Help for a new runner?

I broke my arm in October and the only aerobic exercise I can do is running. I was biking 60+ miles a week and that’s out. Most strength training is too.

Fortunately I had started the couch to 5k program in august and only took 10 days off after my accident.

I graduated the program 3 weeks ago and I’ve been running (a turtle jog pace) 30 mins three times per week. I’m a little lost as to where to go next. I still hate every step of my runs. When does it get easier? I’m running 13 min miles with an average HR of 168-170. (I’m 39).

Should I just keep plugging away at it and my heart rate will eventually come down to where it’s more tolerable? Should I slow down more (I already feel so slow)? Should I start a 10k program?

I want to love running. My heart is in it and I’m determined- in fact if I could even move into the “I don’t hate it” camp I’d be happy.

Please help a turtle girl out.


  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,361 Member
    As you run more, the running should start feel easier. Keep the pace slow. Can you carry on a conversation as you run? If not, slow down. If you are currently running 9 miles a week, try adding half a mile to one of your runs. In a week, add another half mile. When you are up to 12 miles a week, if you have the time, split the run into four days of 3 miles each. Then continue to add a little bit to one or more of your runs. You can do by distance (.5 to 1 mile) or by time (5 minutes). Running longer can be helpful because it takes time for the body to warm up, especially if you've been sitting a while. For me, the first two miles are always a bit of a struggle, then I settle in and it gets comfortable.

    To enjoy running more, I find it helps to try different routes, and different kinds of running. Some trails or dirt roads, some in the countryside, some in town, some hilly, some flat.
  • pondee629
    pondee629 Posts: 2,487 Member
    If you still "hate every step of my (your) runs" after completing Cto5K three weeks ago, perhaps it's time to just go back to biking once that broken arm has healed. Shouldn't be too much longer, no? Life is too short to do something you hate every step of. Take some walks and once that arm heals, go back to what you enjoy.
  • pudcfisher
    pudcfisher Posts: 5 Member
    Try trail running. Keep it really slow & steady. Never thought I’d be a ‘runner’ but 2 years on I am! Helps I’ve got a dog who needs to go out rain or shine & we do about 3 miles most days. Stick with it!
  • GaryRuns
    GaryRuns Posts: 486 Member
    Just as an FYI, not everyone loves running. Some people love it and run just because, some people tolerate running and just use it as at tool to attain some other fitness goal, some people loathe it, and some of us have been at all of those stages at some point.

    Anyway, that heart rate does seem a bit high, but while the old 220-age thing is okay it's pretty "easy" to get your actual number. Here's an article on how to better calculate your max HR:

    The other thing to do is to find your true resting HR. Generally the best time to do this is when you first wake up in the morning after a decent night's sleep and are laying in bed relaxed.

    Once you have those, your actual max and resting HR, then use the Karvonen formula and keep your HR in the 70-80% zone. Here's an article on Karvonen:

    That's if you're a geek like me and like solid numbers. The other option is to make sure you can carry on a conversation while you run. That's too easy and non-quantitative for my engineer brain though and people seem to steer clear of me when they see me talking to myself when I'm running, because I generally run alone. :D
  • dougii
    dougii Posts: 661 Member
    I did a 10K program but you can just as easily add mileage or time as described above. Speed will come with the more miles you put on your soles. I kept thinking I had to run faster and this led to injury. Learn the Art of Slow Running and do 80 - 85% of your runs slowly. Break it up with a hill day, speed day, repeat day, etc. LOL @Gary - I'm pretty sure all of us lone runners talk to ourselves :) If you still hate it after that find another form of exercise!
  • Joanna2012B
    Joanna2012B Posts: 1,466 Member
    When I first started running I didn't follow a program. I ran until winded and the walked to until I caught my breathe. I ran my first 5km race and then quit because I hated it. My son started playing travel ball and it was a lot easier to take my running shoes than my I started again. That was 5 years ago I have since ran many 5km races, a handful of Half Marathons and my first Full last year. Don't give up yet and don't worry about your speed or distance, it will come!!
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,772 Member
    Not everyone is a runner...not everyone will like running. I tried to force the issue for a long time...I signed up for several 5K events thinking that would give me greater motivation...nope...still hated it...signed up for a sprint triathlon and started training...still hated it...but sprint tri training is when I did fall in love with my bike. I never ended up participating in the sprint due to an injury a couple weeks before...but once healed, I just picked up cycling and never looked back. I haven't run in years. I've more or less maintained for 7.5 years, and I credit a lot of that to finding a form of exercise that I genuinely enjoy and don't have to force anything. I think I would have given up on my fitness a long time ago if I hadn't discovered cycling.

    My wife on the other hand loves to run and is a natural endurance runner. We did a 5K years ago together...I trained for weeks for it and she had not yet gotten back into running and did nothing to prepare for the event...she blew my doors off and was only a little sore for a couple days after.

  • Duck_Puddle
    Duck_Puddle Posts: 3,229 Member
    I’m going to encourage you to begin by setting aside your expectations of pace. Your pace is your pace and that’s it. The only thing that matters about your pace is if it is the right one for you for that day.

    Your pace is also considerably faster than mine (and many others) when we started.

    Chasing unreasonable performance expectations is one of the fastest ways to hate something because you constantly feel inadequate (and call ourselves names and feel like we aren’t good enough).

    When I started working with my current coach, I ran without GPS (just timer and HRM so I had no idea what my pace was) for months - until I was genuinely comfortable using other metrics to guide my runs (I have since PR’d every distance I’ve run with him and also gone on to run 3 marathons and an ultra).

    Now that I got that out of the way.

    Not everyone likes running. You don’t have to do it.

    I think if you really want to do it and feel like you might enjoy it, slowing down may help.

    Also look at a bridge to 10k plan (which follows the c25k format but gets you up to an hour).

    You’re at a bit of a disadvantage as some of the biggest excitement and “fun” of running (for me) comes from the community and races (which will include people who are near elite and people who walk the entire distance and everything in between) - and both of those have taken a hit with Covid.

    But to reiterate-you don’t have to force yourself to enjoy it. Try slowing down. Try building to longer runs (which will help you get faster). See if there are any groups in your area (if that’s appealing at all). Maybe there are some smaller 5k’s that can work with covid restrictions where you are. Maybe you’ll find your spark of joy in there somewhere?

    But if not-you don’t have to run (or do anything) you don’t enjoy.

  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,146 Member
    pondee629 wrote: »
    If you still "hate every step of my (your) runs" after completing Cto5K three weeks ago, perhaps it's time to just go back to biking once that broken arm has healed. Shouldn't be too much longer, no? Life is too short to do something you hate every step of. Take some walks and once that arm heals, go back to what you enjoy.

    ^^^ This

    I'm a runner/triathlete who started out hating running but surprised myself when I started to enjoy it. I don't expect everyone to love running, follow your bliss.
  • Jthanmyfitnesspal
    Jthanmyfitnesspal Posts: 3,080 Member
    Ooh, my favorite topic! First: Congratulations on finishing C25K. Now that you can do a 5k, you can work on being able to do it easily and comfortably!

    I did C25K a few years ago and had the same experience. Once I got to 5K my HR was maxed, and I would be dying to stop. But, I just kept training and it got easier. My RHR got lower (160 -> 148), I got leaner, and I eventually was able to complete a HM without stopping. (It took 4 years to get to that point.) If I can do it, so can anyone.

    The thing is, once you get to that 5K, it doesn't mean you have to run 5k for every workout. And, you don't have to run straight through a workout, you can still do walk-run intervals. You can go back and do some of the C25K workouts again, for example. And, when you add miles (which is a good strategy in general), reduce your pace.

    One good book is

    80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower
    Learn more:

    Check out the recommendations concerning cross training. Maybe you could do an elliptical, or something.
  • LoveyChar
    LoveyChar Posts: 3,801 Member
    I agree with the above posters who say if running is your only option and you loathe it, then after your arm heals you can get back to what you enjoy doing. I think I must have an innate love of running because it consumes an insane amount of my thought space throughout every single day and I can barely wait to run.

    Also, if you're just starting out and dislike running then pace should not be a factor. Your pace can be improved but don't compare it to anyone else's speed. Finishing is more important and finding a safe place for you is more important than speed or lack of.

    I run it all. Marathon training currently, but a couple of weeks ago I ran a 5k and shocked myself with second place in my age group. I wasn't trying, just a good morning and I got a surprise that will probably never happen again for me. I get out there and do it because I love it and because I love being around other runners. Hhhhhmmmm, maybe you could find a running partner near you to help motivate you.
  • AwesomeSquirrel
    AwesomeSquirrel Posts: 583 Member
    edited November 2020
    Distance > pace. Find new loops and change it up, over time the mileage will increase your pace and drop your heart rate. Weight loss helps to improve performance as well. I did C25K this spring and I really enjoy running. Pace currently around 6:40 min/km and HR avg 150. In June my pace was more like 8 min/km and my HR avg 160 so it does get better. I aim for an avg of 3 runs per week and min 100km per month and I have loops from 3-12 km right now.

    But honestly, not enjoying running isn’t a “failure” of some sort, and life is too short to commit to a hobby where you hate every step. If you did the full C25K I think you gave it a fair shake. Maybe revisit it in the future if the urge strikes you but explore other things for now. Nothing wrong with walking until your arm heals, or I imagine a stationary / esp recumbent bike might work for you.
  • AliNouveau
    AliNouveau Posts: 36,287 Member
    The only thing I like about running is the calorie burn. I find it boring. I switched to walking because my joints just don't like the impact of running and I learned I really liked walking because I could explore new areas. So perhaps running in some beautiful areas would help with the enjoyment of running.

    I kinda think the suggestion if trail running might be the way to make running more enjoyable.
  • littlegreenparrot1
    littlegreenparrot1 Posts: 589 Member
    Do you listen to anything while you run?
    I will go a long way with a good audio book.

    You could try training for more distance, or work on pace if you want to. I'm slower than you, have been running for years and did a marathon a month ago. Pace isn't important to me. The time out on the trails and the achievement is.

    But if you hate every minute I wouldn't force it. It's hard enough getting out in the cold and rain even if you love it!