouts are fast enough, that you should have no problems keeping running. Sometimes it'll get uncomfortable, just slow down a bit and keep running. Not breathing completely easy isn't a reason to stop, it'll just happen from time to time. Run through it, unless you've got a medical condition to worry about.

         

        I see you do some interval work, next time you do some, your 'rest period', run at your normal easy pace until it's time for the next fast bit. I like to go easy for half the distance I'm going fast (run 400m hard, jog 200m). This should come out close to even times. Part of the point of this is to teach your body to recover at a run instead of a walk. It also keeps you from going too fast in your workout.

         

        What might help as well is to try something you absolutely cannot do. Blow up in a race on purpose, find out how it feels. It sucks, but it won't kill you. Might help you get a little closer to the edge if you've gone over it before. I know I have.

         

        Good luck.

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

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

          you can see from my log that I've been running consistent (ish) mileage for most of this year. I am still very slow and would like to work on my speed a little (my ambitions are very modest). My main problem (I think) is that I walk/run a lot and find it hard to put together consistent phases of running. This is partly psychological and partly (seemingly) what I've trained my body to do - how would you suggest I break this pattern? I go out, I run for about 10-15 mins and then I walk (usually very briefly) because I feel too hot, or because I'm not breathing completely easy. I actually often find it harder to keep going at the slower paces (which I think is a sign that my aerobic fitness is not that great?) I know that I could keep going, but somehow I just don't. It's a confidence thing, perhaps. I tend to run much better in the last 2-3 miles of a run, and can keep myself going. It's as if I am always scared that I won't be able to finish.

           

          I've run some intervals (at target pace) and done a little bit of hill work; tempo running I find impossible because I can't sustain speed for very long.

           

          If it helps, I am female, 45, about 5'3" and approx 135lbs. 

           

          Thanks for reading 

          It is a bit of an yellow flag to me when you are training almost as fast, or sometimes faster (?), than your race pace. 

           

          I'm a big fan of run/walk program UNTIL you can continuously run 15 minutes or more.  I don't look at it as a real developmental program but an interim program.  I don't think you can get as much "development" by continuing to run/walk.  You can cover a great distance--that's why people keep doing it.  But, as far as I'm concerned, it's sort of "masked" effect.  It's not that you can really run 10-miles (or whatever the distance), you are "masking" your inability to cover the entire 10-miles. 

           

          You still get some effect and that's fine.  But if you're not happy with current situation, you'll probably need to break away from it.

           

          A couple of times a week, you may want to go, say, 4 or 5 miles CONTINUSOUSLY; no walking break, and, for that, you may probably have to start out slower than usual and may have to go a bit shorter at first.  I'm sure some others may say the same thing--if you have to stop and take walking break, that means the current pace/distance is too much for you; your body is seeking a break.  As a healthy 45-year-old, there's no reason why you can't get to 2-hours of non-stop running fairly quickly (like, I'd say, in 4~6 months).

           

          Until you can get to that point, I wouldn't worry too much about interval training as a mean to be faster.  I fact, it's probably not contributing much at all.  Your base fitness level, or your oxygen uptake level is too low to flirt around with "anaerobic" state.  It will probably pay more if you do some hill training to strengthen your legs.  Not to run up fast but, if anything, even slower but try to bring your knees slightly higher, keep good posture (don't look down!!), focus on pushing, pushing, pushing...  If there's steps of, say, 30~50 steps, available near-by, it might be even better.  Again, don't try to run up fast; but the focus should be on good running form and pushing.  Do this once a week for, say, 15 to 20 minutes total at first (don't worry about how many reps you do), gradually work your way up to 45 to 60 minutes total (total meaning including easy jog down but NOT including 10~15 minutes warm-up and cool-down before and after). 

           

          Easy strides are another way to strengthen your legs and good running technique.  I would start with something like 25~50 meters (or 15~20 counts when you count "ONE" each time your right foot hits the ground).  Don't push it, pace-wise and distance-wise, to the point where you get into breathlessness.  You should feel your work in your legs, not in your lungs.  I don't know if you're a minimalist or what but, if you wear minimalistic shoes, maybe go back to a bit more cushiony shoes when you do this.  You will take quite a bit of beatings in your feet/legs.  If you do it this way (with a bit more cushiony shoes), don't do it on grassy area; do this on a parking lot or flat road.  This is because grassy area is way too uneven and thick bulky shoes are usually not flexible enough to conform to those unevenness. 


          rhetorician

            thanks for the replies; my sense is that I need to focus on the continuous effort, and yes, I can cover 10 miles on foot, some of it running, but I can't (or don't) actually run 10 miles. I think it's a habit that I've got into and need to work hard to break, otherwise I won't improve. The hills suggestion I like, I have been doing a bit of work on inclines on the treadmill (at slowish speeds, but consistent speeds flat and incline) and there's a 600m hill that I run up fairly regularly. The route back to my house also has a gentle 300m hill. So I'll keep working on that, and try to get to the continuous 4-5 mile stretches - where my goal is simply to keep running, not to hit a certain pace. I might actually just leave the garmin behind!

             

            My ambitions for my running are pretty modest - i do it for fitness and enjoyment, but I would like to feel that I am running a little closer to my potential. I'm only really looking for a 9.30-10 minute mile!

            2012 goals

             

            lose 8lbs

            run injury free

            run 3000k

            run sub 60 min 10k

            run 2 hour half

             

            2013 goals

             

            run 1750 miles

            run injury free

            sub 55 10k

            sub 25 5k

            sub 2 hour half


            rhetorician

              also, as it happens, there are a couple of sets of steps on one part of a couple of my regular routes...

              2012 goals

               

              lose 8lbs

              run injury free

              run 3000k

              run sub 60 min 10k

              run 2 hour half

               

              2013 goals

               

              run 1750 miles

              run injury free

              sub 55 10k

              sub 25 5k

              sub 2 hour half

                Holly Moly! You have 845 mi so far this year?

                 

                I know there are lot of people here that run more but you are also way ahead of some - like me.

                 

                Try some of the things people have already suggested. Heart monitor, slow down, blow up in race to see what it is like. All good ideas.

                 

                Do you have running partners? Are there running clubs in your area? Can you start a running club? I used to promote a Slow Run Monday every week. People would come and enjoy running with each other. With company, many learned to run without walks.

                 

                I see you are a professor. Can you start something at your school? Harvard Univeristy, where I work, has a nice progam. See:

                https://lists.fas.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/onthemove-list

                 

                Tell me if you want to communicarte with one of the organizers. I think I could get them to contact you.

                John
                www.wickedrunningclub.com
                I run to clear my head and talk to my friends.

                  ...I have been doing a bit of work on inclines on the treadmill (at slowish speeds, but consistent speeds flat and incline) and there's a 600m hill that I run up fairly regularly. The route back to my house also has a gentle 300m hill.... 

                  No, actually you don't want that.  If you're doing this on treadmill, you actually want to SLOW DOWN the pace from the flat running.  If you're keeping the pace, that means you are actually working HARDER and, hate to say but, you're already struggling to keep up the continuous running, you'll very quickly get into oxygen debt by trying to keep up the same pace.  You don't want that.  When you feel like, okay, I don't want to be doing this uphill grade (on treadmill), it should be NOT because you are sucking air and getting into oxygen deblt, but because your legs are screaming "We can't handle this uphill stress!!"

                   

                  For the time being, if you ARE going to use outside hill, I'd suggest you stick with 300m hill--trust me, if done correctly, 300m would be more than enough. 

                   

                  Steps wold be very good as long as it's not too short (like 10 steps...).  I think you really don't want to be less than 30 steps--if you can find such steps.  I would hate to do that inside the buiilding because you'd be going around and around and around...  I have done it and can be a great workout.  But kinda boring.  Again, trust me, if done correctly, even 30 or 40 steps, at first, 3 or 4 reps might be more than plenty to start with. 


                  rhetorician

                    really, this is one of the really fantastic things about RA - brilliant advice! OK well, this morning I ran almost 5 miles with  no walk breaks at all (there was a call of nature which couldn't be ignored...) and it felt great - really easy. It was, as Nobby had suggested (with great kindness!), very slow for the most part, but I did get faster as I went on. I think I can work with this and will just keep at it. It's so much more enjoyable than walk/run. So I managed an hour of continuous running and could have gone on if necessary.

                     

                    Tomorrow I'll check out those steps and see how many there are - I could use the ones at work (5 floors' worth) but not sure if my betters would think that this was a valid use of my time!

                    2012 goals

                     

                    lose 8lbs

                    run injury free

                    run 3000k

                    run sub 60 min 10k

                    run 2 hour half

                     

                    2013 goals

                     

                    run 1750 miles

                    run injury free

                    sub 55 10k

                    sub 25 5k

                    sub 2 hour half


                    rhetorician

                      btw the treadmill programme that I use for inclines runs at slower speeds as the incline increases - I should have said at consistent effort. Imprecise, apologies.

                       

                      the running club suggestion is a good one too - there's one nearby that has a good reputation and isn't too expensive

                      2012 goals

                       

                      lose 8lbs

                      run injury free

                      run 3000k

                      run sub 60 min 10k

                      run 2 hour half

                       

                      2013 goals

                       

                      run 1750 miles

                      run injury free

                      sub 55 10k

                      sub 25 5k

                      sub 2 hour half

                        really, this is one of the really fantastic things about RA - brilliant advice! OK well, this morning I ran almost 5 miles with  no walk breaks at all (there was a call of nature which couldn't be ignored...) and it felt great - really easy. It was, as Nobby had suggested (with great kindness!), very slow for the most part, but I did get faster as I went on. I think I can work with this and will just keep at it. It's so much more enjoyable than walk/run. So I managed an hour of continuous running and could have gone on if necessary.

                         

                        Tomorrow I'll check out those steps and see how many there are - I could use the ones at work (5 floors' worth) but not sure if my betters would think that this was a valid use of my time!

                        Glad to hear that.  But beware; don't rush to the sudden change.  I was expecting something more on the line of 30~45 minutes of continuous run.  Introduce that once or, at most, twice a week to begin with and don't all of a sudden switch all your runs to non-stop running.

                         

                        Same thing with hills/steps.  Start out conservatively and work your way up.  If you'd like to see the video clip, send me a personally e-mail at nobby415@msn.com.  Lately I've got quite a few request about hill training visual and, though very poor quality, I have a few video clip that I can send.  Steps as well as regular hill.  One is hill "springing" clip of Toshihiko Seko, a 2:08 marathon runner, and you'd be surprised how slowly he's going up. 

                         

                        One thing about running with a group is; some of them actually DO practice run/walk.  If not run/walk, some may practice stopping completely for water/fuel stops.  A lot of local running groups, though I really do admire the effort of group "coaches" to get up a couple of hours before they even get together and place all those water station along the way, they seem to come to a complete stop at eash station which actually bug the hell out of my wife if she runs with them.  Nothing wrong with a social get-together but you DO lose some training effect doing it that way.

                          from one new runner to another, great job on running for an hour.  Do listen to the advice of not overdoing though. You don't want to end up injured.  Also, if you are going to do long runs and up your weekly miles, you might want to also check out some trails instead of paved roads.  I know my body likes the trails better.  When I started I was strickly running on the road and right hip and knee would flair up after every long (5 - 8 mile) run.  I started adding trails at least once or twice a week and that went away. 


                          Slow-smooth-fast

                            really, this is one of the really fantastic things about RA - brilliant advice! OK well, this morning I ran almost 5 miles with  no walk breaks at all (there was a call of nature which couldn't be ignored...) and it felt great - really easy. It was, as Nobby had suggested (with great kindness!), very slow for the most part, but I did get faster as I went on. I think I can work with this and will just keep at it. It's so much more enjoyable than walk/run. So I managed an hour of continuous running and could have gone on if necessary.

                             

                            Tomorrow I'll check out those steps and see how many there are - I could use the ones at work (5 floors' worth) but not sure if my betters would think that this was a valid use of my time!

                             with regard to the steps how do you recommend these be done? there are some near me and i have never included them but like to try. they are quite shallow. do you recommend one at a time or try more? rest at top or not? how long?

                            "I've been following Eddy's improvement over the last two years on this site, and it's been pretty dang solid. Sure the weekly mileage has been up and down, but over the long haul he's getting out the door and has turned himself into quite a runner. He's only now just figuring out his potential. Consistency in running is measured in years, not weeks. And over the last couple of years, Eddy's made great strides" Jeff 14 Jan 2009


                            rhetorician

                              thanks for the additional tips; a good bit of my running is off-road - I am fortunate to live within a 10 minute run of a park of 3 sq miles (7 mi circumference) and about 15 minutes from a lengthy canal. One upside of the run/walk pattern is that my legs are quite well conditioned (i.e. have done a lot of miles). I should say that when I say walk break, I usually mean only a few seconds (30-40) but I am really managing to keep these down.

                               

                              The steps are for strengthening and for form, I think, lifting knees fairly high, as continuous running at these low speeds makes you into a shuffler!

                              2012 goals

                               

                              lose 8lbs

                              run injury free

                              run 3000k

                              run sub 60 min 10k

                              run 2 hour half

                               

                              2013 goals

                               

                              run 1750 miles

                              run injury free

                              sub 55 10k

                              sub 25 5k

                              sub 2 hour half

                                really, this is one of the really fantastic things about RA - brilliant advice! OK well, this morning I ran almost 5 miles with  no walk breaks at all (there was a call of nature which couldn't be ignored...) and it felt great - really easy. It was, as Nobby had suggested (with great kindness!), very slow for the most part, but I did get faster as I went on. I think I can work with this and will just keep at it. It's so much more enjoyable than walk/run. So I managed an hour of continuous running and could have gone on if necessary.

                                 

                                Tomorrow I'll check out those steps and see how many there are - I could use the ones at work (5 floors' worth) but not sure if my betters would think that this was a valid use of my time!

                                 

                                Ha!  Then you're not doing it right! 

                                 

                                I'm just kidding.  Congrats on making progress.  I will say that my wife and I just started running some (we run/walk 3-4miles every evening now) and I must say that our run/walk workouts are VERY enjoyable compared to those pesky track workouts I do!  Keep up the good work.

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