Non-Responder ?


I am 44 and have been running for 5 years.

I have done a few half marathons ( best time was 2 hrs 15 mins ) and more 10 k races ( best time was 1 hr 08 mins ) .

I am not a natural athlete but I do try hard ie run twice a week ( one long run on a weekend with my running club and a shorter run / speed-work during the week ) and go to the gym during the week also.

My endurance improves depending on the race distance that I am training for, but I am definitely no faster or better ( it always feels just as hard as the last time ) a runner than when I did my first 10 k 5 years ago.    I find this to be very frustrating and confusing given the effort that I put into healthy eating and the aforementioned exercise / training.

Is it true that some people really are’ non-responders’ ( as per a recent Horizon type documentary on TV recently ) regarding performance in sport ?

Yours, in anticipation .....



  • In my opinion you are less likely to improve on 2 runs a week and more likely to remain where you are, I would ideally add at least another one if not two runs per week and be a little more specific withyour sessions
    Have a quick look at a handful of half mara plans and 10k plans and you will soon see how they pan out
    No need to give up the gym sessions .... use them to compliment the runs

  • Thanks for your advice.  I will certainly look at the various race plans for an idea of how I can  change things....I am glad that there is hope......thanks again

  • I didnt really answer your question

    I remember seeing the docu vaguely and I would suggest you give yourself a better chance of disproving which ever theory image

  • To make signigicant gain in any particular sport or activity - you ideally want to be doing it every 3 days.  Studies show that over 3 days the activity of enzymes (in the muscle) in response to the stimulus from the training diminishes massively.


    (keyboard acting up so I will need to keep this short).


    So, if you want to get good at anything, to build significantly on any session - you need to repeat the action within 3 days.


    Obviously it is a lot more complicated than this.. but in simple terms you can see how twice a week will not develop our running fitness adequately once you get beyond beginner level but instead you will just stay at the same level.

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Rachel, 5 years ago when you started, did you see a bit of improvement for a year or 2?

    You probably then maximised the improvement you could make from such low mileage.

    Like Meldy says, add more mileage and you'll improve!

    When you say one "Long run" and one "shorter run", what distances are we talking? Clearly the terms are relative.

  • What they all say.

    The responder or non responder in that tv program was with reference to metabolic profile, ie insulin sensitivity improved in some, but not others in response to the interval type training. It wasn't to do with actually improving at exercise. So I wouldn't worry about that, I am quite sure you can improve given the advice above.
  • You definitely need to train more. Two times a week is more keeping things ticking over than trying to improve.
  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    My wife tried distance running when I first met her.

    Stuck a HR monitor on and ran a distance to start with. Time and effort recorded.

    She trained several times per week for 12 weeks and ran the distance again.

    Result, just the same. Same effort (180bpm) same time. Non responder I think.

    Or maybe she was just one of those sprinter types. 


  • Lazy moo yes. Non responder no.

    I'm a crap swimmer. I must have swam 8 times last year - and I'm still slow. Anyone any ideas ? Anyone ?
  • You've been doing the same thing for five years and now you wonder why you're not improving. What did Einstein say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results ? I would recommend the Julian Goater book, 'the Art of Running Faster.' I think this can help all levels of ability. It certainly helped me speed up a bit.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    If you've always do what you've always done then you'll always get what you always got.

    I think that quote puts it quite well.
  • Goodness me - a heated debate - I didnt expect that.

    I get the science bit ie that my current ( and steady amount ) of running over these last few years has not shown me improvement due to the lack of it simply.  Stevie G - I did improve during the first year most likely since I went from nothing to something and was extremelly motivated in that time, but no noticeable change since then.  The long run that I mention at weekends is usually between 6 - 10 miles and the shorter week evening run up to 6 miles.  I am kind of glad that I have done the routine that I have done over these years -  if nothing else to have kept my current level of fitness going rather than having lost it all together.  I am a positive thinker, and now have ideas of what to do to see improvement, so thanks for the various advice.

    ps - I am certainly no lazy moo !!!  

  • I was only teasing.
  • More training stimulus (run more), and different types of stimulus (varied sessions). That is my knowledge of running exhausted. The Julian Goater book will get you thinking, without being too sciency / prescriptive.
  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Edit...damm, Millsy wrote the exact quote I was just about to write...arse.


    so to some more running!! And probably you might need to slow it all down at least at first.

    Which sounds ironic, but trust us, we've been around...

  • Try 5 or 6 times a week and see if makes a difference.

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Sorry, I missed the two runs per week bit.

    As the others have said. You need to run more often.

  • good luck rachel.hopefully with a couple more runs built in you will get the rewards of a new PB image


  • Thanks all ! 


  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Reminds me of the time I used to do some light weights a couple of times a week for a few minutes, and wonder why it was having no effect image

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