Endurance waning? 5K pace getting longer, mayb... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Endurance waning? 5K pace getting longer, maybe because I've been doing Fitness Blender HIIT on alternate days.

ButterCookie profile image

I'd begun a 5 day Fitness Blender challenge last Sunday to help keep my fat levels in check. Even though I took adequate rest in between, my 5K time has gone up by 3-5 minutes. I was running at a steady pace for the past one month, sometimes alternating interval speeds and sometimes taking it slow.

However, now I've become way slower than before and I'm just hoping that it will change as my fitness level improves.

17 Replies

That’s interesting, maybe the HIIT is tiring your legs a little,

ButterCookie profile image
ButterCookieGraduate in reply to WillowandSola

That's my suspicion too. I don't feel any extra stiffness but I feel like the change in routine has been a little tiring. Hopefully, I will feel better in a week or two.

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator

If you want to build your stamina and endurance then you need to run slowly, at an easy conversational pace for 80% of your running time........not trying to hit a target speed. Faster is not better in this case. Only 20% of running should be speed work.

Why not give yourself a rest and just do something less stressful than HIIT like going for a walk, or yoga.

If you are trying to lose weight then 90% is down to diet.

ButterCookie profile image
ButterCookieGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

Thank you for your tips! I thoroughly enjoy running at a conversational pace and as nowster suggested, after taking it easy for a week, I might try longer runs. But for now. I think I'll look into low impact exercises and up my yoga. Thank you! Since I have a condition that affects my hormone balance, controlling my diet barely helps. I'm eating a balanced diet that's around my recommended caloric intake level and fasting intermittently.

For my body, only working out helps. I began doing strength and HIIT so that I don't end up running the next time a curfew or lockdown comes around in my country. I'd actually been at a good weight thanks to the C25K program before the most recent lockdown. That, combined with rains meant that I couldn't run for around 3 months. Now I'm focusing on both home workouts as well as jogging for a more holistic approach.

nowster profile image
nowsterGraduate

An alternative way to burn fat is to do very much longer slower runs, 90 minutes or over. There's a shift in metabolism when you do that, but you have to work up to it very gradually.

ButterCookie profile image
ButterCookieGraduate in reply to nowster

That seems like good direction to go in. After around 35 minutes, I usually feel thoroughly dehydrated even after keeping myself very hydrated. The worst part is that I feel quite guilty when I stop for water breaks or to use the restroom. Hopefully, I will get over that soon and try longer runs. Thank you so much for this wonderful idea, I'm actually looking forward to a change in scenery and longer runs.

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to ButterCookie

This post about hydration may be helpful to you healthunlocked.com/couchto5... especially for longer runs.

ButterCookie profile image
ButterCookieGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

Thank you, I'll look into it.

nowster profile image
nowsterGraduate in reply to ButterCookie

Are you drinking enough during the non-running times? You shouldn't really be getting dehydrated after half an hour.

I wouldn't normally take any water or treats with me on a run that takes an hour or less. On the other hand, I definitely would for one that takes 90 minutes or more.

At about the 90 minute mark (for me, but that will vary between individuals) the glycogen reserves have been used up and the body has to find other energy sources. For that it can burn fat and it can burn protein.

It's possible to smooth out the transition by eating something starchy before the run (eg. wholemeal toast) that will give a slower release of carbohydrates but not feel heavy in the stomach.

The body will burn both fat and protein, but will prefer the fat if there is any around. It'll burn protein too, which is why you shouldn't skimp on taking in protein after exercise, and it's yet also another reason why you need rest days after a long run. Also, if you're doing this, an extremely low fat diet would be most unhelpful as that would encourage protein burning.

No fancy diet needed either. Eat a normal balanced diet. It's also normal to feel ravenous after a really long run, which isn't surprising if you've just burned over 1000 Calories doing it. If you were doing this professionally things would be different, of course.

But I've put the cart before the horse. You're still about the half hour level at the moment, and this is all about 3 months away if you were to do gradual increases each week.

ButterCookie profile image
ButterCookieGraduate in reply to nowster

I drink somewhere between 2.5-3.5l of water on most days. And right before my run, I drink around 200ml of water. Usually, I make sure that my urine is as pale as possible on run days. My diet is pretty balanced, good amounts of protein and fat. Nothing in excess. However, I think having something starchy before my run might help me.

Cmoi profile image
CmoiGraduate

HI ButterCookie, I'm tempted to say do less, not more! I don't know what you mean by keeping your fat levels in check, but if you weren't running or doing other regular exercise before C25K, I suspect your body's wondering what's hit ( or HIIT) it.

You need rest to repair muscles; constantly pushing for more, without rest, is likely to result in tiredness or injury.

Also agree with nowster about the longer runs - in my case (60 year old female) it was only when I started running longer distances, slower, that I lost a bit of weight and noticed an increase in muscle and decrease in fat.

ButterCookie profile image
ButterCookieGraduate in reply to Cmoi

I was doing mostly resistance training and had to take several months of rest due to a tendon injury before C25K. However, I'm not a stranger to HIIT and I do agree with you that I should probably take it a little easier. Thank you for sharing your experience with longer runs, it's very encouraging!

Cmoi profile image
CmoiGraduate in reply to ButterCookie

Fwiw, at the start of 2020, after consuming ridiculous quantities of food and wine over Christmas and New Year, my BMI was 26. When I completed C25K on 30th June 2020 it was 24.5. It's now 22.8.

My average pace, on the other hand, is no faster. Slower, if anything! However, I'm now training for a trail marathon and so am running much further and with much more elevation, on varied terrain - forest tracks, muddy paths, etc. I always thought I'd enjoy faster runs. I was wrong.

ButterCookie profile image
ButterCookieGraduate in reply to Cmoi

That's very interesting and thank you so much for sharing your stats. Before C25K, my BMI had shot up to 23.5 and soon after, it was around 22.1. Then a lockdown and a month of rain later, it is at 24. Your response gives me hope because even I enjoy slower runs, taking in the scenery!

nowster profile image
nowsterGraduate in reply to Cmoi

My first weight drop was during and just after C25K. That was a shift in diet, and cutting out some treats (like eating a whole packet of biscuits at one sitting). However, the excesses of the Christmas season didn't shift the bathroom scales.

The second (smaller) drop was when I started doing much longer runs. It was like a switch had been flipped in my metabolism. I was eating more but not putting on any weight.

ButterCookie profile image
ButterCookieGraduate in reply to nowster

I have also mostly cut down on snacking. Portion control helps me indulge without going overboard. I don't buy biscuits anymore but I sneak a cupcake every now and then. :D I just hope to improve my metabolism and enjoy my runs. Thank you for sharing!

nowster profile image
nowsterGraduate in reply to ButterCookie

Instead of snacking on a packet of digestives or ginger nuts, nowadays I tend to have a slice of cheese instead.

My weight did go up whilst on holiday recently, but not by much. My activity levels were different (more walking, less running) and we were treating ourselves more. After a week back home, I'm back to where I was.

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