Conflicting training advice

Hi  - Can anyone put me right on a training question.   I am running very slowly due to a weight problem which I am currently trying to fix (i.e. Weight Watchers).  The books say you should be able to carry on a conversation whilst running otherwise you are working too hard for your body.  I cannot run at all and talk - I can walk briskly and carry on a somewhat stilted conversation but if I start running I cannot do that.  Do you think I should just brisk walk on my four times a week schedule - does anyone know how long it would take to then begin running?  I am so confused and would welcome peoples thoughts.  I am currently walking and running for two mins each for forty minutes.


  • I'd say you're doing OK. How long have you been doing the run/walk schedule? As you get fitter, you will gradually be able to talk and run at the same time.

    Maybe get a heart-rate monitor and use that to make sure you're not working too hard?
  • To be honest, I've been running for a little over a year, 5k, 10k and up to half marathon and I can only just carry a conversation. I would say you're safe to keep running/jogging but just slowly.

    I agree with Wilkie, I bought a heart rate monitor a couple of months ago and it really improved my training.

    Just be careful and if you get really breathless just walk, I do all the time image

    Happy running image

  • Thanks for that, I am on a "return to running schedule" after a car accident. I have put on three stones in weight due to being imobile after the car accident.  Prior to that I was doing 5 and 10'ks but very slowly as I was certainly not sylph like even before the three stone gain!  Its just that now I seem to be really struggling without improving at all.  I bought John "The Penguin"'s book and he is saying if you cant talk you are working much too hard.  The heart rate monitor thing sounds ok - are they a pain to set up?

    Thanks for these two comments - really appreciated

  • Hog-mouseHog-mouse ✭✭✭

    In themselves HRM's are easy to use. However understanding the output is another thing entirely.

    There are some 'experts' around but I'm not one of them.

    I have been running for 3.5 yrs and can't hold a conversation when I run. I run with others and some just talk constantly. On paper I'm the faster / stronger runner but when it comes to running and talking, it's just a no no for me. To some extent I think it's a learnt thing - if you breath through your mouth then you need to align your breathing with your talking which takes focus away from running and you start thinking about the conversation and not about running - which may be good if you want a distraction but if you don't then it's not so good.

  • I have a basic polar heart rate monitor and it took me all of two minutes to set up, it's very easy.

    It shows you whether or not you are working out with your heart rate zone, so takes away the bother of not being sure. I agree with the comment above, some people can run and talk others can't, I find it more important to focus on how you are breathing anyways, once you get into the rythm of that running does seem that bit easier.

    As for the  saying "if you can't talk slow down" I don't believe in it. I tend to occassionally work a little out with my heart rate zone and don't find it too much of a physical effort at all.

    I really wouldn't worry about it, everyone's unique when it comes to what they find do-able.

  • I'm with BM - I can't run & talk. It's not that I'm out of breath, just that I simply don't have that level of co-ordination! As long as you're not getting back from each run completely exhausted, then the pace you're at is probably manageable. 

    You do need to remember that time out will have made you slower than you were, so allow yourself time to get that fitness back. Improvement isn't a linear thing, it seems to come in bursts for no apparent reason - you'll be struggling at a distance and suddenly it just happens, so bear with it. You will notice a difference in time.

    Good luck with the running and recovery from the accident.

  • Hi Marja, it sounds like you are doing great, good effort.

    I think it's attractive for some people to use a heart rate monitor and don't disagree with this advice. On the other hand, just to say that plenty of people operate without one, by using the ' perceived rate of exertion' idea.

    The kind of run that you are talking about where it is supposed to be just possible to hold a conversation is a lactate threshold run, and is by definition a little uncomfortable. It's not maximum effort, though.

    Also, you need to be doing plenty of walk/run combos well below this pace, where you are running much more slowly/easily. In time, you will make adapations and all your runs will start to feel easier/ you will be able to run more and walk a bit less.
  • Thanks so much to you all for this feedback - it is very helpful.  I do realise, of course, that my three stone excess weight doesnt help as this is an extra load on the cardio system.

    Once again, many thanks to you all  

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