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Running - am i killing myself?

Question for runners or anyone really...

I've been running pretty consistently 40miles a week for the last 7 months and had sort of plateaued my progress recently. My goal is to break 90 minutes in a half marathon next month and I am stuck on pace to go about 93-94. This led me to deciding trying something new.

I thought I'd try and increase the mileage. 12-13miles Sun pm, Mon am, Tue pm, Thur am, Fri am, Sat pm - about 75 miles. Goal is to just do a steady pace for all of them and really push the limits of what I can do, hoping for some sort of different strength development maybe.

The first one was easy, took it easy and felt fine.
Mondays was tough, having a tough time for the first 20 minutes then picked up.
Tuesday, started slow, got fast for the next 60 minutes, then 2 or 3 miles from home just about totally ran out of water or something... My lungs are a bit weak feeling and my stomach isn't begging for food like it should be. Legs feel fine really, heart rate was pretty consistent, no spiking or dropping off. Times are within 1 minute of each other so far but perceived effort fluctuates.

Do I keep going for the next 3 runs? Is this going to ruin me?


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    apana790apana790 Posts: 76
    You should be doing running at your target race pace or slightly above if you want to get a faster time, not increasing the distance. Stick to your original mileage but just run faster pace, maybe do some intervals
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    Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Hmm.. You want to run faster.. so you are doing more miles..

    If you want to run faster, you need to practise running faster.

    Just running more, and faster, will lead to injury. You might get so depressed by that, that do end up killing yourself

    Time spent is far more important than miles covered.
    You need a mix of quality, as well as slower runs.

    You need to be increasing your lactate threshold - i.e. the maximum speed that you can run at before your muscles start using anerobic energy sources.

    This is done by doing thing like tempo runs, LT pace runs, intervals (high speed for a short period of time).

    Doing what you are at the moment, you will be fatigued all the time, and your body will take longer to recover. You could easily reduce the mileage, introduce some intervals etc. and just find yourself quickly moving off your plateau - i.e. get faster more quickly

    If you can cope with a bit of science, then go and get a copy of "Jack Daniel's Running Formula".
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    +1 for running faster not further.
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    TRIumphantTRIumphant Posts: 850
    Focused training is the way to go, not more training.
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    clv101clv101 Posts: 45
    75 miles a week seems way too much. Are you doing much shorter runs - Just one mile a maximum speed, Intervals etc. I'd cut back to well under 40 miles a week with one ~13 mile a week and the rest of the miles covered over shorter, faster runs.
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    md6md6 Posts: 969
    I'm going to take a step in the opposite direction (and prepare to be shot down)

    You run 13 miles every time? I think you should probably chang ethe way you run - 75 miles pw is a little high, particularly if you are doing the other 2 disciplines too. I would be tempted to cut back to say 60 miles, with one LSD run being about 16 - 18 miles, a tempo run of about 8 to 10 above goal pace, an easier run of 10 to 15 and then some intervals or hills. Plus rest, a lot of running plans are on a 3 week build, one week easy cycle, so every 3 or 4 weeks have a light week to allow yourself to recover. Each run should have a specific purpose, one to build that extra endurance, one to increase speed, one to increase strength and one to recover.
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    BmanBman Posts: 442
    I'll go with the majority on this one. Speed training, intervals and hills all the way if you want to get faster.
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    danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    I haven't been cycling more than once a week and I don't remember the last time I did more than 2k in the pool, so its been pretty run focused recently.

    In my mind, this 75mpw was just a one off thing to give my legs a different stimulus. Then I'd pare it back to 50 and the more regular tempo and threshold runs included. My legs feel good today at ~40 miles over the last 3 days, so that is a relief.

    Every run I do has some hills in it, since I like to run around Wimbledon common.

    For the last several months my schedule was some variant of:
    M: 5-7mi steady
    T: 8-10mi steady
    W: 5-7mi tempo
    Th: 8-10mi @ HM pace
    F: rest
    Sa: 10-15mi steady
    Su: rest

    I just wanted to get out of that rut. Do you think swapping the monday or wednesday for intervals?

    What type of interval running do you think best for HM prep? 1km repeats? Something like 5x1000m+200recovery?

    I've never done focused interval training since most of my running has been focused on HM and Marathon races and I don't know much where to start. I can't see much use in 400m repeats, but I don't know.

    Thanks for the advice so far.
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    Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    have a look at one of the Marathon plans on www.runnersworld.co.uk. There is a smart coach feature that can be access at http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/defaulttraining.asp?sp=&v=3 where you get to put in your current level, training goals, how much you do etc.

    I can't vouch for the plans - but they seem OK at a broad level - and will give you an idea of speed work etc.

    Give it a whirl.
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    danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    The RW schedules look alright. I'm just surprised that they'd recommend things like 200 and 400m intervals in prep for a half marathon. It wasn't what I thought. I'll give it a go but might bump up some of the mileage in the 4 and 5 mile runs. I don't feel like its worth doing three days of 5mile easy runs in a week, a month before your race.

    Another question on intervals... I don't have access to a track. Is it okay to do them on a treadmill? I seem to run quicker, easier on a treadmill. If I have the option to slow, unconsciously I end up that way. With a belt whirring along under me, that isn't an option if I don't want to get spit off the back.
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    chischis Posts: 94
    Yeh I agree with most of the previous posts - you would seem to have enough of an endurance base with your current mileage and you now need a bit more "quality". Tempo sessions, intervals etc are the way forward rather than more miles at the same pace. The latter leads to what is known in the running club scene as "junk mileage".

    Good luck with the training - with a few months of say twice weekly speed work you will crack that 90min barrier with ease.
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    Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    It is tricky to do intervals without a track. You can substitute fartlek which works quite well - especially if you have a HRM so that you can make sure that you are really putting the required effort in.

    Track is great if you don't have an HRM - but just a basic stop watch - it's also good for a group of you. It's one reason to consider joining a club, as most clubs (running or tri) will have a regular track session.

    Alternatively, you can mark out a road route - i.e. work out where the distance points are, and use that - a bit like fartlek, but pre-programmed. Even easier if you have a GPS or other distance device. A nice long modern road with evenly spaced lamposts is great for that sort of thing!
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    diddsdidds Posts: 655
    the runners world plans got me through a half marathon (where i didn't really start training properly for the foirst couple of weeks, then did most of my training on trail rather than pavement which was an issue in the race) and got me a cracking time in a 10 miler two months later.

    My understanding if the intervals work for a HM (FWTW!) is that they raise your lactate threshold such that when you run at your normal HM pace you are then building LESS lactate to build.

    Or something like that.

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    PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
    I'm following the Runners World FIRST Institute "Run Less Run Faster" programme. You can buy it on Amazon.

    Easier to read & understand than Jack Daniels.

    Principle is 3 runs a week plus 2 cross-training sessions.

    Usual stuff:

    Interval run + tempo run + long easy run in one week.

    Charts are easy to derive your relevant training paces from.

    Interval sessions are anything from repeats of 400m to repeats of 1600m, and combos of both.

    You ask can you do interval sessions without access to a track. Jack Hughes' answer is spot on.

    However, I'd also add: my experience of the prescribed paces is that they are smack on what I can tolerate without feeling it's too hard. It's hard but not too hard. Hr maxes at high 170s for me, vs max HR of about 193.

    For example: one interval session might be that 3 x 1600m session should be done at 6.41.

    If I wanted to do this session without a track I would therefore run as fast as I think I could do 3 x 6.41 minute repeats without feeling it was too much. Therefore I could do this way from the track just by keeping an eye on my watch.

    Probably too complicated though. Fartlek is probably the best way.
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    PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
    In fact here's the link to that programme (without the charts telling you what your pace should be - by assessing recent 5 or 10k or HM performance).


    Here's how I understand it (Jack & others correct me if I'm wrong):

    Your running fitness is a compositie of 3 types of fitness:

    Ability to carry oxygen around your system - best improved by interval training
    Ability to delay build up of lactic acid and improve your tolerance / use of lactic acid when it develops - bedt improved by tempo running
    Endurance - best developed by relatively slow but long runs

    (Not to mention running economy & technique etc.)

    Practice all 3 in a disciplined way and your times for a HM should come down.

    Going back to the very first post it poses the question what do your runs achieve in the context of the above? Probably not that much. I used to just run 6 or 7 miles at a time. Now everytime I set out I set out with the intention of achieving one of the 3 goals above.

    The bit that I find counter-intuitive is that I'm told my tempo runs should actually be below my 10k pace, yet the tempo session is in or around 10k. Can I really improve my 10k times without running fast 10k's in training? I'm told the answer is yes if I work on interval & endurance at the same time.

    Any comment?
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    Have had the Runners World Run Less Run Faster book for a while and about to start a 10K training programme from it. The theory seems sound enough and emphasis is speed and interval work which should bring finish time down.

    Danny_s the book has an 18week HM training plan in it so may be on the runners world website if you don't want the whole book.

    The book and training plans were produced on the understanding that whoever intends to use them can already run the distance by putting the miles in but their finish times have reached a plateau. The emphasis is on speed and interval work to bring the times down (building fast twitch muscle fibres and the like) with one key session of the three per week being a distance session and sometimes beyond race distance (the 10k plan for example has a key workout towards the end of 10Miles at tempo if i recall correctly).

    Should be able to tell you if it works or not in 12 weeks time!!
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    danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    Thanks for all the advice and help.

    I'm definitely going to check out JD's book. Anyone read Lore of Running? I've heard great things about that and had the chance to talk to Tim Noakes and didn't even know who it was at the time! But his book seemed like buying the encyclopedia and starting at A in hopes of finding out what a zebra looks like.

    My first interval session this afternoon was thoroughly painful but even more so, satisfying. I did a 2k warm-up, then 5x1km @ 3:50 with 2min recovery. The third one was the worst, after that I just could expect the effort and knew the pain wasn't enough to prevent me from just finishing. I'm excited and would love to hear what's worked for anyone else.

    Will keep the mileage to ~50 for this race.
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