Continuing running beyond 5k

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Continuing running beyond 5k

Postby Quercus » Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:48 pm UTC

I just did my first 5k run today, and I just wanted to check that my plan for how to build on this seems sensible to people.

Firstly, due to time constraints I only want to run 3x per week in the morning (I plan to have 1 rest day and eventually three morning sessions of bodyweight training and Tai Chi on my non-running days). Secondly I really don't like complicated interval training etc. if I can avoid it - I much prefer "just running". I built up to 5k by running until I was tired, pushing on for 15-30 seconds at the same pace, and then walking until I felt I could run again. I did this until I could run 3k without walking, then pushed up the distance over about six weeks, while maintaining my pace as much as possible.

My plan is:

  • Initially just work on consistency and pacing - get to a point where I can run 5k 3x per week with a negative or at least neutral split.
  • Then work on pace - I'm planning to work on this by doing pretty much the same thing I did to start running - increase my pace until I feel tired, continue for 15-30 seconds, then drop down to my previous pace.
  • Then work on endurance - push my weekday runs to a full 30 minutes (my 5k time from this morning was 33 minutes, but I expect that to come down), and my Saturday run to a full hour.

Thanks for any input.

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Re: Continuing running beyond 5k

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:56 pm UTC

Congrats! I think the best way to train for distance running is to just run distances. Unfortunately, this takes increasing amounts of time. When I was training for marathons, the 10+ milers represented multiple hour commitments.

If you increase your speed but keep your time the same, you'll probably primarily end up reducing your 5k time. This will of course improve your general running fitness and let you run at a more modest pace longer, but generally speaking, to train for distance, you simply run distance. Try adding a quarter mile or a half mile to each run. Don't skip leg day. Find some nice mellow music or a good audiobook and just hit the pavement.
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Re: Continuing running beyond 5k

Postby wumpus » Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:50 pm UTC

Huzzzah!

Are you wearing "real" running shoes? While there are those that push the "more or less barefoot" ideal, I noticed that a bit past once I got to your level, my achilles tendon would act up. Rest plus "basic running shoes" was the cure. Don't walk in them (until they are worn out from running), but do your running in them. Best way to find such shoes is to find a "real" running [shoe] store (the applications for races [that don't have huge marketing behind them] in the back is a giveaway it is a "real" store).

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Re: Continuing running beyond 5k

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:10 am UTC

Bringing up shoes around runners is a good way to start a fight.

::Shakes fist!!!::

My preference is for minimal sole running shoes, but I've also been training on them now for about three years. It took well over three months to transition, and even then I should have taken longer.
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Re: Continuing running beyond 5k

Postby Quercus » Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:41 am UTC

Thanks for the congratulations!


wumpus wrote:Huzzzah!

Are you wearing "real" running shoes? While there are those that push the "more or less barefoot" ideal, I noticed that a bit past once I got to your level, my achilles tendon would act up. Rest plus "basic running shoes" was the cure. Don't walk in them (until they are worn out from running), but do your running in them. Best way to find such shoes is to find a "real" running [shoe] store (the applications for races [that don't have huge marketing behind them] in the back is a giveaway it is a "real" store).


Yes - I got a proper gait analysis done when I started running and shoes recommended on that basis - I wear these, because I have a tendency to over-pronate. This is something which Tai Chi is also helping with a lot - because there's a lot of Tai Chi movements where it's critical to keep your knees centred over your feet in order to prevent injury and pronation stops this from happening. In fact yesterday my instructor gave me a series of specific stretches to work on hip, lower back and foot flexibility in order to improve this. I know all about injuries caused by inappropriate footwear - my mom has permanent hip damage from running and training for half-marathons in tennis shoes when she was younger.

Izawwlgood wrote:Congrats! I think the best way to train for distance running is to just run distances. Unfortunately, this takes increasing amounts of time. When I was training for marathons, the 10+ milers represented multiple hour commitments.

If you increase your speed but keep your time the same, you'll probably primarily end up reducing your 5k time. This will of course improve your general running fitness and let you run at a more modest pace longer, but generally speaking, to train for distance, you simply run distance. Try adding a quarter mile or a half mile to each run. Don't skip leg day. Find some nice mellow music or a good audiobook and just hit the pavement.


Thanks for the tips, I should have been more clear in the post, but I'm not actually particularly interested in training for distance, except insofar that it allows me to improve my cardiovascular fitness further. I'm not and probably never will be a competitive runner, even if I end up running competitive times (the 5k I refer to above wasn't an official race or anything like that). In fact, running with a huge bunch of other people is pretty much a vision of hell to me - I enjoy the solitude of running. I probably have a pretty unusual combination of reasons for running. In order:

  1. To improve day-to-day fitness so I can do more fun stuff for longer without getting out of breath.
  2. For the endorphin high and consequent mood and mental focus improvements.
  3. Because it's fun
  4. To Improve my exercise-induced bronchoconstriction
  5. For my long term health - particularly cognitive health (physical degeneration with age doesn't scare me enough to motivate me to exercise, mental degeneration most emphatically does)
  6. To burn additional calories so that I can continue to eat more-or-less my current diet (healthy, but too calorific for a sedentary person) while maintaining or slightly reducing my weight.
  7. To reduce body-fat slightly (my weight is dead centre of the healthy range for my age and height and I'm pretty much happy with it, but my body-fat percentage is a little high)

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Re: Continuing running beyond 5k

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:20 pm UTC

All totally valid reasons to keep running. Personally, I find it to be a really flexible activity. I can run with a friend, or I can run on my own. I can go for a quick intense two miler, or I can listen to the entire Dark Side of the Moon album while meandering down the river. I can GPS my average speed and distance and focus on my half mile splits, or I can stop frequently and harass the geese, climb something for the view, or take pictures of stuff. I enjoy the competition of races, especially the shared high everyone is experiencing, but as you said, I also enjoy having time to myself.

Everyone should run, really. Or bike, or whatever; some distance moving activity.

If you're interested in just improving your general fitness, maybe consider simply slowly extending your runs. Make sure you stretch before and after.
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Re: Continuing running beyond 5k

Postby Quercus » Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:36 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Everyone should run, really. Or bike, or whatever; some distance moving activity.


Exactly. My other one is hiking, but you have to spend a lot of time doing that to get properly fit. With running I also like that it's cheap, you can do it more or less anywhere, even on holiday, and you don't have to go anywhere near a gym (I find gyms to be singularly unpleasant places).

Maybe I'll give a race a go - the idea of a shared high does sound appealing - I'd merely extrapolated my distaste for it from the fact that I don't like crowds in general.

And thanks for the music suggestion - I should add Pink Floyd to my running music selection (so far it's been mainly Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Richard Thompson and Oysterband).

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Re: Continuing running beyond 5k

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:19 pm UTC

Since I like running, I'm just going to keep talking about it with you.

Humans are really really effective runners, so to look to running as a means for getting fit, you kind of have to do it a lot. You can get fit running, but you shouldn't expect to run a mile in 15 minutes and burn off that cheeseburger.

Gyms are only as bad as the people they attract. My climbing gym is a delightful place. My schools gym is horrible. And there are leg exercises that you can do to improve your running!

Another thing I absolutely love about races is the good sportsmanship you tend to see in runners. I've shadowed people for two miles of a 5k, and when I started flagged they turned around and started cheering me on. I've sprinted against people in the finishing chute and had them hug me after. There's nothing more aggravating than a race so crowded you're tripping over other people, but then, there's nothing quite as fun as chatting with a random stranger in a crowded race. You also have the perfect excuse to stop talking to them if you want, "Alright man, I'm going to push it, good luck!" or "Whew, you're really cranking, I need to tone it down!".

I find when I'm pushing myself, angrier faster music works best, though I have a harder time pacing. When I'm just going for distance (he's going for speeeed!), it's a great time to pick apart the lyrics of Aesop Rock, or zone out to Afrocelt or revisit old techno, etc etc. I actually really dislike run without music, which has definitely worked against me, when I'll get ready for a run only to find my excellent black rectangle is empty on battery, and I decide I should do calisthenics on my floor instead. Audiobooks and podcasts are also great. I was listening to Dan Harlans Hardcore History while training for a marathon, and felt like such a badass hearing about Napolean crossing the alps as I plodded into the double digit miles.

Also, depending on where you live, I wager there are parks and trails and places you've never seen or explored. Check out that abandoned building! Run that forest trail! Find out what's behind that bank of trees! I hate crossing back on my trail, which I have to do a bit for my current run, so you know, figure out new loops!

Also, since I like data, I use RunKeeper which tracks my run and provides on the go feedback about pace and distance and such. I'm not very good at pacing myself, so its helpful. I also just picked up an Up24, and have been timing runs and such. It's not very accurate for running distances, since it's calibrated for walking, but it's neat having a timer and such on my wrist that unobtrusively tracks stuff.

Whew... Anyway. Running is fun. If you're interested, we could start posting photographs of various parts of our runs?
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Re: Continuing running beyond 5k

Postby duckshirt » Sat Nov 01, 2014 12:20 am UTC

I have a few comments to add, since I like running as well.

I would alter step 2 in your plan - "keep distance the same but work on speed." The human body isn't a machine, you can't push yourself to any kind of limit every day, even once a week is hard. Aerobic training is more of a cumulative process, you just want a lot of total miles. I would pick ONE day per week to "work on pace" (assume that means see how fast you can run), and run the other two at whatever comfortable easy pace you want to run. And don't expect constant improvement, think of it like the stock market - don't focus on week-to-week fluctuations or occasional bad runs, what matters is the big picture, where you are now vs. several months/years from now.

I can understand not wanting to go do complicated workouts on the track, but I would highly recommend occasional fartlek runs - if you're running 30 minutes, run 10 minutes easy then 10 x (1 minute fast, 1 minute easy). You don't need to blow the pipes out, just run comfortably faster, it's a convenient way to get a bit of intensity into your schedule.

I think this has been mentioned already, but improving "pace/speed" and "endurance" are largely the same thing - aerobic fitness. If you can run a 5k at 10:00 pace, you can probably run further at 12:00 pace. And if you can run further, you can probably run a faster 5k. All workouts described so far will improve aerobic fitness and will help all these goals.
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Re: Continuing running beyond 5k

Postby Quercus » Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:54 am UTC

duckshirt wrote:I have a few comments to add, since I like running as well.

I would alter step 2 in your plan - "keep distance the same but work on speed." The human body isn't a machine, you can't push yourself to any kind of limit every day, even once a week is hard. Aerobic training is more of a cumulative process, you just want a lot of total miles. I would pick ONE day per week to "work on pace" (assume that means see how fast you can run), and run the other two at whatever comfortable easy pace you want to run. And don't expect constant improvement, think of it like the stock market - don't focus on week-to-week fluctuations or occasional bad runs, what matters is the big picture, where you are now vs. several months/years from now.

I can understand not wanting to go do complicated workouts on the track, but I would highly recommend occasional fartlek runs - if you're running 30 minutes, run 10 minutes easy then 10 x (1 minute fast, 1 minute easy). You don't need to blow the pipes out, just run comfortably faster, it's a convenient way to get a bit of intensity into your schedule.

I think this has been mentioned already, but improving "pace/speed" and "endurance" are largely the same thing - aerobic fitness. If you can run a 5k at 10:00 pace, you can probably run further at 12:00 pace. And if you can run further, you can probably run a faster 5k. All workouts described so far will improve aerobic fitness and will help all these goals.


Absolutely - I'm not expecting to improve on every run (although it's been fun to see that happening in the beginning, I realise it's not going to continue). I might have been expecting to be able to push myself too often though, I'll tone that down, thanks. Re. fartleks - isn't that basically what I was describing in point 2, just without the timings? When I was doing walk/run intervals building up to 5k I started off doing the formal C25K program, but found that it was significantly more effective (and fun) for me just to ignore the timings and tune into how I felt when deciding when to change pace - I was planning to do that for a fartlek type workout too (that's what I mean when I say run fast until I'm tired, carry on for 15 seconds, then drop back down to slow).

Izawwlgood wrote:Since I like running, I'm just going to keep talking about it with you.

Humans are really really effective runners, so to look to running as a means for getting fit, you kind of have to do it a lot. You can get fit running, but you shouldn't expect to run a mile in 15 minutes and burn off that cheeseburger.

Gyms are only as bad as the people they attract. My climbing gym is a delightful place. My schools gym is horrible. And there are leg exercises that you can do to improve your running!

Another thing I absolutely love about races is the good sportsmanship you tend to see in runners. I've shadowed people for two miles of a 5k, and when I started flagged they turned around and started cheering me on. I've sprinted against people in the finishing chute and had them hug me after. There's nothing more aggravating than a race so crowded you're tripping over other people, but then, there's nothing quite as fun as chatting with a random stranger in a crowded race. You also have the perfect excuse to stop talking to them if you want, "Alright man, I'm going to push it, good luck!" or "Whew, you're really cranking, I need to tone it down!".

I find when I'm pushing myself, angrier faster music works best, though I have a harder time pacing. When I'm just going for distance (he's going for speeeed!), it's a great time to pick apart the lyrics of Aesop Rock, or zone out to Afrocelt or revisit old techno, etc etc. I actually really dislike run without music, which has definitely worked against me, when I'll get ready for a run only to find my excellent black rectangle is empty on battery, and I decide I should do calisthenics on my floor instead. Audiobooks and podcasts are also great. I was listening to Dan Harlans Hardcore History while training for a marathon, and felt like such a badass hearing about Napolean crossing the alps as I plodded into the double digit miles.

Also, depending on where you live, I wager there are parks and trails and places you've never seen or explored. Check out that abandoned building! Run that forest trail! Find out what's behind that bank of trees! I hate crossing back on my trail, which I have to do a bit for my current run, so you know, figure out new loops!

Also, since I like data, I use RunKeeper which tracks my run and provides on the go feedback about pace and distance and such. I'm not very good at pacing myself, so its helpful. I also just picked up an Up24, and have been timing runs and such. It's not very accurate for running distances, since it's calibrated for walking, but it's neat having a timer and such on my wrist that unobtrusively tracks stuff.

Whew... Anyway. Running is fun. If you're interested, we could start posting photographs of various parts of our runs?


Yeh, I reckon the climbing wall I go to (or used to go to - writing my PhD thesis is cutting into my time a lot these days) has a pretty great gym. However, it's half an hour away so a bit far for regular gym sessions, and if I'm there I usually just want to climb. I'm in central London and I find that other gyms I've been to tend to either be cliquey student gyms, or full of ultra-competitive sneery people. They also (except the climbing gym) play bloody awful music all the time.

I use runkeeper too, along with my pebble smartwatch (those things are great), and it's definitely fun having pace, time and distance feedback on your wrist. Re. music - I actually find that I often run well to something that has one beat to every two footfalls, so I listen to quite a lot of slower rock and folk music while running. There's a new Reg Meuross album out, which is going to be the soundtrack to this morning's run. His song "My Name is London Town" is particularly appropriate given where I'm running.

There are definitely parks etc. I've never been to, however, I have a pretty great run more or less outside my door: a just-over-5K circuit on both banks of the Thames from Westminster to St Paul's, and it's going to be a while before I get tired of that. If I want it to be longer, I just need to go one or two bridges further.

I'm definitely up for some photo sharing - I'll take some next time it's a nice day.

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Re: Continuing running beyond 5k

Postby Quercus » Tue Nov 04, 2014 3:13 pm UTC

Slightly different run this morning. I wanted to see the poppies at the Tower of London before they disappeared, and the Tower is only 3km from where I live, so I thought a run was the best way to do it. It was fun, and the poppies are quite spectacular (it's an art installation consisting of 888,246 ceramic poppies "planted" by hand in the tower moat, one for each of the British and Commonwealth soliders who died in World War I, after November 11th the poppies will be sold to raise money for military charities).

I don't have any photos of the run itself, but here's one of the destination. Apologies for the overexposed sky - I've got a new phone and I couldn't work out how to dial in exposure compensation while in panorama mode (if that's even possible - unfortunately it's not really practical to run with a real camera).

2014-11-04 08.42.19.jpg


I had to walk the last bit of the way back because I started getting knee twinges (not sure what that's about, but I put some ice on it when I got home and it seems to be fine now).

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Re: Continuing running beyond 5k

Postby Quercus » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:18 pm UTC

The knee twinges I mentioned in my last post got significantly worse for a while, until I spent a whole day limping after a 5k. I'm pretty sure that was down to over-pronation causing my knees to collapse inwards on every stride. So, I took a month's break from running, worked on bodyweight circuits and stretching (with particular emphasis on strengthening my arches). I've just started running again, and I'm concentrating a lot more on my gait (going for a midfoot strike and keeping my weight along the outside surface of the foot to prevent over-pronation). So far, so good. I'm just doing some quick 3k runs for the moment (pushing to 5k is what affected my knees last time, so I'm going to take it slow this time). Had a great run this morning just after sunrise.

I'm actually thinking of getting some lighter-weight running shoes with less instep support. When I ran before I could feel the instep in my shoes supporting my feet and stopping them collapsing too much - since I restarted that isn't really happening, and my current shoes feel a bit clunky given that I'm not using the support as much.

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Re: Continuing running beyond 5k

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:08 pm UTC

Just be careful transitioning into lighter shoes, as you might have a tendency to strike too hard and develop shinsplints.

Lately all my runs have been on treadmills :(
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Re: Continuing running beyond 5k

Postby Quercus » Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:31 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Just be careful transitioning into lighter shoes, as you might have a tendency to strike too hard and develop shinsplints.


Thanks for the warning - I'll be careful (and probably get another gait analysis to check whether what I feel as less pronation really is less pronation).

Lately all my runs have been on treadmills :(


:( Injury, or just bad weather?

Personally I hate treadmills/gyms so much that I think I'd probably quit running if treadmills were my only option, so good on you for sticking at it. I'm afraid that if I'm going to pay to exercise I'm going to a climbing wall where I can actually have some fun.

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Re: Continuing running beyond 5k

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:48 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:Injury, or just bad weather?
Injury, though I don't run outside in this weather either.

Normally this time of year I'm at a climbing gym 2-4 times a week, and hitting a treadmill once or twice a week. I really dislike treadmills too, and just end up running shorter distances on them.
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Re: Continuing running beyond 5k

Postby natraj » Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:12 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I really dislike treadmills too, and just end up running shorter distances on them.


man i always had this problem. like even when i was doing 12+ miles regularly i'd hit, like, three on a treadmill and be SO BORED i couldn't keep it up.

i like scenery on my runs.
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