Not seeing improvements...

Hi everyone,

I'm new so not sure if I'm posting in the right place...apologies if not!

I've been running now regularly for over a year and whilst I've seen some improvements (I can now run 10km plus) I'm still not at a level that I would like to be. I was planning on completing my first half marathon in 4 weeks but I'm not confident I'll actually be able to get round the track!

I'm also not seeing any real improvements in body shape/weight loss that I would be expecting. I am (kind of badly) following weightwatchers...

I run 3-4 times per week, 3 shorter runs (4km - 6km) and try and do 1 bigger run each week (8-10km). This bigger run hasnt been possible for a while as the summer has been very hot (I live in Dubai). I suffer from ITBS so have to watch my hip doesnt get too painful.

Does anyone have any recommendations on how I can kick start my training to see improvements in my speed, distance and weight loss?

Thanks in advance!



  • Hi Nat.  I'm not a nutritionist but I know that changes in body composition can take a long time and need a combination of attention to what goes in as well as increased activity levels.   If you have not lost any weight over this period, it means that your nett calories in are still higher than what's going out.  It can be difficult to see what's going wrong without help from someone who can analyse your diet and activity levels.  My weight has only changed by 1.5 kilogrammes since January and I have been training for a marathon. 

    From what you say here, you may be averaging as little as 12 kilometres a week. This is a good start, but for a runner keen to see improvements, won't really touch the sides. 

    It is not anywhere enough to be able to make a half marathon a comfortable experience.  Have you thought of setting a more realistic performance goal for the time being? You can always set more ambitious goals a bit further down the line, once you've got a routine that is sustainable, including one that recognises the limitations due to heat and injury. 

    Once you've set a new goal, you could come back to the forum and search training plans for that distance.  A 5k race might be a good start?

    Let us know what you think...


  • Hi Nat

    Have you tried interval training to mix up your routine a little, this will increase your fitness / Speed and certainly help with your weight loss as you carry on torching calories after you stop with this type of training. 

    So an example would be normal warmup for you, start a run at an easy pace (could hold a conversation) for say 5-10mins after this run at around 90% of your max for say 30 sec's then go back to the easy pace for 1min rest this allows your Heart Rate to decrease can be increased if you need longer to recover then another 30 secs at 90% and repeat....if you are new to this it is hard work so maybe try doing 5-7 intervals and see how you feel. I would keep the session to between 20-30 mins and doa  cool down at the end. A treadmill is a good place to practice the first few times and air conditioned too with you being in Dubai! 

    Hope that helps.


  • Nat_Dubai wrote (see)

    I suffer from ITBS so have to watch my hip doesnt get too painful.


      Hi Nat,

      If it's your hip that hurts, you don't have ITBS. That is to say, ITBS, by definition, is pain on the outside of the knee - not in the front of the knee, not in the thigh, and definitely not in the hip.

      The onset of ITBS begins with a sharp, but mild, pain on the outside of the knee (at the point where the IT band joins the knee). Within a few minutes this pain can become so great that your are forced to stop running - it feels rather like a knife being pushed into you knee-cap from the side. If the ITBS is particularly serious, it is possible that it can cause a feeling of tightness in the upper part of the leg. But, and it's a big but, any secondary pain will always come after the knee pain.

      As the IT band runs down the leg from the hip area, problems anywhere along the band are often misdiagnosed as ITBS. But, like I said, if it doesn't start with the outside of your knee, then it ain't ITBS.

      I'm currently suffering from ITBS myself, and what I've said above is based on my own internet research (a research method that is, admittedly, fraught with potential contradictions and misinformation). I found this site particularly useful, although it will cost you to read the complete article (in the interest of openness I should point out that I am not promoting the site and have no connection whatsoever to the author).

      Good luck with your training!


  • Not a scientific input but I have found that in order for me to improve I just have to push harder. I wass stuck at running on the treadmill at 5.5mph for ages, in my mind 6mph was a sprint and I could only manage 1 min at a time. One day I just put it on 6mph and went with it 10min later I was shocked I was still running. Now I can run at 6.4mph and sprint at 7.4mp. try pushing yourself you might be surprised image

  • Hi. Are you controlling your calory intake as well, it's necessary to make real changes. Diet is 80% of the weight loss key.
  • I find my body gets used to the exercise and I stop losing weight (do not necesarily gain any though). If I make changes to the routine then the weight starts to drop again. (either increasing distance or pace).

  • @nat  it depends on what pace you ar going at.

    I would suggest you do two 1 hour long runs a week and then only one interval/shorter session. don't try and kill yourself on the long runs go at a speed where you could talk and then sometimes a little faster for a few mins and then take it down that a few times during one of your long runs run (intensive endurance session: Friel: for anyone else who is interested)

    whenever you run fast you run a greater risk of injury. try and aim for a running cadence of 85-90 that will make the impacts less (and is generally good advice anyway)

    shorter FASTER runs have the potential to build more muscle mass and muscles will burn more calories when you are not thats good. but i draw your attention back to the risk of injury and not running at all.

    your diet is improtant. if you are not eating properly then your body will not have what it needs to repair itself after exercise. maybe that's why you are not seeing the body shape changes you want? glass of semi skimmed milk and aa banana + lots of water after a long run is a good idea. (protein carbs hydrate)


  • You're not really doing enough.

    Sounds to me that a good week is 14 miles ? How often do you hit that ?

    That would be about 1400 calories burnt.

    If you're following weight watchers badly then you probably won't lose any weight.

    Exercise more. Watch what you eat and check the portion size. We always overestimate this.

    You've not trained very well for a half marathon. Have you even ran half of the distance you need to? You've about 2 weeks training and you'd want to get up to a long run of 10 miles or so. I'm not sure this is possible.

    Id maybe look for another half but learn my lesson and train better for it.
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