Next Step? Advice needed...

Hi all. After reading all the advice on these posts, I thought I would ask for some advice...

I am a fairly newish runner, having been running on and off (mostly off!) for a whle, but am now running 2.8 miles 4 times a week (yipee! personal best this morning of 26.29!!!!

My question is - what should I be doing next? My weekly mileage is less than 12 miles and I would like to build that up, but would also like to increase my regular pace.

So: should I increase the distance of my usual run, add a long run, or what???

Help please...


  • Well it seems you have a good routine going...well done! The next step is really a choice that you can only make. Perhaps running a longer distance once a week would be an excellent way of increasing fitness and stamina. On your longer run start by running for a further 10 minutes the first week and then the next week add another ten minutes until you are able to comfotably run for 90 minutes. Remember that the longer runs should be at a nice comfotable pace where you can easily chat to someone while makes the run more enjoyable too.

    This is what i have done before and am also building up to again during the course of the next 3/4 months. After that providing there are no injury worries i`l be piling on the mileage in the build up to next years marathon. But thats just my personal goal. After a few weeks of your extra mileage you may fancy entering for a 10K race, there are plently of them around and i guarantee you`ll be hooked to go on to other races, perhaps even trying a half marathon in a few months.

    Good luck with the traing
  • Hello Tink,

    Nice picture..

    I agree with Malcolm. It is probably a good idea to make one of your 2.8 miles a longer run. Maybe try for 3.5 or 4 miles and see how that goes. The rule for increasing mileage is not to increase overall mileage by more than 10% per week. You will soon get up to quite high mileage.

    You also need to look at what your goals are. Are you looking to run 5 and 10K races or are you looking to do 10 miles and above. If the former then you don't need to look at too high a mileage (maybe 25 or so per week) but might want to work on your speed. If you are looking to run longer distances then don't worry much about your speed until you have got your mileage up.

    The you can make one of your weekly sessions an interval session, which consists of short distances run at speed with a recovery walk or jog between. Repeat this several times. You will find it hard in the beginning but it does definitely increase your speed. I believe that you can find many training schedules around the internet and also on this site. There are other sessions you can do such as fartlek and hill repeats but for the moment just increasing your mileage should be your goal. Don't overdo it as you may well get injured.

    Good luck!

    All the best,

  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    Tink, well done with your PB.

    Initially try and increase your mileage very gradually. I'd maybe add 1/2 mile onto your 2.8 mile circuit and simply increase your circuit by 1/2 mile or so every two weeks out of three until you're comfortably running 6 miles (24 miles per week). Then you can look at increasing your pace by introducing some faster bits into your 6 mile runs. That should take you about 3 months. Once you're running 6 miles you should be capable of running one longer run per week in addition to your regular 6 milers

    Your pace should automatically increase due to the increased mileage, but the faster bits will help.

    It's important that you don't try to change too many things at once, otherwise you'll get injury problems.

    If you experience any problems just let us know and we'll sort it for you.
  • Hello Tink, :-)))))
    I have been running for nearly 20 years now, and I think you have been very lucky to find the perfect solution to your question in the replies of Ratbag and Drew.
    Especially relevant is the 10% increase more....!!!
    I know this is sometimes difficult to adhere to, especially when you are feeling so good about your progress, but, believe me, there is NOTHING worse than having an injury that stops you running, especially when you have brought in on think hard before you push yourself too quickly. You can look forward to many years of running enjoyment, but only if you stay injury stick to commonsense rules, and good luck !!!! Regards, Billyboy.
  • Yep, I'll endorse the value of Ratbag Drew and co.

    What I find difficult is choosing the right targets. A good week with obvious improvement will get me all excited, and tends to be followed by a disappointing one, in which I cannot keep up the progress, or worse, injury.

    Be kind and encouraging to yourself: celebrate the good bits, and if bad days happen don't scourge yourself but trust it will get better again. It works best for me if I retreat a step or two, or try something different. So if my "usual" six mile route seems suddenly difficult one day, I might try it next time writing in more walking breaks than usual, and allowing myself, if I feel really well in the last 2M, to play about with the pace.

    Two steps forward, and, if necessary, one step back, will still make progress.

    (In trying to build up time on the road and distance, never underestimate the value of early, frequent, scheduled walking breaks. Even if somebody has already said that, it is worth saying again.)

    Above all, enjoy it. Marj

  • Thanks for all your advice. I think I will go with the increase by 10% plan and maybe do a bit of fartlek or interval training later on. I will also pass this on to the coach (mr tink) so that I don't overdo things - I tend to be a bit all or nothing!

    ps - Ratbag - the picture is quite appropriate as I'm not the most coordinated person in the world!
  • By the time I got to read this posts your request has already been met. Well done to you on your PB and to everyone else on such sound, sensible advice!
  • Well done Tink.

    What you haven't told anyone is why you are running. what is your objective. Most people here want to race but that is not necessary to enjoy running - it does however allow you to set goals which help with the motivation - thus spake the man who is going through a low at the moment.

    Depending on what we want to race dictates the sort of weekly total and make up of our running weeks as it should for you.

    There was a very famous research report from Dr Cooper in Dallas which is still relevant today. He showed running is great and 15 miles is ideal for general fitness without increasing the risk of injury significantly. (10% increases etc still hold). It is only if you want to run longer distances and/or race that you need to introduce speed sessions and drive up your milage.

    If that is the case then the above is just great.
  • Just a little more personal info that I omitted from my last message.I am 64 years of age and started running about 20 years ago to celebrate my grand-daughters birth. I stopped my 60 cigarettes a day habit that very day, and have never smoked since. My first objective was to take part in a half-marathon, even though I had not ran for a bus in 20 years, but I started out sensibly, or so I thought, by walking 53 laps of a 440 yards training circuit !!!!!! I was working on the supposition that I would at least be able to finish the distance, even if I was last past the post. That got me started, and from nil to 13+ miles took me almost 6 months to reach. I'm pleased to say that I was able to run the entire distance first time out, even though it took over 2 hours. Over the months I slowly progressed until 12 months later I was able to complete the "half" in 91 minutes, and that is my PB for the distance. I now only run for my own good general health and put in around 25 miles a week, usually 4 x 10 kms. I live in Germany now and there are some wonderful trails in my area. I generally go out on my bike and "research" a new route every week and then cover that area for a couple of weeks,then start all over again on a new circuit. Since joining Runners World I have started to introduce some "speed days" even though I still do the 10 kms. distance. I break the distance up in my mind be doing 100 strides, then 100 jogs, and 100 fast , returning to 100 strides. The improvement in your mental attitude is amazing. I find that I am nothing like as tired as I usually am at the end of 10 kms, even sprinting the last 100 metres. Not bad for an old!!! If you feel you are getting into a rut....try it may work wonders for you too. Take care, and thanks for the entertaining Forum. Billyboy.
  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    Billy Boy,

    Thanks for that. You really seem to enjoy your running. It never ceases to amaze me the number of "Old Codgers" turning up at races and thrashing the younger upstarts!
  • Mij, I'm running for health and fitness really. Having always been the kind of person who never got on with sports, I'm finally enjoying being active, and seeing the improvement as I keep going is very motivating. I've also just moved to a flat on the third floor, so being able to bound to the top without worrying about the 51 stairs will be nice.

    I've not raced yet, but from what everyone on the forum is saying, I think I will give it a try. One day I would like to do the London Marathon - if only to say I've done it! But I think I'll start small and work my way up to that monster!

    Once again, thanks to you all for your advice and encouragement. Even on days when I'm feeling unmotivated, reading the forum makes me want to get out there and keep trying.
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