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Post Couch to 5k - increasing distances

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 James Malloch 12 Sep 2020

I used to do a lot of running (normal run would be 7-10 miles) and played a lot of football which, I guess, was the base of my training as I never did anything specific. 

I had a suspected meniscus tear in 2015 which put me out for a while and a busy work schedule meant I never really tried to get back into running until now.

I’ve had a lot of physio over the past few years and “started” running again multiple times doing C25K type plans. But found if I stopped for a few weeks I quickly regressed and got some pain again and often just quit and climbed more instead. However over lockdown I’ve been doing the C25K but over a much longer time (4 months rather than 9 weeks). Lots of repeating weeks, doing a mix of on-off road etc.

I’m now in the final week doing 30 min runs which are going fine. I’ve generally done at 5min/km pace but up to 4min/km (More like my old pace) for some of the shorter runs. Managed a 5.37min measured mile too so I’ve been feeling reasonably strong in the legs again. 

Other than football training I never did any running training, so I was hoping for some advice on how to progress from here. The last 3 weeks of the C25K have been:

3 x 25 min runs, 

3 x 28 min runs, 

3 x 30 min runs. 

My aim would be to get back to doing a couple of runs a week, one shorter (30 mins or so) and one longer (say 7-10 miles again). I’d love to run the yorkshire 3 peaks as well - but perhaps a little more of a long-term aim (though if I could do a run/walk on the winter solstice this year I’d be pretty psyched!)

Should I just keep adding time? 3 x 35min, 3 x 40min etc. 

Maybe do some longer, 2x30min and 1 x 40 min, then 2x30min and 1 x 50 min etc.

I’ve quite enjoyed doing time-based runs, rather than aiming for a certain distance or pace. If you’re going fast you can just add a bit of extra loop. I think this has helped avoid injury as I just go at what seems comfortable on the day.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated - I think I need a basic plan to keep it going otherwise I’ll end up back at square one again. 

Edit - sorry if that’s a bit of a ramble. I find it hard to review well when writing on a tablet...

Post edited at 11:19
 James Malloch 12 Sep 2020
In reply to James Malloch:

Just to add - my injury always seemed to be aggravated by distance rather than speed etc. So I could do a fast 20min run. But Doing a slow 30 min run would aggravate my knee. So I think continuing to build up will be key but I don’t know how to build that up. 

Though hopefully dragging the C25K out for so long will have helped with the base conditioning.

 DancingOnRock 12 Sep 2020
In reply to James Malloch:

What does your physio suggest? 

I’d start there. 

but the runners I know with cranky knees (all footballers!) tend to do a lot of cycling. 

 SouthernSteve 12 Sep 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> What does your physio suggest? 

Good advice. Perhaps you need some gluteus or VMO strengthening exercises for the knee pain, tape or a band might help, but a good sports physio would be the place to start. Starting some random knee strengthening programme may make you more sore. If that happens the physio usually has some alternative exercises which will get you to a similar place. 

One main difference between the slow and fast run may be the cadence, it may be worth looking at that, although changing it can be awkward and may make you stiff/sore elsewhere while you adjust.  At higher speeds you are less likely to overreach and have better form which will help the knee.

 domwhyte 13 Sep 2020
In reply to James Malloch: as said already, listen to your physio. Beyond that I’ve run on and off over the years but now doing so with purpose having read an article about fitness levels required to get up Mont Blanc (1:45mins for a 1/2 marathon). Since lock down I’ve gone from 30 mins for 5k down to 27, and 60 mins for 10k down to 55 mins (although my watch said I was pretty much dead at that point). This is on the back of two niggling hamstring injuries with some physio too - ask for stretching exercises. 
Just go at whatever pace and distance feels right and don’t push it or expect miracles overnight. Hold yourself back and learn to enjoy running so that it doesn’t feel like a chore and you start feeling good when you run, and dare I say it, actually enjoying it. 
Also, try to get into a routine, 2 or 3 short runs in the week and a longer one at the weekend, with rest time in between. 


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