Faster or stronger/easier??

I have always noticed that most training programmes on the Internet ( regardless of distance) go something like this . Three levels of programme -

Beginner -- running to finish

Intermediate -- running to improve time/performance of previous race

Advanced -- - accomplished competitive runner -- competing for even faster times.

OK - so I am a Beginner - Running to Finish - But I have already now finished a 5k race, 10K race and HM. I don't want to improve my 'times' - what I want to do is to run the distances easier/stronger.

I can now, after 2 years , run the 5K distance at will -- sometimes fast (for me, sometimes slow -- but the 5K no longer holds any fear for me.

But 10K - and 21K are a different matter - I have "experienced" them both once. But now I want to conquer them -- forget times/pace , I just want to be able to run them strongly and easily.

I am guessing that what I need to do is just to run - more and more - longer and longer - at a slow pace.

16 Replies

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  • I'm with you on this one... finishing "strong" is my goal even if the pace is slow. My focus had always been to distance rather than speed as I enjoy being out there for an hour or two. I have a HM next weekend and completed my last long run yesterday of 15k in about 2 hours... not fast, but feel OK today and what a great way to spend a sunny afternoon. :-)

  • My thinking exactly. Time is less important, I want to be able to finish without feeling dead on my feet and enjoy it!

  • Yes - the ladies should be able to finish with their makeup still in place - and the men should be able to finish with their hair still parted !! :)

  • No chance of that! Even when I still feel very much alive I will have sweat in my eyes :-)

  • I agree with your motivation Bazza but personally I think that at our age, short intense training runs are the way to go. Less risk of injury and, despite it being counter-intuitive , such runs do apparently increase your stamina.

  • Who knows??? :) But , the trouble is that at the end of the day, we have to run a distance ( that is - if it is a race distance)

  • I agree. I will try and do a long run once every one or two weeks, but I have to confess that before I ran in the 10 mile race this month the furthest I had ever run was 12 Kilometres, and that was only on one occasion! Instead, I had concentrated on hill runs and interval training. However, on the day itself, I didn't find the extra distance was a problem. I think I will go down the same route this time, if only because I find long runs on my own rather an intimidating prospect and will find any reason I can to get out of doing them!

  • I'm interested to read this. I'm doing a 10k in a few weeks and for various reasons I'm unlikely to run further than 8k before then. The last time I ran 10k was July and that was only for the third time. Given I now regularly run 8k including hills I was thinking I'd be ok. I was wondering whether I was fool hardy in feeling relaxed about this but your post has made me feel better. Thanks ☺

  • I'm with you on this one!

    The training plans that I have seen concentrate on achieving the fastest time for a one-off event, like a HM, but do so by running frequently and/or fast but never really approaching that distance. You then taper towards the race to give you an extra edge to make the final push to full distance.

    I would much rather go into a HM having run a HM distance every fortnight for 3 months leading up to it (or something like that) so that the distance holds no fear.

    One option might be to adopt a training plan for a longer distance (say a marathon plan) which necessarily takes you over the HM distance but then max out the long runs at 13 miles (or, say, 15 if you want to be really sure).

    I had a look at a myasics.com training plan, putting in male, 59, currently running HM at 2:36 wanting to run a marathon. That gives a plan which builds up to a regular HM distance over around 12-14 weeks. It then goes into "race simulation" phase where the distances for the long runs rapidly increase, but you could just ignore that phase and carry on running the HM weeks once a month, or something. Once you have done that a few times you will be quite sure you can make the distance!

    Good luck!

    Ugi

  • What a gorgeous blog and my thoughts about this are so similar, your love of running shines through and I have no doubt that you will get stronger and those distances will seem smaller as time goes by.....

  • Great post Bazza, and I totally agree.

    I would love to be able to finish " strong " rather than feeling like I am going to collapse in a heap just before the finishing line and need to be dragged over it :-) xxx

  • I built up to 10k on my long run, adding 1km each week. I now run 10k once every week.

    1st time, legs like jelly at the end.

    2nd time, just a bit wobbly.

    3rd time better again.

    4th .. 5th time .. just like ending a 5k really.

    At this point, (probably 3 months or so of running 10k every week), I can do 10k fine. Wouldn't call it easy, because, well, it's a long way, but my body is definitely getting conditioned to it. I'm not fast, at around 1 hour 20 mins for the 10k. But tending to improve my time over time.

    So, I think you just have to run it more often to get used to it. Do I fear a 10k, no, but it is a daunting distance. I'm not sure what doing it strongly means, but I know I can do it, and finish it, and at the end be able to walk rather than hobble or collapse in a heap !

    I'd like to see my time improve, and I'm hoping that it improves over the coming months (maybe years). Turnturtle has improved her 5k time over the last couple of years, so I'm taking that as hope that I can do the same !

  • 10K - once per week for 3 months??? Hmm - I think that would fit nicely into my plans for the next 3 months. Maybe - 4 months - because I do have to work back up to 10K non-stop - I have done it many times but not for a while - all my long-running for the HM training was run/walk.

  • My worry about entering a 10K race is that I will not finish strongly. I was up to 10k before my back injury a few months ago, and need to up my distances again sensibly, but I won't enter a race until I feel comfortable at 10k. And I don't want to run/walk, because I find it very difficult to get started again once I walk - it's as though, once I walk, my brain is conditioned to think, 'Great! Shower, coffee and toast :) '

  • I think that's an admirable ambition, and one I agree with.

    I'm off to Spain next year and my partner suggested I look to see if there's an event I can take part in while we are out there. "...but only 10k. Something that's not too taxing"

    What! 10k isn't taxing? You have to be joking. Nice compliment though :) and there is some truth to it. 10k doesn't scare me anymore even if it is tough.

  • Yes I'd agree. Slow is the answer I reckon. Slow and steady takes us places. You are far less likely to get injured doing a long, slow jog. If you happen to enjoy them then that's half the battle.

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