HELP - what is a realistic goal?

I have been running regularly since last September starting out with two mile runs twice or three times a week. In November I upped that to four times a week and in December I started doing 3 miles each session. In January I added a longer weekend run - four miles, five miles and now six miles. So I am now running 5 times a week and covering around 17-20 miles. My average pace is around 11 minute miles.
I started to run to lose weight and get fit. I certainly feel fitter and my body shape is changing but I am not losing much weight. I have lost about 7 pounds this year and feel that I have another 30 pounds to go.
My main issue is that I struggle with my running and only enjoy it occasionally and I would hope that I would lose more weight and so be able to run better.


  • Just take it easily, Neil.
    Your progress sound pretty good Weight loss isn't immediate and our bods take time to adjust. Rest is just as important so stick with it and be patient. Check out some of the schedules on the site.
  • Hey Neil,
    Agree with Huge. Sounds like you are progressing well, not too quick which can lead to injury, and not too slow.

    If you are 11minute miling, then anything over 2 miles should see you burning off fat.

    Remember though that muscle weighs about 3 times as much as fat for the same volume, so you should (as you suggest) notice more in the way of body shape change before any great weight loss.

    You don't say what weight you started at, (or what your height is) - don't have to either if you don't want, but remember that is another factor that will determine whether you notice weight loss or body shape change first.

    My best advice is to use a range of parameters to set your goals - weight loss can be one, but more importantly are things like waist size, resting HR, how many shops you can visit with the Missus before needing to sit down for a coffee, or simply how much better you feel!
  • thanks for your responses guys. i am 5'11'' and weigh 15s13ilbs. i am 43 years old and have been inactive for about 10 years before i first started playing football and then running. i had an injury that prevented me from doing either for about four months and i have gradually - first walking and now running - got back into things. i have not taken any measurements but trousers are bigger on me and i have taken my belt in. i am keen to run faster, further and know that it must be easier if i weigh less. i was hoping for more in the way of weight loss. i have a good basic diet, dont drink too much and only occasionally pig out. i just need some parameters, what should i expect?
  • Can give my own "recent" experience for you, and also a pointer to another thread

    I'm 5'10. Last February I was just approaching 13st - unheard of for me. I started running af=gain - gradually bulit up,(probably over di it as I picked up an injury that I had to get reatment for) and ecided I was going to do a marathon (my first in over 5 yrs) in the autumn. Longest training runs reached 2 1/2 hrs and I lost 2 stone in 7months.

    I then joined a gym for the winter - dropped my miles a bit and did some weights - my body shape changed again and I'm a healthy 11 1/2 stone now.

    The other thread is a chap capturing info on peoples's height weight etc for a project he's doing. There are soem interesting stories in there of before and after physiques.

    Only other word of advice is get yourself a hr monitor - for maximum fat burn you want to be exercising for 30-40mins mimimum (even if this is less often)at 60% of your max hr or above. - You'll use more carbs as you progress above this line but it's ultimately all calories. Only thing with working in the higher intensity bracket after a long lay off is that it might be wise to get a GP check up first.

    Max hr can be roughly worked out as 220-age. There are more accurate formulae available if you google.

    Hope this helps.
  • Thanks DoT. So looks like I just need to keep going. I had decided to only weigh myself once a month to give me time to lose weight. I bought a Garmin 205 before I started running - wish I had spent a little more for the 305 with HRM - so not sure about spending more on a separate HRM now.
  • I have worked out my MHR at 181 using the formula on google site. My resting HR = 63. I suppose that I can take my HR whilst running- every mile or so. I should be aiming for 108. Lets give a whirl this afternoon. Let you know how I get on.
  • I think it's important to enjoy your running, and as others have said set yourself multiple goals - you won't achieve them all at once but it's nice to make progress in different ways. Perhaps you can see if you can do a 10 minute mile on a 2 mile run, then aim for 9 1/2, or see if you can do a set course faster than last week.

    If you don't enjoy running much then you may not carry on. What about entering a race - maybe 5K (3 miles) - it's something to look forward to and it's fun (and faster) if you run with others. If it's a big field you probably won't be last - given you can run much futher than 5K.

    You could also try changing your route to something much scenic or a more varied surface. Are there any paths you can run on instead of pavements? Running with someone else also makes it feel like less work.

    I find my HR monitor makes runs more interesting - it's nice to get feedback on how hard you're working too. Keeping a log of runs can be a revelation too, shows you are improving.

    Be careful not to increase your mileage by more than 10% at once or you risk getting injured or run down.
  • Neil, As you've worked out your HR Max by tking your age from 220, it could be out by quite a few numbers. That need not be a major issue for you right now but could need to be changed further down the line. Meantime, you've got your resting HR which is a good move. IF we say your max is 181 & your Resting HR is 63 then 118 is the figure to use (ie NOT 108). Some calculations use percentages of that figure (known as Working Heart Rate - WHR). Others use a percentage of the Max figure. Either way I'd say 127 would be a useful guide. For practical purposes you could round that up to 130 if you wish.
    I use a HR monitor & found it very difficult to get down my target of 128, & then to stay there when I managed it. I'm pleased to say that many weeks later the situation has improved greatly. My advice would be to go as slow as you can to get the HR down & then running will feel more rewarding in say a couple of months. It sounds like a long wait but it will be worth it.
    You've made a big step by getting started back in September. You can achieve much more by steadily keeping going.
    All the Best to you Neil.
  • Hi Neil,

    I have a Garmin 305 and it is invaluable. Couple of thoughts - if you want to use HR monitoring as an ongoing thing - you could sell your 205 on ebay and buy (also on ebay?) a 305 instead, or you could get a cheap hr monitor (Lloyds chemists were doing them for £10 last ime i looked, with chest strap), but this does mean you will be wearing 2 "watches".

    Like you say - see how you go with the "take hr as you go" method and then make up your mind.
  • Well, not sure about taking HR whilst running. I tried that yesterday and by the time i had the pulse and started counting i am sure it had dropped a bit. Also, as I had set my Garmin to show average pace, the stopped time threw that out.
    Now the good news - I was aiming for a steady 11 mm but found that running at 10 mm felt too slow. Nonetheless, I persevered and after the HR stop my average pace was around 10:30. This steadily dropped to between 10:10 and 10:14. I slowed later but finished my 6 mile course in an average pace of 10:27 which is the fastest time that I had run 6 miles. My max speed was less yesterday and this must be good as my average was faster. I have concluded that using pace as the goal was wrong and resulted in me going too fast - first mile at sub 8 mm and then getting progressively slower.
    So, my goals for this week are to run my three mile lunch time course at 10:15 pace and the 6 mile weekend run at 10:30.
    I will have a look at Lloyd's for a cheap HRM but failing that I am sure that 10:30 average pace for the 6 miles and 10:15 for three will have the same effect.
    Thanks for your thoughts.
  • Hi Neil

    Good luck with your running. You might want to log all your runs onto its a great fun way to keep a note of your training.

    Just have fun, enter a race and as you gain experience you will learn more and more all the time to help you in your quest to get fit and lose weight.
  • PACE PACE PACE - is this the solution?? After Saturday's good run I set off today aiming for 10:15 mm but found running so slow was hard. I was happy to go along at 9:45 as running slower would have felt like walking. As i got into my run, my pace stabalised around 10 mm just after the 1.5 mile mark before dropping to 10:23 at the slowest. Again I was happy because on this route I like to finish with a hard push in the last half mile and so was on course for 10:15. I actually came home in 10:06 for my fastest lunch time run over this distance. No need for any walk breaks either. I feel as though there has been a real transformation due to better pacing at the start of my runs which ensures a fast finish which is a good motivator for me.
  • Another good run today at 10:13 pace. I did the 3 mile run in reverse which has a half mile up hill start and so am pleased with how a sensible pace has resulted in 3 consecutive good runs.
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