Training For The 'Right' Distance



  • Strangely Brown, it sounds like you're asking permission to break the rules.  Nothing in this thread says you can't do it differently, but everything in it says that this is the basis of doing it well.  I'll be glass-half-empty: you're not going to win a medal at the Olympics.  There, can't say fairer than that.  You're 34, already your peak years are nine years behind you.  But here's a problem, ten years ago you could possibly have hurried more than you can right now.  Injure yourself now, and your chances of any potential-hitting are slipping further and further away.  But train right, train to what you have available, and you will hit a potential that might surprise even you!  Yes, it will take a few years.  It would take a few years even if you were twenty today.  But if you don't want more potential to slip away, then don't hurry it, enjoy it.  Slow down and smell the roses. image

  • Ratzer you bugger, you've shattered my dreams!  I'd bought the case for that medal and everythingimage

    You're sort of right I guess but I think I missed out some emphasis on my lack of injuries which i meant to elaborate on.  These training plans are of course generic in nature.  They are designed to be "safe" for all and that will encompass folk that injure easily and regularly and those that don't.  I feel, rightly or wrongly, like I am made of fairly stern stuff.  No obvious weaknesses and i've not suffered many sports injuries generally in my life.  I did have a ropey old time when I first started running with pains all over my legs but once they left me alone, they've not been back - even with me upping my mileage now.

    So I suppose what I was looking for was an idea of how a man might just accelerate his training if he feels his body is on the stronger side than average.  On reflection, maybe people just won't want to give out that sort of advice as they wouldn't want to be too responsible for any mishaps that might occur as a result of pushing that little bit too hard.  I probably am already breaking the rules but maybe need some reassurance that i'm not going too daft with it.

    Probably a bit of a crappy post really but just me thinking out loud, frustrated at how much i've enjoyed my couple of races and how much I regret not discovering that i'm quite good at them a little sooner. 

    Funny how we're designed to peak so swiftly and for such a fleeting period of time




  • Strangely brown- raztzer is right there I think, because a basic principle like getting a mileagebase does take years to really hone in on to get it good. Just look at the results for your average 10k and in the top 10 theres allways a few v40's and usually a v50 aswell so no reason you cant be competitive at most races for some time yet. If it was easy then there would be no reward or reason to do it really. You should give it a dam good bash though. But have patience because it will take time and hardwork.
  • Mr VMr V ✭✭✭

    Strangely - You don’t mention what your training actually consists of at the moment, it might help if you give us an idea of weekly mileage/ sessions. The thing is it’s not just a case of avoiding injury, you’ve also got to take into account overtraining/burnout. Plus having few injury problems at low mileage doesn’t mean you won’t get them if you up your training too drastically. Like it or not there are no short cuts in running. Increasing your training load slowly and steadily will bring about the best results long term.

    Edit - X post with Andy

  • "But have patience because it will take time and hardwork"

    Indeed.  I am prepared for that, i've already got used to dragging my arse out of bed in the dark at 6.00am to run (first mile awful, the rest, wonderful!).  It's the patience side I struggle with, I like to see results quickly.  A change of mindset is needed I suppose but that's not always as easy to do as it is to say.

  • Mr Viper wrote (see)

    Strangely - You don’t mention what your training actually consists of at the moment, it might help if you give us an idea of weekly mileage/ sessions. The thing is it’s not just a case of avoiding injury, you’ve also got to take into account overtraining/burnout. Plus having few injury problems at low mileage doesn’t mean you won’t get them if you up your training too drastically. Like it or not there are no short cuts in running. Increasing your training load slowly and steadily will bring about the best results long term.


    Yep, that's a fair point.

    So i'm at the point of scaling up and starting to do things in a manner which seems more "proper".

    The last 9 days, roughly:

    Today - Off to do a 10k "steady" soon.  I will use a HRM and try to stay in 143-157

    Yesterday, 10k Farlek

    Monday - 10k easy (9.5 m/m)

    Sunday - 12 mile long, probably too quick.  I'll slow these down.

    Saturday - 5k Park Run

    Friday - Rest

    Thursday - 10k easy

    Wednesday - 10k Fartlek

    Tues - 10k steady

    Because i'm in transition, this is nowhere near as structured as it should be.  I need to do some proper interval training I think but haven't figured out a good place to do it.  Even though this is a bit of a mess, it's a vast improvement on what I used to do - get up and run myself into the ground for 5k every morning!

  • You must have patience to some degree though you chosen to take part in a sport which for about 95% of the time is hardwork, lonely, dull, uncomfertable and includes a fair few failures along the way but then that small portion of time where you smash your pb or bave an amazing training run or you pace someone else to a pb makes it all well worth it.
  • Mr VMr V ✭✭✭

    Strangely - that looks fairly good to me, seems you are doing about 40 miles a week. How quickly did you move up to this and from what previous mileage? Given that you’ve just moved up to this volume of training it isn’t an issue that your aren’t doing intervals and tempo work at this stage. Upping mileage and doing quality work at the same time will place too much stress on your body. It’s best to keep training largely easy at your stage where the main focus is increasing quantity. You can add the quality in once you have adapted to the mileage.  

  • Thanks again chaps and I genuinely do appreiacte you taking the time out to respond to these posts.

    Interesting what you've said about the speed work and this is where my total lack of knowledge starts to come into play.  Because all the training plans say you should be doing it, i've sort of felt like I should be doing it.  No other reason than that, really.

    I scaled up to this fairly swifty I think Viper.  I started to up things a little before my Salford run a couple of weeks ago so have probably gone from 15 mpw to 35/40 mpw in about 4 weeks in total.  That sounds quick now i've written that down.

    Body seems happy enough with it so perhaps I should just freeze things here for a little while then.

    I'm off for that run so i'll catch you in a little while....

  • Mr VMr V ✭✭✭

    Strangely – Yes it is pretty quick jump but if you are having no issues I don’t think it’s a problem. I’d definitely advise not adding anything further for a least a month (minimum). Keep doing what you are doing for this period of time and see how your body adapts. You will improve massively by consistently running at this higher mileage without even thinking about doing any fast stuff. Of course speedwork is important but used at the right times and the right places. Think of easy running building your aerobic engine. The faster stuff is icing on the cake if you like (to use a tired metaphor). Once you have adapted to the higher mileage then you can think about what to add to your training. You may start to think about adding a weekly tempo run at this point or you may decide you want to continue increasing your mileage (not both at the same time). If you opt for the latter I would advise 50 mpw to be the max you should aim for by the end of the year.

  • Strangely Brown- what viper said +1

    I wouldn't worry about speedwork for now the miles done consistently week in week out will make the biggest difference really. I managed a 1:18half, sub 60min 10mile, sub 30min 5mile and a sub 17min 5k without any speedwork, well the races were the speedwork actually everything else was just steady miles but in good qauntity.
  • DachsDachs ✭✭✭


    You sound precisely like me a year ago at 34.  I'd returned to running a year or two before after being out of it since my teens, but it was purely on a casual once-a-week basis.  Having just gone sub-40 for 10K, I ramped up the mileage fairly sharply over a period of a few months, in the fear that I was running out of time to see how much I could improve.

    Whilst it would fit nicely with the advice you've received so far to say that it resulted in me breaking down and getting injured, it wouldn't be true.  I got away with it (so far), and have lowered my 10K PB to low 34.  However, unlike you, I wouldn't attribute it to being less injury-prone than other people - rather, it was pure, raw luck on my part. 

    The advice on here is the right advice.  You can, of course, like I did, take a risk with your body, and you may be lucky and get away scott free, but more likely is that injury will strike and you will take longer to hit your goals, or not hit them at all.  It is your body and your choice at the end of the day, but I would say that the motivation of feeling like you are running out of time is, in hindsight, a load of baloney.  There is plenty of improvement to be made in both your 30s and 40s, and the limiting factor preventing you hitting your full potential is far more likely to be your training schedule and how that fits into your life than age.  Quite apart from anything else, building up slowly could well see you making decent improvements for some time yet, which could be more rewarding than a quick improvement followed by a relative plateau.

  • Crikey Andy, i'd be more than happy to progress on to those sorts of time.

    Steady run was at an average 152 bpm, spiked out of the zone just once.  Still finding it hard not to peg it full on but it does make for a more enjoyable run as you can take more in and you don't feel like you're going to keel over at any juncture.  I do miss the energised feeling of a hard run afterwards, mind.  Did it in an 8 min/mile average so this seems about right for a steady run to me.

    I'm going to take your advice boys, it seems to make sense for the time being.  I'll stick with this rough plan, maybe with 1 rest day one week and two rest days the week after but two longer runs to compensate with the lost mileage of the extra rest day.  I'll keep the Fartleks but no other speedwork for now as i'll be doing a park run most weeks anyway.

    Thanks for the advice, it's a big help.

  • Mr VMr V ✭✭✭

    Strangely I think that’s a sensible plan. Keep us updated on how you progress.

  • Cheers Viper, i'll be sure to.

    Dachs, that's some progress.  Well done!  I think only a fool would ignore the consistency of advice being dolled out and I don't want to be one, so i'm going to take heedimage



  • Thanks for the advice. Sounds like I should be doing more easy runs and stop obsessing about beating the clock each time. But I worry about having the confidence to go for a good time in a 10k if I haven't run that pace in training. I also find that I I go slower than about 8m 20 it starts to feel not very natural or comfortable. What difference is there for most of you between your race pace and training pace for say a 10k run?
  • Slowkoala- 10k pb is 34:28 which is 5:28 mile pace usual training pace 7:50-8:00min pace if on an easy day if not it'l" be the long run at about 7:05-7:20pace or intervals. About 10runs a week for me but no more than 3 qaulity sessions ever in one week.
  • Thanks andy, did you find that the gap between your training and race pace increased as you got better? Is it just newbies like me whose training pace=their race pace?! Does anyone use the McMillan calculator as a guide for different paces? Someone recommended it to me.
  • Slowkoala- I had a look at mcmillan and its really good for race time predictions but If I used there suggested paces i'd be burnt out in no time because the 'easy runs' are waaaaaaay to fast. I used to 8min mile and I found that by keeping training fairly easy I was able to do more consistent miles which in turn made races get faster meaning my training pace felt easier so I could run more miles which gave the endurance to keep a faster pace going in races and round and round it goes.
  • Slowkoala - I absolutely share your problem.

    I'm in the whole process of trying to understand what my race pace actually is. I know full well that in the two races i've completed, I had more left in the tank at the end so I just have gone quicker.  The question is, how quick?  I have moments of self doubt during the race that i'm moving too quickly and that i'll either not finish the race or i'll be too burnt out to do the final couple of K in any sort of decent time.  So as you say, if your training isn't at your race pace, how on earth do you ascertain what your race pace either is or should be (your target).

    Perhaps this can be garnered to some extent by your heart rate readings?  For example, if I run a "steady" training 10k in 48 minutes at an average bpm of 152 one week and then a month or too later it's down to 46 minutes at the same rate, is there a forumla to use to devise a new tagrte for your 10k race pace, given your previous personal best?


  • Well i did my second Parkrun at Bolton over the weekend.  Shaved 6 seconds off my PB and moved to 19.24.  Obviously my next challenge is to break 19 minutes but given how knackered I felt during the last k, I don't imagine it's going to happen anytime too soon.  I'll be happy to keep shaving 5/6 seconds off here and there I think.

    Kept my LSD to 12 miles on Sunday.  I ran at a max HR of 143 and averaged 138.  Minute miles were about 8.50.  Getting used to the slow runs now but you can't help but think "I could be running this 30 minutes quicker and get more jobs done around the house!".  Maybe that's just me.

  • I'm intrigued by the idea that just increasing volume (but not intensity) and consistently running higher mileage will cause my pace to drift upwards over a few months. The trouble is, because I'm reasonably new / recently returning to running, i'm slow enough as it is (I can jog around 10min miles for an hour). I'm kind of scared to strap on my HR monitor in case it shows me I'm at 90% for the hour, and to run at a leisurely 60-70% HR i'd need to walk, which doesn't sound like much fun. The effort seems sustainable for an hour, so can I simply use effort to moderate my training pace? Or am I undermining my training by doing this?

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    I'd be interested in knowing how strangely brown has progressed, if he has stuck to the advice, as i am just going from the transition of constantly beasting myself (having taken advice on the middle ground forum) to easing right down. Its an odd feeling 'plodding along' over 1 m/mile slower than your used and accept it will make you faster, but you have to bow down to the knowledge and calibre on here!

  • *bump*

    For any relative newbies that aren't familiar, I really think this thread deserves a bump in its own right.  It probably answers half the questions that ever get asked on the training forum.

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    Thanks for sharing Phil. This is really a great thread.

  • In fact, possibly more worthy of a "sticky" than, say, "Have you ever been last in an event"?  Just a thought.


  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Yes this is a brilliant thread.

    Everyone should be made to read it on registering for the site.
  • October 2010? Blimey, time flies. I got my sub 1.35 by 4 minutes in my first half using the thread's sound principles.

  • Thanks for bumping this! Great thread.

    On the more is better theme I think it now extends to triathlon and then, de facto, Ironman, apologies if that has already been covered but I am reading through!

    I have commented several times about this on my blog.  Thanks!

  • 3 years agoimage

     where did the time go


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