Need advice

Hello all,

I'm back after several months absence which was due to getting so very disheartened by it all. After about 6 months of training, I found I still could not get past the first weeks of the beginner schedule. My problems were the following:
1. As soon as the walking breaks decreased to less than 2 minutes, I started to crap out.
2. Even keeping to 2-min breaks, I could only run for more than 5 minutes (managed 10-15 minutes sometimes) during the first repeat. After that, I had to drop down to 4, 3 or even 2 minutes.
3. Experimenting on a treadmill, I notice that my heart rate goes up to about 150 or more when I run. In a 2-minute walking break I can get it down to about 135 during the first break or two, but after that it just stays high. According to what a personal trainer told me, it's supposed to come down to 120 in a rest period. I haven't dared get a heart rate monitor to use during runs outside!
4. Running continues to feel so bloody difficult!!!

I really don't know how to get beyond this. I accept that it takes time to get fit, but seeing nothing much happening for so long is soul-destroying. I would really welcome advice on anything that might help. Also, if anyone knows where I could find people like me to run with in Nottingham, I think having some moral support during some runs might help. My nearest club is Redhill Road Runners, but they told me I need to able to run a couple of miles non-stop before I can run with them, which I don't think I will ever reach. I'm a 51-year-old female, but age and sex is less important that finding people who find running as difficult as I do.


  • Hi,
    First of all you haven't failed, you have just had a setback.
    You may be running too fast. It is very common for beginners to do this. Try and run as slow as you think is possible and then slow down some more. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much longer you can run for.
    It will get easier with time, trust me!
  • You have'nt failed at all. I think you may have just overtrained a bit and got a bit bored. Just a little setback.
    I must say i think that running club you named attitude sucks. Wonder how many of them could run a 90 minute half marathon when they first started?
    Those 6 months you did are in the bank now, you are ready to go again.

    Good luck and give it time.

  • some thoughts that might help

    take the beginners schedule one week at a time. follow the week you are doing to the best of your ability. if at the end of the week you couldn't do all of it exactly as it said and feeling pretty comfortable then repeat that week until you can. only move up a week when you are totally happy with the week you are doing.

    i think there's a clue to one of your problems in what you've said. sometimes you can run for 15 mins then can only manage a couple of minutes on the later reps. you aren't supposed to run as far as you can on the first rep. if you do then its no surprise at all that you can't do the later ones. if it says run 5 mins then take 2 mins rest do that and no more.

    don't worry about the heart rate - 150 is perfectly normal for running. if i'm running fairly easy mine sits around 160 - its been known to go over 200 if i'm running hard. how long it takes to come back down when you are walking is a measure of your level of fitness - it'll improve so don't worry about it now.

    and elephant feet is spot on. run slower. then even slower than that.

    good luck and stick at it :-)

  • I find running rdifficult BUT it really is getting easier - don't put yourself down.

    set achievable targets
    like being able to run for a set amount of time without stopping

    my original one was 3 minutes

    don't set yourself other people's targets, do what feels comfortable and what gives you a buzz.

    I am assuming you are doing this to keep fit and feel good about yourself, so it doesn't matter what time you do or how you do it



    one day

    you want to do an event then that will be great.

  • CeridwenCeridwen ✭✭✭
    I understand what you say about running slower. I think this could be one of my problems, which is why I would love to do the occasional run with other people in order to get a better feeling for pace.

    Yes, keeping fit and feeling good is the main motivation. I've lost 53lbs in the last year, am 10lbs away from my goal and want to get my body toned up a bit more as well as improve general endurance and strength.

    However, I do have a dream as well. About 8 years ago, my workplace entered a team into the Robin Hood Half-Marathon. I was in it, but didn't have a clue about training and only went out on a couple of half-hearted jogs beforehand. It took me 5 hours to get round the course - I would have been quicker if I decided to walk from the start! - and I was in bed for two days afterwards and in pain for a couple of weeks!!! It was one of the most nightmarish experiences I have had. I dream of exorcising this ghost by completing the same event some time in the future in a less dishonourable time and without half killing myself in the process. At the moment, though, even a 5K seems an unattainable goal :(
  • please hang in there.believe me when we say that we know what it feels like.started running one lamp post then walking one etc.then after afew days run two posts and walk one sounds daft but it works mate.when i first started running my first mile i was near the end of the run and i pasted an older gent and he turned round and stopped me and told me i was wasting my time because i was so unfit.(how rude)but we've kept at it and have entered the lincoln 10k whick is next if we can do it can,just start slowly and build it up again slowly...bill & lisa
  • try entering something like the "race for life"

    its all levels cos its for charity, some people just walk and chat and others compete seriously

    it will give you something to aim for, there is a good training regeme for 5k on this site which i used last summer
  • Hiya tehuti,

    One of the best pieces of advice I have received on this forum was from Barnsley Runner who is a *very* good/fast runner. All he said was "run slower to run further" and he was right. On your first couple of reps run so that it feels awkwardly slow then maybe increase the speed to a pace that feels comfortable after that. Stick to the schedule as M. said, if it says 5 mins run 1 min walk then do that even if you feel fine after the 5 mins run still take the walk break.

    Take it one day at a time and try and set certain days that you run on so it's harder to miss a run. I read one post that suggested making an appointment for your run ie write in your diary that you will be running at 2pm on Wednesday for example. I do it and it does help.

    Try keeping a running log too so that a fortnight/a month/6 months down the line you can look back at how you were doing at the start and see how much you've improved.

    Good luck and don't be disheartened, You can do it!
  • CeridwenCeridwen ✭✭✭
    Lurker, is it OK to enter such events without getting sponsors? I'm now a freelance so don't have work colleagues, don't really see many people socially and really, really hate asking the few people I do know to sponsor me. I've always assumed that charity events were not possible for me because of that.
  • Try joining in on this thread. It's all people who have just started running in the last couple of weeks so you'll be in exactly the same boat as each other.
  • you could aim for the HydroActive Womens 5k (old Flora Lite)in September in London, Birmingham or Liverpool - no sponsorship needed and plenty of time to train up for it

    have a look at a few training schedules -

    there are a lot of different approaches from "6weeks to a 5k in 30mins" to 8-10 12 week begin to run approaches and only progress if you can do the week comfortably is good advice

    go slower too - maybe you will be better walking briskly first before you are able to run comfortably at a lower heart rate (and therefore effort)

    it can be hard for some people - do you have any health problems or injuries that maybe are making it hard for you?
    might be worth doing a bit of cross training on a bike or swimming to help your fitness

    dont give up will do it
  • CeridwenCeridwen ✭✭✭
    Hi Buney,

    I have asthma, but it is now fully under control on Seretide. I do go swimming regularly, and am expert at swimming slowly LOL! However, at a pace of approx. 1 to 1.5 minutes per 25m length, I can swim 40-50 lengths with no problems at all and could go on longer if I had the time. I can also use a cross-trainer for 45 minutes at 60-70rpm throughout. In November, I managed to run 5k non-stop in 38 minutes on a treadmill set at 0 incline. However, as soon as I put the incline to 0.5 or go out on the streets, I am unable to run for more than a few minutes and this is what got me so discouraged that I stopped. I really have a problem understanding why this happens.
  • I have asthma too tehuti, and as long as it is under control it shouldn't cause any problems.

    When you put the incline up to 0.5% did you slow the speed down too or try to run at the same speed?
  • CeridwenCeridwen ✭✭✭
    Hi SDI,

    I tried setting the treadmill to 7.5 speed and almost immediately had to put it down to 6 (walking). Then I alternated between 7.5 and 6. I'm not too clued up how treadmill speeds work!
  • If you were running on 0% incline at 7.5 when you put it up to 0.5% you should have run a little slower, hills are hard work even if it is just 0.5% it is still going to make a difference to how you hard it feels. I think you're being very hard on yourself!!!

    Don't worry how fast/slow you are running it really doesn't matter at all. If you want to notch the incline up a little then take the speed down a bit too until you are a little more comfortable with it. You could try doing shorter run intervals too. So say, if you were doing 5mins run, 1 min walk then when you put the incline up then take it down to 3 mins run, 2 mins walk or whatever you can manage for say 5 or 6 reps.

    Also something else I have just thought of, make sure before you start to run you have a good walk (10 - 15 minutes) so that you are warmed up nicely. I find that the first 15 minutes are always the hardest if I just start running straight away because the muscles are cold.

    Don't be so hard on yourself, you will get there.
  • I agree 100% you need to learn to run more slowly
    I satrted off 10 min miling
    it took me over 18 months to even be able to run continuously without a walk break
    Then i deliberately slowed down
    This year i managed 20 miles non stop and have set more pbs

    But im reallt slow-my worts half is 2.47 and ive just got down to 2.15

    For some of us it is harder work tha others

    But dont give up and dont compare to others
    slow down-go further
  • and almost every run i do feels hard-even after 18 marathons and 3 years running
    ocasionally I dot struggle as much
    im nottrying to put you off but iknowi got really disheartened by people posting massive improvements in 6 months, and going on about the zone, and how easy running was

    It just might not be for you
  • its absolutely fine to do any event without getting sponsorship. the money you pay to enter goes to charity anyway - or some of it does, so you can feel virtuous anyway
  • I find the warm up jog that i do almost the hardest every time
  • & when you get really good at that, you could do what Hippo does & do ultras!

    don't despair - i was always the slowest kid at school. Now i've got a Good For Age place for London mara :)
    so miracles do happen!
  • Plodding hippo - have you really done 18 marathons in only 3 years!!!?? Amazing - you must be dedicated, or mad!
  • tehuti well done for getting out there. Please don't be downhearted about your ability. You are doing great. I can understand how you are feeling. But you will get there and we are all here to support you. I get great support on these forums and if it wasn't for the peeps on here I would not be getting out the door.

    I used to run marathons etc and get to 20 miles before I walked but due to several years non running and massive weight gain now I can't even run 1 complete mile before I walk. I have been sticking to the 5 min run and 1 min walk and this has been working for me. Yesterday I managed 8.75 miles doing this albeit slowly. One month ago I would not have believed I could do it but the support and advice from everyone has really helped. I don't try to run past the 5 mins and always take my 1 min walk. Hopefully soon I will think about uping the 5 min run to 6 mins with a min walk and then a few weeks later will try for 7 mnins and 1 min and see how it goes.

    Please keep up the good work and you will find it will come together again.
  • CeridwenCeridwen ✭✭✭
    Thanks all of you for your encouragement. Having read all your messages, I went out this evening and stuck strictly to 2 minutes run / 2 minutes walk all the way, even when I got landed with hills on two of the running bits. I did 5k in 43.5 minutes. I do feel virtuous now :) even though my partner pointed out that my speed is equal to some people's walking speed.
  • tehuti - don't let speed worry you. I can only do 5k in the same time as you and my hubby says he canb walk faster than I run. I just ignore him now. Well done on getting out there.
  • tehuti
    i am a very slow runner and i am only 38

    my best 5k time is 50mins and that was in a race!

    i am short , so i guess my stride length is small , but apart from that i have no real excuse

    i am just slow

    i also did the beginners schedule over and over and then just chucked it out of the window

    keep going

    you are already faster than me!

    keep going
  • i am NOT mad---much

    Look all Im saying is that if i can-anyone can
    slow and steady
  • Tehuti
    i think thats a great time for starting back

    My dad made similar omments to me about walking
    yes-andmaybe YOu could walk quicker

    but SOD them
    you are a runer
    we get it, you keep posting here, ad we will give you all you need
    Try the working at it slowly thread on beginners-really nice peeps-wwho understand what its like at the beginning

    or try spedys thread on health and injury-"too fat to run"
  • CeridwenCeridwen ✭✭✭
    SOD them indeed!

    I just entered the Race for Life in Nottingham on 29th June. I've set up a sponsorship site and am sticking the URL in my sig. That way, I don't have to ask people directly, but am still publicising the matter. My goal is to train and try my utmost to get to a point that I can run that race with no walk breaks. I'm not making any promises on time though LOL!
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