New runner

An environment where you can be open & frank about your quest for speed

Percy Williams
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:12 pm

New runner

Postby wellhunt » Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:58 pm

Hi all.

I started running in September '16 just once or twice a week at a 9min/km pace at best (for 1-2 km each). I am now running 4-6 times a week (4-5.5km each) at about 6:20 min/km. (Sometimes running slower, the odd time faster depending on how I feel... but pretty consistently at 6:20/6:30). I don't have a schedule, I just run when I want and how I feel like my body can handle.
I really just enjoy getting out for a run and clearing my mind, I find it helps me to be present (meditate in a way)... and enhances my health quite a bit overall. I don't really care if I am fast or slow but I am curious. Is this progression from starting to now (4 months) fairly normal? And do you think if I keep running for fun I will keep increasing my speed. Eventually I would like to be able to run for longer. Right now I can only manage to run non stop for half hour and I'm pretty proud of myself for achieving something I thought I wouldn't be able to do.
I am a 30 woman with two little kids so I fit my running in when I can.
I live in the country so all my runs are by myself on rolling back roads.
Anyways thanks for any feedback on my curiosity

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Jerome Drayton
Posts: 6539
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2010 6:32 pm
Location: Sherbrooke, QC

Re: New runner

Postby Avis » Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:06 pm

Welcome to Running Mania! It sounds to me like you are making excellent progress--much, much faster progress than I made when I began. The general rule is to work on increasing distance/endurance first, then do a little bit of speed work. A good way to begin working on speed is to do a few "strides" in one of your regular runs, once or twice a week. Strides are just a few steps (10 or 20) that are a notch faster than your regular pace. Then return to your regular pace, recover, and do a few more strides.

There are lots of other ways to make progress, and you can find lots of suggestions throughout these threads, especially in the "Training" topics section. In the meantime, keep enjoying your running--sounds like you are doing great!
"We are made of dreams and bones."
--The Garden Song

"By perseverance, the snail reached the ark."
--Charles H. Spurgeon

"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."
--Pablo Picasso

Percy Williams
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:12 pm

Re: New runner

Postby wellhunt » Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:40 pm

Thanks so much for your answer!
I think for now I'll stick to working on my endurance and being able to run for longer. I'm not interested in endurance running (say a half or full marathon) but interested in the 10 k distance. I've never raced or anything. Just want the personal success of running that distance.

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Bill Crothers
Posts: 3463
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: New runner

Postby Dstew » Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:41 am

With just about anything, with a modicum of skill and ability combined with consistent practice one can expect to see the sort of gains you made. Having said that, I know one person who has spent thousands of dollars on golf lessons, practices religiously, has the best and properly fitted equipment and is still a very lousy golfer.

Your approach sounds almost the same as mine when I first started running back in the early 2000s.

The short version is had played a lot of sports but as I started to get into my late 30s, stopped doing so and lost fitness and gained excess weight. Hit the gym on a regular basis, became a lean, mean fighting machine but started to hate that during the summer. So from the late spring to early fall, I went for a run after work. Depending upon how I felt, it was around 5 - 9.5 K. No watch, no GPS, just looked at my kitchen clock when I left and came back. Used bike path maps to figure out distance. Coworker finds out I am doing this, suggests a 10 K race. My one and only goal was not to embarrass myself. I ran my first 10 K in June 2002. Continued as you are doing: my body would tell me how far and fast and I slowly got faster and went further through natural progression. Ran more in 2003 and for my races, had a normal wrist watch until I got a simple sports watch for my birthday. Had no idea what I was doing but eventually got my 10 K time down to 41:32.

Eventually, I ran my bucket list marathon. That lead to trying to qualify for Boston, doing so in my next marathon and running Boston.

My problems began after that. Where I had done things by feel, winging it as it where. Adding miles to runs, doing a pace that felt right or if needed, I would take a couple of extra rest days and running was fun and injury free. But I was told, from well meaning internet advice that I was doing it all wrong. I needed to be more structured. I needed more miles under my belt. And to this day, I do not have the slightest idea why after qualifying for Boston doing it my way I would change. I wanted to break 3:15 at Boston and thought I needed help. Long story short, stress fracture in my left shin in the fall of 2005 and it still will bother me today. To make sure I was on target, would run at certain paces in the winter that lead to a couple of falls on my right hip. Still sore today.

Thus taking into account that this is anonymous internet advice and I really have no clue about your personal experience or situation but from the little you have shared, my advice based upon my experience is to continue what you are doing. You will easily have the ability to enjoy a nice 10 K race and by the by, that is now the longest race distance I plan to do for the rest of my life.

The marathon is a powerful siren who has wrecked plenty of people with her call. I was never really honest with myself - I could do long runs but after the initial "fun" of doing 20 K for the first time, 25 K, an accidental 30 K run, etc, the vast, vast majority of such runs for me were misery. At one point in time, after qualifying for Boston again and preparing for that race over the winter, terms such as torture, drudgery, a miserable chore, frozen water bottles and body parts, a dry hacking cough with one magical long run thrown in is how I would describe those long runs. They were brutal and punishing at the time and in retrospect, there was a certain degree of accumulated damage. After five marathon in as many years, I took five years off. Did trail runs but eventually that even caught up to me and I had to take a full year off of running or even jogging. Clearly I was not that bright for when I finally made a "full" recovery and had rediscovered the pure joy and freedom from life's burdens by just going out and running as far, as fast and as often as my body dictated, I then prepared for and ran three more marathons. Hated most of those long runs but I convinced myself of the lie, the delusion that for me it was spiritual, a noble and honorable quest borne through self inflicted pain and suffering. That lead to a compression fracture in my lower back, took a year off again. Made it back to run a bucket list race - 29 K Moose Mountain race to the top and back down of Moose Mountain. Did much better than I thought, ripped my body apart and that was last August.

Started yet another marathon training cycle when finally an epiphany hit me. Did a decent long run but hated that last 4 K of it. Thought here I am going to damage and harm my body in something I do not enjoy in order to get a shinny object for the 9th time. How stupid, silly and even insane is that. So I switched from the marathon to the 10 K race. Entered another cool 10 K race a few weeks later. And to mix things up, plan to register for a number bike rides.

The point of all of this part is just because you can, does not mean you should. I see there is nothing wrong with trying one marathon just to see what it is all about but I now have a very newly acquired appreciation as to why many people shun that distance. Or if they do it, back to 10 K races. My two big running regrets were listening to people when it was not broke - my running that is. And deluding myself into thinking one HAD to run a marathon to provide meaning and purpose when that, for me, was the furthest thing from the truth.

So good luck finding your way and take anything you find on such sites with grain of salt - including this as you may turn out to be a great marathoner, love the distance and have a grand old time running multiple races per year. We are all just an experiment of one.

Tom Longboat
Posts: 207
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2016 7:16 pm
Location: 401 corridor, ON

Re: New runner

Postby tayken » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:57 am

@wellhunt.....welcome to the forum and happy new year to you!

First off, running is NOT for everybody as you may know and that is why some people just run when the weather is nice in the Summer. Secondly, your time of 41 mins for a 10k is pretty damn good if you ask me. Not many people can accomplish that in such a short time.

You've been give some good advice thus far on here, and in particular what Dstew had to say. Many runners push too hard very quickly and try to move up to the next distance. You have to find your distance niche' and stick to it as your primary distance, and may be flirt with a longer distance once in a while.

Good luck
On the books for 2017

Winterman 10km - (1st in age group) - Feb 19,
Chilly Half Marathon - Mar 5 (Done)
Around the bay 30k - Mar 26, (Done)
Limestone 1/2 - Apr 30,
Ottawa race weekend Voyager Challenge - May 27-28,
Spring Fling Toronto - June?
World Record Kilt Run Perth - June 24
Foam Fest 5k Ottawa - Jul 22
Pure Protein Night Race - Aug 12
Army Run Vimy Challenge - Sep 17
Marathon Du P'tit Train Du Nord Quebec - Oct 22

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