why am I not improving?

Hi runners!

I am seeking some advice, in the last year I have been building from not being able to run 30 mins (Feb 2010) to the London marathon last month. I was feeling like things were getting easier but I still struggle to break a 9:30 per mile pace. I set out to do a 4h30 marathon which ended up being 4H48 and I think I've lost my confidence in my running ability image. I did the bupa 10k yesterday and did pretty much exactly the same time as last year despite marathon training in between! Why am I still a 'slow runner'?! I run with a running club once per week and still flounder at the back. I aim to run 4 times per week, I was following the RW 4H30 programme, I'm now following the 10K schedule and will soon be on to the 12 week programme for the Great North run. Should I accept that I won't get faster? Or am I suffering post marathon blues?! Any insights would be must appreciated image



  • Do you do short speed work?

    What does your training consist of?

  • I think to start with you should give yourself a break. You have gone from not running at all to running a marathon in less than 2 years. That's pretty well done and shows backbone.

    In that time you have building up your mileage base and concentrated on distance, I would guess (though please tell me if I'm wrong). A first marathon is often a question of just completing it - after you have tried it once you know what you are up against.

    To continue the excellent work, you could now look at complementing your long runs and weekly schedule with some short distance speed work, as SFTL suggests. Fartlek or interval training does wonders for your overall speed.

    And if you are feeling a bit down after your marathon you could try my cure - sign up for another one! Works every time.

  • Thanks for your responses, SP13 you're right I definitely ended up focussing more on the distance and because I was doing long runs on sat/sun the speed sessions my running club did on a Tuesday were not effective! I have now started back at the speed sessions which tends to involve 6-8 sets of 3-4 mins with 1 min recovery. I've also started intervals in my 5-7 mile runs with a few miles steady then one fast etc.

    I have entered the ballot for the London marathon but I may enter Edinburgh if unsuccessful there I definitely don't want to give up the endurance I have gained so I need something to aim for in the distance!

    Thanks again for your help image

  • I agree you're being too hard on yourself. I'm no expert - started running inMay 2010, trained for Cancer Research 10k in October, and did my 1st half-marathon earlier this month - and I was pretty pleased with myself. There have been times when I've felt I wasn't improving, but when I look back to when I started, when it was a struggle to run for 20 minutes, I realise that's not the case.
  • I agree that you are being too hard on yourself. You should be very proud in what you have achieved in a relatively short time period.

    If you look around this forum you will find plenty of advice on increasing your race pace and you need to find one or two that work for you. It could be hill repeats, spinning classes, tempo runs, fartlek, etc.

    Have you tried running at a slightly faster pace than you are currently achieving for just 1/2 a K (after a 2 mile warm up) to see if you can do it? If you can't what is stopping you - your VO2 max (getting out of breath so can't run faster) or is it all in your head?
  • compo 1compo 1 ✭✭✭
    we have good and bad days on running do not worry you will improve soon
  • always refer to the old chestnut "to run fast you need to train fast"

    It's 100% accurate. After the marathon training you should have cut your weekly mileage down (you already have a solid base from the marathon) and introduced some speedwork before running the 10k and this would've produced a faster time.

    Well done on the Mara btw.
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