I wouldn't describe myself as a runner, and I am not a huge cardio fan, but I know it is necessary and for me running beats pedaling or getting wet. I have actually enjoyed it a bit more than I thought, and I could be tempted to put a bit more focus on it, although it is unlikely to replace climbing as my main sport. The main thing I am struggling with though is pace, and by that I probably mean 1 mile pace more than I do 5k, 10k etc. I have read a fair amount on improving pace through distance and better CV fitness, but the focus all seems to be on what I would view as long distances (5k+). Understandably the focus is also on people prioritising running, and less so on those who already have other primary fitness goals. This may be the wrong place, but I figured why not ask?
I climb 3-5 times a week, with a focus on bouldering. I also dabble in calisthenics. I am a little heavier than my ideal weight, and much heavier set than any runner I know except maybe sprinters. I am not opposed to shifting some weight, but I am not likely to look like a runner and I intend to keep most of my muscle mass. My background was in athletics, but it has been more than a decade since I last competed, and even then I was a sprinter. My mile time was around 5 minutes, but I never really did distances longer than that....or rather I never thought of them as something one might time. That was more than ten years ago and I was 2 1/2 stone lighter so I am not really aiming to replicate that.That said, I would like to get a mile under 6 minutes again and I like the idea of a sub 22 5k. This may not be realistic, but my reasoning is that I find running fast more fun, and I would be more likely to put effort in if I could get there.
I have been running for a couple of months now and I had thought about the c25k programme due to a history of injuries and no real background in distance, but I just ran a bit further one day to test it and hit 5k without too much effort. Before that I was mostly doing 1-1.5 mile blasts near my house. I now do at least one run over 5k each week (sometimes more sometimes longer), and I will often do a mile or so on other days.
The weird thing is that I am finding adding distance much easier than pace. I feel like I could keep going at around 9min/mile forever, but much under 8 minutes and I really struggle. I set off with a just over 8min/mile and whilst I couldn't push much harder, I was fine adding a 28 min 5k on the end of it which was almost like recovery.
I have had some breathing concerns this year, and whilst an inhaler helps, it does feel like it is breathing when things get hard that stops me. I initially put it down to asthma, or possibly long covid, but I am beginning to think I just had a much better base when I was younger and I carried less weight.
Anyway, long and meandering, but I was wondering if there are any think for running quicker and breathing easier that are not too involved. I would like to reach my goals, but I am in no hurry, although a bit of progress in the key areas might spur me on.