Maintenance Routine

I only took up running last July, and was just about able to run 5k non-stop (about 35 mins) by the end of October. During the winter I had four or five months not running (combination of inury, chest infection, cold unpleasant weather, laziness and low morale) so when I finally got back into it in March this year I had to start right at the beginning with run/walking. I have now built up my long run to eight miles or so in ninety minutes. At the moment I run about 5k twice (about 30 mins) and my long run once a week.

I have no real drive to race; but as an asthmatic who as a child was told that I would kill myself if I ran so much as 100 yards I take great pride (in my mid-forties) to be able to finally prove 'them' wrong, so I have become emotionally attached to my running.

Now the autumn is upon us and I don't want to loose all I have gained over the winter months, and worse than that this year I will have very little time available this year to do any running (I mean no time, really). I want to keep doing my long run once a week but know that I won't be able to keep up my shorter runs.

Does anybody have a view as to how sensible it might be to just to the long run once a week, or what would be a realistic minimum 'maintenance' regime to see me through to Easter without loosing too much ground?


  • Hello Ken,

    It might be possible just to do your long run but I feel that you might struggle a bit if you do nothing in the week. How about cross training? Something like biking, swimming or using the gym equipment like the elliptical trainer or treadmill etc. That way you can keep your aerobic fitness going and keep the legs working.
  • Ratbag,

    Thanks for your interest. The reason that I will have no time for running is that I have to do some cross training. I need to improve my upper body strength by next Easter. My plan is to replace the shorter runs with rowing on a machine and do weights for the other three days. Do you think that this would be enough to keep the CV and legs fit enough for the long runs?
  • Ken,

    Like I said, I think you might struggle without doing at least some running even on a treadmill or at worst an elliptical trainer. Can you incorporate that with the rest of your training. Nothing gets legs right for running better than actually running.
  • Ken

    Any reason why you can't do 30mins run as a warm up for your weight sessions? Unless you're *very* time constrained it doesn't seem like a big commitment and it will certainly help your strength work.
  • Hi Glenn,

    I would love to. But my gym sessions will have to be in my lunchtime, and I only have about 45mins training time available, so 30 mins would eat that almost all up ;-)
  • Hi KenDee,

    as a fellow asthmatic who received similar advice as a child, I can appreciate how you feel about what you've achieved so far, and about not wanting to lose it.

    You say you're trying to build upper body strength for next year - is this for something specific?

    Also, what weights programme are you planning to follow in the gym? It looks like you're planning 5 sessions a week, if you try to do weights every session you'll probably end up overtraining and injured (don't know how much weights work you've done though so if I'm making an assumption and actually you've been body building for a decade then I apologise).

    A suggestion would be:

    3 weights sessions through the week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, concentrating on upper body. Split between 1 session concentrating on shoulders/arms, 1 session on chest/back, and one session lower weights/higher reps covering the entire body. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, use the 45 minutes for CV work, either on the rower, the treadmill, or go to the gym, get changed, run out the front door and do 30 minutes running in the real world (much nicer than a treadmill) and run back in for a shower - in other words, keep the running in but use the gym facilities to stop you smelling antisocial at work in the afternoons.

    This type of split has worked very well for me, as it gives the various muscle groups enough chance to recover between workouts.

    Another technique is to find out how early the gym opens in the morning, and try to fit in a run before work, again using the gym just for shower facilities.

    You can probably tell from this that I struggle to find time to fit in training as well....

    Let us know how you get on - I know you say you've no real drive to race but you may find that all changes in time, particularly if you keep reading the forum....
  • Slowboy,

    Yes I am training for a specific event. I shall be sailing a 72' steel yacht non-stop around Britain and Ireland in the Round britain Challenge - a race that starts on Easter Saturday. I will be one of eighteen people (one skipper, one mate, me and fifteen other crew) on the yacht and there may be up to seven yachts in the race. I don't want to let the side down. I want to be on the winning yacht. So I must be fit.

    When I was first selected I had been running for a good while but I started a regime of gym work exactly as you suggest: Three days upper body and moved my two short (?) 5k runs to the gym and kept my long run out in the big wide world.

    Now I have received the 'official' suggestions on how to prepare and it says (quite rightly, I suppose) that you can't train for sailing by just running or cycling. The best training for sailing is sailing. Their scheme grades the suitability of activities from 10 for sailing through 9 for upper body strengthening or endurance training down and down to 3 for running and 2 for cycling. Rowing on a machine gets an 8 though.

    Its clear from this that my running will have to take second place to rowing on my two non weights days, but as I said I don't want to loose my running ablities altogether.

    I have considered running in the morning or evening some days *as well as* doing the gym stuff, but the terms overtraining and injury come to mind and frighten me to death !
  • Ok mate
    I was the wheezy kid at school that the PE teachers laughed at and ridiculed. I hate 'em. Gits. Lets be honest. We asthmatics need to prove to those sods we CAN do it, but they are not worth making ourselves ill for.
    Don't just do one run per week, try and vary it, one short light run, one short, but faster one, perhaaps fartlek, and a longer one. Do what you need, not what you want to do to prove them wrong. That way you get stamina and performance.
    Do it for you !!!!!
  • KenDee,

    wow, what an opportunity!

    To be completely frank, I'd say that with such a specific event coming up it is worth tailoring your training completely towards the goal - which I guess is why you started by asking about how much you need to do for 'maintenance'.

    Given that you obviously really want to give it your all, but have to avoid overtraining/injury in the run up, I'd say stick with the plan you've got but on the days you're rowing try to fit in 10 to 15 minutes on the treadmill either side of the rowing - you could use it as a warmup for your rowing.

    Along with the long run (which will be excellent endurance training anyway) this should keep your running ticking over, although you aren't likely to improve much - but you can always set goals for that after the race.

    Which yacht are you on? Is there likely to be any TV coverage? We'll be cheering you on.....

    Barkles, you and me both. School PE was the seventh circle of hell. I hope you treat any PE teachers you come across now with the contempt they deserve.
  • Thanks for your encouragement.

    I believe that the Round Britain Challenge will receive considerable publicity, and I imaging that includes TV. You can see more details at

    The allocation of crew to yachts doesn't take place until March 22 next year after we have attended two training weeks. They try to match the crews as evenly as possible, and the yachts are identical so the race is supposed to be *very* close.

    If you saw any of the BT Global Challenge last time (same yachts, by the way); on one leg after six thousand miles there was only a couple of minutes between first and second place!! Now that is a close race.

    As the Round Britain Challenge is only(?) eighteen hundred miles non-stop, there could be only seconds between us at the finish. However, I would prefer to imagine myself standing at the bar with a pint in my hand when the second yacht crosses the finish line ;-)
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