SO SLOW

Okay, so I've been working on adding distance. I'm up to "running" 5 miles, but I'm sooooo slow. Like, it takes me an hour and a quarter. (That's 4 mph, or a 15-min mile. MFP does not think that counts as running, according to the exercise database.) The thing is, I've had the same pace since like... January? I think? when I managed my first mile after being injured last fall. And it's not like I'm just breezing through it and not improving because I'm not pushing myself. It's hard the WHOLE TIME. Is this something that will just improve... eventually? And if so, when? Because I was kind of hoping it already would have!

Anyway, right now, I have my long run on Sunday. I do 1-3 miles Monday - Friday. Saturday I don't run (usually) but I do have a Zumba class, which is also foot-based cardio, so it's not exactly a rest day, either.

So I'm thinking I'll add in some sprint/walk cycles. But I can only run full out for about 30 seconds before I start stumbling because my legs will not lift my feet enough ;D Would it be better to try to focus on increasing how long I can run full out? or to try to decrease how long I allow myself to catch my breath?

It's just confusing, because there are so many ways that I suck at this, and I'm not sure what's the best way to achieve the most improvement so that hopefully I'm less discouraged ;)
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Replies

  • Spadesheart
    Spadesheart Posts: 462 Member
    I'll preface by saying I'm not a runner, so this is anecdotal and just logical thought.

    Maybe strength training on the legs? Or resistance training on an elliptical?

    I thought I was still super slow because when I do cardio, I crank resistance to max and just don't go super fast, but I tried without resistance one day and it felt like nothing. I also have a proper leg day and I gain more strength on that muscle group week over week than any other, and that has to be helping.
  • FinntheVeggie
    FinntheVeggie Posts: 77 Member
    I've always been told to run longer if you want to run faster. I like the advice someone else gave to take a real rest day once a week, your body needs time to recover & rebuild muscle. Don't worry about speed during your long runs, just plod along at the slowest jog you can and increase distance. Then you'll have more energy reserves to pick up the pace during your short runs.

    This is something I'm struggling with too, but that's the advice my grandfather (who was an ultrarunner) gave me.
  • girlwithcurls2
    girlwithcurls2 Posts: 2,250 Member
    I'm pretty dang slow too, but I find that if I'm not pushing myself for distance, eventually, speed increases as my body acclimates to the same distance. In order to increase distance (for an event or something), then my speed is the same or decreases. Honestly, I don't care how fast I run, or swim, for that matter. I do it because my body is strong and it can. And I enjoy it. If I make it too hard, I won't stick to it. I'm not a lifelong athlete. I only started regular exercise about 5 years ago. I have started and burned out so many times over my adolescent and adult life. At 51, I want to do things I enjoy that help my body do other things I enjoy.

    And yes, don't underestimate rest days ;)
  • luckycleo777
    luckycleo777 Posts: 17 Member
    Hi! I am also a slow runner. Two things are helping me improve my distance and speed -

    1. When I'm trying to improve my speed, I do intervals, like you mentioned, only I believe you're running too fast. For example, when I first started running, I could not even jog at 4mph for ONE MINUTE before I got out of breath! Now, two months later, I can jog at 4mph for 4 miles, at least - probably more if I tried, but as you mentioned, it takes so dang long. ;) So I would do walk for 1 minute, jog at 4mph for one minute. Once that got easier, I walked for 1 minute, then jogged at 4.5mph for 1 minute, - next week walk 1 minute, jog at 5mph, etc. And then when I went back to jogging at 4mph, surprise, I found I could go a LOT farther at a pace that was difficult before. So now to improve my speed, I jog for a minute, then run for a minute at a pace I can maintain.

    2. You have to keep pushing yourself. You think you can't run faster than 4mph? How about 4.1mph? If you're on a treadmill, it's so easy to just increase your speed a tiny bit every week. If you think that's too slow, think about how long you've been at 4mph.

    Hope this helps, this community is so nice and helpful and I'm sure you're getting lots of great advice!
  • MelanieCN77
    MelanieCN77 Posts: 4,053 Member
    I will echo the need for more recovery time.
  • apullum
    apullum Posts: 4,888 Member
    Rest. Consecutive running days are really not ideal for most running newbies. It takes training to work up to that type of schedule.

    In addition, a structured training plan may be helpful. Hal Higdon has many free plans on his website.
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,731 Member
    You've had the same pace for 3 months? I'm my experience I get faster over a year, but I don't compare or improve month to month. I think your expectations may be a little high.

    Try working up to running 3 miles 3 x a week and then 5 miles on your long run and build from there. Running every day isn't necessary unless you absolutely love running and really want to do it?
  • firef1y72
    firef1y72 Posts: 1,579 Member
    I run every day, but because I enjoy running and am doing a running streak, some of those runs are literally a mile to get to the gym.

    I'm currently in the last 10 days of marathon training but once that's done I'll be working on speed and these are what I will be doing.

    Sprint training, find a straight bit of footpath/road with regular lampposts (or other landmarks), warm up (make sure you warm up well with side steps, bum kicks, lunge walks as well as actually running), then sprint as fast as you can to the first lamppost, turn round, walk (or jog if you can) back, repeat for 20min. Once you're able to sprint to one lamppost try increasing distance to 2 then 3 then 4. Work your form in these sessions, drawing your knee up, engaging the abs, pumping the arms.

    Hill training, similar to sprint training but find a hill with a challenging gradient. Start by walking up and down, then jog, finally attempt to sprint up. Use the walk back down as recovery

    Long run, I run halfs and above mostly, but the 5miles above is a good distance, take it slow and comfortable, enjoy the run, take in your surroundings.

    Tempo run this is one where you try and push your speed a little, some plans call it the fast run. I usually do around 3miles for these runs.

    I noticed you commented about struggling to lift your feet, shuffling is one of my failings and actually takes more energy. Try to concentrate on lifting your feet all the time even when walking, it really helps.
  • rebelsue2
    rebelsue2 Posts: 42 Member
    Yep you need intervals if you want to improve speed, try run 1 min, walk 1 min, or run 30 seconds and walk 30 seconds, repeat 10-12 times. If i'm training for something it's a mix of this, or tempo runs - faster runs at a goal pace for shorter times eg, 1-2 miles only at a faster pace, and then slower longer runs....

    Hills and sprints as well if you want to .... and what is called strides, where you speed up for say 10-20 paces a few times at the end of a run.... all helps to get faster!
  • OldAssDude
    OldAssDude Posts: 1,436 Member
    I was stuck at 5 miles for over a year (at about the same pace or maybe even slower), then I was challenged to do a running program. In 12 weeks I was able to run over 13 miles. The plan was as follows...

    Monday - rest day (I walked)
    Tuesday - medium distance run
    Wednesday - Shorter run or cross training (I used this sometimes for intervals)
    Thursday - medium distance run
    Friday - rest day (I walked)
    Saturday - cross training (I walked or did stretching and/or light resistance training)
    Sunday - long run day

    Here is the actual plan that I followed...

    h9qdp430xo2i.png

    I did the long runs at a conversational pace and did not worry about how fast I was going.

    I will say that increasing my distance at slower paces helped me run shorter runs at faster paces.

    Hope this helps.
  • clicketykeys
    clicketykeys Posts: 5,721 Member
    Wow, thanks for all the responses! I really appreciate it. I may drop my 1-mile run days down to walking, then; my thought was "hey, it's just a mile, just something to get my heart rate up a little," and I was thinking of that as recovery (if not full rest). It'll be interesting to see what the results of that are! On the other "short" run days, I'll probably lengthen one a little, and then use one for intervals and one for trying to increase speed.

    @TavistockToad - It's really encouraging to hear that I may need to be more patient. I'm relatively new to running, so still kind of figuring out where my expectations should be.

    @spiriteagle99 - Thanks for the idea of counting steps! I have a really, REALLY cheap fitness tracker without much programming capability, and when I'm outside, it's hard to see the screen.

    @luckycleo777 - I've gotten a bit faster on the treadmill. But that hasn't seemed to affect my outside running! (At least, not yet.)

    @firef1y72 - I don't shuffle my feet all the time, and it's one of the things that's a fatigue cue for me. When I'm concentrating on trying to keep my knees up and my feet are still shuffling, it's time to take a break of one sort or another!

    @OldAssDude - Was your half part of a race or on your own?
  • OldAssDude
    OldAssDude Posts: 1,436 Member
    edited April 2019
    Wow, thanks for all the responses! I really appreciate it. I may drop my 1-mile run days down to walking, then; my thought was "hey, it's just a mile, just something to get my heart rate up a little," and I was thinking of that as recovery (if not full rest). It'll be interesting to see what the results of that are! On the other "short" run days, I'll probably lengthen one a little, and then use one for intervals and one for trying to increase speed.

    @TavistockToad - It's really encouraging to hear that I may need to be more patient. I'm relatively new to running, so still kind of figuring out where my expectations should be.

    @spiriteagle99 - Thanks for the idea of counting steps! I have a really, REALLY cheap fitness tracker without much programming capability, and when I'm outside, it's hard to see the screen.

    @luckycleo777 - I've gotten a bit faster on the treadmill. But that hasn't seemed to affect my outside running! (At least, not yet.)

    @firef1y72 - I don't shuffle my feet all the time, and it's one of the things that's a fatigue cue for me. When I'm concentrating on trying to keep my knees up and my feet are still shuffling, it's time to take a break of one sort or another!

    @OldAssDude - Was your half part of a race or on your own?

    just on my own. In fact, I did the whole plan on my own. Never got into doing races.
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,731 Member
    Wow, thanks for all the responses! I really appreciate it. I may drop my 1-mile run days down to walking, then; my thought was "hey, it's just a mile, just something to get my heart rate up a little," and I was thinking of that as recovery (if not full rest). It'll be interesting to see what the results of that are! On the other "short" run days, I'll probably lengthen one a little, and then use one for intervals and one for trying to increase speed.

    @TavistockToad - It's really encouraging to hear that I may need to be more patient. I'm relatively new to running, so still kind of figuring out where my expectations should be.

    @spiriteagle99 - Thanks for the idea of counting steps! I have a really, REALLY cheap fitness tracker without much programming capability, and when I'm outside, it's hard to see the screen.

    @luckycleo777 - I've gotten a bit faster on the treadmill. But that hasn't seemed to affect my outside running! (At least, not yet.)

    @firef1y72 - I don't shuffle my feet all the time, and it's one of the things that's a fatigue cue for me. When I'm concentrating on trying to keep my knees up and my feet are still shuffling, it's time to take a break of one sort or another!

    @OldAssDude - Was your half part of a race or on your own?

    how long have you been running? i didn't do any speed work for the first 2-3 years of my running career and still got faster just by doing loads of slow miles.
  • OldAssDude
    OldAssDude Posts: 1,436 Member
    Wow, thanks for all the responses! I really appreciate it. I may drop my 1-mile run days down to walking, then; my thought was "hey, it's just a mile, just something to get my heart rate up a little," and I was thinking of that as recovery (if not full rest). It'll be interesting to see what the results of that are! On the other "short" run days, I'll probably lengthen one a little, and then use one for intervals and one for trying to increase speed.

    @TavistockToad - It's really encouraging to hear that I may need to be more patient. I'm relatively new to running, so still kind of figuring out where my expectations should be.

    @spiriteagle99 - Thanks for the idea of counting steps! I have a really, REALLY cheap fitness tracker without much programming capability, and when I'm outside, it's hard to see the screen.

    @luckycleo777 - I've gotten a bit faster on the treadmill. But that hasn't seemed to affect my outside running! (At least, not yet.)

    @firef1y72 - I don't shuffle my feet all the time, and it's one of the things that's a fatigue cue for me. When I'm concentrating on trying to keep my knees up and my feet are still shuffling, it's time to take a break of one sort or another!

    @OldAssDude - Was your half part of a race or on your own?

    how long have you been running? i didn't do any speed work for the first 2-3 years of my running career and still got faster just by doing loads of slow miles.

    Been running a little over 2 years now.

    There was a time when I wanted to improve my pace, but now I realize that I just do this for personal fitness.

    I surpassed my goal of being able to run more than 10 miles, and that is really all I wanted to do when I did that program.

    When I do intervals, it's really for heart health. I am a firm believer in heart rate training, and intervals are great for the heart, in that they keep your heart trained at getting close to MHR as well as recovering.

    I feel for general health it's good to mix it up and spend some time in all the zones.

    JMHO
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,731 Member
    OldAssDude wrote: »
    Wow, thanks for all the responses! I really appreciate it. I may drop my 1-mile run days down to walking, then; my thought was "hey, it's just a mile, just something to get my heart rate up a little," and I was thinking of that as recovery (if not full rest). It'll be interesting to see what the results of that are! On the other "short" run days, I'll probably lengthen one a little, and then use one for intervals and one for trying to increase speed.

    @TavistockToad - It's really encouraging to hear that I may need to be more patient. I'm relatively new to running, so still kind of figuring out where my expectations should be.

    @spiriteagle99 - Thanks for the idea of counting steps! I have a really, REALLY cheap fitness tracker without much programming capability, and when I'm outside, it's hard to see the screen.

    @luckycleo777 - I've gotten a bit faster on the treadmill. But that hasn't seemed to affect my outside running! (At least, not yet.)

    @firef1y72 - I don't shuffle my feet all the time, and it's one of the things that's a fatigue cue for me. When I'm concentrating on trying to keep my knees up and my feet are still shuffling, it's time to take a break of one sort or another!

    @OldAssDude - Was your half part of a race or on your own?

    how long have you been running? i didn't do any speed work for the first 2-3 years of my running career and still got faster just by doing loads of slow miles.

    Been running a little over 2 years now.

    There was a time when I wanted to improve my pace, but now I realize that I just do this for personal fitness.

    I surpassed my goal of being able to run more than 10 miles, and that is really all I wanted to do when I did that program.

    When I do intervals, it's really for heart health. I am a firm believer in heart rate training, and intervals are great for the heart, in that they keep your heart trained at getting close to MHR as well as recovering.

    I feel for general health it's good to mix it up and spend some time in all the zones.

    JMHO

    i was responding to the OP
  • OldAssDude
    OldAssDude Posts: 1,436 Member
    OldAssDude wrote: »
    Wow, thanks for all the responses! I really appreciate it. I may drop my 1-mile run days down to walking, then; my thought was "hey, it's just a mile, just something to get my heart rate up a little," and I was thinking of that as recovery (if not full rest). It'll be interesting to see what the results of that are! On the other "short" run days, I'll probably lengthen one a little, and then use one for intervals and one for trying to increase speed.

    @TavistockToad - It's really encouraging to hear that I may need to be more patient. I'm relatively new to running, so still kind of figuring out where my expectations should be.

    @spiriteagle99 - Thanks for the idea of counting steps! I have a really, REALLY cheap fitness tracker without much programming capability, and when I'm outside, it's hard to see the screen.

    @luckycleo777 - I've gotten a bit faster on the treadmill. But that hasn't seemed to affect my outside running! (At least, not yet.)

    @firef1y72 - I don't shuffle my feet all the time, and it's one of the things that's a fatigue cue for me. When I'm concentrating on trying to keep my knees up and my feet are still shuffling, it's time to take a break of one sort or another!

    @OldAssDude - Was your half part of a race or on your own?

    how long have you been running? i didn't do any speed work for the first 2-3 years of my running career and still got faster just by doing loads of slow miles.

    Been running a little over 2 years now.

    There was a time when I wanted to improve my pace, but now I realize that I just do this for personal fitness.

    I surpassed my goal of being able to run more than 10 miles, and that is really all I wanted to do when I did that program.

    When I do intervals, it's really for heart health. I am a firm believer in heart rate training, and intervals are great for the heart, in that they keep your heart trained at getting close to MHR as well as recovering.

    I feel for general health it's good to mix it up and spend some time in all the zones.

    JMHO

    i was responding to the OP

    oops

    sorry
  • clicketykeys
    clicketykeys Posts: 5,721 Member
    Wow, thanks for all the responses! I really appreciate it. I may drop my 1-mile run days down to walking, then; my thought was "hey, it's just a mile, just something to get my heart rate up a little," and I was thinking of that as recovery (if not full rest). It'll be interesting to see what the results of that are! On the other "short" run days, I'll probably lengthen one a little, and then use one for intervals and one for trying to increase speed.

    @TavistockToad - It's really encouraging to hear that I may need to be more patient. I'm relatively new to running, so still kind of figuring out where my expectations should be.

    @spiriteagle99 - Thanks for the idea of counting steps! I have a really, REALLY cheap fitness tracker without much programming capability, and when I'm outside, it's hard to see the screen.

    @luckycleo777 - I've gotten a bit faster on the treadmill. But that hasn't seemed to affect my outside running! (At least, not yet.)

    @firef1y72 - I don't shuffle my feet all the time, and it's one of the things that's a fatigue cue for me. When I'm concentrating on trying to keep my knees up and my feet are still shuffling, it's time to take a break of one sort or another!

    @OldAssDude - Was your half part of a race or on your own?

    how long have you been running? i didn't do any speed work for the first 2-3 years of my running career and still got faster just by doing loads of slow miles.

    *laugh* No sweat, folks. Uhm... maybe a year now? Although I did take some time off because I fell like a doofus and sprained my foot last fall. So I went a few months with no running. It just feels like my progress is slower this spring than it was last spring. But it may also be that I'm setting my expectations too high! ;D

    I'd like to try out some races maybe next year or so, and I want to stay above the cutoff time and avoid DNFs. I mean, if I'm gonna DNF, I want it to be because I actually threw in the towel!
  • clicketykeys
    clicketykeys Posts: 5,721 Member
    New plan! Feedback more than welcome.

    Sunday - Long run. Up to 6 miles! Takes me for FREAKING ever, but I did it yesterday. Woot!
    Monday - Intervals/walking. I'm thinking maybe 30 minutes of interval training and then walking for another... 2 miles?
    Tuesday - Cross-train (50 min BodyPump class)
    Wednesday - Medium run, 3-4 miles.
    Thursday - Cross-train (50 min BodyPump class)
    Friday - Intervals / walking. Would a short-ish run be better? Maybe 2 miles?
    Saturday - Cross-train (50 min BodyPump, 50 min Zumba)
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,731 Member
    New plan! Feedback more than welcome.

    Sunday - Long run. Up to 6 miles! Takes me for FREAKING ever, but I did it yesterday. Woot!
    Monday - Intervals/walking. I'm thinking maybe 30 minutes of interval training and then walking for another... 2 miles?
    Tuesday - Cross-train (50 min BodyPump class)
    Wednesday - Medium run, 3-4 miles.
    Thursday - Cross-train (50 min BodyPump class)
    Friday - Intervals / walking. Would a short-ish run be better? Maybe 2 miles?
    Saturday - Cross-train (50 min BodyPump, 50 min Zumba)

    I'd have a rest day in there if it was me.