A Plan For Beginning Running

You want to run. Maybe to lose weight, maybe to have better health, maybe to fulfill a half-buried dream. For whatever reason, you've decided to run, and you are excited to get started. Here is a plan to get you going. This plan is a suggested approach that will help you become a runner. This plan observes both the 10% rule and the heavy/light rule, and it includes a monthly recovery week of reduced running/walking that is followed by a week of the time you ran just before the recovery week. Because of the relatively small increases in time, this plan takes longer than some of you might want to spend. Feel free to adjust the plan to fit your interests and body condition. As you follow the plan, focus on completing the time and don't worry about speed. Just run or walk at a comfortable pace. In fact, this caution about focusing on time not speed should be your guide later on as you advance to longer times.

Do all of your running at a comfortable pace in which you can talk with a running buddy. No huffing or puffing or gasping for air. No sore throats. No pain in your side. All of those symptoms are signs that you've exceeded the capability of your body to handle the stress from running. Take relatively small steps, such that your feet hit the ground behind your knees. It's common for people to take larger steps when they walk or run, and this causes their feet to hit the ground in front of their knees. This is called overstriding, and it can lead to shin splints or pain in front of their legs.

 

Measurable Goal

  1. You will first walk but not run three times a week, making small increases in the time you spend each week, until you are walking for 30 minutes. You will be walking approximately a mile, but you are walking by time not distance. This will help your body adjust to the increased stress of walking without having a high risk of injury, since walking is much easier on your body than running. Take as many weeks for this phase as you need. Be sure your feet hit the ground behind your knees.

  2. Next, you will add small amounts of running a comfortable pace while continuing to walk the same amount of time that you did in the first phase. When you are finished with this phase, you will be running for 10 minutes and walking for 20 minutes. Some runners may want to split the walking into two parts and put all of their running as one block between the walking. Other runners may want to mix the walking and the running in small segments. For example, walking for a minute and then running for a few seconds. The length of the running is increased until it is equal to 10 minutes. The length of the walking is not changed. Take as many weeks for this phase as you need.

  3. Third, you will continue to add small amounts of running at a comfortable pace until you are running for 20 minutes. You are still walking for 20 minutes. Take as many weeks for this phase as you need.

  4. Finally you will slowly increase the amount of running at a comfortable pace and decrease the amount of walking until you are doing just running and are doing it for 30 minutes. You are welcome to include short walking breaks with your running if you would like. If you do take walking breaks, it is your choice whether or not you include the time spent walking as part of the 30 minutes. I take short walking breaks every mile when I run. I enjoy the few seconds of walking, and I feel invigorated when I resume running. Most importantly, I have more energy for the final part of my run. Take as many weeks for this phase as you need.
All of the increases in time that you make should be small, typically about 10% or less of your time. Based on how you feel, you may make smaller increases in some weeks and larger increases in other weeks. At the end of this plan, you will be ready to graduate to the Intermediate plan for running. That plan will take you from your 30 minutes of running three times a week (approximately 9 miles or 14.5 km a week) to 24 miles (38.6 km) a week.

It is important that you modify this plan to fit both your interests and the capabilities of your body. For example, you may decide to do more running and less walking. Or, you may decide to run/walk more than three times a week by adding additional days in which you run/walk about half the distance you do in the main three days of your training. These additional days could be days of cross training, such as light swimming or cycling. Remember that this plan is just a guide to help you manage your training. It is not something rigid that you must slavishly follow. As you modify this plan to be your plan, keep in mind the two rules of running that should govern all of us as we run: the 10% rule in which we make small increases in our distance or speed, and the heavy/light rule in which we follow days of heavier stress with days of lighter stress (easy running, walking, or cross training) to give our bodies the 48 hours (or more) that it needs to recover from the days of heavier stress.

 

Fall-back Weeks

It is critical that you give your body sufficient rest after your heavy days such that your body can repair the damage to its cells and in so doing become stronger. In many cases, running and walking heavy/light will not give your body sufficient rest. It is thus advisable to include fall-back weeks in your schedule such that once a month or so you reduce your weekly time by 20 - 50%. At the end of each fall-back week, take one or two weeks to return to the time you were doing before the fall-back week. Then continue with your training.

 

Deciding How Much Distance to Add

Some of you will be concerned that this plan doesn't tell you exactly how much to walk or run each day. Instead, the plan tells you to follow the 10% rule and the heavy/light rule and to make wise decisions about how much time to spend each day. For some of you, having this amount of freedom will be a new experience, and it may take you a few weeks to adjust to this freedom. Hang in there and do the best you can to slowly increase your distance while listening to your body, and you will soon enjoy the freedom. When you have reached your goal of 30 minutes of running you will be thrilled with your ability to manage yourself, not having to be told exactly what to do. After all, by listening to your body, you are listening to the greatest coach you will ever have. Remember, you don't have to run or walk for exactly the number of minutes given in the plan. On days that you feel fine, you may want to run more and walk less. On days that you are tired, you may want to walk more and run less. Listen to your body and react accordingly.

 

Be a Runner not a Slave

Don't feel like you must follow this plan, or any plan, exactly as it is written. You are different from all other people on this planet. This plan should serve as a guide but not a blueprint. Modify this plan to be your plan -- your plan becomes your blueprint. Learn to listen to your body and to make decisions about your walking and running based on how your body feels.

The page on Overtraining has a nice list of symptoms that indicate you are doing too much in your training and need to back off a bit.

 

Graduate to the Intermediate Plan

When you are able to run for 30 minutes (approximately three miles), and you feel comfortable with that distance, you are ready to graduate as a beginner and to begin training as an intermediate runner. Click here for the Intermediate plan. Congratulations!

121 comments:

deb said...

Thank you very much. Many years ago, I used to jog but I stopped after my children were born. Now, my 16 year old son wants to start jogging and I have agreed to jog with him. This information was just right to help both of us get started.

Allen said...

You're welcome, Deb. Thanks for visiting my site, and I hope you enjoy jogging with your son.

If you haven't already read it, read the essay by George Sheehan on jogging. Begin by reading my tribute to Dr. George Sheehan and then reading his essay. I think you and your son will enjoy it! See the link in the Archives in the right-side-bar.

windancer said...

My son (29)just ran his 1st 5K and I wanted to start training for myself to compete in a 5K. I want to go slowly on the training because my right knee has some issues. This plan looks like it might be the ticket for a less stressful training program. Thanks, MCS

Allen said...

Windancer, tell your son congratulations on running his first 5K!

This plan has two advantages that I think will help you: (1) you walk before you run, and that helps strengthen your body because walking is much less stressful on your body. (2) you, not me or some other person, determine when to increase your distance and how much to increase it.

Knee problems are common among runners, because each step of running puts an impact of 2-3 times your body weight on your body, and your knees receive most of that impact. Walk and walk and walk and don't do any running until you can walk with no soreness or pain in your knees. Then, after you start including some running in your program, if you experience soreness in your knees, go back to the point where you could walk/run without soreness and stay at that level for a while to help your body adjust, then add some running back in but add less than you did before such that you experience no soreness. By doing this, you are using soreness as a sign that you're doing too much and need to cut back on your running for a while. This approach means you'll take longer before you run your first 5K, but you'll run that race with no soreness. Running without pain is a great experience!

Go to my pictures of stretches and do the ones for your knees and your hips. Strong hip muscles are important to pain-free knees. Do the stretches before and after you run, but do them gently so you don't injure yourself while doing the stretches.

Jenny said...

Allen, thank you so much for sharing your plan. I haven't been running since before a near-fatal auto accident in 1998. I remember watching the Indianapolis Mini Marathon from the couch when recovering and saying, "I'm going to run in that some day..." I'm ashamed that after 11 years, I cannot even run a mile! I am encouraged by your plan and your encouraging reminders that pain is not a normal part of running. I am actually excited to put on my running shoes and walk for 20 minutes tomorrow morning. Thank you, and God Bless.

Allen said...

Jenny,

Congratulations on going walking tomorrow! After you've walked for a few minutes to warm up, stop, take a couple of big breaths of the (hopefully) clean air. Then, look around at the houses, trees, birds, cars, or what ever is near by, and then fill your heart with gratitude that you're alive and that you have the freedom and time to be yourself. Be happy that you're Jenny. Then, continue your walking and enjoy your time outside.

V Raju said...

Uncle, Your blog is Great Inspiration to me. I am 44 and started enjoying running for the last 3 years. I was running 5.3 KM in about 30 minutes for the last one month. Then suddenly I developed a small pain in my left leg hamstring. I stopped running for about a week to get rid of the pain, but the pain did not go. Then I restarted with a distance of 4 km in 30 min. The pain has reduced, but my doubt is when I stopped running, the pain did not vanish! What could be reason ? My serious worry is this. Will this hamstring pain will increase if I continue running? I have found that I cannot stand a week without running, because it has become part of my routine ! I found the mistake I was making, I was not doing proper stretching after my run. Now I have started stretching exersize. Please comment sir. Thanks in advance.

Allen said...

I'm glad that you've started stretching. I may take two or three weeks for the injury to heal. During that time, do some light walking if that is free of pain. Also, light cycling or light swimming. These cross training will help keep your aerobic capacity up without stressing your injury.

Going from 5.3 to 4 km did reduce the pain, and that is a good sign. Try it at 3 km and 2 km. If you can find a distance that doesn't bring on the pain, then after your two weeks for healing is finished, do the shorter pain-free distance. Follow the 10% rule in increasing your distance, and be sure you do heavy/light. See my page on "Coaching Running on the Internet" for comments about the 10% rule and heavy/light. Your probably was likely that you over did it; you likely went too far and/or too fast for your body condition. Pain isn't normal. It is one of the ways your body tells you it can't handle the stress you're giving it.

V Raju said...

Thanks for the swift advice, Uncle. I will do as you said, though it is very difficult for me to reduce the distance to 3 km in 30 min.! (I feel bored doing at that speed). I am working on a ship and the running is on a treadmill, I forgot to mention the above point. I am doing weight training also on alternate days.(light days). I have no other body pain except this slight leg hamstring pain. I wanted to run my first 10 km marathon sometime in Sept/Oct. I have run a 10K when I was 25 yr old. Thanks a lot again. I will keep you posted when I am pain-free.

Allen said...

Thanks for pointing out that I didn't explain myself clearly. Keep approximately the same pace you've been using. This means that you'll reduce the time on the treadmill due to doing a shorter distance.

Rather than think about reducing your distance, think about reducing your time on the machine. When you ran 5K, you ran for xxx time. Then when you ran 4K, you ran for yyy time. My suggestion is to reduce the stress on your body by reducing the time on the machine. A good way to reduce time or distance is to cut values approximately in half.

The idea is to find a speed or time that you can do without pain, and then use the 10% (or less) rule and the heavy/light rule to increase, only making increases that don't bring the pain back. If you want to, you can also reduce your speed as you reduce your time, but the reduction in speed will likely not be a very big decrease. Just run at a comfortable speed, one in which you could carry on a conversation with a person on the next machine, and a speed in which you feel fine at the end and aren't huffing and puffing. This is called Long Slow Distance, and you can read my page on it.

V Raju said...

Thanks for taking the pain to advise. I started running after I read Dr.Kenneth Cooper's book on AEROBICS. In about 6 months time in 2007 I was making 32 points easily. Then by end of 2009 I started looking forward to make more points in short time and came to the speed of 3.2 KM in < 16 min. For the last 3 months I was doing 3.2 Km in < 16 min PLUS I increased the total distance (including the above 3.2) to 6 km in about 35 min. This was going for sometime with some pain here and there on my both legs. I was huffing and puffing at the end of my run. As I increased my total running time, I cut short the stretching exersizes also. All these added to the present pain. Luckily I am ok with this pain to run! Today I did 3.5 km in 30 min. As you said, I will go back to a comfortable speed and will run about 3.5 km, and see what happens. The pain has reduced and I am happy about it. But when I start running, after about 10 min I am unable to contain myself at that speed. The urge to increase speed is tremendous. I do not know all the runners feel this way. I like it when I am tired at the end! I regret increasing the speed only the next day morning. That is the story! Thanks for reading this and your advise. I happen to come across your BLOG which is inspiring, a few days back. I read your COACHING section, Injury and the Symptoms of "over-training" etc. I do not have any proffessional trainer. I first got inspired by Dr.Cooper's book and the point system. I consider "running" as the ultimate aerobics exersize.

V Raju said...

Dear Uncle Allen,
After going through your Training Sections, I understood the importance of Running injury free. Thanks again for your advice and the different training posts. I hope to run a marathon without any damage to my body in future. Best Regards.

Allen said...

Completing a marathon will be a great achievement for you; go for it! If you will do two things, you'll have a great marathon experience and likely won't have any injuries. First, work up to 45 miles(72 km) per week and run that distance for several months. Second, do at least two long runs of 20 miles (32 km) or greater before you do the marathon.

Your first goal is to train to complete the distance, but it takes more training to get used to the distance such that your body can handle the stress of that long distance. In the meantime you can enjoy 5K, 10K, and 15K distances.

V Raju said...

Uncle, I have a doubt.When I am running at a comfortable speed I breath like this : Two steps - Inhale, Two steps : Exhale. When I increase pace, it becomes One - One. Is this correct? or How it should be? Please give some advice from your experience.

Allen said...

The purpose of breathing, of course, is to get oxygen, and your pattern of breathing shows that a faster speed puts more stress on your body, hence the need for more oxygen. Your pattern of breathing also shows why it is important to do Long Slow Distance (LSD) and not push for speed while your body is getting used to distance.

By increasing your distance every so often, you're increasing the stress on your body. By increasing your speed you're increasing the stress on your body. I think it is a good idea to not do both at the same time. Run at a comfortable pace as long as you're increasing your distance. Eventually, when you stop increasing distance and have allowed two or three weeks to get used to the distance, you can start to increase your speed. But, as I explain in my article on speed, only do speed work once or twice a week. Do LSD for the rest of your runs during the week.

My pattern of breathing is as follows. When I start out, I'm doing four steps breathing in and four steps breathing out. After a relatively short distance, I'm doing two steps each. I don't intentionally change from four steps to two steps; my body just changes automatically. If I go up a big hill I frequently change to a one step in and one step out for a few seconds to get more oxygen. I, however, have big lungs due to having been raised at 5500 feet elevation and to my genetics. Your pattern looks about right for you. Being on a ship, you're running at sea level, and that makes a big difference in the amount of oxygen you get per breath.

Some people ask about breathing through ones mouth or nose. Do what ever works for you such that you get the oxygen you need. I breath through my mouth.

V Raju said...

Thanks for the advice. I have already changed my running pattern, now running at a comfortable speed where I can make conversation. The breathing now is comfortable three - in and two - out ( Mouth )and I really enjoyed running at this speed. As you have said, I will do LSD for my normal runs and do the speed ones once in a week. For the first time today ran 4 Miles in about 48 Min and at the end of the run it was wonderful. No huffing and puffing at all!

Allen said...

Ahhh... nothing like the sweet feeling of success...

When you do your speed workouts, only do speed for a couple of minutes and then slow down for a recovery for a couple of minutes. Then do another speed run.

I like to do Fartleks for speed workouts. They can be mixed in with a LSD run. For example, you run LSD for 5 or so minutes to warm up. Then you do a 30-45 second Fartlek followed by a couple of minutes of LSD for recovery. Then you do another Fartlek at a different speed. If faster, then do it for a shorter time. If slower, do it for a little longer time. Then do LSD for recovery. Do 4 or 5 of these and then finish your run with LSD.

Another speed run that minimizes stress is the Galloway Cadence drill. My speed page describes them. They only last for 30 seconds or so at a time before you do a recovery slow down.

Another thing that reduces stress of speed is to just slightly increase your LSD pace. Slightly means maybe 15 seconds per mile. It should still be LSD but just a slightly faster LSD. Again, do a normal LSD to warm up and cool down with the faster LSD in the middle.

V Raju said...

Uncle, What drink I must take during my long runs? Is "Tang" ok for this? Does it provide the carbs suppliment? I read about "hitting the wall". I really look forward to this state !

V Raju said...

Uncle,
During my long runs, I take "Tang" . Is this ok ? I read about 'hitting the wall'. I really look forward to this state !

Allen said...

Hi V Raju,

I'm not familiar with the ingredients of Tang, so I can't comment on it. Check the ingredient list to see what is in it. If tang has high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweetener, I would stay away from it. In fact I would probably stay away from Tang since it wasn't developed for runners. There are gels, sports drinks, sports beans that are developed to give runners extra energy.

I did my marathons before those things were developed, and I carried four bananas and ate one every hour. That plus drinking water.

Most gels have 100-150 calories, and that gives you an idea of how much energy you might get from them. How many calories does Tang have per 8 ounce cup?

What ever you decide to do, try it before your race to see how your body reacts to it.

V Raju said...

I think, I will stay away from Tang for the time-being! Thanks.

V Raju said...

Hello Uncle, I planning to run Half Marathon in another exacly 7 weeks. Last week end run was 13 miles. Then again after two days rest I ran 10 miles. One of my advised that now onwards, I need to run only 6 miles every week end long runs and I will be ok for the Half Marathon.. I agree with tapering down, is it have to be so early. I developed the weekly miles 16,18,25,28,31(Previous week). This week I ran only 14 miles so far.. I have tomorrow also. I have this left leg hamstring pain troubling be now and then.. I am not sure what to follow.....I was planning to taper only the last three weeks, till then run/maintain 30 weekly miles average.. What is your advise sir,
Best Regards,
V Raju

Allen said...

Marathoners typically take 3 weeks for a taper. Half marathoners typically take 2 weeks to taper. During the taper, you want to reduce your distance by 20-40%. We're all different, and the amount of taper depends on hour individual bodies.

My suggestion is to do your normal running until 2-3 weeks before the race and then taper. I'm not sure what your weekly schedule looks like. I like the strategy of having one long run per week (for you that would be 13 miles). One medium run per week (about 9-10 miles) And the remaining runs are rest runs of 5-6 miles.

Don't worry about speed. Just focus on the distance. Do all of your runs as LSD. After the race, increase your long run up to 15 miles, using the 10% rule, and try to maintain a long run of 13-15 miles each week throughout the year. Later on, after you feel very comfortable with your long and medium runs, you can do speed work once a week as part of, or in place of, your medium run. My page on speed discusses various ways of doing speed workouts, and I've ordered them from easiest to hardest.

Let us know how your training and the race go for you, so we can rejoice with you!

V Raju said...

I am doing exactly what you have written regarding the runs, one Mid-week medium distance, and one week end long run, and in between 3/4 miles, so far.I got a little bit confused with my friend's suggestion. Now I am ok and made up my mind. After the Half Marathon also, I was thinking to continue the runs like this so that I will be ready for Full Marathon in due course. I am following a Marathon training schedule with a little bit of adjustments here and there. I am happy with the training.. Sometimes 'during' my long runs, I have no pain, but the this left leg pain starts afterwards. I have still not found a solution yet. I listen to my body, that is fine.. but how to stop running? Anyways, I know I have to find a solution for this myself.. Thank you for your advice. I have this feeling,, I will do Full Marathon within one year..

Allen said...

Concerning your pain in your left leg. Between now and your half marathon, you might want to omit the long run and run two medium runs, to give your leg some extra rest. You've moved up in distance quite a lot during the last two months, and your body may need some extra rest.

V Raju said...

ok,I will do only two medium runs in a week and see how it helps.

Anonymous said...

Hey.. I am a mom of 4 and was wanting to get in better shape. I am 40 and just starting out. I tried the walking/running combination. I could only run a short distance b4 I was huffing and puffing. Is this normal? and will this improveover time? Should I just stick to walking for a few weeks?

Allen said...

Anon,

Assuming you don't have a serious physical problem, your huffing and puffing after a short run is normal, and it means you shouldn't do any running for a while. Since you posted your reply to my plan for beginners, my suggestion is to follow that plan. The first step is to walk at a comfortable pace until you're able to walk for half an hour. Stop walking before you reach the huffing and puffing point. A comfortable pace is one in which you could talk with a walking buddy, no huffing or puffing, and no pain in your side. Be sure and stretch before and after your walk. Walk slowly for the first 5 minutes and the last 5 minutes to warm up and cool down.

V Raju said...

Uncle, I completed my first Half Marathon today... wonderful experience.. I took 2 Hr 11 Min to complete.. Planning to run 25 Km in Mid Nov... Thank you for your advice..

Allen said...

Congratulations on completing your half! 2:11 is a good time. Now, you have a figure to compete with. That fact that you had a wonderful experience is great!

V Raju said...

I enjoyed and did not have any pain before the run. That was an added advantage. Then two days I walked at easy pace after the Marathon and resumed running at an easy pace. But I could sense the stress after the Marathon when I started to run. But I am happy that I registered for the next event on the same day at the same site where I finished my Run, then I realised I felt great after the run...

Allen said...

You've done well! Take a couple of weeks of easy jogging to recover from the half; listen to your body to decide how hard to run during this time.

V Raju said...

Today we had Bangalore Ultra Marathon 100K,75,50,37.5,25 and 12.5 KM are the various catogories. I participated in 25 km. Completed 25 KM today 2H 48Min. It was a trail run plus Sunny. Tougher run compared to my First HM. I came third in Senior Men's catogory (Age above 45)

Allen said...

Raju,

You're doing well. Congratulations!

V Raju said...

Hello Sir,
If I am not planning to run any marathon for the next four months, how much should be my weekly miles to keep myself ready for the next training just after 4 months...I am planning to keep 1 Hrs running on Heavy days and 1.5 hrs long run at the week end, half hr on light days. Because I will be running again on treadmill as I am plannning to re-join ship. What is your opinion?

Allen said...

Hi Raju,

Let me make comments in miles, and you can convert it to time.

If it were me, I would do a weekly long run of 9-11 miles, a midweek run of 6-7 miles, and other runs at 4-5 miles (rest runs). This will keep you close to the HM distance and allow you to bump up the distance a bit before you go into your taper. What would these miles be in time?

V Raju said...

Normally I do 9 miles in 1.5 hrs and 6 miles in 1 Hr. So this is perfect. I want to increase the distance and time for full marathon once I come back ashore. It is not possible to run on treadmill for more than 1.5 hrs as it is boring inside the confined space. I planning to do one more Half Marathon on 5th Dec. After that it is time to hit the High Seas.. for the next three months. Thanks a lot for your advice. I enjoyed running two half marathons (one more to go int his vacation) and more so while doing the training. I always looked forward to my training runs...There is both pleasure and pain, the best part is pain is also pleasure when it goes away...

Anonymous said...

What's the best substitute for running in case of IT band problems? I have been working at increasing my speed and distance for a 1/2 marathon, but have found that after 3 miles my outside kne starts to hurt... How long do I need to back off running? I have 8weeks to my 1/2.

V Raju said...

Hello Sir,
I did another HM Race in Pune, India on 5th Dec. What I found after running three Half Marathons is that twice I caught cold and fever for two days immediately after the run. What could be the reason, I was travelling in both the cases after the run. Or is it because of dehydration? According to me hydration part was ok in all these three cases. Just wanted to know your views on this.. Thanks.

Allen said...

Anon,

I've never had ITB problems, so I can't anything from actual experience. I do exercises for ITB before and after I run. My page on my exercise pictures shows the exercises I do. Pain on the outside of the knee may indicate you have runners knee. The picture page also shows pictures of the knee and hip and quad exercises that I do.

You still have time before your race, so do the ITB, hip, knee, and quad exercises every day and see if they help. Also, about how many miles to you have on your shoes? Maybe they need replacing?

Allen said...

Hi Raju,

Colds are often caused by doing too much such that your body can't handle the extra stress on your immune system. Dehydration also causes problems.

How much time between your half-marathons? Be sure you get 7 or more hours of sleep each night. How is your diet in terms of nutrition? You already know about heavy/light so continue doing that.

V Raju said...

Hello Sir,
How are you? I did some good training during the past two months and now after 34, 38, and 42 miles per week with Two long runs of 10 and 13 miles in a week, my body is ok. I can feel the difference during the past 8-9 months.. It is really wonderful to see the body adapts to the stress and prepares for the next run... Thanks to your articles in your BLOG and advices from time to time.. I am planning to slowly build up to 45 miles per week with steady mid-week run of 10 mi OR one Interval Training on Wed, and one long run(gradually increasing to 18/20 miles. With one day rest, the balance 15 miles will be split up in three days. And once I am there comfortable, will try to maintain the same for several weeks until next Marathon season..
Best Regards,

Allen said...

Hi Raju,

Glad to hear from you again, and glad that you're doing well in your running! Think of your 10-miler as a medium run, and always keep it less than your long run--maybe 70%-80% the distance of the long run. Being shorter but still a good distance, the medium run will help you keep in shape for distance but with less stress due to the shorter distance. One long run, one medium run, and the rest runs is a good combination, with intervals replacing the medium run and cross training replacing some of the rest runs on occasion. Just don't overdo the intervals. Maybe 20-30 minutes of intervals, not more than once a week.

Jeff said...

I used to jog before every day, first thing in the morning on my college days before heading to school. I stop when I started working because tired from work and stress. Hope to get back into jogging sometime. I miss running.

Anonymous said...

im a 47 yr old male, weighed 282 pds when i started my weight loss and exercise program jan,1st 2011...walking and biking 1st and now jogging. Im down to 226 now . I am a beginner runner and timed myself. my pace is a 15 min mile. i donot feel winded after but am sweating pretty good. How should I increase my run? I calculate my speed around 4mph? everywhere i read that seems very slow. am i running too slow? -Larry Stricklin Savannah Ga

Anonymous said...

BTW i ommitted that i run 3 miles a day in 45 mins. -Larry Stricklin

Allen said...

Hi Anon,

You asked if you're running too slow. Think of it this way. There are two aspects to running: distance and speed. Both put stress on your body. Unless you're young and competing in races, don't try to increase both your distance and speed at the same time. Decide on the number of times per week you want to run and the distance you'd like to run. Forget about speed and just focus on increasing your distance. See my page on Long Slow Distance for suggestions about this. Do two things while you increase your distance. Follow the 10% rule and run heavy light. See my post on Coaching Running on the Internet for a brief explanation of those two things.

After you've reached your desired distances and have run them for a month or two, don't make more increases in distance. Instead, focus on increasing your speed. See my page on Speed Training for Runners for suggestions. There are several ways you can increase your speed, and I've ordered them in my page in the order you'll probably want to use them. Remember, though, speed training puts a lot of stress on your body. Don't do speed work more often than once a week. During the rest of the week, do the Long Slow Distance (LSD) running that you did while you were increasing your distance.

Feel free to ask questions. Leave a comment once in a while to let us know how things are going for you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks allen, my goal is to get up to 6 miles so I can run with my sis-in-law at the peachtree roadrace in Atlanta Ga...I will keep you updated on my progress- Larry

Anonymous said...

twinged my knee tonight, maybe overdoing it and didnt stretch like i should have...what is the best way to stretch before a run? -larry

Allen said...

Hi Larry,

Stretching before a run is a controversy. It used to be recommended by all pros, but the current thinking is not to stretch before a run. The reason is that your muscles are cold and stiff before your run, and stretching might cause injury. I still do it, because I've never had problems with it.

All pros, I think, recommend stretching after a run. The muscles are warm and less likely to be injured.

Your twitch in your knee might be caused by weak hip and groin muscles. The stretches I do are described in my page on stretching and pictures of me stretching are in the page on pictures of stretching. The key thing is to be very gentle with your stretching. Some stretches are to loosen muscles and others are to strengthen muscles. If you're not already doing them, start doing the ones I show for your hip, groin, and knee. Other good stretches can be found via internet searches.

If your foot lands on your heel (heel strike), that will put a big shock on your body. Learn to increase your stride rate to about 180 steps per minute. This won't make you run faster, because you'll take smaller steps. The reason for doing this is to learn to land on your mid-foot. Be sure that your foot hits the ground under your body and not in front of it.

Also, be sure and do a warm up and cool down. I have pages on this.

Be sure you have a day of light-stress following each day of heavier stress. This is known as heavy/light. A light day could be a day of less distance, a day of more or all walking, a day of cross training (see my page on this), or a day of no particular exercise. Your body needs at least 48 hours to recover from a heavy stress. As my friend Bruce says, baby steps, baby steps, meaning don't overdo your training. It takes a lot of time for your body to become stronger and faster.

Anonymous said...

Last night briskly walked 3 miles with wife, and then stretched, then jogged 3 miles pain free. Thanks for your help. Also going to start altering 3 mile jogging days with 1.5 mile jogging days. -Larry

V Raju said...

Hello Sir,
I am in another confused state now..I joined a ship and here there is no treadmill and I cannot run, but in the Gym there are Eliptical trainer, Rowing machine and a stationary Cycle. I can build up the aerobic capacity with all these, but the specificity of training will be lost for the next three months.. Kindly advise on what can be done... so that I can atleast maintain an average aeorbic and physical stamina to run a Half Marathon ? Thanks in advance..

Allen said...

All you can do is make the best of your situation. Use the gym to keep your aerobic level high, and then do as much walking as you can. Walking will help keep your legs in shape. The gym will keep your aerobic level high as well as keep certain muscles in shape. Between the gym, elliptical, stationary bike, and walking, you'll be OK.

V Raju said...

Hi Sir,
I am now slowly and cautiously increasing my distance.. did my 3 hrs LSD, no pain next day morning..Just a doubt, I am running on hard surface, will it cause injury to my knees. I believe that pain is the first symptom of any injury.. I assume, No pain means.. everything alright? Also I check my Rest Heart rate every day..It is now 50 and going down.. What is your advise? Thanks.

Allen said...

Hi Raju,

I'm glad to hear you're still running and slowly increasing your distance. I've run on concrete and asphalt for almost all of my 39 years of running, and I've never had a problem from the hard surface. I do hip and knee exercises before each run, and this means I have strong knees.

As long as you're not having much soreness and no pain, you're doing fine. A resting heart rate of 50 and going down is great! That means your body is becoming more efficient in its use of oxygen.

If you run on a short course on your ship, be careful of the frequent turns. The leg on the outside of the turn has to stretch farther, so reverse your direction such that each leg takes its turn being on the outside of the turn.

V Raju said...

Thanks.. yes, I am doing that.

V Raju said...

What is the indication that you are going to hit the 'wall'? I do not want to hit the wall..But at the same time, I want to know about it well in advance during my training runs. As all training programs says One or Two 32 km runs are good enough just about three weeks before and then taper down... I want to know in terms of 'Wall'.. So that I am 100% sure to push the wall beyond 42 km. So far I have done two 3 hour LSDs ( approx.17 miles), at the week ends. I am perfectly alright after 24 hours. Though my other days runnings are not going as planned, but somehow managing. Want to increase to 3.5 hrs next week end.

Allen said...

Your body cells hold approximately 2000 calories of energy, enough for about 20 miles. When that energy is gone, your body starts to burn fat for energy, causing what is known as the "wall". So, the answer to your question is about 20 miles. However, people claim that using gels during the run will give your body extra energy, thus pushing the wall out further than 20 miles.

gels didn't exist when I ran marathons, so I've had little experience with them. Sports beans are also a source of energy that you can carry with you. In my case, I carried bananas and ate one each hour.

If you want to use gels, sports beans, bananas or something else, use them during your training runs so you can find out how your body reacts to them and if they do help or not. The old idea of carbo loading before a marathon was an attempt to get extra energy into your body. Energy bars, although heavier than gels are another possibility. Try them and see what works for you and what you like.

gels are concentrated and you need to drink water with them, about a cup per gel.

V Raju said...

Thanks a lot.
My friend has been running for sometime now, but only about one and half miles daily in about 20 min. She has developed a 'clicking sound' from her left knee while walking. But she does not have any pain.. I advised her to stop running for a few days and see. But the 'clicking' does not stop? Is this a problem? or it will vanish on its own? Have you heard of this before? Thanks.

Allen said...

I haven't heard about clicking in the knee, so I can't suggest anything. A visit to a doctor would probably be wise to have the knee checked out.

V Raju said...

Hi,
Increased my distance to two long runs during the previous weekends 4Hr and 3.5 hrs, with a weekly milage of 60Km. Now next three weeks planning to taper. Planning to do FM on 15th Jan 2012, if I get leave in time. So far I have done 3 x 3 hr runs, 2 x 3.5 hrs, and 1 x 4hr Long runs during my training. And yes, there were quite a few 2 and 2.5 hr runs. My average speed is 6 miles in an hour. But long runs are a little slower. I am now confident that I will complete 42 km if given a chance on 15th Jan 2012! Ha !Training was not easy..!

Allen said...

Raju,

You've been doing some really long runs, and that will pay off in your FM!

Some runners I've talked with say they've had good success with gels during their FM. Are you planning on using gels or sports beans or something? If so, be sure you use them during your training runs so you'll know your stomach agrees with the gels. One gel every 5 miles or so should do it. Be sure you drink water with the gels so they don't dehydrate you by using water already in your body.

V Raju said...

I have used only Gatarode and one banana every hour. So far never used gels or similar and not planning to use. I am ok with the above.

Allen said...

My marathon career was in the early 80s, before gels and Gatorade were invented. I carried bananas during the race and ate one every hour. I still hit the wall at about 20 miles.

The secret, which I didn't understand at the time, was to do runs longer than 20 miles. In all four marathons, my longest run was 20 miles. My finishing times for the four races were within a 13 minute window, from 3:59 to 4:12.

I didn't have any pain when I hit the wall. I just didn't have any energy, and I jogged and walked the last 6 miles.

V Raju said...

Great timings Sir. My target is anything sub 5 hrs. And I am back on the track after one full day's rest. It takes 48 hrs for me to get back to running. But most of the time, I take it easy after the long run. And after two hard weeks, the third week goes lazy by default! And I have been thinking and training after my three HM in end 2010. But during my HM Trainig period, I felt pain etc, and then I learnt to avoid injuries by reading your articles and advises from you time to time.. Thanks to you.

V Raju said...

Ahh.. My full marathon dream came true when I crossed the finish line at the Standard Chartered Mumbai marathon 2012 on 15th Jan in 5H 20M.I am happy that I did not have any muscle cramps during the run. But I learnt to respect the distance above 32km.. I had sports drinks and banana only, did not use anythingelse. But awesome experience.. I realise the importance of running many 32/36 km training runs. Not planning to do another marathon for another 6 months..Thanks to you for the tips.

Allen said...

Congratulations, Raju! It's a great feeling when you cross that finish line. Welcome to the community of marathoners!

V Raju said...

Hi, There is a marathon after exactly 4 weeks after I completed my first. What is your opinion about running a second marathon just after 4 weeks. Before I decide what are the factors I should consider running this other than NO PAIN, and Resting Heart rate back to normal. Appreciate your views on this. Thanks.

Allen said...

Hi Raju,

For most people, 4 weeks is the minimum time need for recovery from a marathon. Running another marathon after 4 weeks might be doable, but I don't recommend it. Are there other marathons later in the summer or Fall that you could run?

You've completed a marathon, which means you gained the ability to run 26.2 miles, but you haven't really mastered that distance. In fact, it will probably take you several marathons to master the distance. See the post in this site about mastering the marathon-distance.

Your marathon put a lot of stress on your body, and your body needs time to recover. You are, hopefully, into running as a life-time thing, and waiting a few months before your next marathon when compared to the number of months you probably have left to live is very small.

I ran my second and forth marathons 12 weeks after my first and third marathons, and that worked fine for me. My body was strong, and 12 weeks was sufficient for recovery.

So, the question is how strong is your body? How many weeks will you need to recover from your first marathon? An approximate answer to these questions can be obtained from your training. You need to train for your second marathon just like you trained for your first marathon. So, work your long run up to 20 miles, 22 miles would be even better, and than allow three weeks for a taper. When all of this has happened, you'll be ready for your second marathon.

V Raju said...

Thank you very much for the advice. I was a little over enthusiastic. My wife insists that I should not run another marathon until I am fully recovered from this first. Though I feel I am fit, I take your advice on this. I will increase the distance to 20/22 miles and taper for 3 weeks.I will do my 2nd marathon in Sept 2012, as there are no other marathons suitable for me. Thanks.

V Raju said...

Hi Sir,

I want to improve my timings for Full Marathon. I have read articles on your website. I plan to proceed as follows. Started again fresh.. this time with slightly more speed, but will stick to the 10% rule and listen to the body. Started with 3 miles as my first run. But I got exhausted within in about 3 miles. How to increase speed without getting injured or stressed too much. I know that if I increase the distance with this increased speed, I will end up with injury..I have got almost 7 months to train..

Allen said...

Hi Raju,

My speed page lists several ways of increasing your speed, and I've listed them in a recommended order. Galloway's cadence drills will help without introducing a lot of stress. While you're doing your LSD runs, you can do a couple of cadence drills and then continue your LSD. Fartleks are the same way. In the middle of your LSD, do a couple of fartleks.

If you decide to devote most of your run to speed training, only do that once a week. Speed training, especially intervals, is very stressful, and once a week is sufficient. It takes time to increase your speed, so have patience.

The most important thing is to recognize that as your body gets stronger from doing your long runs and LSD, it will also get faster. For example, I went from LSD of 13 minutes to 7 minutes with no speed training at all. Of course, it took me several years for that improvement. I just ran and enjoyed it, doing a 5K or 5 mile race here and there.

Hills have the same effect on your body as speed -- lots of stress. So, only do hills once a week at most. Of course, your LSD may have some hills. I'm speaking of a run where you go up and down a hill several times.

The bottom line of this discussion is to only do speed workouts once a week at most. Focus on your LSD and your long runs, and let your body adapt to the long distance and become faster in the process. Be sure you get plenty of sleep at night, so your body can repair itself after stressful workouts.

Allen said...

Another thing to practice during your LSD runs is running the tangents. That can, depending on the number of curves in your routes, take off several minutes without you going faster at all. Running tangents minimizes the extra distance you run.

See my page on running tangents for details. I run tangents during my training runs just to get in the habit of doing that.

Allen said...

When I trained for half marathons, I would take a month just before my taper and do speed workouts once a week. I did intervals on a track. I figured a month of weekly speed workouts was sufficient. A year later when I ran a half marathon again, I took another month of speed workouts before my taper.

V Raju said...

Many Thanks for your comments. I will try to improve my timings with all the precautions you mentioned. Will post my improvement here every now and then.

V Raju said...

Hi, I have a few doubts
1. When do you think a sports drink is required. Usually I use sport drink any runs more than 1 hr. If it is less than 1 hr, I use only water. Or is it ok to run with only water upto 2 hrs of running? One of my friends runs for 2 hrs only with water.

2. Is there any ' rule ' to use which shoes/brand to be used? Normally I use just good running shoes. I never bothered about the brand. When there is no pain, comfortable, no blisters, light weight, good ventilation properties , I think the brand/make is not important. What is your advise on this?
3. Normally what mileage a new pair of running shoes will last?

Thanks

Allen said...

Hi Raju,

1. Look at the list of ingredients and ask yourself do you need those chemicals? In general, you probably don't need a sports drink for runs under two hours. Drinks taken before or during a run should be high in carbs and low in protein. Drinks taken after a run should be low in carbs and high in protein. Science is learning that artificial sweeteners are worse for your body than sugar. Sugar in a drink may be OK before or during a run, but not so good in drinks taken after a run. Look at the number of calories in a drink and compare that with the distance of your run. Assume you burn 100 calories per mile. Some drinks may provide more calories than you will burn, and you'll gain weight with those drinks. Caffeine in drinks is controversial. I personally don't take drinks with caffeine, but that is just my idiosyncrasy. Caffeine does remove water from your body, so there is danger of dehydration. Caffeine is a stimulant, and many runners want that stimulation to help with their run. The main use of sports drinks for me is a source of sodium during the hot summer when I sweat a lot.

2. There are three kinds of shoes: neutral, correction, and motion control. The kind you need depends on the type of feet you have. If you're not having problems with your current shoes, continue with them and don't change.

3. 300-500 miles. I change my shoes after 500 miles. Heaver runners will probably get fewer miles or km on their shoes due to their higher weight.

V Raju said...

Yes, agree with your comments. I stopped coffee three weeks before marathon. Regarding Gatorade, I will take only for long runs above 2 hrs. Thanks.

V Raju said...

Hi Sir,
I am planning my second Full Marathon on 16th Sept..after my first in Mid Jan. I think I am a better runner now. I have been running all these days after my first marathon..slowly building up my stamina and endurance.I have three long runs for the next three week ends.. 28KM, 30 AND 32 KM. Then for the next three weeks, planning to taper down. I expect to complete my second FM in 4 hr and 45 min. or even less.. Now I can do my long runs at a pace of 9KM/Hr. My doubt is this.. If I am able to complete my 20 mile long run in 3 Hrs and 45 min. How much should be my marathon pace?

Allen said...

Raju, you've really made a lot of progress during the past few years! It's been fun to watch you grow as a runner. Finding the "right" pace is a difficult thing, because we're all different and have to find what works for us.

Are you doing any walking during your long runs? As you know, the last 10K of a marathon is the hardest. If it were me, I would probably run the same pace for my marathon that I'm using for my long runs. I would take gels or sports beans during the marathon to provide additional energy to my body. If need be, I would take short walking breaks during the race.

How does your pace now compare with that in January when you ran your first full marathon?

V Raju said...

Thanks for the quick response. I completed my 28 KM today in 3:05 and maintained the same pace 9 KM/Hr through out without any walk breaks. I take one banana every hour and take Electral mixed in water (similar to Gatarode). I completed a week of 67KM in total, with 10,15,10,Rest,4,28, and tomorrow planning to take easy. Now I can complete 10K in 55 minutes and I have never tried a 10K Race. My full marathon training was done while onboard ship, where I have no way of calculating the distance as I had to stop, turn back and run etc. So I went by time.. like 3,3.5,and upto 4 hrs I ran without measuring any distance and completed the full marathon in 5:19 . But this time, I am on vacation and doing the training runs with correct distance and pace. My long run pace could not be increased because, in that case I might end up hitting the wall. I am happy to run injuryfree.... So I am only targetting a time of 3:30 for the first 32 km and the last 10km in 1:15 min. Total time 4:45. After my first marathon, I did not have any injury, just the stress. This time also I want to be injuryfree.

Allen said...

Your plan looks reasonable, Raju. Let us know from time to time how your training is going.

V Raju said...

I completed my long run approx 20 miles on 25th Aug and then started the tapering. I fell sick with fever and cold during my second week and could not run at all, I will be ok by this week end. Next week I hope I will be able to run. My worry is this.. Is it OK to run Marathon without proper tapering? What is your suggession?

Allen said...

Sure! A week without running isn't long enough to have serious degradation of your condition, and giving your body rest while recovering from illness is very good! Walk through the water stops, and if you feel tired during the last 10K, take walking breaks of 30-60 seconds. You'll do fine, Raju!!

V Raju said...

I started running this Sunday - 2 Miles, Monday - 3Miles, Tuesday -Rest, Wednesday ( Today )- 6 Miles. I am OK. But not feeling 100% fit, as I used to feel during my training before the fever !!! There is some stress in the body. I could not eat properly to my capacity during the week I was down with fever. Could that be the reason for this stress? I want to run this Marathon...this coming Sunday.. Hope it is ok to run..!!!

Allen said...

Get as much rest as you can. That is, don't do long distances. Just two or three easy miles. As a suggestion, don't run your marathon for a PB. Just run it easy like. Also as a suggestion, starting with mile 1, take a walking break for a minute every mile. You haven't fully recovered from your fever, and you need to reduce the stress as much as you can from the marathon.

V Raju said...

Thanks for your valuable advice. I did 3 miles today. I am perfectly alright today morning after the run. No signs of the previous fever today morning. Yesterday's 6 miles felt like 12 miles after the run. I will not try for PB at all. Just want to complete my run comfortably. Now I will take two day's rest. May be I will do some walking on Saturday morning. Thanks again. I will write to you after I complete my Marathon..

V Raju said...

Completed Full Marathon in 4 H 50 Min. I stopped running at 38KM mark, and started walking for about 3 km. Then ran the last KM. I was better prepared than the previous one, No injury but only stress to the body. Thanks to your timely advice.

Allen said...

Congratulations, Raju, on completing your marathon! You're a good example to all of us of running injury free!

V Raju said...

Hi, I found that I have a neutral foot (I wet my feet and placed on a paper). And I use running shoes which are quite comfortable and I have no injuries as such. But when I checked my shoes, I found that the outer heel surface is worn out MORE than other areas. Does it mean that I run with heel-strike ? Or could it be mid-foot strike. I am confused. Is it ok to run like this ? Or If I want to improve my speed, should I change my foot stike to forefoot ? Is is OK if I just increase my speed naturally? I am totally confused while reading discussions on this subject??

Allen said...

The wear on your heel is normal for heel-strikers. Your heel hits the ground first, and then your foot pronates to the center of the foot. If the foot pronates too much, then correction is needed in the shoes. Ignore the wear on your heel but look at the soles of the shoes for wear. With a neutral shoe, your soles should have wear in the middle of the sole.

You're not having injuries, so I would suggest you continue with your current shoes. I think a mid-strike is better than a heel strike, and the best way to become a mid-striker is to ignore strike and focus on a faster stride-rate. Aim for a stride-rate of 170-180 steps per minute.

To have a high stride-rate, you will have to take smaller steps, and the smaller steps will automatically be mid-strikes. Thus, you can ignore strike and let your body choose the strike that is best. Don't try to jump up to a faster stride-rate. Make the change gradually.

To become really fast, you will need to do speed training. My page on speed gives suggestions. Hill workouts are like speed, very stressful. Speed and hill workouts are stressful, so only do them once per week, although you can do fartleks and cadence workouts in the middle of your long runs during the week. Just do 2 or 3 fartleks or cadence workouts. Your body will naturally get faster, and that is the safest way to become faster, just letting your body do it naturally. It took me several years, but I advanced from a pace of 13 minutes/mile to 7 minutes/mile with no speed workouts. My body just naturally became faster.

V Raju said...

Completed a Half Marathon yesterday with a timing of 1:52. Actually I had done a few good speed workouts for this Marathon. But due to other engagements could not run for the last 12 days at all. Just managed to arrive at the Marathon venue and ran my heart out... !

Allen said...

Wow! That's a great HM time. Congratulations. I looked back through your comments and found the time of 2:11 for your first half. What was your fastest HM prior to this latest one?

V Raju said...

I did not run any HM Race since Dec 2010. I was preparing for FULL Marathon through out 2011. Now next one I am planning is in Jan 2013, FM.I have kept a reasonable target of 4 : 30 Min for this FM. If I train well, that seems a possibility, but tough.

V Raju said...

I think I have run at a faster pace for the last HM. After 4 days of rest when I ran 2 Miles, I thought enough and stopped. I have pain in both my quadriceps especially the right leg. I hope I will ok in a couple of days. Speed always is risky...! My target time for the HM was only sub 2 Hours. But out of over enthusiasm I ran all out...and finished in 1:52 and this must have caused stress.

Allen said...

I'm sorry to hear about your pain. You have a whole life ahead of you, so give your body some rest while it heals.

Anonymous said...

Im 17 and is running 9km/hr fast?

Allen said...

Anon, we're all different. A mild speed for you might be too fast for me. 9 km/hour is a good pace, although if you're breathing heavily at the end, you're going too fast.

Most of your running should be at a pace in which you could carry on a conversation with a running partner, a pace that seems comfortable to you. This is known as Long Slow Distance or LSD. Speed work should be a small part of your training.

V Raju said...

Hello Sir,
How are you doing? Though I did not participate in any running event throughout the 2013,I have been running all along to improve. I planning for a FM on 1st Dec 2013. I did a 25 km training run in about 2:19 min, which was a little faster than my normal running. I finished my run and did some good stretching, Felt great after the run. But the problem started after the next day. A pain inside the Left knee, difficulty to climb steps or felt unstable to keep my left foot. I searched the net to find the cause. It points to Medial Colateral Ligament injury. But I am not sure what it is. I took three days complete rest. Then started slowly, skipped that weekend long run. Continued and the previous yesterday-Sunday, I did a comfortable LSD 28 KM in 3:10. All is ok. But today I feel a very slight pain at the same spot(inside of the left knee joint). No swelling, no tenderness or does not look like an serious injury. But it makes me worried.It looks like it will vanish in another day. But thought, with your long running experience, request for your comments/thoughts? Have a nice day.

Allen Leigh said...

Hi Raju, nice to hear from you again. It sounds like you're doing the right thing. I only have one suggestion. Cut your distance back and then, after your knee has healed, slowly increase it. Also, be sure you do stretches to strengthen your hips and knees. The hips are important, because they affect the movement of your knee caps.

V Raju said...

Many thanks for the tips.

Raju Viswanatha said...

Hi,
I completed my training run of 32.5km three weeks before the Marathon day. But now two weeks remaining and I am down with cold and fever ! I am recovering after about 4 days of complete rest. So I missed this week end 25K long run. How much should I be running this week end, if I am comfortable to run. I will be obeying my body' signals all the time. Really need some advise on this, please..

V Raju

Allen Leigh said...

Hi Raju,

You're in the middle of your taper, and if it were me, I wouldn't worry about runs not missed. Long runs now won't do you any good, because your body doesn't respond that fast, but they can make you tired for the race. As a suggestion, concentrate on getting over your cold and fever by doing relatively short runs and getting lots of rest. Do some short fartleks so you have bursts of speed at race-pace, but make most of your runs LSD.

Raju Viswanatha said...

Thanks for your comments.I have recovered fully from cold and fever. I ran 3 miles and 6 miles without any problem.
How do we calculate the target time for FM from the time to complete 32 KM long run timings ? I see many calculators from internet, but I want to know a realistic approach. Normally I run at the same pace as my long run for the Marathon as well and I happen to slow down after about 34 km, and then the target timings go haywire. How is this executed properly to reach the target timing, if it is achievable?

Allen Leigh said...

Sorry, but I've never set target times and haven't done any significant reading about them.

One thing that is important is to run negative splits. This means that you run the second half faster than the first half, and this requires that you run a bit slower in the first half so you'll have energy left for the second half.

You mentioned you've run 34 km. That is good. However the last 8 km will be harder than the first 34 km. So, keep on running marathons so your body will get stronger as it adjusts to the long distance of a marathon.

Take your time for 35 km and add extrapolate that to 42 km then add half an hour, and that will likely be a good estimate of your actual time for a marathon.

The key thing is to keep on running long distances of 34 km up to 38 or 39 km and let your body get stronger with each long run or race.

Raju Viswanatha said...

Yes, my plan is to run at the same pace as I run my long runs. That is 6 min per km. and my estimate is 4 H 40 Min ! Now let me see what happens after 32 km :) Will let you know..

Allen Leigh said...

One way to keep from going out too fast is to use a race bracelet or just write on your hand the times for each km or what ever the race uses as distance markers. For the first half, plan on 6.5 or 7 min per km (a bit slower) and then speed up to 6.2 km for a few km and for 6 km for most of the remaining part and the 5.8 for the last part, or what ever you can do. Plan out the times you should reach the various distance markers, and then adjust your pace up or down to reach the next marker at the proper time. To do a negative split, the last half needs to be faster (even if only a few seconds faster) than the first half. Thus, you go a little bit slower during the first half and then speed it up during the last half. If you're like most runners, you'll do some walking during the last few km, and that is OK; just do what you can, and each marathon will give you a bit more strength such that you do less walking.

Raju Viswanatha said...

I managed to complete the Full Marathon on 1st Dec without injury in 4:45:21. It was humid and I struggled after about 34 km. Started walking and I thought I will be able to only walk till the finish.. But somehow after walking for about 1 km, I started running without any problem for about 3 km.. then used run/walk method to complete the race. But felt no cramps or injury. I could run 5km just after two days of complete rest... Though more number of marathons give more experience, the supply of energy stops just after 32 km, though I trained well. This time I tried to do negative split.. ha.. nothing helps after 34 km. Hoping to improve slowly..

Allen Leigh said...

Well, Raju, improvement will come. It just takes time. You did well this time, and you now know that you need to have long runs greater than 34K. You have your whole life ahead of you, and you'll do it!

Raju Viswanatha said...

I have thought that it is not better to do long runs more than 32 km frequently because it gives lot of stress to the heart. Is it so or with proper training it is ok to do long runs more than 32 km every week end?

Allen Leigh said...

Not every weekend. Don't do more than 24 km on a weekly basis. Do more than that before each race, and use the 10% rule in going above 32 km once or twice before each race. If you never do more than 32 km, you'll always have trouble in your races. So, just do more than 32 km once or twice before each race, as you slowly work up during your training from 24 km.

Allen Leigh said...

For example, you do 20-26 km on a weekly basis. Then as you train for your next race you use the 10% rule to advance up to 32 km, and you keep going to 34 or 35 km. Then you drop back to 28-30 km and advance back up to 34-35 km. Then you do a 3-week taper and do your race.

For the next race, you can go up to 36-38 km. For the next race, advance up to 39-42 km.

Just remember to do around 24 km on a weekly basis. As you do more marathons, you might do 26 or 27 km on a weekly basis, and so on. As you said, Raju, the longer distances put a lot of stress on your body, and it takes months and years of experience to have your body to adjust to the longer distances. So, give yourself several marathons more to train for the distances greater than 32 km and use the 10% rule to increase your long runs. Maybe even a 5% increment. Your body will tell you how large to have your increments.

Raju Viswanatha said...

Thanks for the clarifications and now I understood perfectly. Sometimes I get carried away and get injured during my training itself though I recover before the marathon! Now I did 26k yesterday in 2h 35 min and have injured my right knee outer joint area. I have decided to take some rest. But from time to time your advice has motivated me to keep going and I do not have any trainer/coach !!! Thanks.

Allen Leigh said...

I'm sorry, Raju, to hear about your current injury. One comment. When you do your long runs, anything greater than 16 km or so, don't push for speed. Long runs should be LSD, and LSD is a relatively slow pace. Long runs increase endurance, and endurance comes from distance not speed. Of course, during the marathon itself, you go faster. When you do speed workouts, such as farklet or intervals, do them for shorter distances, say 4 km.

This means you strive for a balance between distance and speed. The longer the run, the slower the speed.

Allen Leigh said...

In fact, with intervals, you probably do them for 0.5 km and then repeat them several times with a slow, restful jog between repeats. Speed workouts put a lot of stress on your body, thus the recommendation that you only do them once per week, with days of rest runs 6 km or so before and after the day of speed.

Raju Viswanatha said...

Thank you very much.

Raju Viswanatha said...

Hi,
I did a HM Race on 29th Dec 2013 with a timing of 1:48:54. All went well, took couple of days rest and started running again. But please suggest a good Workout for the right knee joint. After the marathon, my left leg and all other body parts are perfectly alright the very next day. But my right knee outer right side at the joint there is pain. I do not know what it is or how it appears. Could you please suggest a work out to strengthen the knee joint ?

Raju Viswanatha said...

It looks like ITB. with one day rest the pain vanishes. Now strengthening the knees and hips. Wish you a happy new year 2014.

Allen Leigh said...

Glad the pain is gone. The first thing one should do with any pain is take a day or two of rest. Normally, after a HM, you would take about 10 days to rest and recover.

I have in my blog pictures of ITB, hips, and knee static stretches. You can do internet searches for dynamic stretches for those things. All three are related to knee-pain. Also, worn out shoes can cause knee pain. If you use a short running path on your ships or gyms, be sure and run both directions to even out the stress on your knees. Short paths put a lot of stress on your knees.

Raju, you've done very well during the past several years! Congrats, and a nice 2014 to you, too!

Raju Viswanatha said...

Hi Allen, One simple question... :). If I ran Half Marathon at 1h 45 min at my max possible pace to complete that distance, what is the equivalent LSD distance ? or If I can run 21 km at a pace of 12 km/hr, how much distance is that equivalent if run at a pace 10km/hr my LSD pace?

Allen Leigh said...

Hi Raju,

Good questions. I don't know. We're all different, and the answers to your questions would be different for each person. Runners usually think in terms of their max heart rate. Heart rate for LSD is usually around 70% of max. So, if you know your heart rate when you did the HM, you could estimate an increase of distance for LSD.

Many years ago when I ran my first marathon, I was running LSD at 7 minutes/mile. I could go 17 miles at that pace. I knew I couldn't do the 26.2 miles at that pace, so I decreased my pace for the marathon to 8.5 minutes/mile. That was not enough. I finished the marathon at an average pace of 9 minutes/mile. As I said before, we're all different.