One more Newbie Runner thread, pretty please!?

Beploveshomer
Beploveshomer Posts: 284 Member
edited March 2015 in Fitness and Exercise
Hello! I have so many questions about this. I have tried to start running several times but something always came up. I am bound and determined this time!
I was pretty sedentary all winter, I started walking/running 2 weeks ago and have logged 30 miles. My best time so far for a 5K is 36 minutes, I hope to get to 30 at least by fall.
1. What is the best running surface? I have hilly pavement, flat pavement, hilly packed dirt, flat packed dirt, and flat packed gravel.
2. Should I eat before or after my run? What's the best thing to eat then?
3. I thought about C25k but don't want to always be checking a stopwatch for the times, can I do the same idea but just listen to my body?
4. If I feel a strain in my calf or shin splints should I not exercise for a few days or run through it?
5. Should I be running until my heart is pounding out my chest and then rest? Or take it easy at first and never actually push myself super hard?
6. Is it better to take walk breaks or should I keep the "running form" and just slow wayyy down until I have my breath back?
7. How long is it supposed to take until I can actually run the whole 5K?
8. Should I run 7 days a week or do something in between, like just walking?
9. Should I switch up distances or just work towards my 5K goal and do that all the time?
That's all I can think of right now,
THANKS!

Replies

  • aubreyjordan
    aubreyjordan Posts: 276 Member
    I don't have answers to all your questions, as I'm a newb too. But I'll share what I've learned.

    Eating - whatever works best for your body. Some people can eat before exercising, some can't. I usually eat something about an hour or two before hand.

    There are apps for C25K that tell you went to start and stop. On my phone, I have the one from Zen Labs. It will interrupt my music with a little beep and say "start walking" or "start running."

    Running through shin splints is a bad idea. It makes them worse. If you haven't been fitted for a running shoe, I highly recommend it. Go to a specialty running store, have them analyze your gait and arch, and try on as many shoes as it takes. Pain is your body's way of saying something is wrong. There is a difference between hurt and sore because you haven't used them much.

    I would not run every day. Your legs need a chance to heal and repair. I read somewhere giving at least a day between, doing something low impact like biking, elliptical, or swimming instead, especially when starting out.

    Every body is different. There is no magic time frame that you should be able to complete it. Just increase your time/speed slowly each week. No more than 10% a week. This will help prevent injury.
  • nathalier71
    nathalier71 Posts: 570 Member

    1. What is the best running surface? I have hilly pavement, flat pavement, hilly packed dirt, flat packed dirt, and flat packed gravel.
    2. Should I eat before or after my run? What's the best thing to eat then?
    3. I thought about C25k but don't want to always be checking a stopwatch for the times, can I do the same idea but just listen to my body?
    4. If I feel a strain in my calf or shin splints should I not exercise for a few days or run through it?
    5. Should I be running until my heart is pounding out my chest and then rest? Or take it easy at first and never actually push myself super hard?
    6. Is it better to take walk breaks or should I keep the "running form" and just slow wayyy down until I have my breath back?
    7. How long is it supposed to take until I can actually run the whole 5K?
    8. Should I run 7 days a week or do something in between, like just walking?
    9. Should I switch up distances or just work towards my 5K goal and do that all the time?
    That's all I can think of right now,
    THANKS!

    Here are my thoughts based on my experience.

    1. A variety is good. It will help different muscles develop. I hate doing hills, but sure make your legs stonger.
    2. I eat 1 hour before my run, depending what time I run. If it's after work, I have a light snack. You need energy to run.
    3. I don't know why you would be checking a stopwatch - the c25k tell you when to run/walk/speed up/ slow down. You can def. listen to your body - although sometimes your mind plays tricks on your - like my run this morning! my brain kept telling me I wanted to die =).
    4. DO NOT run through shin splits! Learned that from experience! pull back a little. It's a sign you are doing too much distance to fast.
    5. Take it easy while pushing yourself a little.
    6. It all depends. Some trainers will have you do run 10 walk 1... I prefer to run the whole time. Different research say different things. I just slow down a little and it usually does the trick. Sometimes though (like this morning's hellish run) I have to walk a few times. Nothing wrong with that.
    7. It all depends on your body. they say you should increase distance by 10% a week. If you follow c25k - I believe it takes 8 weeks.
    8. I only run every second/third day. Your muscles and body need to rest. On the no run days I walk my 10 000 steps and do other things like yoga, stationary bike...
    9. switch up distances and routes.


  • Beploveshomer
    Beploveshomer Posts: 284 Member
    Thank you! The problem is that I don't have a smartphone or anything like that, I know, crazy. Sounds like good advice, thanks ladies!
  • MeanderingMammal
    MeanderingMammal Posts: 7,866 Member
    You can download C25K podcasts to put onto an MP3 player.
  • eemmerson929
    eemmerson929 Posts: 27 Member
    I have just gone through getting up to and running an official 5K race. I have had many of the same questions and I am not sure that these are the correct answers but they are what has worked for me.
    Softer surfaces are going to be easier on your legs. That being said, there is a trade off of not having to focus on the ground so much on traditionally harder surfaces. Roots, ruts, etc. I am in Florida so I can't answer the hills part.
    Eating is what works best for you. If you are eating at normal regular intervals you probably have the fuel you need for 5K/3 miles. You can probably tweak it yourself but I would start by adding some carbs upfront if looking for additional energy.
    I used the Zen Labs C25K app on an iPhone. I was going to have it for Spotify and MapMyFitness anyway. I like the phone in a band/belt across my waist too, if you are wondering about carrying it.
    Listen to your body but also understand it. There is tissue pain and bone pain. Some things can be run through but ignoring the same consistent pain day after day will likely result in injury. Injury is also a lot simpler word than you may think. I thought of it as a sudden event with a defined result. It is not. I ignored shin splints and just thought it was normal soreness. Now I am not running or walking outside of normal activity for a few weeks. This will seriously bum you out after working to a certain point.
    Heart rate is up to you but there is a great zone (probably around 70-80%) that I hit and then just maintain adding some bursts in here and there to push myself and also to test changing my tempo for adjusting my pace so I know what distance I can go.
    There is nothing wrong with walking at any point. You will curiously push yourself almost naturally so do what your body tells you. Changing your "run" form up too much adds strain to your body. There is a perfect form at a perfect pace for you. Find it. With a coach, a fellow runner, watch videos. I would adjust my stride length first but make sure you are landing properly every time. This is crucial to your performance, improvement and above all, running without injury.
    The C25K program is 8 weeks and I think that is a great pace to build up without injury. I pushed beyond it and here I sit. The 10% a week rule really makes sense now.
    Running every other day is what I did, walking off days. I think you probably should build a steady base of "weekly" miles using the 10% rule splitting up your days with what works best for you and maps to your training program like C25K.
    As far as distances, I did the same 3.6 mile loop walking or running everyday sometimes switching direction. I added in the running according to the program but always went the same distance, eventually running the whole thing and then working on my pace and form.
    In my case, I pushed just a bit too hard for my body. I am 50 and had done very little fitness in my adult life. I had the same goal of breaking 30 minutes and did my first race in 28:13. Heart and upper body wise, I left a lot on the table but my left leg tells me it was just a bit too much. I am resting it so that I can train for a half marathon properly.
    Moral of the story is to iterate. Read, watch, ask and improve everything at your body's pace, not anyone else's and especially not your head's.
  • Timorous_Beastie
    Timorous_Beastie Posts: 595 Member
    If you can already do a 5k in 36 minutes, you don't really need to do C25K, in my opinion. You're already able to cover the distance in a good amount of time for a beginner. You'll get better and have more endurance with more running.

    As for being able to run the whole thing, that's a matter of preference. I personally enjoy running more when I take walk breaks. It doesn't seem to affect my overall pace all that much, either. Once during a race, I thought I wasn't doing too well, felt winded, and thought, "Aw, screw it. Might as well walk for a bit to catch my breath." I finished that race in 25:30 and won my age group. I was shocked... and that's when I vowed to never feel ashamed to take walk intervals. :)
  • kpw818
    kpw818 Posts: 113 Member
    1. What is the best running surface? I have hilly pavement, flat pavement, hilly packed dirt, flat packed dirt, and flat packed gravel.
    - Varied surfaces, and running on varied surfaces, are good all around. Trails are generally easier as far as impact, but you will encounter uneven ground, rocks, roots, etc. I like to mix trail+pavement on longer runs.

    2. Should I eat before or after my run? What's the best thing to eat then?
    - I really only focus on eating before runs over an hour. A bagel with some peanut butter or other nut butter is a good thing to have before. Everyone is a little different, but a carb is always good. After, a carb+protein. Again, I don't really focus on refueling after shorter runs, but I also run before meals (breakfast/dinner) so it works out.

    3. I thought about C25k but don't want to always be checking a stopwatch for the times, can I do the same idea but just listen to my body?
    -The structure of C25K is nice for some. If you have a smartphone, get the app, and it will let you know the stop/start times.

    4. If I feel a strain in my calf or shin splints should I not exercise for a few days or run through it?
    -Take days off. I ran through a tendon strain and was out for months. It is difficult but don't push it.

    5. Should I be running until my heart is pounding out my chest and then rest? Or take it easy at first and never actually push myself super hard?
    -This sounds personal. I don't do heart rate monitoring, and I never really get a pounding in my chest unless I'm doing hard hills or speedwork. But, I've been running for awhile. If you are just starting out, I would just try and get used to the distance and feel of running.

    6. Is it better to take walk breaks or should I keep the "running form" and just slow wayyy down until I have my breath back?
    - Walk breaks are fine. There are plenty of runners who do walk breaks. Check out the Galloway method.


    7. How long is it supposed to take until I can actually run the whole 5K?
    - This is going to vary on fitness level, effort, etc. After injury, I was running 3+ miles after about a monthish of running 3 days a week and gradually adding. But, I was still fairly conditioned and had been strength/weight training.
    -
    8. Should I run 7 days a week or do something in between, like just walking?
    - I don't see any reason to run everyday. 3 times a week is plenty. You should be incorporating a rest day or two to help rebuild.

    9. Should I switch up distances or just work towards my 5K goal and do that all the time?
    - To run faster, you will have to run farther. I would aim for some 4+ mile runs as longer runs. I didn't notice a real speed increase until training for a 10K, and now I'm much faster at a 5K (training for a half). Speed work and hill work will also help make you faster.
  • scottb81
    scottb81 Posts: 2,538 Member
    edited March 2015
    1. What is the best running surface? I have hilly pavement, flat pavement, hilly packed dirt, flat packed dirt, and flat packed gravel. It doesn't make any difference at all if your running form is good.

    2. Should I eat before or after my run? What's the best thing to eat then? It doesn't matter. Try different things and find out what works for you.

    3. I thought about C25k but don't want to always be checking a stopwatch for the times, can I do the same idea but just listen to my body? Yes. In my opinion your way is better.

    4. If I feel a strain in my calf or shin splints should I not exercise for a few days or run through it?If you feel a strain fo not run through it. That just makes out worse.

    5. Should I be running until my heart is pounding out my chest and then rest? Or take it easy at first and never actually push myself super hard? For at least the first 12 weeks take it easy all the time. If using a HRM keep it under about 75% max and walk as needed.

    6. Is it better to take walk breaks or should I keep the "running form" and just slow wayyy down until I have my breath back?Either way works so do a combination of both as desired each time you go out.

    7. How long is it supposed to take until I can actually run the whole 5K?That depends on a few different things but if you train right probably not more than a few weeks

    8. Should I run 7 days a week or do something in between, like just walking?The more training you can do the faster you will improve. And if you keep the effort easy you can run a lot with little risk. Starting out you probably can run every other day and walk the other days. Over time increase the running days as desired. If you keep the effort easy you should recover within 12 to 24 hours (your legs will feel fresh and not sore or tight).

    9. Should I switch up distances or just work towards my 5K goal and do that all the time?Start with what you are able to do now. Work towards hour long runs on the week days and 2 hour long runs and walks on the weekends. These are ALL easy and easier runs and or walks. Over time walking will be less and running more. Optimally, if you can work up to 8 to 10 hours of running easy each week you will be prepared to race any distance well.

    A few things.
    1. Run by time and not distance or pace. If you keep the effort right your pace and distance will increase as your aerobic fitness increases.

    2. Keep it easy. There is a saying, Speed Kills. Easy, 60 to 75% max heart rate will build aerobic fitness most efficiently. Plus you can run a lot at that effort little risk of injury. There will be a time for hard fast workouts later.

    3. Be patient. It takes some time. But if you train right you will improve for many years. If you are not improving month to month then there is something wrong with the way you are training. Usually that means either you are not running enough or you are running too hard in training.
  • Beploveshomer
    Beploveshomer Posts: 284 Member
    Thank you everyone! Very helpful! :)