No pain no gain?

I'm training for the Edinburgh marathon and only started running a few months ago. I've had various aches and pains that I've manged to overcome with physio but now I'm finding that as my weekend training runs are getting longer it's taking me all week to recover from them. I ran 11 miles for the first time ten days ago and hurt so much afterwards I couldn't run for several days. I completed my first half marathon on Sunday but my legs still feel like they've been beaten and I'm not sure when I should try running again. I think I'm doing all the right things; stretching before and after running, eating and drinking plenty; so I'm not sure what the problem is. Am I just trying to do too much too soon?


  • JoolskaJoolska ✭✭✭

    If you only started running a few months ago, going from zero to half marathon in those few months will have been a big ask for your body.  Stretching, running on forgiving surfaces, wearing appropriate shoes, making sure the pace isn't too fast, etc., are all sensible and will help to an extent, but it takes time for muscles to develop and adjust to training and I suspect that your body needs longer to adapt.  It may be sensible to adopt a run/walk strategy to ease the strain on your muscles and joints. 

  • To run a half marathon successfully you need to be used to running that distance (and preferably more).

    You're not at this stage - your 11 miles hurt you.

    What schedule are you on - you must be at the lower end of mileage ? Are you scheduled to get up to running at least 20 miles before tapering ?

    I don't think it matters too much what you do - but if your miles are low - a hard and long run will hurt your legs. Its natures way of reminding you to train more next time. image
  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    You said it all in the first line of your post. 

    You're training for a marathon before you even checked to see if you were in fact a runner.

    Like chosing Everest or K2 as a first climb.

  • I disagree. Anyone who hasn't serious health issues could do a Marathon. Mountain climbing is a whole new kettle of fish.
  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    You don't say what speed you're running at, Marie.  If (for example) you're doing 11 miles at,  10:30 minutes a mile, then try slowing it down to 11:30 per mile.  It can make a big difference.

    Whatever speed you do, you shouldn't be feeling particularly out of breath whilst doing most of your runs - especially your longest ones.  The common test is "could I hold a pretty normal conversation whilst running at this speed?"  If you feel you couldn't - slow down.

  • Thanks. I'm trying to follow a beginner's training plan which calls for three easy runs of 3, 4 or 5 miles and one long run a week. The long run is typically increasing by about 2 miles each week and I am supposed to aim for 15 this sunday. Until recently I've been able to manage all mid week easy, low mileage runs and the long slow distance on Sunday but as the long run is increasing in distance I'm finding it hard to recover in time to carry on with my mid week training runs. I appreciate that my body might be taking a while to adapt but I'm worried about missing crucial training

  • Thanks RicF but I think I've earned the right to call myself a runner now! And Run Wales I'm running most of my miles under 9 minutes so maybe I need to slow up a little?

  • I do most of my miles at 9 - 10 minute miles and race a couple of minutes per mile faster than that.

    I'd definitely say you were running too fast by a couple of minutes.

    Less speed and more miles would help you.
  • I will give that a go, thanks. Certainly don't have trouble talking while running at the pace I am but maybe the pace is proving a little too hard on my body.

  • I'm new to running this year as well Marie. Its' great isn't it! image

    Running is great because it's so accessible, but a marathon is a big old distance. If you're really, really struggling at half distance now, and you've only got a couple of months left to train, less a couple of weeks for a taper, do yourself a favour and pull out. Do it next year instead, or resign yourself to walking lots of it.

    I did my first half this weekend and I'm still in pain too, I can't imagine going from this to a full marathon until next year at the earliest. Unless you're really young and fit already, bodies just don't adapt quickly enough to achieve this without hurting yourself.

  • What time did you do in the Half ?
  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    9 min miles does sound a bit fast if you are new to running and finding it tough.

    It's like you are running a hard race every week is you will struggle to recover. Try slowing then down to 10 to 10.30 miles and see if you feel any better.
  • Did the half marathon in 2 hours and 3 minutes. It was a very hilly route so I'm wondering if that might be part of my problem - I'm okay going up hills but find it hard running down. My legs just want to brake! My last two long runs have both been a bit hilly so I'm hoping that running a relatively flat route next might help

  • I really don't want to give up on the marathon yet. I'm fine running the long distances, just need to find a way to recover quicker! Thanks for all the advice though

  • So Marie - you did 9.22 min miles in the race- but you're training at sub 9 miles.

    You want to reverse this. So you train easy. Otherwise you're racing all of your training and its hard to recover from that. One speed session a week is OK - but not all of them.

    I train at 9 or 10 min miles but race sub 7. (at least up to half distance anyway)
  • Thanks Cougie - I'll bear that in mind.

  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    You have the answer.  2hr 3 min for the hilly half marathon. Let's say it was equivalent to 9:05 per mile if it had been flat.

    But you're running at faster than your race-pace for an 11 mile run.   No wonder you're knackered!  I really think 10:30 to 11 minutes per mile for your long runs will sort you out.  If you can re-hash your programme a bit, it might be an idea to stop short of the planned 15 miles this week.  Maybe 13 or 14 at your new training pace.

    There is a possibility that you'll find the new slower pace a bit difficult, and you might actually feel that you want to speed up.  Try to avoid speeding up (unless you have to).. at least until you're past mile 10.

    When it comes to race day, and your legs are fresh after the taper, you'll have you'll be able to go faster again... but that's another topic.

  • Run Wales, thanks for the advice. I will definitely try a slower pace and will probably cut back from 15 miles to 13 or 14 this Sunday. Fingers crossed!

  • Grendel3Grendel3 ✭✭✭

    You did say that you were running most of your miles at around 9 minute miles - I think for your longer runs you should be looking to slow the longer runs down - remember time on your feet, so perhaps you could adopt the odd walk break within the run making sure that you are drinking plenty of fluids not only on the day but in the days leading up to and after your longer runs - Good luck

  • Marie I'm doing Edinburgh as well, should be good I hope you enjoy it.

    Just to echo some of the other views, you're running way to fast on the long runs, it really is like you're doing a race every week, and that's going to hurt !

    Using me as an example I'm a sub 1.30 HM runner but I do lack the endurance to double the distance in a good time, I do my long runs at around 9 - 9.20 min miles concentrating on the time I'm on the road building a mental and physical tolerance to it.

    I think considering your situation and stage in your running career you should just concentrate on long slow miles to help your body adapt to the stresses on it. Once you have Edinburgh under your belt then pick your next race and focus on a training plan that includes all the elements such as easy, steady, speed etc etc.

    Best of luck and welcome to running.
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