There are soo many different training approaches and plans etc it is bewildering from plodding miles/minutes wtaching your heart rate to doing mostly speed work ...and help. I was a good runner as a teenager [sub 35 on hilly 10k, good standard XCs] and Im now returning ...but where do you start!!!
I've just taken up running recently (last two months), I've paid no attention to heart rates, speeds or anything else just yet (potentially naive!). I just kept it simple, buy some good footwear and work up to a distance and see if you can repeat it consecutively.
First I tried to run half a mile without stopping, then a mile, then two and so on. I've literally just come back from my third 5k in a row which I now feel comfortable with, but I've now got a slight dilemma. I've now begun to time myself, Thursday night was 31:05 and this afternoon was 29.26. Do I increase my distance and continue to run at a beginner's pace or stick to 5k and try to run it quicker?
I think when I started (this time around) I tried to do too much too quickly and then when the niggles started turning into injuries, I had to have a rethink. Speed work can increase the possibility of causing injuries, so running long and slow (relative to what you're capable of) seems to be a wise choice to condition our muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones into being able to take the strain of speed training later on.
I've read somewhere that to be able to train hard, you have to train hard, but if you train too hard, you'll not be able to train hard.
I struggle to find the middle way; but my advice would be not to do too much speed and just build up to a good weekly base mileage so your body strengthens and toughens up. And remember muscles tend to develop really quickly - they have a good blood supply - but it's the ligaments and tendons that take their time to adapt to the exercise.
Also, have a read about running form; I think running form is more important than what training shoes we wear. Look at Chi Running, Naturual Running, Barefoot running, the Alexander Technique (and probably some more that don't spring to mind); I think they all teach a similar method (forefoot/midfoot landing/shorter strides/faster cadence/etc).
I'm no expert though.
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