Five Year Plan - help please

A bit longer than the average plan

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24/05/2015 at 13:42

 Sheepishly returns to the forums...

Well, it's been a while, and it hasn't been good. In spite of my optimism that I was going to get back on track with my running, things didn't turn out so well. I plugged away on a few runs per week through July 2014, but they soon became more intermittent and the mileage decreased. By the end of August I had ceased running, albeit with the intention of it being a temporary hiatus.

I started a return in September, but badly twisted my ankle and was unable to restart again until October. Then a month after that I suffered a lot of mainly work-related stress and things really started to get on top of me. My sleeping was terrible which left me feeling wiped-out most of the time. I had to take medication to help me sleep, and I found I was becoming increasingly reliant on the meds to be able to function. This went on in varying degrees through to April this year, and during this time I did no exercise at all. My weight ballooned by the best part of three stones! Added to which I was suffering chest pains which made me very reticent about taking up exercise again, all of which added to the feelings of depression.

In April I saw a cardiologist for an ECG and blood tests. The chest pains were likely caused by gastric problems (reflux), so I wasn't overly concerned. The results were not totally conclusive, though I'm at relatively low risk of heart problems. A “delay” in part of my heart rate reading is apparently a marker of someone who is fit, so likely due to my fitness history rather than any cause for concern. My blood tests showed my cholesterol was 6 overall, HDL was 1.22 and LDL was too high at 3.9! This could mean that I will be put on cholesterol lowering meds  I have to have further tests (CT scan) to tick all the boxes, but the consultant confirmed it was safe for me to restart exercising. A good thing really, because I was very ashamed of what I had allowed to happen to me.

The good thing at the end of all this was that I was gagging to get up and running again. So I went for my first run the following weekend. Just three miles at an average 10:05 pace, and it felt like the final three miles of a marathon! It actually wiped me out for some time afterwards – which was a real shock to the system. Nonetheless I felt very happy to have finally made a start. So much so, that I immediately was able to stop taking the sleeping tablets and have not had to take one since! My natural sleep has improved immensely and I'm coping with stresses much better. Not perfect, but still so much better. It's almost as if running helps combat stress -  who'd have thought?

My heart rate monitor was giving silly readings, so I couldn't use that to train sensibly. I ran to feel and erred on the side of caution, running every other day to ensure adequate recovery. Nonetheless, I suffered knee pain after a couple of weeks of training and had no choice but to take a week off. It took another couple of weeks of careful running and walking, with stretching and use of the ITB roller, until the knee pain eventually disappeared.

I'm running alternate days before breakfast. On midweek “rest” days I go for a fairly brisk walk during my lunch break from work. In an hour this tends to be around 3 to 3.5 miles. I have one complete day of rest in a week. I'm managing my mileage progression very carefully, so I don't antagonise my knee.

It has been five weeks since I started my comeback program. Most runs have been three miles, with some of four miles and my first five mile run this morning. My weekly mileage is steadily increasing by around ten percent each week. This week I ran 15m over fo

24/05/2015 at 13:43


It has been five weeks since I started my comeback program. Most runs have been three miles, with some of four miles and my first five mile run this morning. My weekly mileage is steadily increasing by around ten percent each week. This week I ran 15m over four runs (4m, 3m, 3m, 5m). All runs have been steady pace, and most likely above recovery pace – which is why I don't run two days in a row.

Since starting, I've lost seven pounds in weight. I'm hoping that I might improve my cholesterol profile in time to avoid having to take medication. In any case, my outlook is becoming more positive by the day. I've been debating whether to take up my deferred place in next year's Brighton marathon (and I'm in the London ballot – though there's fat chance of getting in again there!). I might instead switch to an Autumn marathon in 2016 to give myself enough time to comeback gracefully.

For the time being my priority is to continue to lose weight and increase mileage. Just slow, gradual progress. My five year plan might just take a little longer than five years – bear with me. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Edited: 24/05/2015 at 13:46
24/05/2015 at 14:44

It's still a five year plan though perhaps not the same five years you originally had in mind! Good luck, at least you are back on the straight and narrow.

24/05/2015 at 14:50
Ten you are BACK!!!

I'd wait & see on Brighton - maybe by then you'll be ready for a long run for fun rather than putting pressure on yourself to race & achieve.
25/05/2015 at 05:47

Fair point, Peter, and thanks! 

Reikki - glad to see you're still around. The only reason I'm considering booking is because I know that when next April rolls around I'll wish I had booked something. I've also been hovering over booking the Silverstone Half Marathon. If nothing else, at least now I am regaining some enthusiasm - which has been absent for the best part of a year.

25/05/2015 at 16:15
Ten I misunderstood. I thought you already had a place and so what I meant was that you may well fancy it by then.

Silverstone or another half definitely.

What about Brighton?
25/05/2015 at 16:16
Half I mean!
26/05/2015 at 19:18

LOL - stop tempting me!   I'm resisting at the moment...

07/06/2015 at 11:58
Tenjiso wrote (see)

My heart rate monitor was giving silly readings, so I couldn't use that to train sensibly. 

I wore the HRM numerous times and had ridiculous readings every time. I'm talking up to 100bpm above a realistic reading!!!   I tried a number of tips from the Garmin forums and nothing improved the situation. 

Apparently the Garmin soft strap is a bag of shite and is well known for going wrong. When I thought about it, it was never that reliable and needed several miles of running to "settle down" before producing anything like realistic readings. I knew that clothing and external factors (i.e. static) were definitely not the cause of my problems.

Then I came across the most brilliant tip...

I purchased a Polar soft strap! (£11)  

The Garmin HRM transmitter fits the Polar chest strap perfectly. There was no need to re-pair the device or anything, since it was still the same device - just a different strap.

The results have been startling! Rock-solid heart rate readings throughout my runs with absolutely no spikes, dropouts or dubious readings of any kind!  I have used it on four runs already and am so happy that I can now rely on the device 100%.

Up to now I've been training every other day, because I knew that none of my runs were likely to be true recovery runs. Now, however, I can ensure that I run at recovery rate and can therefore run on consecutive days without over-training.  

This week I've run 20 miles in four runs. My longest run was 6m this morning. They have all been seriously slow  - but well controlled - and I have felt great after all of them. I will continue with four runs per week now that I can ensure that one is a genuine recovery run. If I'm feeling good, I'll introduce some strides to get the legs moving faster.

It has been seven weeks since I started my comeback, and I've lost nine pounds in weight. Still a lot to do, but I'm on the right track.

07/06/2015 at 12:07

Hurrah! Welcome back, Tenjiso. 

14/06/2015 at 09:42

Thanks Lit  

21 more miles in the bank this week. 7m run this morning in my LR heart rate range (P&D). Earlier in the week I ran 5m with six sets of strides - which I really enjoyed. I bought the new Pfitzinger book "Advanced Road Racing" and found that my plan was very close to his up to 30m base building plan, so I have adapted my plan slightly. The key difference being that I will be introducing some lactate-threshold training in another couple of weeks if all goes well.

I'm still very slow, but the HRM has been fantastic since I got the new strap. I can't praise the Polar strap + Garmin transmitter combination highly enough!

I still haven't booked any races, but my rough plan is to run a half-marathon in December, then after a short recovery I'll commence training for a spring marathon. Then I think I will also go for my first Autumn marathon.

This week I have an appointment for a CT scan of my heart, following health problems I had earlier in the year (mentioned in a previous post above). Hopefully my plans won't be thrown into turmoil.

18/06/2015 at 19:43
Are you saying that I could make my Garmin 305 more accurate?!?

Hope the medical stuff is reassuring Ten.
18/06/2015 at 19:54

Hi Reiki. If you are using the Garmin premium soft strap, then yes! It's the one with the clip on transmitter with two press stud fasteners. The readings I get have been great throughout every single run - and I never had that accuracy with the Garmin strap.

I had my CT scan this afternoon. I'm still a bit groggy from the beta blockers and some other stuff they gave me before and during the scan. I won't know the results for at least a week. I've got a follow-up appointment with the Cardiologist next month.

18/06/2015 at 20:31
Right, hope it all comes out promising so you can get conquering.

I don't think my transmitter is clip on, it seems to be built into the hard part of the belt [which is approx half the entire thing]...
20/06/2015 at 10:18

Sounds like you've got the older style of chest strap. I believe that was more reliable than the replacement soft strap.

20/06/2015 at 14:17
It is actually not bad once it settles down, goes off like a siren over the 1st mile though!

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