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Running: Training for Endurance

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Hello, great brains on MFP!

I have a question about training for endurance (hence the title).

Here's my background:
50 year old female who lost 50-ish pounds in 2012 and has managed to keep it off. At first, my workouts consisted of just the stationary bike, then I added Pilates (I still do both 3 times a week). I started running in November of 2012 and managed to get up to running a 5K in March of 2013.

I realize this is not an earth-shattering achievement, but I felt really good about it.

I continued to run 2-4 times a week, but my distance never really got any better. I want to make it up to 10K now (again, a very doable goal, I think). There's no scheduled race or anything, but I just want to be able to do it on a regular basis. I found a schedule that, if followed to the letter, would take me from 5K to 10K in 8 weeks, adding half a mile or so to each week's long run. I thought, PERFECT! Because I want to make the distance and am not really that concerned with speed, I average about 10-10,5 minute miles (sometimes even 11+ when I'm feeling "tired).

I managed the first 6 weeks pretty well, but then just fell apart. I tried to do the next run (just 5 miles), and ended up hyperventilating and nearly fainting. It was no fun, but I figured it was just a bad run -- they happen. I decided to redo that entire week on the schedule and for the next scheduled long run, I planned to do 5 miles and nearly died at the 3-mile mark. I redid the week again, and... blah. Again, I just pooped out at the 3-mile mark.

I feel like such a major wimp! How do I get past this block!

Oh, you should also know that I wear a HRM, and it usually starts beeping that my heart rate has hit the 170+ level somewhere around 1 to 1-1/2 miles. It does it every time, so I figure it is just me and my level of fitness. When I rest, it returns to a normal level very quickly. I don't get pain in my chest, and my legs still feel pretty good, but I just... stop. It's like I can't catch my breath or something. I don't have asthma or lung issues (a bit of hayfever in the spring, but nothing major). I'm pretty healthy overall.

Any tips on how to get past this block? I mean, 10K isn't even that far! I want to run it!

Thank you in advance for any help/advice.

Replies

  • _Zardoz_
    _Zardoz_ Posts: 3,987 Member
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    My first thought is to slow down it sounds like you're trying to run at the same pace no matter the distance. Run at a pace you can hold a conversation even if it feels too slow. Then just gradually increase the distance. My 3 mile pace is totally different to my 10 mile Pace sometimes it can take a mental shift to force yourself to slow down and just remember that you need to go slower on longer runs. Once you get the distances in and the miles in your pace will naturally increase. Good luck
  • debi_f
    debi_f Posts: 330 Member
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    I thought about that, too. When I worked my way up to 5K, I was able to manage 8-9 minute miles.
  • msf74
    msf74 Posts: 3,498 Member
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    _Zardoz_ wrote: »
    My first thought is to slow down it sounds like you're trying to run at the same pace no matter the distance. Run at a pace you can hold a conversation even if it feels too slow. Then just gradually increase the distance. My 3 mile pace is totally different to my 10 mile Pace sometimes it can take a mental shift to force yourself to slow down and just remember that you need to go slower on longer runs. Once you get the distances in and the miles in your pace will naturally increase. Good luck

    Pretty much this.

    If you use a HRM and you find yourself redlining at about 170 then try and to run at a pace where you can comfortably maintain around 130 for the majority of the run.

    It might feel dreadfully slow to begin with but your fitness will improve over time and so will your endurance.
  • SonicDeathMonkey80
    SonicDeathMonkey80 Posts: 4,489 Member
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    Slow the heck down! You are pushing it way too hard!
  • JustWant2Run
    JustWant2Run Posts: 286 Member
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    Slow down!!!!

    At 50 yrs old, using the basic maximum HR formula, your max HR should be around 170. That's speed interval HR... AND even that would still be pushing it. No fr**king way everything fall apart.

    Slow down!!
  • debi_f
    debi_f Posts: 330 Member
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    Okay... Time to slow down! I've been trying to run with my husband who insists we're practically walking anyway...

    Of course, he's been running since high school and is still in pretty good condition (lifts weights, does martial arts and runs...with me). I'll just head out on my own and let the snails outpace me! ;-)
  • midnight419
    midnight419 Posts: 77 Member
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    Try slowing down. Also realize that training "set backs" are totally normal. Maybe you're getting sick, not getting enough sleep, over training (perhaps the training plan increased too quickly for you in terms of distances and frequency, and it's just catching up to you now; or maybe you need a cut back week), or maybe you're just having a bad running week. I wouldn't worry about it. Repeat the week, and if you're still having trouble try increasing your mileage more slowly.
  • hearthwood
    hearthwood Posts: 794 Member
    edited October 2014
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    debi_f wrote: »
    Hello, great brains on MFP!

    I have a question about training for endurance (hence the title).

    Here's my background:
    50 year old female who lost 50-ish pounds in 2012 and has managed to keep it off. At first, my workouts consisted of just the stationary bike, then I added Pilates (I still do both 3 times a week). I started running in November of 2012 and managed to get up to running a 5K in March of 2013.

    I realize this is not an earth-shattering achievement, but I felt really good about it.

    I continued to run 2-4 times a week, but my distance never really got any better. I want to make it up to 10K now (again, a very doable goal, I think). There's no scheduled race or anything, but I just want to be able to do it on a regular basis. I found a schedule that, if followed to the letter, would take me from 5K to 10K in 8 weeks, adding half a mile or so to each week's long run. I thought, PERFECT! Because I want to make the distance and am not really that concerned with speed, I average about 10-10,5 minute miles (sometimes even 11+ when I'm feeling "tired).

    I managed the first 6 weeks pretty well, but then just fell apart. I tried to do the next run (just 5 miles), and ended up hyperventilating and nearly fainting. It was no fun, but I figured it was just a bad run -- they happen. I decided to redo that entire week on the schedule and for the next scheduled long run, I planned to do 5 miles and nearly died at the 3-mile mark. I redid the week again, and... blah. Again, I just pooped out at the 3-mile mark.

    I feel like such a major wimp! How do I get past this block!

    Oh, you should also know that I wear a HRM, and it usually starts beeping that my heart rate has hit the 170+ level somewhere around 1 to 1-1/2 miles. It does it every time, so I figure it is just me and my level of fitness. When I rest, it returns to a normal level very quickly. I don't get pain in my chest, and my legs still feel pretty good, but I just... stop. It's like I can't catch my breath or something. I don't have asthma or lung issues (a bit of hayfever in the spring, but nothing major). I'm pretty healthy overall.

    Any tips on how to get past this block? I mean, 10K isn't even that far! I want to run it!

    Thank you in advance for any help/advice.


    At your age you don't want to ever hit a 170 heart rate level. I used to get up to that in my 30's and that was considered my maximum limit. Over 170 is not good for anyone. There are maximum heart rate calculations on the net that will calculate where you need to be for your maximum, based on your age.

    So obviously you're really pushing yourself to get your heart that high, which signifies you're not prime time ready to do longer distances. Your body is now in complete rebellion, and you're having troubles doing shorter distances.

    I don't run, but my husband is an ultra marathoner, and he's had to slow it down because of his age. In fact he had to go to the heart doctor as they found what is called an exercise induced left branch block. Meaning that after a long run, his heart will skip a couple of beats. He's fine but he can no longer run more than a 10k, (doctors orders). The doctor, himself is a runner, and told him that based on stats, runners who are consistent about running shorter distances actually catch up to the endurance and fitness level of marathoners/ultra marathoners, over time.

    So based on what I know, slow it down, take a few days off, then slowly get back into your 5k runs, and make certain to adjust to what your maximum heart rate should be, and then stop running and walk.

    When your heart rate gets too high you end up burning muscle, not fat, and btw your heart is a muscle.
  • MeanderingMammal
    MeanderingMammal Posts: 7,866 Member
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    hearthwood wrote: »

    At your age you don't want to ever hit a 170 heart rate level. I used to get up to that in my 30's and that was considered my maximum limit. Over 170 is not good for anyone.

    Whilst I'd agree that in this instance training at 170bpm isn't going to yield significant results I'd equally say that the 220-age framework is woefully inadequate as a training tool. fwiw my theoretical MHR is 176, yet most of my tempo training is in the order of 170bpm with high intensity work getting into the 195bpm range
    When your heart rate gets too high you end up burning muscle, not fat, and btw your heart is a muscle.

    I'd observe that this is a gross oversimplification as well.

  • debi_f
    debi_f Posts: 330 Member
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    Thank you for the feedback. I set out this morning with the goal of 4 miles, and I made it 4.35 miles feeling pretty darn good!

    Yes, my heart rate got up there, but not until the 2.5 mile mark (which is good for me), and I slowed to a walk for a bit to get it back down. Then, I started back at a slower pace. While the run took me awhile (managed just over a 11-minute mile), I felt GREAT when I got home!

    The new plan is to just work on distance (no matter how slow) until I can manage a 10K without falling over on a regular basis.

    Then...15K, watch out!

    Thanks again.
  • debi_f
    debi_f Posts: 330 Member
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    I did it!

    I did it, I did it, I did it!

    I ran 10K this morning!

    Thank you all so much for your advice!
  • macdiver
    macdiver Posts: 145 Member
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    First, congrats on running 10k.

    When I started running again, a few years ago, my heart rate would be 130 to 140 at a 12+ min/mile. Now that I have built a decent aerobic base, I can run a 10 min / mile at the same heart rate. So although you will be slow at first you will get faster and build endurance over time.
  • djscavone
    djscavone Posts: 133 Member
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    Just a thought but did you check in with your Dr? Not that you should or shouldn't but when you set out for something like this it is usually good to clue him or her into your plan and they can check your last physical or give you one to make certain all your numbers are in the safe range for setting out for a 10K etc. Now that you did the 10K you will probably want to start training for a half (just guessing) so check in with a DR.