Getting back in to it...

Hi all,


Just a quick one. To give a bit of context, I used to be a half decent athlete 11 years ago and remember being asked to run 1500km for county having won my local school trials on a background of no running at all. I used to play football 6 times a week to a semi-pro standard, which obviously kept me fit! I had a freind who tried to get me into running seriously, but I just wasn't motivated back then. Over the last 6 weeks however, with a major exam looming (incredible stress levels!) I have for the first time started running 'properly'. Bearing in mind I have run approximately 5 times in the last 6 years, I thought having run approx 20-25 miles for the last 5 weeks, I would give a 5km race a go. Being inherently very competitive, I pushed myself quite hard and managed a 17:50 (which I understand is a useful time!).


Currently I work as a junior Dr and have one young child, plus another on the my time is very limited. Realistically I can only manage a max of 30 miles per week. Having now caught the bug (and I never thought I'd find it so enjoyable and such a stress reliever), I would like to aim to do some more 5/10 k races and obviously improve (which I accept, will be limited by my max mileage). I just wondered, briefly, how I make the most of the runs I do have being almost a complete novice!?


Very grateful for any advice received!


  • First of all, congratulations on recognising your addiction, now we can offer support and advice to help you. 30 miles a week is not a bad place to start from, and for 5k 10k target distance that's a good range to average. Clearly you aren't really anticipating wanting to develop the big endurance capacity for HM or marathon, but I'd still think that one long run per week would offer benefits. Long in the context of your aim would be up to 10 miles, run slowly and for fun, preferably off road.

    The other stuff has the potential for being faster focussed. I'd suggest one or two speed sessions a week, target total is only about 6 miles on each slot. The remaining 6 milers are easier. Here goes.
    day 1- easy 6 miles
    day 2- interval session. 300m hard/100m v. easy (8 sets). 2 mile warm up, 2 mile warm down. As you progress, make it 12 sets and reduce the warm down to 1 mile. Each set of 4 you'll probably want a minute rest.
    day 3- easy 6 miles
    day 4- timed 10k
    day 5- 10 miles easy

    The timed 10k is the one that you'll be wanting to use to measure performance improvements. The interval session is the one where you'll be developing the speed-strength. There's lots of inventive sessions to do in that slot. Short and hard with stationary recovery, or jog recovery. Week by week reduce the recovery interval time. Try a 600m/then rest, set. 800m set. Try a pyramid set. 100m/200/400/800/400/200/100. record your times to try and get consistency across the set. Even try a 1 mile interval set. Remember though, that a local club race will count as your interval or speed set. The recovery miles are important to clear out lactic and to loosen the stiffness.

    I'm not a coach, but some of these are sets that I remember!

    Oh, and running intervals up hills are a real strength boost. 10 sets of 200m uphill repeats and you'll know about it.

  • Hi Blisters,


    Many thanks...I hadn't anticipated such a detailed response! I like the look of the intervals- my main issue is definitely strength and anaerobic threshold. I could run around a 6:20 pace all day long, when I push much harder than that though, it's then I start to struggle.


    Tried a 4 mile tempo earlier aiming for 6 min miles. Managed a 5:35, 5:56, 5:51 and then bailed halfway through the final mile as had pushed it a bit too hard and felt like it was the sensible thing to do to avoid injury! Think I may be trying to overcompensate for lack of mileage. Also, I don't really know where my training targets lie at the moment as I haven't done a 5km where I've really pushed myself. I felt comfortable with the 17:50 effort, so have gone for 17:30 as a best guess!? All very imprecise at the moment until I get a better idea of where I'm at exactly.

    Will certainly try the above though! Again, many thanks for your response.


    ps no hills around by me unfortunately, however all the runs that I do are 50% off road (mainly beach and muddy footpaths)


    pps trying to find a local club to join, if my wife allows!!!!

  • Pete, where do you live? That Havant time is cracking! I haven't broken 18:00 there and

    I live in Pompey (Southsea) and looking to increase training load too.  Will be watching your progress with interest!  Check out

    I am not a running club member yet either.

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