Bridge to 10K

Reducing pace

I will graduate from c25k after 2 more runs and want to continue on b210k. I've been injury free and have progressed through the c25k programme normally without any breaks or hiccups. However, at the moment I have one issue, I seem to have only one gear -"Go!".

I've tried running more slowly but always come back to the same general pace ( have managed to only back off from 5.10 down to 5.34 with increasing run time and that's through constantly thinking about pace as I run). I'm clearly not fit enough to be running that pace as evidenced by my heartrates (max hr 178, ave 159, age 55, guide is 220 minus 55y=165) and beetroot face/buckets of sweat cascading down my face/wobbly leg syndrome at the end of 30mins. So I am pretty much in high exertion mode and even though I start off saying to myself "nice and easy now" I always settle in at 4.50 then 5.20-30 and finish with a faster last km without thinking about it.

I "run" rather than jog and have tried to jog but I can't do it! It seems unnatural somehow.

Wise-heads on the c25k forum always reinforce the "Slow down!" mantra, so it's not like I don't know that I need to ease off and just put in the distances to get stamina.

So my question is, what's a good strategy to ease back to an effort level of "running whilst holding a conversation". I joined a club recently but they run much faster than 5.50-6.00 ( judging by Strava data). Or should I just continue doing what comes naturally and eventually my fitness improvement will match my preferred pace?

As background I ran Xcountry for my school (1970's) but no "running" after that. Was a competitive cyclist in my youth (1980's) and just badminton, cricket and long distance hiking thereafter so I had a basic level of fitness before starting c25k. (Resting heartrate 43, max 178 ave 159 on last 30 min run 5.5km, 5.34 min/km, VO2 max 44)

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How did you come to the understanding that your max HR is 178? And what length of run did that average HR of 159 come from? It is quite possible that your max HR is indeed about 20 beats higher than your calculated 220-age figure - mine is too. BUT - I would need to know how you came to that average before I could comment much further. It certainly sounds like you are running much too fast - probably at about your 5K race pace. eg I would expect somebody who ran a 5k race as fast as they can ( in other words a 5KPB) would run an average of 90% of their maxHR

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Woops! - I didn't see that you had provided those details at the bottom of your post. I can see that you have a low resting heart rate - indicating a good level of fitness - and that your Heart Rate Reserve is 135 ( which gives you a great range to play with) . Thus your average HR of 159 for a 5.5K run is 85% of your Heart Rate Reserve - something I would expect from a VERY hard effort over 5K. - basically a race ! I think that at age 55 , you have a very good future in road running!! :) However - yes, you are going to need to slow down. But you are going to need to understand more about running training - and the need to run different distances at different paces. I recommend the running Bible to you amazon.com/Daniels-Running-... There is everything in there that you need to know. His training and race pace calculator is here runsmartproject.com/calcula... From this, if you are able to run a 27:30 5K now , then your slow easy/long pace is recommended by Daniels to be around 7:00 mins per K. - but faster paces for Tempo pace workouts and intervals. Most 10K training programmes just aim to get you to be able to run 10K with no pace recommended - however now knowing your fitness level as indicated by your figures that you have given, I would recommend that you try to get there by running around that 7:00 min pace . After that you can rerun a 5K time trial/race and determine future training paces.

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Thanks Bazza! That's great info. Will look up that book as a starting point. Much appreciated!

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Hi Bazza. Got data from my new toy (Garmin) last run data 30 min run 5.5km, 5.34 min/km, VO2 max 44.

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To help you run at conversational pace, it helps to run with someone (preferably slower than you and run at their pace) and talk the whole time. As lovely as this is, it isn't always possible so what I do now ---- SING 🎶 out loud 🙊🙉. I don't sing the whole time, I usually wait until a favourite song comes on (and not while passing dog walkers on the path 😆) but if I'm questioning if I'm running too fast I see if I can get through a chorus. If not, slow it down. Learning to slow down is very hard. At first it feels like you're barely moving but once you master it, it makes running, especially for longer times and duration, so much more enjoyable. If you're not a singer, try to recite something out loud. If you can't say a few sentences, then you are still going too fast. Best of luck. Like everything else, it'll come with practice.

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Ha ha, serves me right for not listening to music when I run! Good idea!

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I have the same issue - I’m not as fast as you (can manage an average of 5:56 p/km over 5K) but seem unable to slow down as it feels unnatural and forced. I definitely couldn’t hold a conversation whilst running so something needs to chance if I’m going to manage longer distances!

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I know, It's not like I don't know I need to, like you it just does not seem easy to do. That must sound odd given I end up as a heap of heaving beetroot after 30 mins!

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I wonder what your cadence is? Running at around 5.30 m/km I'd expect to see a cadence of at least 180 spm, and I'm thinking maybe yours is slower - perhaps you have a long stride? Can you run past a few shop windows to watch yourself running slowly to get an idea of what you're doing?*

This article has a few useful ideas I think:

chirunning.com/blog/entry/s...

Not that there's anything particularly wrong with running that fast, but if you're thinking of running longer distances it's worth working on your slow-running form (this might also help prevent injury). And it's good for your overall fitness too :)

*I see now that you run in an underground car park - car windows? :)

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Cadence 169 according to my new a Garmin (love it! ). So yes, maybe I sm striding too much?

Bunker mentality: I've actually been running outside for the last 3 weeks (unseasonably warm here in Finland).

But yes, I know what you mean about cadence. I do lots of long distance hiking and I reduced my stride length a few years ago, which miraculously cured blisters (anecdotal I know).

Thanks for the link. Will look at form guidance.

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Good article roseabi. Some interesting points. I might go for a super-slow jomp soon to see how it works out!

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I have been training for a HM over the past couple of months. In order to increase distance I have needed to slow down. Like you, I found this tough. I have been doing my training through basics which gives a guideline pace, and for the first mile or so I keep a very close watch of my pace on my phone. I force myself to slow down. It is hard at first, but after a mile or so I find I fall into the rhythm of the pace and it is easier to maintain. Be disciplined to begin with, it does pay off.

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So like Bazza says, maybe I should set 7 min/km limit on my watch (can Garmin do maxima? ) and go for a longish jomp?

It's really interesting that a lot of c25k to b210k runners have this issue. I thought it was just me! Really appreciative of the feedback!

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Like you I assumed it would be easy. But you really have to focus.

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I'm 46, have been running since August and have exactly the same issues. I got a watch for my birthday on Saturday so I'm hoping that will help me slow down a bit. I can now run for 7.5 miles, but always at the same effort level (hard), but I tire really quickly when I try to slow down. I've tried so many times! I also joined a club and found they run faster than me, and I also am hoping my fitness level will catch up. I've started working on fartleks, but my watch tells me I'm not slowing down enough in between the sprints (like I didn't already know!!). I'm interested to follow this post, as I've not had chance to read any replies and I'm off to work now, but will check back later.

Thanks so much for posting, I know it's not only me that struggles with this. It's come at the right time as this is what I'm focusing on at the mo.

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I've set 7 min/km alarm on my Garmin so it buzzes when I go above or below that pace. Will do a short super slow jog session to see if I can do it at that pace. Also set a heartrate alert for going from threshold into zone 5 so I know when I'm trying too hard. Let's see.

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How did you do this? And is it something specific to certain devices? I have a Garmin Vivoactive HR.

(Don't worry if you don't know off the top of your head, I can always look it up... just being lazy!)

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Sorry Helene, I missed this reply till now. On the Garmin you can create a wirkout (on the phone app or webpage) then download to the watch. You can set pace, speed, cadence, heart rate limits that cause watch to buzz/remind you.

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Oh my word. I’m a very recent C25k graduate. I had no idea I had to consider all this running science!!!! Just getting to 5k makes me happy. Looks like I’ve a lot still to learn but happy to take it on board with this forum’s fantastic support 😃

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Thank you so much for posting on this issue, Lordi, and thank you to all the other responders, as it's something that interests me a lot too. It is NOT easy to slow down.

On one occasion I went for a very early morning run leaving the kids at home, something I don't like to do. I stayed close by but felt nervy and, since my eldest was awake, I spent almost the entire run talking to her on the phone. It was quite weird but definitely forced me to tackle my pace (not brilliantly, but it was a start). So the holding-a-conversation criterion seems to be a good one.

Do let us know how you get on with this, and keep sharing tips! I want to start training for an HM in September and I know I will have to get to grips with this if I want to extend my distance without injury.

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That's interesting! Thanks for that! Maybe a good solution might be to talk on the phone for a few runs to get the right idea about a good pace!?

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Just a quick word about "running too fast". On rereading this post it stuck me that it might sound like a brag of sorts - but believe me it really is not! None of us " too fast" runners run very fast at all! We maybe just run far too fast for our own level of fitness, so we end up shattered, red-faced, wobbly legged, and probably in danger of bursting a blood vessel or worse.

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Exactly! I'm certainly not breaking any records and am routinely overtaken by "serious" runners - but I know that at this pace my knees will not withstand the increase in distance i am aiming for.

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I understand this totally. I had one speed too - ON. If I slowed down I felt like I wasn't doing the programme properly. My inner monster was telling me I had to run as fast as I could on every run.

Then I roped two people in to do the C25k programme - my slim but unfit 13 year old daughter and a work colleague who had returned after 12 months maternity leave. I have accompanied both and they run slower than me. Initially I felt like my run was a waste of time as I didn't end it hot, sweaty and exhausted. Then I realised I actually quite enjoyed it! As well as being a useful pace setter to my fellow runners, I felt like I could go on forever. This can only be a good thing for increasing distances every week.

So, find a friend to run with or use technology to pace you and you will get over that need to flog yourself every run. Keep us posted!

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This is probably not too helpful - but it made me realise I have the opposite problem - I can’t find a faster gear when I need one! I am ace at the nearly on the spot micro-jog but I would like to be a bit faster. I am hoping it will come with time.

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Looking more closely at my Garmin data, then for my last run it shows only 1% of time in Zone 1, 0% in Zone 2, 6% Zone 3, 56% Zone 4 and 37% Zone 5!

So solution is I should be running more slowly in Zone 3?

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I've learn't to jog!

Well good news! I went for a deliberate slow run today after an enforced 6 day rest due to the lurgy/cold. I now have the benefit of my new Garmin235 watch to help with pace and heartrate zone warnings so I set those up to warn me at 6 min/km and 7 min/km, as well as if I stray into heartrate zone 5 at any time. Maybe it was because this was a post- illness "let's see how it goes" or " just a test run" this "doesn't count/it's not an official run" but I managed to dial the pace right back to what felt like running on the spot but leaning forwards a bit!

I ran inside (the nuke bunker/ Batcave) as it's 13 degrees down there and minus lots outside.

I was in heartrate zone 2 for 34:09, zone 3 for 29:20 and didn't stray even into zone 4! Km times were 6.06, 6:39, 6:12, 6:28, 6:17, 6:26, 6:27, 6:30, 6:18, 7:03...and yes you spotted it, I felt so good, not breathing hard at all, very low heart rate and not sweating much at all, that I just carried on running right up to 10km! I know I must be a bit if a looney but I felt so good with no issues, solid legs, and it was great to get running again after being sick, all good.

Distance: 10.01 km, 1 hour 4:30, pace 6:27, 516 calories. hr 131 ave, 156 max, cadence 158. Didn't have gps just the Garmin accelerometer/treadmill "indoor" mode.

I haven't even graduated from c25k yet as that was run W9R2 so one run left to do on c25k. I will treat this also as my b210k W1 long run.

It's interesting that the calorie burn is almost the same as with my normal 30 min 5:25 min/km "runs" approx 5.5-6 km.

The take-away from this for those wanting to "run slower"/ within our current fitness is I guess to get a good running watch that can set alerts and give you the hr data you need to run at a low exertion level. Maybe just the evidence from my run that just slowing down by 1-1.5 min/km can put you way down into heart rate zone 2/3 and will mean you can run all day (subject to those legs being strong enough). And with the illness episode, maybe treat the "slow run experiment" session as an unofficial/let's see how it goes kindda run.

strava.com/activities/13529...

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