how should I build up?

I am 61 and have been jogging on and off over the years – for eg 2 mile 3 time a week . I have been running 20 mins on Mon and wed. How should I progress?

I built up to running non stop for 20min feeling OK 11min mile pace

Then I tried adding a couple of extra runs but became too tired after only 2 weeks, unable to keep up a run for more than 5 mins and felt miserable. .

What happened?


  • What do you want to progress to? Running further, faster or both? 

    My feeling is - you're 61, unless you've been used to running further than 2 miles 3 times a week in the past (and you say you haven't) then you need to allow more time to recover.

    At this stage you should be aiming to run further during your existing runs rather than adding more runs.  You might have been running for a while but if you've never gone further than 3 miles then in many ways you are still a beginner

    Your first task should be building up to running continuously for 30 minutes non-stop. After that you can choose where to go, there are plenty of training plans on here, but you need to decide what your ultimate goal is.  

  • The general rule is not to increase your mileage by more than 10% for a few weeks. If its distance you're trying to increase try run/walk which will give you the confidence to go longer but without to much initial cardio and muscular strain whilst still reaping the benefits of  exercise.

  • Hi

    thanks for the replies, I would like to train for a 5k race and would like to know how to progress from where I am. Yes there are many training plans for eg

    But do I start from week one? Even tho' I can already run 20 mins? How can I progress from where I am?

  • Presuming you are now rested and can run your 20 minutes twice a week, add an extra 5 minutes to this each time. Two ways of being able to keep going for 25 minutes, run slower the whole way, or, take recovery breaks, so run for 12 minutes, take a one minute break walking, then run for another 12 minutes.

    When you are happy with this add a third run, but perhaps err on the side of caution, so perhaps make this a slow 15 minute jog to start with, and if you feel tired on it take recovery breaks of walking. As an alternative make the third session a swim once a week, very good as a balance to start with as non weight bearing. Once you are happy with the 3 times a week run schedule you can up the two runs to 30 minutes, up the third one to 20 minutes etc etc. You probably want to build to about 40-45 minutes running before your first 5K.

    Then just increase each run slowly. I wouldn't do more than 3 runs a week before your first 5K, I trained for a 10K recently on 3 runs a week and plenty of runners improve on this. Once you've been running say for 6 months or even more you can add more a week if you want to, but the body needs time to adjust and to recover so proceed with caution.


  • Theres no harm in starting from week one - it might actually be beneficial.

  • Tangfastic: that sounds like a plan

    Screamapillar: I dont really want to start from week one - run 2 , walk, 4 etc. It took a while and some effort to run 20 min non stop over the past couple of months and I was feeling pretty good. When I look around me the men a lot younger than me have pot bellies and can't run 30 seconds without gasping for breath. So I don't consider myself a beginner as such. But thanks for your repliesimage

  • You're right, you're doing more exercise than a lot of people a quarter your age and it's great.

    It doesn't mean you're not a beginner though. With respect, if you're stuck at 20 minutes at easy pace then you are still very much a beginner - and one whose progress has, by your own admission, currently stalled. You don't have to go back to the start of the schedule, it's up to you, but, as I say, it may be beneficial.

    FWIW I considered myself a beginner until I ran a marathon, which was  four years after I started running.

  • Screamapillar: You seem to be using the word 'beginner' in a derogatory manner. There is nothing wrong with being a beginner. Whatever we do we start from the beginning.

    I do not think many people would agree with your definition. I am not a beginner by any definition of the word

    I feel that your posts are attempting to illicit an emotional responce by putting me down. By referring to me as a 'beginner' you are not insulting me, you are just being inaccurate and unhelpful.

  • You have to do what suits you. Even as a beginner I didn't follow a schedule such as the one you've posted, that would have been very tedious for me and not my style. Some people like to have this sort of structure though.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Vin, if 20 mins is as much as you can run and you ate looking to move up to a 5k then I think the word beginner is not derogatory it just best explains what plans will probably suit you.
  • As I said 'beginner' is not derogatory. We were all beginners but I am not a beginner, I have been jogging for 40 years. I would be taking a step back if I took a 3 minute walk every time I ran for a minute. The fact that I run 20 mins is irrelevent, see Roger Bannister

  • duplicates post

  • I'm not using the word "beginner" in a derogatory manner. I'm using it factually. 

    However, if you truthfully can only run for 20 minutes having been doing it for 40 years then I'm sorry but that makes you an exceptional rarity in terms of lack of improvement and I'm not sure that any advice you get is going to be much help. 

    I'm really not sure what point you're making about Roger Bannister. He was a sub 4 minute miler. There is no comparison.

    I'm not trying to be deliberately rude here but you do seem to be in need of a bit of a reality check.

    BTW if you don't consider yourself a beginner, why did you post on the "Beginners" section of the Forum?


  • Screamapillar


    why are you posting on this thread? What is your motive? 

    I will stick to wikipedia and the Oxford Dictionary for my definitions of 'beginner'.

    By the way running 2 miles, 3 times a week has excellent heath bebefits. Along with walking, the gym.  etc. You are in a minority there too.

      You say  "that makes you an exceptional rarity in terms of lack of improvement and I'm not sure that any advice you get is going to be much help.".

    I have not 'failed' to improve over 30 years as you suggest (which is another provocative remark)

    It has up till now been a choice to run 20m 3 times a week but now I would like to build up

    You do not know me so your judgement is has come from your own inventions. 

    I came on here for support not to argue crap


  • If you have been running for all those years (even short distances) plus walking, plus the gym, your existing fitness level should mean you should be having no difficulty whatsoever in extending your runs by another 10 minutes. That you are having difficulty, and feel you have to ask why, suggests you still have a lot to learn. This defines you as a beginner as does where you are in terms of your running. Sorry if you don't like that definition.

    I posted trying to be helpful but you have ignored the advice and got hung up on my use of the word "beginner" instead. You still haven't answered my question as to why you posted in the "Beginners" section of the Forum in the first place.

    Ultimately though, take it or leave it, it's entirely up to you. I really don't care one way or the other.

    PS: nobody calls it "jogging".

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Vin, you seem to not like the word "beginner". Yet have posted in the beginners forum! Maybe that's why it keeps coming up!

  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    Vin: I you've run 2 k 3 times a week, them start running 2.5k maybe with the middle run still 2k image

    then if you do they for a couple of weeks then maybe 3 / 2.5 / 3 ... image build up until you are comfortable running 5k then look online at the 5k to 10k training plans and you can start following one of them, but customise it, if you feel that is necessary?


    possibbly crap advice, but you asked for advice. If you don't like it then please don't moan at me for giving it.

  • ifIf you search the site for 'jogging' it is mentioned 11000 times. 

  • Book trunk, hello and many thanks for your suggestion. Very refreshing! I was beginning to think... Well never mind. 

  • I would extend one of your runs per week very gradually. Call this run your long run ans always aim to run it slower than the other two runs. Build it up to 30 to 40 mins. It will be useful to eventually run over 3 miles to help with 5k / parkruns (find out about parkruns if you haven't heard about them.

    Let this all bed in before doing more. Then you can start to think about extending another run, or adding in a further run per week. An extra run didn't suit you last time, but you will be getting benefits from your long run. It might be a different outcome next time.




    Screamapillar wrote (see
    FWIW I considered myself a beginner until I ran a marathon, which was  four years after I started running.


    Ouch - that was aimed straight at Mo Farah and Stevie Gimage



  • vin maratty wrote (see)

    ifIf you search the site for 'jogging' it is mentioned 11000 times. 

    Yeah, that's because it's a speed of running. If you look up "sprinting", which is also a speed of running you'll probably find just as many instances - but this isn't a website frequented by hundred metre runners.

    But hey, you're not a beginner are you? So you already know that.

    Anyway, bored now. Good luck with your progress.


  • Go away, I am not interested in your 'contribution' screamer

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    image Also - ran, seems to be the mentality of this country doesn't it...people being more impressed by dribbling out a marathon than doing shorter stuff quick image

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