>Running 101>two month check-in
(44 yo/ 6' 220lbs)
I've gotten great advice and inspiration here, from direct questions and more from just nosing around people's workout routines. With no running partner and in a rural area, I'm quite isolated and therefore this site has been a real boon.
Presently I've logged two solid months of running, starting on treadmill and working up to my current 5 miles. I'm a new dad and also have had some health issues so my weeks have been far from uniform but I've tried to stay focused and generally feel good about progress and outlook. If I could offer self-criticism it would be that I have not strictly followed peoples' very good advice to keep my "easy" runs easy; i.e. I don't believe a single run of mine has been "easy" per group definition. Which is not to say I am running breakneck pace (for me) because I am sure I would be badly injured by now if that were the case. Rather, I have pushed myself a bit, as is my wont, but without feeling as though I am acting riskily. On the advice of the RA folks, I walk when I need to walk-typically about 5 minutes total per 45-48 minute workout.
I have noted that after several days (or more) off from running-whether due to illness or tiredness or the demands of fatherhood-I often run better, my times seem much improved, my legs lighter, just generally tip-top. And so one of my questions to the group would be if anyone would recommend a every-other-day routine, whether in alternating weeks (sandwiched by "full" weeks) or for longer periods? Has anyone discovered long-term benefits to such? Is there literature out there that would support this? I know there are many folk here who advocate a daily regimen but, as, thus far, I'm far from daily in my routine anyway, I wonder if my body is telling me to do something else-like lift weights-every other day...I should add this is not a fishing for an excuse to run less; this week I hope to actually hit 30 miles for the first time.
Also I have a diet question, specifically re night meals and also whether or not I am getting enough good calories, because these runs have been rather taxing...I keep farmers' hours, in bed by 9, up at 4; generally I get my 6-8 hrs of sleep and feel rested on waking. 1-2 cups of coffee and my system is cleared for take-off by 5 am. I eat well, generally oatmeal or dry cereal for breckers, a large salad for lunch, lots of fruit during the day and then anything from spaghetti to veggie soup for dinner. No red meat. Given my running schedule, when should I shoot to have my evening meal, and what should it consist of?
Sounds like you're off to a good start. I started out running 3 days a week, then eventually kept adding days. It makes sense that you feel better with a few days rest, your body is still getting used to it. Running more frequently is better long term, but it takes time to build up to it. I'm at the point now where I feel worse if I take an extended break, and feel better if I run everyday. I ramped up quicker than most folks do, but if you want, you can look back through my log to April 2012 when I started and see how I progressed.
Time of day for your meals doesn't matter, so long as it's not interfering with your run. I don't see a lot of protein in your diet. A lot of people think runners only need carbs, but you need protein so that your muscles can repair themselves after your workouts. Dropping some weight will help as well, that's just plain physics.
Stick with it, as I'm constantly reminded when I start to get ahead of myself, it takes years to build a solid running base, not months, so you have to think long term.
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Your workouts do look a bit speedy for a new runner who might be a bit overweight. If you are getting too tired to run five days a week, you are likely going too fast. You would improve better (for longer endurance type running at least) on more days, less speed, than fewer days, more speed. A good approach might be to slow down most days and just have one faster day. Or all slow days for a while during mileage buildup with some striders (8 or so) at the end of several of your easy days to work on speed development. You might do something like this for 5 days a week running:
M easy + striders
T tempo or another easy day with striders.
F easy + striders
Your easy days should likely be 30-60 slower than you are running now if you are wearing yourself out. The recovery days should be shorter and easier still, maybe 60-90 seconds slower. Run the long at about your new easy pace or easy plus 15-30 seconds. The tempo pace can be done in a variety of ways. Google it. But you likely should hold off on the tempo until you've built more mileage and gotten more used to running.
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I'm convinced. I think you're both correct; I'm pushing it too much. I am a mesomorph but yes, also probably 10 lbs heavier than ideal. Therefore, as I like a daily run, I'll first try and drop the speed and check my tiredness after a week or so of that routine. And then if it's still too much, I'll drop days.
As for the long, what do you recommend? There's a nice 6.5 run I'm hoping to tackle at some point. Is this a possibility or were you thinking to leave the 5 mile as the long and shorten the other runs?
Yes indeed also on the protein intake; mine is woefully low and needs to be adjusted.
Other than that, I think diet is a probably a minor concern at this point but I think I'd read somewhere that people were loading up on carbs at night, prior to running in the morning-and I was curious. Maybe a mis-read.
Thanks to both of you.
I think you might see more improvement if you shorten at least one run a week from 5 miles to maybe 3 or 4 miles and lengthen one or two runs a week. Initially you might increase the longest run to 5.5 or 6 and then strive to get it to 8 or 10. If you distribute the miles such that some days are longer (more taxing) and the days after the longer runs are shorter (allowing for recovery), I think you will see results. This kind of schedule will also automatically force your pace on the shorter days to be a bit slower because most likely you will be tired. The current schedule suffers from a bit of monotony which can limit improvement. my $0.02.
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