Just completed my 1st 10k

Ian5Ian5 ✭✭✭

Firstly some background,I am a 42 year old male with a pretty unhealthy diet,6'2,weigh 15.5st and haven't done any real exercise since leaving school 25 years ago.

A few months ago I decided it was time to get a little fitter,went the gym for the first time Feb 28th and liked running the best so thought I would attempt to see how far I could go ,so entered the Great Manchester Run for yesterday as an incentive to keep going.

Training was going pretty good until I picked up a calf injury,which stopped me running for about 3 weeks so really I have only had about 6 weeks of training and can only go 2/3 times a week due to the hours I work.

I completed it in 57:18 which I was made up with as a couple of months ago I wouldn't have dreamed of that.

So after all that waffle my question is,what is the best way for me to improve that time and what is realistic by September?

I would have thought with so little previous that I would have a lot of potential improvement yet,any advice would be appreciated.


  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    Well done Ian.  I agree that 57:xx was an excellent time in those circumstances.

    You can do lots of reading about training plans ahead of September, and I won't type them up here because you have Google.  But the biggest piece of advice I'd give you, which is probably not what you want to hear, is don't be too ambitious!  Don't be lured in too quickly.

    It seems you have some potential to be a decent club runner but if I were you, I would take a longer term view.  Raise your eyes towards May 2016 - maybe even to the Manchester 10K again and work towards that.

    What I'd say to any unfit, somewhat overweight newcomer to running (indeed to any newcomer to running), is that true running fitness builds up over a year or more.  Your body quickly adapts the heart and lungs to the new demands, but new runners often don't think about the repeated stresses that they inflict on muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones.  I guess most grasp that their muscles are flabby to start with, but not many think of their bones and tendons being similarly "poorly adapted" to these repeated stresses. But of course, they are. Your body has spent 25 years adapting to McDonald's and sitting on the sofa image

    That sounds flippant, and it might be an exaggeration, but honestly, there is lots of truth in it Our bodies are amazing at adapting to what we ask them to do. Over the first 6 months of running, your bones actually change shape a little.  and all the biomechanical parts of your body adapt to these new stresses. Indeed this adaption  continues over the following years. And until those adaptions have been made, you're at risk of injury.  The heart and lungs do adapt quite quickly, which further increases the risk of injury because you think you should be able to run faster than your legs can cope with and microdamage accumulates until injury occurs.

    Look.  It's me that's waffling now!   Bottom line is... you've been training 9 weeks and been injured for 3 of them.  If you think of targetting big improvements by September, then you run a risk.  I think your general approach should be to slowly build up your miles. Take some "rest weeks", where you notably cut back your miles perhaps once a month (this gives your body time to make its adaptions). Feel free to start to introduce a little bit of 'speed' work... but only a little (and probably not for another couple of months), and don't think of running fast yet - even in interval training. Continue to lose some weight and live a little bit more healthily. No need to be a saint though!

    Improvements will come naturally - how fast would depend a lot on your genetics.  It is fun to continue to enter races but I think you should just see where you are in September/October, with respect to improved times - rather than set a target.  But you WILL have better muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, heart, lungs, circulation, capilliaries to your muscle fibres.   Once you have these building blocks in place, you will have created a firm foundation on which to build.  That's the time to really start to gradually introduce a bit more speed work... then next spring, you can attack 10K training plans with confidence and expect to begin to exploit your hard work and natural ability.

    I hope you listen.  Not many do.  Especially head-strong men!!

  • Ian5Ian5 ✭✭✭
    Some really good advice there and I will certainly take it on board.

    I think that's what happened with my calf,I got carried away and went too fast and far too soon ,hence the injury.

    I'm entering a few races,not to be particularly fast but I am the type of person who needs a target and if I just run then I will probably stop so this will help me keep going,I actually was surprised how much I enjoyed it though so that has really encouraged me.

    My big target at the minute will indeed be the Manchester run again next year as a few of my fellow couch potato friends have agreed to do it with me so I want to hammer them image

    Thanks for the advice and good luck
  • Ian5Ian5 ✭✭✭

    Just thought I'd pop along again.

    I have been on here on and off taking advice from all the different threads and trying to adapt them where I can.

    I managed to get myself injured again for a couple of weeks,so came back slower this time and built my miles up slowly as per Nose Nowts advice and have been injury free (touch wood) for about 3 months now and the difference is great.

    I ran my planned September race today and all the hard work paid off and I completed it in 51.04,over 6 mins quicker than May image

    Only disappointment is I wasn't completely drained at the end so think there is a better time still inside me.

    I think the best thing I did was target hill runs quite a bit as then I found the fairly flat course quite easy in comparison.

    Quick question for others..In my training run the best I generally do is around 53-54,yet today I hammered that and it was an official measured course,is it usual to be a lot faster in actual races rather than training?

    Lastly I hope other beginners see that slowly is better as that set me back about a month overall and that you can get decent times if you put your mind to it.

    Next targets are sub 50 10k,then looking at stepping up to Half Marathon towards the middle of next year.

  • Congratulations, good running image

    yes, it is usual to go quicker in a race, no point getting a PB in training. 

    Hills sound good image


  • Well done Ian, fantastic improvement, nice to see you've been getting into running and that you're taking it slow and steady. image

    And I think there's something about races that get you going, as my training times are always slower than racing times, by up to 30 seconds per mile sometimes.

    Have a good day. image
  • Ian5Ian5 ✭✭✭

    Cheers guys,legs are feeling it a little today but nothing too bad,back out again next couple of days.

    Looked at my splits today and I did the 1st 5k in 25.59,then the 2nd in 25.05 so am thinking if went faster earlier then I could have had a better time,but maybe it was the adrenaline at the end that carried me faster.

    Next 10k lined up for November now,but not necessarily expecting a better time as it all depends on the weather at that time of year.

    Still only 6 months into my running career but really enjoying it and all the threads you guys start and contribute to have helped a lot so keep it up

  • If anything your race/training differential is quite small. Do most of your training at a pace where you could/can hold a conversation. In the race you should be breathing very hard, just on the edge of blowing up.

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