Getting Ahead of Plan

I've been running for about 6 months now and haven't been terribly focussed about it until I was persuaded by a friend into signing up for the Cambridge Half Marathon in March 2014. After reading a bit online I put together a training plan for three days a week based on two shorter runs and a long, slowish one at the weekend. I've been very careful about trying to avoid injury by warming up, not trying to go as fast as possible and slowly increasing the mileage.

More recently, I've been finding that on the long slowish runs I feel like I've got more in the tank. This week I did two 5k runs in the week per the plan and today was supposed to do 8k, but ended up carrying on a bit further and did 10k. Roughly how much further is it OK to do before I start to risk overuse injury?

For background info, I ran something like 25k per week at school until I discovered beer, girls and fags at Uni all of which I then undiscovered when I got married and had kids five years ago. I'm now 38 and weigh 75kg.

Thanks in advance for any help or tips you can give.



  • Seems like you have a sensible plan to build up slowly. Why not just repeat the week you have done and see how that goes. Increasing the distance by 2k on the long run is the safe way to go about things. No need to put any speed in yet and if you need to take some time out for illness/life, just restart with slightly shorter runs for a week and build up slowly again.

    Good luck you should be fine for a HM in March.

  • Thanks Steady!

    One of the first lessons I learned after starting again is that I'm no longer 17 and  I can't just pound my way round a five mile course with no regard for my knees. On the advice of a friend I'm concentrating on running smoothly before I try to run fast and have so far avoided any serious injury (aside from the week of badly aching knees when the lesson above was learned.) I've got a recovery week coming up, but next week I'll repeat this week and see how I feel.

  • Good to hear that running goes well! I would stick to the plan and schedule you have. If it says 8K, do 8K.

    Heart and lungs will bring you further than the scheduled 8K but your tendons/sinews/bones won't be happy with a run that is actually too long at this moment. Just 6 months of running history is not very long. Your HM is in March. Do you have a schedule prepared for the next months? I would not even advise a HM in the first year of running, but since you alsready set your goal, I would advise to be careful and use a good schedule with the run as last goal. You have approx 12 weeks for the HM so it is all hands on deck for the 13 miles but slowly...There are websites which can calculate a good solid schedule for the remaining weeks.

    Good luck and happy running!

  • You've hit exactly upon my worry RunningMax!

    I'm so pleased with how my cardiovascular fitness has improved but I don't want to ruin that improvement by knackering something else. Since I made up my mind to go for a jog and nearly killed myself doing a slow 2k back in late April this year, everything has improved: my stamina, my running form and my sense of pace. I also recognise that I've got a lot to learn and my body has a lot of adapting to do. I'm aware of the lag that tendon and ligament strength has and am wary of overdoing for just this reason.

    I have got a plan leading up to March 2014, which I adapted from several I found on websites which get mentioned on this forum a lot (I've been lurking for a month of two.) Tailoring was required because my working life is fairly unpredictable and I do a lot of travelling.

    One question; why do you not recommend an HM in the first year of running? Just too much, too soon or something else?

    Thanks for your help, it is much appreciated.

  • Hiya again. I personally think that it is too soon. Especially since you are not even running a year when the HM will take place. Ofcourse it is do-able. There are a lot of stories from people training for a marathon straight away or a half marathon and with success as well. But I think a strong basis (here I go again) is essential for a long and healthy running life. You are in no hurry. There is plenty of time. The route is in most cases something like the 0-30 minutes forst (in 10-12 weeks), after that a steady training for 60 minutes of running. After the first 60 minute fundament there is room for other training such as interval, slow runs and tempo runs. You can start building up some speed and make some variations in training. After the 10K is is pretty easy to make the step towards 15 km and even 21 km. The first 10K is in most cases the most important step in training. Plan a test 10K run and make schedules from those results. After a while it will even become possible to train with a heart rate monitor and train in different zones as well. No use for a beginner, since there won't be much variation in heart rate.

    Another mistake is often a time goal for the first M or HM. Instead focus on the distance, don't look at the time or speed and enjoy the run. Don't start too fast, and finish with a smile, wanting to do another one again instead of ending up with a running dip.

    But again: you set a goal, and that is ofcourse fine, as long as you are aware of the pitfalls. Stick with the schedule and I hope it is not a schedule based on a time goal for the HM! That won't be sensible. Try to get the first 10K solid, plan a testrun and see if you have to adjust things in the schedule.

    Happy running!


  • Thanks for your comments RunningMax, it's really useful stuff. I really like your advice for the race day and will do my best to follow it in March '14.

    The plan I have is based primarily on completing the HM in one piece. I will admit to having a target time in mind (under 2 hrs) but the plan I have is not based on hitting that time. I'm more concerned about avoiding injury that I am about setting alight the world of distance running (I think I've left it a bit late for that!)

  • No problem, that is good and keeps you focused! But make sure you are willing to adjust according to your results and how your body feels after training! Try some 10K or 5Ks in the meantime and.. keep us posted!


    Happy running

  • OK RunningMax, so after a rest week in which I only did a couple of shorter runs at a slowish pace, I've had an 18k week and done my first "proper" 10k training run (i.e. one where I was actually supposed to run 10k rather than 8k) and managed 49m 31s which I'm very pleased with.

    On the longer runs, I seem to find the first couple of k quite hard going and so start off a bit more slowly, but then after I've settled into the run I can up the pace slightly and keep rolling along quite nicely. Provided I don't try to push it harder than that sweet spot I can keep going without too much trouble. For the last kilometre or so I do try to push to the end.

    Now to take the wee monsters outside and walk off the exercise before heading off to a mate's for a roast dinner and a glass or two of wine (for medicinal purposes only, you understand.)


Sign In or Register to comment.