How quick have you improved?


 I've just started running again after a 19 year break! At 27 I ran 33:25 for 10k and I'm now 45 and I am giving running another go.....

Started back in November and couldn't run for more than 2 minutes without needing to walk, I'm now up to 20 miles per week (my longest run so far has been 7 miles), although this year I've had two weeks off with a dodgy hamstring and another with a bad cold - so total for 2012 is 145 miles so far (so only averaging 14 miles per week).

So far I've managed to lose a stone in weight (currently @ 11:10 - was 10stone when I was 27!) and my overall fitness is developing well. I ran a 5k last weekend and managed 23:30 (with a killer last mile), my threshold runs are @ around 07:55 which keeps my pulse in zone 4 and whilst its hard I keep it going for 4 miles and rekon I could go to 5/6  miles if I had to. I'd like to get under 40mins again for 10k but don't expect my rate of improvement to continue.

Thats the background, now the question - how fast have you increased your fitness and running times after a long layoff, and how long did it continue to improve until you plateaued?


  • You should see improvements coming thick and fast. Parkrunfan (he posts on The Middle Ground thread) was in a similar position to you, came back to running in 2009 and 2 weeks ago posted a 36:19 for 10k at Dewsbury.

    Build up slowly, and back off if you have and niggles.

  • A question

    At 27 you had a 10k time of 33:25.

    Why did you stop, as I would guess that having a that time at 27 would have made you a hell of a local champion at the least? Your 5k time must have been around atleast  in the low 15's.

    I ask this question because its always interesting to know why we stop doing things that we have learnt to be good at, and I speak as someone who stopped doing something he had spent some time learning to do.

    It wasnt running image

  • I am 45 and have been running for 18 months. I have always kept myself fit but never took running seriously when younger. I have discovered I have a little bit of talent (too late) . My best half is 1.23 and 10k of 36.45. At local races I generally get placed in vet cats and was 19th in a pretty decent field of 1500 in a 10k recently. I really wish I had taken it up my 20's!
  • DarolaDarola ✭✭✭

    Stephen - My exit from running was out of fustration. Interestingly my 10k PB was the last race I ran. I placed in the top 500 in the 93 National cross country on 27/02/1993 (9miles of tough XC in 51mins), and then followed that 8 days later by running in a local 10k when I set my PB - finishing 10th behind a number of Tipton runners who'd turned up to stretch there legs! The next morning I went out for a 5 mile easy run (was doing circa 60miles a week at the time) and had shooting pains in my left hip - turns out I had tendon damage to my Piriformis - after several months of physio and attempts to run again I lost all my fitness and just thought 'sod it' and walked away. I started to play golf to fill the void and that consumed me for the next 10 years in much the same way that running did. After another 10 years of work and travel (with work) I've now settled and have got hooked on running again - I still get the odd ache in my hip but its always been there and hasn't got any worse so I can more than live with it.

    With regards to 'local champion' I peaked at a time when 33 mins was good for a top 10, and if you found a local race where the 'big boys' no showed I could make the podium. To put some context to that I live in the West Midlands and my local races attracted runners from Tipton (still have strength in depth), Birchfield (the same), Stourport (at the time Mark & Paul Dalloway and Alan Jackson were at their peak), Bromsgrove & Redditch (Adrian Passey) and Cannock (Paul Davis Hale), all sub 30 runners with a queue of good club runners behind them! That kind of local strength in depth made me somewhat an also ran!! I just about made the counting 6 at my club (Halesowen - not yet rejoined but will when the times are a bit quicker).

    Funny but it only feels like yesterday now I'm running again; and although my training pace is 2mins per mile slower it feels great to be out there an feeling fit - hopefully this time I'm back for good.....

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

     Darola...interesting reading your story...i'm a little bit older and a bit slower than your peak days, but am currently getting similar ish hip story!

    gets a bit tight, and locked the other day meaning I had to walk home. Interspersed with a hamstring ache on the other side, and a ball of foot ache too!

    Any of that stuff happen to you?

    Good to hear you're back at the end of the day simply running is what it's all about..times are a bonus.

  • DarolaDarola ✭✭✭

    Ive seen an osteopath and a sports therapist since I returned, largely because I wanted to know if there was anything I could do to ensure it didn't reoccur (ie: the ache get worse). It turns out that I have a week glute and a collapsed arch on the left side which put me out of balance and added the strain to my hip flexers.

    I now do a serious of strengthening exercises on the glute around 4/5 days a week and wear shoes built for strong stability to compensate for the arch. Can feel it getting more solid as time progresses. Our symptoms/reasons may be different so I'd advise seeing a good osteopath for a diagnosis of cause...

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    I've seen a physio about 3 times, he's unlocked my back, given me some stretches etc.

    Seems to sort one bit out, and then now the tight hip is still there.

    To be fair, nothing has got into "Pain" territory..even when i stopped it was uncomfortable. But could do with getting back to top mileage . There's some pbs to break here!

     What's the difference do you find between an Oesteo and a sports physio?

  • DarolaDarola ✭✭✭

    An oesteopath seem to have a much stronger understanding the muscle and skeleton relationships and can assess your body better for balance - identifying the cause and effect.

    Where as the sports physio has more of a handle on fixing stuff..... however if you get a good one of either then they should be able to cross over.

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    My guy is very pro you keeping up the training you 60-70miles a week in my case, but it sometimes feels like  things are just about holding together, rather than properly being fixed.

    whatever happened to those easy injuries, that you'd do...feel getting better, and then are healed! So much easier than hip and hamstring long term stuff that you can run through to a decent extent

  • Darola: All the best.
  •  Darola.

    I had to look up the names and clubs you mentioned as the early 90's were my "lost years" post Art school haze;)

    They all look very intimidating!

    The Birchfield Harriers seem to have attracted some rather special athletes.

    All good fortune to you

  • Darola:I'm roughly the same age as you, but ran my best times aged 19-21. It is much harder to get back to that level. Not impossible, but difficult.

    To be honest I only got within 5 minutes plus, of my 10k pb set back in 87/88 and that was in 1997/98 after 2 years decent work of approx 50-60 miles per week.

  • Hi Darola: Returned to running 18months ago after a 13 year break, injury forced... Reason's for return, where hitting fifty, and a four and a quarter stone weight gain, which I found embarassing...

    First twevle month's back waste of time, was trying to do session's simular to what I was doing in the 80's & 90's (effort but not time), and basically spent most of the time injuried, during this period my 5k times had come down from 24min to low 21's to high 20's, depening on course....

    November 2011, I took a serious look at my training, and decided on a winter of base work, with a increased ten mile a week extra... After four months, am feeling a lot stronger, lost over two stone in weight (overall), 5k time's are down to mid 19's, and knocked three minute's off 10k time...

    So Darola.... What i would say is, don't fall into the trap I did, forget what you used to do, and train to compete against all the other vet1 out there.... Good Luck mate

  • compo 1compo 1 ✭✭✭
    back in 2008 i was out for 4 months after an ankle facture took me a few months to get back where i was
  • DarolaDarola ✭✭✭

    Bluenose - that is sound advice - thanks

    When you say "decided on a winter of base work, with a increased ten mile a week extra" what mileage were you doing? And what did you build up from and how long did it take??

    Ive chosen to write off the first 12 months whilst I learn to run again, but must admit to having some conflict between my 27 year old head, and my 45 year old body!

    I already feel like I'm balancing fitness with injury and at 22miles for this week (new high!) I'm still 10/15 miles short of where I would like to be - I guess I just need to calm down a bit and do some more easy running! This morning I really held myself back and did 8miles @ 9m pace (longest run so far) - this held my HR in zone 3 @ around 155 (max is 195) and felt really easy - but I have a sore groin as a consequence!!

    I've a couple of 10k's planned for May and hope to do a park run inbetween to guage progress. First is just to complete and the second to apply the lessons learnt......

  • Darola - As Chubby mentions, I have a very similar story to yourself. Ran 10K in 33:30 at 29.

    Then had a long break of about 14 years. Now 45 and started in 2008 literally not able to run half a mile and 4 stone overweight.

    To answer your question about how you can expect times to improve and for how long you can have a look at how my times have 'slowly' improved year on year, not spectacularly but I'm getting there. image

    The advantage that you have is that it is a nice feeling to be getting faster as you get older!

    And a HM this morning in 1:21 keeps the times moving in the right direction. So just get stuck in and enjoy yourself!

  • My monthly mileage las year up to October was, 82, 90, 42, 27, 91, 108, 114, 87, 123, 99, and from November it's been, 165, 159, 166, 162, and 105 so far this month.... Am currently running five days a week, I look upon rest days just being as important as any other session....

    For the first three months (from November), I just run to HR, mainly around 70%, just to get some strength and mileage into the leg's.... It's boring running but had to be done...

    You probaly just need to calm it down, and don't put yourself under any pressure with the 10k's in May, get yourself sorted first.... It'll Come...

  • parkrunfan.... Impressed mate.... It look's like you've raced yourself faster....
  • Thanks, Bluenose....I think the magic ingredient is patience, let the improvement come at its own pace rather than trying to force it!
  • DarolaDarola ✭✭✭

    Thanks bluenose - by not predicting any times, I hope that will relieve my of any pressure in May - I'm just aiming to run on feel and see what the clock says at the end.. I also only run 5 days and hope that by the end of summer I can emulate that sort of mileage. My current thinking is get through the summer in one piece and then get a good cross country season under my belt, and then get a bit more serious on my training in 2013.

    PRF, thanks for sharing that, its really inspiring to see your progression - you seemed to get to a reasonable pace (6min miles) quite quickly (by early 2009) - how did you manage that without injuring your self on speed work?? What sort of mileage and quality were you doing?? The parkruns looked to be a staple of your schedule - I guess they helped to get the legs moving? When I did my 5k a couple of weeks back the legs actually had more to give but I was running my HR at 185 for most of the run! The last mile was almost all uphill and I just got it under 9minutes, maxing my HR out at 195 in the process!! The two guys in front of me were walking up the steep bits....

  • Darola - If you read the 'Background' section here that should give you an idea of how I built the robustness.
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