Really struggling

I used to be a fairly decent runner without a huge amount of effort as I was fairly fit and boxed. Ran 5k in 21/ 22 mins and 10k in 45 / 47 mins. <div>Fast forward 5 years and I’ve put on 15 kilos and just started training again. </div><div>First month has been hard but feeling like I’m starting to improve and getting fitter but keep on getting niggles / injuries. For example my calf has a real knot in it and it hurts to the touch. So once again I’m having to take a few days off. </div><div>Mentally it’s been a struggle getting around the fact I’m so much slower than previously and as a consequence I’ve been pushing hard on the runs to try and improve. It’s also a pain that I’m having to take time off. </div><div>Is it the pushing hard which is causing all the issues? I’ve been putting it down to getting old (40) and not being fit. </div><div>Starting to reevaluate my tactics. Any advice or suggestions would be good. Thanks </div><div>


    Yes, pushing yourself too hard will lead to injury.  It takes a while to build aerobic fitness so look on it as a long term project.   To build aerobic fitness you need to run at a pace that feels easy and you're able to talk comfortably, this will give you the ability to run further.   Then once a week you can do a faster run, once you are injury free that is, and after an easy warm up mile.  Soon your easy pace will increase and you'll start to see noticeable improvements.

    15 kg is quite a weight gain, I'm assuming it's not all muscle ;)   So if you want to drop a bit of weight then eat healthily and watch the portion sizes, will help your running too.
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Hi adogslife, agree totally with Shades, might be worth going back a step and starting with C25K. You are less likely to be injured and it will start to build up your base fitness.

    Losing weight will make a difference, but that will happen if you keep going.

    Good luck!
  • Thanks guys. Unfortunately slow and steady will have to be the way forward I think. <div>Very frustrating although not as frustrating as carrying injuries. 
  • Hi adogslife, very much in a similar place in terms of trying to get back a fitness I once had when I was younger, boxing regularly, and around 13kg lighter than I am now.

    The one thing I'd say is I had to get the love back for wanting to run/exercise daily. I was at a good fitness at the end of summer last year and as soon as the winter weather and dark days came in, I just stop enjoying it. Now much heavier with Christmas boxes of celebrations and Easter eggs all eaten, I'm sick of the belly and have started running again just to get outside once a day in lock down! 

    I started with a footpath route that got boring very quickly but that's lead me to find some local trails that go through woods along a stream and I love it! Don't care about my pace much, that's maybe the key to staying injury free, just happy to be out the house, not around cars and other people, it's ideal. It's full of up n down hills and uneven ground and it's building a good base strength in my legs and feet. Depending on the nature of your injuries? Start by just walking/hiking some routes, it's opened my eyes to a different world

    Lastly, tracking is helping, even though it seemed like a right pain at first. I'm tracking all food with myfitnesspal and am currently using mapmyrun but going to have a play with a few apps.
  • Thanks thecleanerleon. I think there is definitely something to be said for running offroad and building up that lower leg strength which is lacking in me I suspect.
    When this niggle goes I will just go slow and steady and try not to worry too much about pace at all. Will just run with what feels comfortable.
    whilst this niggle is ongoing I am going to cycle instead. Try and tick over that way.
  • > @thecleanerleon said:
    > Lastly, tracking is helping, even though it seemed like a right pain at first. I'm tracking all food with myfitnesspal and am currently using mapmyrun but going to have a play with a few apps.
    caviar at

    The thing is that every quality food is not so easy to find out. That is the reason why I order only checked ones. And from the reliable shops. And there is no problem further.
  • somberlainsomberlain ✭✭
    I’m in the same boat, I was never super fast but was getting a respectable 26 minute 5k about 4 - 5 years ago. Stopped running, piled weight on and broke into my 40s (42. now). I’ve managed to get a couple of 5ks done (35 minutes) and dropped about half a stone since I restarted. I’m finding it a lot harder this time round. But I’ll persevere, I don’t care so much about times now, it would just be nice to get healthier than I am/was.
  • Patience. You may not be where you once were but that doesn’t mean you won’t be. The first stage is to accept where you are and create a plan to gradually improve. Have one main goal, but set smaller progressive goals along the way to help you see progress and avoid becoming demoralised. <div>
    </div><div>Structure your training plan to include easy days and hard days, finding the right balance between the two. More running = improvement, but you need to be sensible and specific to you and your strengths / weaknesses. Focus primarily on the longer aerobic side to begin with as you build a base, then gradually introduce some more race-specific training where you do reps @ race pace etc. But most importantly make sure you remember it takes time. There is not short fix and getting frustrated and pushing too hard will only work against you. Take your easy days easy, remember they have a beneficial purpose just as much as your hard days do. </div><div>
    </div><div>If you need anymore help you can contact us at</div>
  • adogslifeadogslife ✭✭
    Thanks for all the comments. Have eased up and building up my running.
    warming up and warming down is making a difference plus foam rolling after.
    im sure I will get where I want to be. 
  • <div>I'm also very new to all this just started out walking to loose weight and slowly built my walks up from 3 mile to now about 6 1/2 mile in an hour and half, started jogging alternate days with walking now and can jog about an hour covering 5 mile with my pace at the start 14/15 min/mile down to mid 12 min/mile, kept a track of my exercise with a Polar m430 but a little worried now as I'm creeping into HR zone 5 a lot, I know wrist based HR is not too accurate but I'm struggling to slow my pace down it just feels so unnatural when jogging but I've lost 3 1/2 stone so I think I'll just keep at it for now and make the most of gradual improvements and at 55 I thought I had to do something about exercise before it's too late hi hi.</div><div>Paul.
  • GuarddogGuarddog ✭✭✭
    Hi northernsoul_man and well done, 3.5 stone loss is a great achievement. Are you doing Heart Rate Zone training or just aware that you're edging into that upper zone? If the idea is to keep to a certain zone then unfortunately it is a case of dropping the pace to accommodate that, however strange that is. When I did it a few years back it was embarrassing having people walk past faster than I was running, but it only lasts a short time as your body adjusts. Before long I could run far quicker and still stay in that zone. However if you're feeling comfortable being able to maintain your pace at the higher rate then I wouldn't worry too much about it. As you say wrist based HR monitors are not the most accurate.

    As for the gradual improvements I think you're doing yourself a disservice. You've already taken 2 mins off of your mile pace and are able to jog for 5 miles. That is a great improvement. Hopefully it won't be too long before you can start doing Parkrun.
  • <div>Hi Guarddog, many thanks,</div><div>Yes I am a little worried but it looks like the wrist based monitor is reading too high as I think I would not be able to sustain zone 5 for the periods I'm actually reading in that zone, it tends to hover from high 80's to low 90% but I feel OK with the effort no pains or aching muscles after an hour of jogging but I take my hat off to you lot bloody 5 and 10k times amaze me.</div><div>I think as I progress steadily, I will get a Polar H 10 to pair with my M430 and just rely on average pace over the whole hour for now, I know these trackers are not accurate at this price point but I can use the numbers over long term exercise to see if I'm heading in the right direction.</div><div>Thanks again for your advice really appreciate it.</div><div>
  • GuarddogGuarddog ✭✭✭
    If you have no pains or aching muscles then it sounds as if you're coping admirably, Paul. And you're putting the building blocks together with regards to the endurance, building up time on feet and the distance. Once you've got that in place you can start to think about the speed part. But that's the great thing about starting to run and getting into it, the capacity for improvement is vast. You'll find you're taking big chunks off of your times.

    And I suspect it won't be too long before you're running those 'amazing' 5 and 10k times. 
  • Thanks again Guarddog,
    Yes I think I can monitor my average pace times I have about 5 or 6 circuits I do from home with a mix of downhill and uphill routes so a good mix I think. I'll stick to the Jogg/walk alternate days for now I think and just try to see if I can increase pace little by little, its easier on some circuits than others, I've picked one route which is about 4.7 miles to concentrate on as there is a good mix of downhill and steady uphills with a good downhill towards the finish, so here, I can pick up the pace a little and not too long as to stress me out.
    But I must say there is an incredible difference between fast walking and steady jogging, I couldn't believe the difference in intensity that even a slow jogg over a walk entails my HR is a steady 66% or so with the walking and then rockets to the High 80%'s, I think doing these different days should get my body used to both aerobic and anaerobic sessions so hopefully in the long run I will benefit as the recovery status on the Polar Flow app clearly shows - I know its only relevant to the previous day but if I can stick with the numbers from my Polar M430 at least its consistant.
    Thanks AAgain Guarddog, Kind Regards.
  • Sorry When I mentioned the high 80%'s thats whilst steady jogging.
    Paul. Can't find a way to edit my last ;post.
  • pax11pax11 ✭✭
    When you say "high 80%", what is your 100% and why do you think it is? I suspect you're using the defaults from the watch and they're just guesses.
  • Hi Pax11,
    I have only just started jogging and I use a wrist based HR monitor and my average HR is around 88% but yes I'm just using the default settings on the watch which produce my zones and think my max is set to default but I think the readings are on the high side and not to take too much notice of them at present as I'm spending for my last Jog, about 14 mins in zone 5 which I know is probably not doable and not sustainable with my current fitness level, but I dont feel as though I am really working that hard, yes I know that I've been Jogging for an hour but I feel ok with no aches and pains to speak of.
  • Sorry, my max is worked out I think using the formula 220 - 55 (My age) =165.
  • pax11pax11 ✭✭
    ok, that's otherwise known as a complete guess :) I'm a similar age to you and have a max over 180
  • <div>Hi Pax thanks,</div><div>Wow just goes to show how innacurate the wrist based HR monitors are, I've read conflicting reports that some are as good as 5%+ - to over 35% + - a chest based monitor, I think that I can concentrate on average pace from now on and just keep monitoring my exercise stats to see if I'm benefiting from my walk/jog routine and see where I'm at in a couple of months but really enjoying the exercise at the moment and the weight loss is a bonus.</div><div>Thanks Pax, regards</div><div>Paul
  • pax11pax11 ✭✭
    It's not an inaccuracy of any heart rate monitor. It's just that there are rules of thumb about the max heart rate for the average X year old, that only really work for whole populations of people who are X years old
    They are just not accurate for individuals except by chance. It's like saying the average 30 year old man is 5 foot 10 tall. It might might work for the population of the UK but it doesn't mean it's any use in prediction the height of the next 30 year old who walks through the door.

    The only way to truly know your max heart rate is to reach it, and that's not typically recommended until you're really ready to do it.

    In my own case, I've gone from very unfit to very fit several times in my life, and I also can state that in at least my case, my max heart rate changes a lot too. When very unfit I can reach high 190s and now that I'm reaching close to a plateau I can barely reach 180. Some people will say that isn't the case, but it definitely is for me.
  • <div>OK Pax,</div><div>Thank you, I think I'll leave the max test untill I'm a little fitter to undertake it and just carry on doing what I'm doing, the weight loss is working for me but I think I'm heading towards a plateau now regarding it, so I will keep a check on my av pace times and probably review my plan in a month or two whilst trying to get the base exercise right.</div><div>Thanks again for your advice Pax,</div><div>Regards
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