I'm becoming a runner

I’m becoming a runner.

I’ve registered for Pat’s Run in two weeks and have been training for it. It’s felt pretty good, although I can’t run 5K on back-to-back days yet. Pat’s Run is 6K and will be my longest run to date when I run it. I still have some gas left when I finish my 5K practice runs, so I’m not too concerned about finishing. However, I haven’t run a race in about seven years…

I’m worried about starting too fast and running out of energy before the end. I’ve never been a distance runner; I ran my university’s Turkey Trot 5K twice, but those are the longest (and only) races I’ve ever entered. I was 22 and it sounded like fun, so I did it! Back then I finished the race in under 22 minutes on a hilly, hilly college campus. Now I’m 29 and 20-30 pounds heavier than I was back then…

I had to register as a jogger. To count as a “runner”, my projected time would need to be under 38 minutes. My best pace right now has me finishing in 39 and change, and I figure I’d rather be a fast jogger than the guy getting in the way of the fast runners at the start.

I’ve lost 23 pounds since I started training on January 2. I’m faster and have more stamina than I did back then, but I have no knowledge of how to train for distance running. I just subscribed to Runner’s World magazine after picking up a couple of issues at Walmart, but I don’t know where to get information on how to train. I’d like to do a half-marathon within six months and a full marathon within a year, but I have no idea what “speedwork” or “time trials” or any of the other jargon in the magazine means.

I need support, but I don’t know anyone else who does this. I know people who have run marathons, but none who consider themselves runners; they are just people who wanted to overcome the obstacle and quit running after doing so.

If you can point me to good resources, or if you have good advice, or if you just want to be supportive, please reply!

No advice, just a cheering section. RAH! Go you!

I’m sure runner pat will be in shortly. That’s the guy you need for advice. :smiley:


Couch to 5K-best beginner’s program around.

Previous threads.

McMillan’s Calculator. Calculates training paces based on recent race performance.

I’ll post some more in a few minutes. (not a fast typist)

Congratulations on everything you’ve already accomplished!

I decided to become a runner about a year ago. I’d started walking regularly about 5 years ago, when I was diagnosed with type II diabetes, and realized that I really wasn’t in good shape – I didn’t necessarily need to lose weight, but I rarely exercised.

After walking for 4 years, my diabetes was in pretty good control, but I decided that I wanted to do more. I have several friends who are runners, and they encouraged me to get started, but slowly, using the Couch to 5K system.

Despite a couple of false starts (due to overly-tight muscles, and a sprained ankle), I was able to slowly add more and more running distance. I now run three times a week.

I ran in my first 5K race in March. I finished at 28:14, despite having to walk for about 2 minutes – it was really cold and windy, and I’d been running indoors for most of the winter.

In a year of running, I’ve dropped my resting pulse rate from around 90 bpm to 60. I’ve lost about 10 pounds, and, at age 46, I’m in the best shape of my life.

I’m running my second 5K in two weeks, and am starting to add some additional distance to one run per week, with hopes to build towards running a 10K sometime later this year, or next spring at the latest.

What amazes me about all of this is that I never enjoyed exercise, and I’d convinced myself that I wouldn’t really enjoy this, either. But, now, I love it. I go running first thing in the morning, and it makes me feel good for the rest of the day.

I’ll be pulling for you on Saturday – 6K is just 5K, rounded up. :wink: You can do it!!

Welcome to the world of running.

As I said, C25K is an excellent program.
The idea is to not build mileage too quickly as muscles/tendons/bones need time to adapt.

Start the program at whatever level you’re at now.

After you complete the program, choose one day(weekend is traditional) to go for a longer run.
Increase the run by .5 mile a week until you’re up to 4 miles.

At 4 miles, increase by 1 mile per week, dropping back to a lower level every four weeks for recovery.

Hold at 8 miles while you increase a weekday run to 4 miles.

At this point you should be able to add running days but leave one day a week off for recovery. Most runners who do this take the day after their long run off.

You can make up your own schedule at this point but:
1.Always have a long run
2. Run short and easy 2-3 days/week for recovery.(If running every day)
3.Sleep and eat for recovery. You gain fitness when you sleep and recover.


Steady state run-running at 80-85% of max. heart rate.

Tempo run/lactate threshold run-85-87% of max. hr

Recovery run-easy run at 70-75% of max. hr

Lactate threshold-the level of effort at which lactate starts to accumulate in the blood, producing the burning, heavy feel in the lungs and muscles.

Speedwork-system of training involving short, hard runs broken up by a recovery jog before running hard again, usually done on a track.
Example: 6x400@85 sec 200R
Means:Run 400 meters in 85 sec with a 200 meter recovery jog between each 400 meters.

I would not recommend aiming for a half/full marathon so soon. Focus on reaching each intermediate distance first, evaluate your progress and work to the next.

Aiming too high too soon not only leads to possible injury but also the temptation to ignore minor problems to meet a deadline and making the problem much worse.

Thanks, runner_pat! That’s a ton of good info.

I should add that while I’ve never been a distance runner, I was an athlete in college. After four years of lacrosse, I was a cable guy for nearly three years before becoming a teacher. I still have strong legs, I just have more weight to push with them (although less weight each day). My resting heart rate is 48, so I think I’m in decent condition.

I just got back from a 5k that I ran in 26:57. That’s 1:30 faster than my fastest time last week. I used a foam roller on my piriformis, hamstrings, and IT bands before hand; I felt WAY better during the entire run after doing that. With my race in 12 days, I don’t want to overdo anything right now, but I am going to go for another 5k this week and one early next week to prep.

I love the idea of adding half a mile per week. Small steps like that will help me out a lot; it’s how I lost this much weight: I went 5 pounds at a time.

I’ll be back tomorrow. I need to go hit the foam roller again!

Also, thanks for the support, jsgoddess! And congratulations with your successes, kenobi.

Looking at my last response, I may have come off wrong. Pat, you’re probably right (guessing from your username, anyways!) about nine months being too soon for a marathon. That’s just when the big race is in Phoenix. While I’m in decent shape now, I’d rather be proud of my time than be proud of just finishing by the time I tackle the big one. Perhaps I’ll schedule that as my first half, and fill the intermediary time with 5, 8, 10, and 15k races.

Sometimes, especially during tonight’s run, my inner “warrior” comes back to the forefront. With training, I think I can get that mindset back during every run.

Again, thanks for the advice. Sorry if I sounded snarky.

What is the effort you’re putting into your runs?
A common trap new runners fall into is to “race” every workout. At first it seems to work as the body is quickly gaining efficiency in movement and you use less oxygen to run at the same pace so as you run a hard effort, you keep running much faster than before.


Hard running like that will lead you to quickly hit the point where your body has gained all the efficiency it will have short term and you won’t have the huge improvements week to week. What you will have is facing breaking down as you continue to race the workouts.

Run at a moderate effort level and as your fitness improves, so will the pace you run at that effort.

Talk test-When running at an easy to moderate level, you will be able to talk without much effort. At tempo pace, talking will be confined to 3-4 word bursts and running will be borderline uncomfortable.

Time-trial:race-like effort, usually solo, to test fitness. Can also be a race run at less than 100% as a fitness test.

48 is a very good resting heart rate.

ETA: You didn’t sound snarky at all.
Running a marathon takes a huge mileage base. Aiming for the race a year and nine months is very doable. The base you build will not only serve you well for the training but you will also recover much faster.

This is mentioned in Pat’s advice (which is all spot-on), but for a beginner it’s worth emphasizing the importance of rest days. It’s easy for your muscles and lungs to outpace your joints when you first start up, and resting effectively is a simple way to greatly reduce the chance of injury. I usually don’t run much in the winter, and every spring when I start up again I NEVER follow this advice, and usually end up pulling something :-/

If you just ran a 5k in 27 min, you shouldn’t have any problem finishing 6k in under 38. Are you going to register as a runner? I’d suggest going for it.

I picked running up at age 46, about 18 months ago. I’d run a little way back when, but my main exercise was biking and hiking. I was active and had a decent cardio base but I was overweight and couldn’t run more than 3 miles at a time. I ran my first half marathon about 9 months after starting running. I’ll be running the Boston Marathon in less than 2 weeks (yikes). I’ve lost over 50 lbs and feel great. Starting with a much better base and being younger you should be able to have great success.

runner pat has given you great advice about training. My advice to you would be take the time to enjoy the races. I loved the feeling of anticipation and anxiety before the start, the exhilaration at the finish. You only get to run a “first race” once so make sure to savor it. Working on speed is great, but honestly that hasn’t been my motivator.

My other piece of advice is to track you training if only to keep an eye on how many miles you have on your shoes. Were you fitted for shoes at a real running store by someone who checked your gait? I think the biggest mistake new runners make is not getting the right shoes and then not retiring them when they are used up (300-500 miles).

I normally run at about 60-70% of what I feel my max is. I don’t have a heart-rate monitor yet, so I can’t really quantify it. When I get home, I can easily climb my stairs and usually feel fine after some stretching/foam-rollering and a glass or two of water.

Last night was at my race pace. I finished 5K in 26:57, and that’s with a stop at the gate back into my condo community. Pat’s Run is actually a 4.2 mile race, so closer to 7K than 6K; I think with the rush of competition, I can keep the same pace for the extra 1.1 miles on top of what I did last night, but I am worried about a couple of things.

First, I run at night after The Little Laxer goes to bed. The race is at 7:00 in the morning; I usually feel sluggish during my weekend morning runs and don’t run as fast as I do at night.

Second, 1.1 miles is not an insignificant distance to add to my longest run. The race is next week Saturday; should I run a 4.2-miler this Friday or Saturday to gauge how it feels? If I do that, should I then just run two or three one mile jogs in the week until the race? I’m thinking about this for a schedule:

Tomorrow: 30/30 intervals for 30 minutes (conditioning)
Thursday: Take daughter for 1-2 mile walk in her wagon or stroller + core exercises
Friday/Saturday: Run 4.2 miles
Sunday: Walk to park with daughter (3.6 miles round trip) + stretching
Monday: Rest + stretching
Tuesday: 1-2 mile jog
Wednesday: Walk w/daughter
Thursday: 1-2 mile LIGHT jog
Friday: Stretching/Rest
Saturday: RACE DAY

Any thoughts?

I forgot to address this in my last post. I’m lucky enough to live near a Road Runner Sports and I was custom-fitted for m shoes there. I dropped $70 on custom insoles while I was there because I have freakishly high arches which make my heel and the ball of my foot show up as islands on the 3D map of my foot. The inserts are amazing and I wish I’d had them when I was younger. I no longer have foot pain when running! It’s amazing to have support in my arches.

As far as milage, I have the Nike+ chip in my shoes, so I’m tracking it that way. Unfortunately, our budget is a little tight right now, so my runners are also my normal shoes when I’m not at work. I probably walk about 10 miles per week in them, but I don’t track it.

I never ran well in the morning either. Give yourself extra time to warm up before the race.
Arrive at least an hour and a half early, check in.

Jog easily for a mile right away.
Half hour before, jog another 3/4 mile and do 4-6 ( app. 100 meters)quick striders, each a bit faster.
Strider-controlled sprint, not all out.

At the line , stay loose. If you have room, jog in place every few minutes.

Between the crowd and adrenaline, you should have no problem keeping pace for the full distance.

I have had better results with a pace workout the day before rather than rest.

Run 3-4 400 meters at your planned race pace with a 400 m jog between.

1 mile warm up/cool down.

From what I’ve read, shoes need to recover from a run just like people do. Wearing them constantly is probably not very good for them or for you. Lots of runners will keep two pairs of shoes so they can alternate.

I understand money being tight can make it difficult, but I think if you can avoid wearing your running shoes as your daily shoes (outside of work) you would benefit a lot.

I’ve read that, too. Fortunately, I don’t go out outside of work all that much. I wear my running shoes when I take my daughter for our walks, but that’s because they support my feet much, muh better than sandals due to the insoles.

I’m a teacher, so I’m in dress shoes M-F, 6:30-5:30. Other than our walks, I might only wear my runners for a quick stop at the grocery store or Target.

I have an old pair of adidas SSG2s, but they’re so damn bulky compared to my runners that I hate wearing them.

After this race I might buy a second pair of the Nikes I run in. If I sub during my prep and tutor a couple of days, that’ll cover the cost!