First post - I've been lurking here for a while and it seems like the right place to ask my question. I have recently started running after a long period without much in the way of exercise. I want to get fitter and lose a bit of weight, now I'm the wrong side of 40. I ran a bit at school but not at any great level. We walk for pleasure – from walking to work to 6-14 mile hikes, so I'm not completely unfit. I started running on a treadmill over the winter, doing 4-6 miles a week but now the weather has improved I've started running outside, which is much better.
I've been reading up on the best way to approach it, to do it as efficiently as possible and to make sure I don't get an injury. There are many different ideas around training and variations of each one I just want to pick one that has worked for someone and follow it as best I can! So, to my question...
I have worked up to running three times a week, usually 10k twice and perhaps a 6-8k for the third run. I can do 10k in about 59mins without any real problems but it has left me with a few aches and pains, making me think that maybe I am overdoing it. Is this sort of regime recommended? It doesn't really seem to be getting any easier and I'm not really losing any weight. Would changing to/integrating some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) be better for me? At school I was always better at long distances than speed.
I would be grateful to hear the opinions of this forum. Thanks for reading this long post!
HIIT - it's a bit like a bath tub. For some people it works amazingly well, for others it doesn't make much difference at all. It's down to genes. Only way to find out if it works for you is to try it. It's an excellent way to get fit quickly. Max effort. Short duration.
You'll always feel like running is hard, at least I do. Give yourself an easy week every third or fourth week. Just do shorter easier runs.
For now you can get by with just improving your stamina. You'll not loose a great deal of weight from running unless you adjust your diet as well. Make sure that you are not eating more as a result of your running. This is very common. You use energy, feel hungry and over compensate.
Thanks for your reply hog-mouse. To begin with I was overeating to compensate but I am consciously trying to avoid that now. Having an easy week sounds like a sensible suggestion - certainly better than a week off. Thanks.
I wonder if you could run two 6-8k and one 10-12k but make that longer run slower? Would that help the aches and pains?
I know for myself that reading the plans with '%' or this and 'race pace' that does my head in, but I have bought a heart rate monitor and find that really helpful in running the right time at the right effort and knowing exactly how many calories I've burned. Good article here:
Thanks Leigh, I could try that (two smaller easier runs and one longer one).
I have a HRM. I tried to run @ 65-75% of my maximum for weight burn but I can't go that slow! My max heart rate is 178 (220 minus my age, 42). My average heart when doing 10k is 150-165. Obviously during a peak it is higher - it can go up to 178 (perhaps when I'm going uphill). This seems pretty high, from what I've read? Usually when I look at the graph on Runkeeper the heart rate climbs slowly throughout the distance (ignoring the usual peaks and troughs).
Ah yes, the 'can't run / cycle that slowly' problem. I know that one too! This is only a suggestion as I'm a strong believer in do what works for you, but for me going back to extremely slow cycling / running had an impact on lowering my resting heart rate very quickly which in turn made me far fitter and stronger for endurance events.
Your stats are similar to mine and after using the heart rate training it is extremely rare for me to reach my max heart rate. My understanding is that this allows me to keep going for a long period because I don't go 'into the red' at any point.
Good luck with whatever you do!
Thanks Leigh. I'll give it a go for a while - I managed to run (on the treadmill) for an hour on Saturday keeping my heart rate in the 65-75% zone. It was easy and quite pleasant actually. Doing it outside would be too hard I think but luckily I have access to a treadmill. Thanks for your advice.
I might jump on that bandwagon, Leigh. I find that the temptation is to try to get quicker each week, because otherwise you're not seeing an improvement - but I am getting achey. Maybe slower for longer would work better.And good luck Colin!
Thanks Em. You're right it is tempting to go flat-out but I too am getting achey. Slow and steady it is (with some quicker runs too).
"178 (220 minus my age, 42)"
Just to point out there is a huge spread on this broad rule of thumb of perhaps plus or minus 20 beats so don't treat it remotely like gospel. It's a starting point if you have no other idea whatsoever, but you already have a better idea from you perception of exertion during running. Even better, do a proper max test at some point.
Thanks for the tip Steve. Can you recommend a website that describes that process?
I don't know one offhand - it's something I get an idea of after a lot of races. You could try this thread http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/forum/training/max-heart-rate-tests/26410.html or this site's method http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/general/heart-rate-training-find-your-maximum-heart-rate/181.html or google max heart rate test
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