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Beginner needs feedback (Read 1867 times)

    I am fairly new to running and I've tried to read up on various running-related topics, but I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by all the info, especially when a lot of times I stumbled into advanced topics for experienced runners that are probably not meant for people like me. I'm hoping that by describing my runs maybe the friendly folks here can guide me in the right direction.

     

    Goal: I need to keep my cholesterol/LDL numbers down. (I also need to keep my triglyceride down as well, but I think I'm successfully doing that by cutting down on my sugar intake.) I'm naturally (by genetics) skinny, so my goal is not to lose weight. However I do have slight issue with my cholesterol/LDL numbers. I had verified that my running routine did lower the numbers, that's why I'm trying to stick to running, I am just not sure if I'm doing it right.

     

    I currently is trying 5k 3 times a week. I usually try to run such that I finish the run fully exhausted (as in high heart rate around 150bpm, very out of breath, and very tired legs). Given my goal, I'm not sure if this is how I should run. Should I try to go farther but slower? Or shorter and faster? Run more or less frequently, or vary the distance? I do try to improve my 5k run time when I run, but that's just because I like to benchmark myself and not really having anything to do with my actual goal. To me the runs are hard and I'm not really enjoying it, and I hope that changes.

     

    Thanks for any advice!


    Feeling the growl again

      I currently is trying 5k 3 times a week. I usually try to run such that I finish the run fully exhausted (as in high heart rate around 150bpm, very out of breath, and very tired legs). Given my goal, I'm not sure if this is how I should run. Should I try to go farther but slower? Or shorter and faster? Run more or less frequently, or vary the distance? I do try to improve my 5k run time when I run, but that's just because I like to benchmark myself and not really having anything to do with my actual goal. To me the runs are hard and I'm not really enjoying it, and I hope that changes.

       

       

      Welcome to one of the healthiest addictions out there....running is great for the purpose you are using it.  The scientist who discovered Lipitor once told me that the only proven ways to raise HDL were alcoholism and marathon running (this was a number of years ago now).  Obviously one is a finer tool than the other, and also lowers LDL.

       

      Regarding your training technique.

       

      This is a common, common thing to see with newer runners...racing every workout, "no pain, no gain" philosophy.  The fact of the matter is, to some extent you are working against yourself.  Not only does running yourself to the limit every run probably do little or nothing towards your stated goal, but if it inhibits you from running more -- both due to physical AND mental reasons due to the unpleasantness -- it works against you!

       

      At the point you are at, and given that you state no race-related goals, I would question why you EVER run that hard.  I mean sure, if once every week or two you feel like lighting the afterburned and burning out the carbon, go for it.  But that's it, doing it every run is just unnecessary and counter-productive.  You'll get a lot more from running further or an extra day or two a week, than gutting out every run hard.  And frankly, given your goals, 3-4X per week is probably all you NEED, though there is nothing wrong with more if you enjoy it.

       

      Now, I would also not recommend running the same exact easy pace, the same exact distance, the same exact route every day.  One of the nice things about running is the variety you can work into it.  Try different routes, vary the pace somewhat, read up on the term "fartlek" (which, quite frankly, is the only real workout type I think you need to consider).  Keep it fun.  And good luck.

      "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

       


      DespiteMyself

         

         To me the runs are hard and I'm not really enjoying it, and I hope that changes.

         

        Thanks for any advice!

         

        Hello friend, from one new runner to another ... if you're not enjoying it, how long will you stick with it? I followed the advice of many more experienced runners in these forums who said slow down and start enjoying your runs. Results ... I now enjoy my easy runs. They're no where near any sort of a race pace (i.e. faster, kick-ass till my lungs and legs burn), but I get out there and do them regularly, look forward to them, feel refreshed when I'm done, and quit while I feel I still have a mile or two left in me. I'll leave the running advice to the others.

        If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot run," then by all means RUN, and the voice will be silenced.

         

        Jiggle Monster

        Scout7


        CPT Curmudgeon

          OK, let's start off with the high level, and work down from there.

           

          Based on your post, it sounds like your primary goal with regards to running is general health and fitness.  You haven't mentioned races, performance, or anything along those lines, so I am going to tailor everything for general running.

           

          Your primary need is to have a program that you can follow consistently.  In my mind, that means it should be enjoyable, flexible, and focused on keeping you healthy.  With that in mind, I would propose the following suggestions:

           

          - Try to increase the number of runs you do a week.  Three is, of course, perfectly fine in terms of general health and maintenance, but I think that you will find it easier to make running a habit if you focus on running more often.

           

          - To increase the number of times you run a week, you should run at an easier effort level.  While you will see running fitness gains by running hard a lot, in the long run it will lead you to plateau faster.  Hitting that plateau can be a bit of a problem, mentally, if you are looking at times (which is something I will discuss in a later point, don't worry).  Also, it can mean that you need a longer recovery period between runs, and make it seem like you are unable to run more often.

           

          - Based on what I've outlined as goals and requirements above, I would not focus a whole lot on distance; I think you'll get more satisfaction and enjoyment from using time only.  Plus, it will work to prevent you from racing your workouts (which was detailed in the last point).  15 minutes is perfectly fine, if that's all you have available.  If you need a specific goal, try to work up to running for 60 minutes or so a day.  An hour's running every day should definitely help you with the healthy lifestyle, it's not such a big drain on time, and it can be fit in much easier.

           

          - Last point, and possibly the most important one:  Keep it FUN!  If it's not fun, you're not going to want to do it.  All the other points I have outlined give you a great amount of flexibility, both now and going forward.  Running by time lets you explore the neighborhood, or perhaps a local park or something.  You won't be fixated on speed and PRs and being "faster" or "better" than last time; neither of those should be your goals anyway, regardless of whether you're running for general fitness or training for a race.  You don't race training, it's not a good thing.  Running at an easier effort will give you a chance to relax, maybe listen to music if you like, or the sounds of your environment, or just get lost in your own thoughts for a bit.  Depending on when you run, it can help you focus, or de-stress.

           

          Hopefully that wasn't too much for you, and I am sure that I didn't give you a lot of specific details or recommendations.  But, my comments are based on personal experience and culling the wisdom of people far better than I, and I think that if you focus on those things, you'll be able to keep running for a long, long time.

           

          And, if at some point, you decide you want to enter a race, you can use what I laid out as a starting point for a more specific training program.

           

          Good luck, stick around, ask lots of questions.

            Sometimes for a beginner runner, it's tough to slow down any further, nothing wrong with taking walk breaks until you get you breathing back under control  to where you could hold a conversation, hum a tune etc.  As your fitness improves the need to take walk breaks will diminish

              Thank you all for your comments. It seems the conclusion is that running hard doesn't really benefit me (I just didn't know any better), so I'll aim for easier and longer and/or more frequent runs. It'll take me some effort to make it more enjoyable but I'll try Smile

               

              On a tangent: I actually run late at night around a 1km loop near my house 5 times, which is really boring. I have this (unreasonable?) fear of running far out and then realizing that I have trouble dragging myself back home on the return trip. With this boring loop at least I know I'm within crawling distance of my house at any given time during my run...

                On a tangent: I actually run late at night around a 1km loop near my house 5 times, which is really boring. I have this (unreasonable?) fear of running far out and then realizing that I have trouble dragging myself back home on the return trip. With this boring loop at least I know I'm within crawling distance of my house at any given time during my run...

                 

                 

                You'll probably enjoy running different route more --- you really get into a run if you run the same route over and over.   I think most of us have a number of routes of various lengths and difficulty just to change things up.       I do have a 1 mile route that I have been know to run 3 or 5 or 10 times in one day but it starts and stops at my house so if the wearther is really bad or your not sure how far you want to run its pretty handy to pass by the house once every mile.

                 

                i second what everyone else says about running easy most of the time.      You only need/want to push your pace for about 10% or so of your mileage..   Running easy and building your mileage will do WAY more for you than trying to run fast any time or all the time....

                 

                ALSO --- Ask lots of question in RA becuase there are lot of people that are happy to share GOOD information with you......and pay extra attention to spanial because his advice is spot on every time.......

                Champions are made when no one is watching

                Zortrium


                  Thank you all for your comments. It seems the conclusion is that running hard doesn't really benefit me (I just didn't know any better), so I'll aim for easier and longer and/or more frequent runs. It'll take me some effort to make it more enjoyable but I'll try Smile

                   

                  On a tangent: I actually run late at night around a 1km loop near my house 5 times, which is really boring. I have this (unreasonable?) fear of running far out and then realizing that I have trouble dragging myself back home on the return trip. With this boring loop at least I know I'm within crawling distance of my house at any given time during my run...

                   Take your usual loop and add a little tangent -- even just running down a side street then back will extend the length of the run without taking you much out of your comfort zone.  Do that a couple times until you're comfortable with it, then either extend the tangent or add another one.  This is the way I built up the length of most of my regular routes -- I just took my current route, then found an easy way to add a little bit of distance, then rinse and repeat.


                  Prince of Fatness

                    - Last point, and possibly the most important one:  Keep it FUN!  If it's not fun, you're not going to want to do it.  All the other points I have outlined give you a great amount of flexibility, both now and going forward.  Running by time lets you explore the neighborhood, or perhaps a local park or something.  You won't be fixated on speed and PRs and being "faster" or "better" than last time; neither of those should be your goals anyway, regardless of whether you're running for general fitness or training for a race.  You don't race training, it's not a good thing.  Running at an easier effort will give you a chance to relax, maybe listen to music if you like, or the sounds of your environment, or just get lost in your own thoughts for a bit.  Depending on when you run, it can help you focus, or de-stress.

                     

                    This.

                     

                    You need to make it fun.  I like the idea of finding different places to run.  Parks are great.  Can you find some places with easy trails?

                     

                    I've been bogged down by injury for quite a while.  I can run, just can't do a lot of workouts or race.  What's kept me going is running the trails.  It's nice and quiet.  It's "me" time.  It's these runs that have kept me at it.

                     

                    Good luck!

                    Semi-retired.

                      I found it helpful to make my running useful.  For example, I need to run over to Walmart to get a memory stick.  Since our Walmart is exactly two miles from my house, that is the perfect distance for an easy run. 

                       

                      When you have the need for speed, sign up for a 5K race.  Give it everything you've got, find out how fast you can really run, hang around with other runners, and get a T-shirt.  It's good to do this once a month or so. 


                      Feeling the growl again

                         

                         

                        On a tangent: I actually run late at night around a 1km loop near my house 5 times, which is really boring. I have this (unreasonable?) fear of running far out and then realizing that I have trouble dragging myself back home on the return trip. With this boring loop at least I know I'm within crawling distance of my house at any given time during my run...

                         

                        That is a legitimate fear, especially if it is hot where you are now.  But there are creative alternatives to accomplish the same goal.  The last two nights were brutal here but I wanted to do 12-milers.  So I carried a water bottle to an intersection 1.5 miles from my house and stashed it.  Then I'd do ~1.5 miles out in another direction, turn around and return for a drink.  Then I'd do it again, down a different road.  I did three different segments last night, and finished 12 miles.  Tonight I ran earlier...it was much more humid....I cut it short after the second segment at 8 miles.  Much more entertaining than loops, but accomplished the same goal.

                        "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

                         


                        A Saucy Wench

                           

                           

                          On a tangent: I actually run late at night around a 1km loop near my house 5 times, which is really boring. I have this (unreasonable?) fear of running far out and then realizing that I have trouble dragging myself back home on the return trip. With this boring loop at least I know I'm within crawling distance of my house at any given time during my run...

                           

                          One, think of realistically whats the worst it could be.  Currently you are running 5K.  Even if you did do 2.5K out and 2.5K back and just as you hit the point farthest away you had to walk home ..you are talking an extra 15 minutes or so and it is unlikely you will be so wiped you cant walk.

                           

                          Two...map out a loop route and check out shortcuts home.  My 5K route at the farthest part from  home I can cut across the middle of the loop and cut it down by about 1K.. 

                           

                          Build your confidence with a 3K loop and then do your 1K loop twice at the end.  But confidence will come the day you DO bonk out and feel like crap and walk a couple miles home and realize.  meh.. worse things have happened.

                          I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

                           

                          "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7

                            Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I mapped out a different route that is a 2km loop and I ran 6k around it on Saturday and 10k last night. I did slow down my pace as most of you recommended. I was doing around just under 10 min/mile on my 5km loops before, and always felt like dying at the end. In my last 2 runs I was doing slightly under 11 min/mile and they were much more "comfortable".  My HR and breathing seemed fairly consistent throughout the run and occasionally my mind could wander off without having to focus on my pace or breathing. I don't really have any plans for races in mind, but I do like having a routine and want some kind of objective to keep me engaged, and therefore I'm trying to plan out what I should be doing in the near term. I have some ideas in mind, but I'm not sure if they make sense to do or not:

                             

                            1) Basically no plan. Just run whatever distance I feel like whenever I have time and energy to do it, and just make sure I run a few times a week. The downside of this is there's really nothing to keep me motivated or committed  (I have a weak mind and good at excuses...)

                            2) Run shorter distance 5km to 6km 5 to 6 times a week at an easy pace (making it a routine/habit so hopefully I won't quit as easily)

                            3) Run longer distance around 10km 2 to 3 times a week at an easy pace (what is the difference between this and #2 other than scheduling? Will this make me a better runner?)

                            4) Try to run longer and longer distance and see how far can I go, but I have no idea what's the right way to do it. Do I just keep on running until my legs give out? How do I know when to stop so I don't injure myself? (I'm assuming I'll run at an easy pace where my HR and breathing don't bother me) And further more, how do I incorporate this data into my running plan/routine?

                             

                            Thanks again for all the great feedbacks!

                              5) Run 4-5 times a week at your shorter distance, and once a week at your longer distance. You just discovered the 'long run'.

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

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

                                 

                                 

                                2) Run shorter distance 5km to 6km 5 to 6 times a week at an easy pace (making it a routine/habit so hopefully I won't quit as easily)

                                3) Run longer distance around 10km 2 to 3 times a week at an easy pace (what is the difference between this and #2 other than scheduling? Will this make me a better runner?)

                                 

                                 Unless you plan to run an occasional double (running twice a day) , this might be tough to pull off.

                                 

                                On a more helpful note, the long runs build your stamina and aerobic capacity.  Think of the short runs as the building blocks enabling you to run the longer run, and the long run a tool to help you run faster (occasionally) at the shorter distance. 

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