Building a better aerobic base, for eventual 10K

I've completed C25K and although I managed to run it just inside 30 mins (eventually), I was half dead by the end of it, gasping for breath. It doesn't feel that good. It's like I have only one gear called 'running' a. And that gear can't do hills. I am useless at running hills. So I've decided to go right back to the beginning and try and build a better aerobic base. On Monday and Wednesday I ran for an hour each time really slowly. I covered just over 7KM each time and ran very comfortably. I could have run longer. Do you think this is a sensible way forward? Should I add five minutes each week in order to stretch it out towards 10K or should I add half a KM and try run that within an hour? Or should I also be doing a shorter, faster run? Does anyone have any advice?

It feels really good to run for an hour. It feels like it's doing me lots of good. I'd be very grateful for advice as to a way forward.

22 Replies

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  • Variation is probably a good idea, if you are running three times a week, maybe consider something like:

    1) A 5K at a comfortable pace (3-4 minutes slower than a flat out effort)

    2) A 5K intervals session (say repeats of a 5 minute jog followed by 2-3 minutes at a very fast pace)

    3) A long slow run (adding 5 minutes each week would be fine).

  • Thanks so much, Dunder2004. I was kind of confused as some things I've read recommend varying the distance and pace and one or two things I've read say you need to be patient about building an aerobic base and not tempted to run fast.

    I really enjoy the longer slow runs.

  • Sounds very sensible!

  • You can do hills . . . just slow down and see how far you get before you absolutely have to walk. And then next time set yourself a wee challenge to go to the next *tree * bush * telegraph pole *blade of grass or whatever marker you can find. Keep adding on a bit further each time And sooner or later you will run up a whole hill and smile to yourself. Once you've got that, then you can try to do them a bit quicker, using the same method. But instead of slowing down to a walk, just slow down.

    Honestly it's totally possible:)

  • We all find a way towards our goals. For me, building speed, introducing intervals and doing structured programmes did not work. I preferred to get 5k as a regular three times a week pattern. Then one good run day, I ran on to 5.5k. After that, I ran 2 x 5 plus a "long run" day, did a 6, then a 7, 8 (then couldn't wait) I did a 10! This is still almost my weekly habit. I allowed speed to increase as it felt comfortable and I still only run at 7.30 mins per km, but my distances are good. I found tempo and speed running plus distance increasing only ended in injury for me

  • After I finished C25K (which was actually running 30 minutes not 5k) i spent several months just consolidating. My times reducedโ€‹ as i got fitter, and eventually i increased the distance.

    Good luck!

  • Like others, I spent a few weeks just consolidating my 3 x 5k runs before extending one in to my weekly long run. I used the 10% rule as a guide - that is, not extending the long run by more than 10% of my previous weekly total. This is considered a safe way to avoid injury. Some weeks though I just repeated the previous weeks long run. It's important to listen to your body. As for hills, I think Davoda gives some really good advice. Remember to stay relatively upright (don't lean in to the hill too much) and aim for the same level of effort by using smaller steps. It does take time but hills do make you a lot stronger and you will see your times on the flat come down naturally too! Sounds like you are really enjoying your running which is great, and I agree with that feeling you get after a long run! ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿค—

  • All great advice above! If you have a 5k loop with hills you can use, this is a good way to train hills. Longer slow runs and also intervals/ fartlek are all good to help you build, but remember slow and steady building throughout.

    Enjoy, every run will get you closer to your aim!

  • Hi there, Thank you all for your replies. I think I'll leave the hills and speed work for a month and spend the month concentrating entirely on establishing a proper aerobic base, which means running within my aerobic heart rate zone. Some research suggests not mixing it with interval training or hills (as that takes you to a higher heart rate zone that burns lactic acid). I'll be adding hills and trying to improve my speed later, but in the meantime, I'll slow down and do three hour-long runs each week in my aerobic HR zone. (I'm fatter than I'd like to be and hopefully it will help sort that out too.) Hopefully at the end of a month my running aerobically will be a bit faster so I'll have a better base from which to improve my running. I'll then take on all your advice re hills and speed work etc. Thank you so much.

  • Sounds like you have decided on a way forward๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ I cannot find a 5k or 10k route without hills where i live. Consequently i 'run hills' ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

  • Same here!

  • Sounds good.

    Just one thing to bear in mind is that your lactic threshold, the point at which your body flushes out lactic acid more slowly than it is being produced, is at the upper end of your 'threshold zone'.

    Of course to know what your actual zones are you have to know your maximum heart rate (or lactic threshold) and to establish this there is no substitute for actually testing it which is not recommended at this stage of tour running journey.

  • Just enjoy your running. If you love a long slow run (and who doesn't) then have one. Just progress slowly and you will not hurt yourself ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Hi again.

    I've just found this calculator - useful tool to help you work out what you should be aiming for:)

  • The problem is knowing your maximum heart rate (or the lactic threshold as an alternative). The generic calculations (like 220 minus your age) are worthless really.

    I did the brutally exhausting test to establish mine but I wouldn't recommend it for a relative beginner.

  • I just entered what was the highest heart rate on my Garmin from a time I knew I was at my maximum๐Ÿ˜€

  • From experience, your actual MHR is probably 3-4bpm above that level.

  • Thanks - that's useful to know.

  • I've done hills X12 at a fitness bootcamp where on hill 4 my HR reached 215. (My resting HR is 54.)

  • Best advice I got about hills was not to slow my pace but to shorten my steps. Trick is to get the right pace for you from the beginning of course :)

  • After reading some more I am now convinced it's OK to mix it up a bit. (There is so much conflicting information out there about how to train your body to run.) So following Dunder's and others' advice, this week I'm thinking of doing this:

    1 x 65 minute run (adding 5 mins from last week).

    1 x 5K run, comfortable pace (a little faster than my long run but still cofortable).

    1 x 2.5K best effort run (as fast as I can comfortably go to complete it) and then 20 mins doing some hills and some Fartlek bursts.

    Does this sound reasonable?

    I'll cross train on the rowing machine on days I'm not running.

    Really the best thing I can do for my running is to shed some weight. Hopefully, this exercise will address that. I'm also watching what I eat.

    Thanks so much for helping this rookie runner. It's a brilliantly supportive community.

  • Just thought I'd update.

    I spent the past couple of months doing one long slow run a week (60/70/80 or even sometimes 90 minutes), a hills session a week, a shorter 5K run a week. Plus a 6K rowing session, and a weights session. Quite a lot of exercise! Plus I've been trying to watch what I eat which is sometimes difficult as I'm sometimes really hungry.

    It's worked really well. I'm now running 10K. (Although not quickly!) But my aerobic base has improved immensely. Hills are becoming a little easier. So I'm going to keep going with this regime and then after another couple of months, I'll start trying to work on the speed.

    Thank you so much for all your help.

    PS the hills session I do is on a treadmill: 4 mins on incline 5 running as fast as you can sustain, then reduce the incline to 0.5 and notch the speed down to do a slow recovery run for 3 minutes. Do four sets of these. It's a really useful 30 minute workout.

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