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5749 Views 24 Replies Latest reply: Sep 14, 2011 10:52 AM by cyclingdama 1 2 Previous Next
jeljohns Pro 106 posts since
Jan 4, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Aug 27, 2011 3:51 PM

When to throw in the towel?

This is half rant half needing some advice.

 

I'm really frustrated. I started running about a year and a half ago. When I started it was brutal, I did about a 15:00 mile. I kept plodding along, but then started getting injured. The worse was an IT band injury that has been on going for FIVE months now. It no longer hurts when I run, but it sure does after! And now I have a foot injury. I'm not over doing it by any means (I did 4 miles last week). 

Here is my rant:

Running never seems to get easier for me at all. After lots of speedwork sessions and working my butt off despite injury I can only pull off a 12:00 mile. Every time I get up to about 2 miles or so injuries flare up and have to start all over again. My conditioning NEVER gets better. I always feel like my body could keep going, but my heart and lungs want to give up. It's led to come pretty bad anxiety because if I try to push things or go faster then my heart rate spikes and I feel like I can't breathe.  On top of all this I keep signing up for races and then having to miss them because of lack of training due to injury. I signed up for a half marathon 6 months ago and I'm not going to be able to do that next month either because I can only run 15 minutes before I'm spent.

 

I see so many blog posts and stories of people losing tons of weight and running marathons after less than a year of running. I also see lots of people that started out like me but after just a few months can do like 7:00 mile.  I really don't want to give up because despite how truly awful running feels I like what its done for my life. I've lost 30 pounds, completely overhauled my diet, do more strength training, and have improved self esteem. This would all go way if I quit running.

 

At what point do you decide you're just not built for running?

 

Some health info:

I'm 31 and female. 21 BMI (not overweight). Have been checked out by a cardiologist (stress test + ultrasound), heart is healthy. Blood pressure normal. No allergies or asthma.

Pretty much in good health overall.

  • indigopet Pro 95 posts since
    Jan 23, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Aug 27, 2011 4:44 PM (in response to jeljohns)
    Re: When to throw in the towel?

    At what point do you decide you're not built for running?

     

    When it's no longer fun in any way, shape or form.

     

    If you still want to continue to move, you could look at some of the Walk/Run/Walk or Run/Walk programs.  Or maybe just walking.  Or biking.  Or hula hooping.

     

    If this isn't giving you joy or results, why continue to beat yourself up over it?

     

    If you want to continue, maybe you could try running with a heart rate monitor.  It sounds like you are starting out too high on an endurance level and wearing out quickly.  Have you been checked for exercise induced asthma?  That could also be causing problems. It doesn't usually get diagnosed unless you are tested specifically for it. I don't have asthma but need to use an inhaler if I run more than 3 miles.   Have you been videoed and fitted for the correct shoes?  Just plain old fatigue from incorrect form could be wearing you out too.





    PR: 5k - 31:45, 4 mile - 45:15, 8k - 53.52, 10k - 1:09:57, 10 mile - 1:54:07, 10NM - 2:19:11, HM - 2:39:17, Marathon - 6:04:12

    http://athlinks.com/racer/results/78782435

    .

  • nowirun4fun Legend 208 posts since
    Oct 22, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Aug 27, 2011 5:58 PM (in response to jeljohns)
    Re: When to throw in the towel?

    Let's review in your own words.

     

    When you started, you were doing 15 minute miles.  Your conditioning never gets any better.  You are doing 12 minute miles and suffering injiuries.  Running never gets any easier.

     

    Well, you've gone from 15 minute to 12 minute miles.  Something about that to me says your conditioning has improved.

     

    You're suffering injuries.  If you really want to be a runner, get used to the idea of suffering injuries.  It goes with the territory.  No matter how good you are.  I was just googling on a name I remembered from high school, 1983.  The guy was state champion in mile, two miles, XC.  The article I found was he was hopeful to be able to qualify for the olympic 10000m, but for the first time in his life an injury was going to likely sideline his goal.  That being said, injuries are not fun, noone likes them, and I think all runners are always trying to minimize their injury downtime.  If your injuries are from overtraining, ease up.

     

    You think running should be getting easier.  Well, if you're running with an eye on the clock, and you want to continue to improve your time, I suspect it will always feel like it never gets any easier.  I'm always trying to best myself.  So, it always seems like I'm killing myself.  If I decide to accept that I only want to run 9 minute miles, I suspect running will feel alot easier to me.  Running 9 minute miles is not what I'm striving for though.

     

    Not trying to be argumentative, just encouraging you to evaluate your goals and expectations.  If you're in it for the long haul and not just for instant gratification, I suspect you'll be surprised how much you can achieve over a 2, 3, 5, etc year time frame.

  • WIguy Pro 136 posts since
    Jun 24, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Aug 27, 2011 7:57 PM (in response to jeljohns)
    Re: When to throw in the towel?

    I do run with a heart rate monitor and my HR is usually 165-172.

     

    That seems high.  Have you tried running at an HR of 145-155 instead? Slower, but longer runs would help make the running much more tolerable and eliminating the speedwork for now should help reduce the chance of other injuries.





    C25K - graduated 7/9/10

    ---

    Justiceworks' JustRun 5K - 9/4/10: 24:52

    American Cancer Society Walk/Run 5K - 9/19/10: 24:20

    Lettie's River Run 5K - 10/9/10: 24:59

  • indigopet Pro 95 posts since
    Jan 23, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Aug 27, 2011 9:06 PM (in response to jeljohns)
    Re: When to throw in the towel?

    That HR does seem pretty high for training runs.  During a race going all out, not so high.

     

    I'm glad you still are having some fun.  I do my long run training at a 12-13 minute pace.  I don't know anyone that slow so I don't have running partners.  I have however found an excellent running club - not one that's ultra-competitive but one based out of a chiropractor clinic that has people in it for fun and health.  They may all beat me on a run but they are there cheering for me in the parking lot - or at the end of a race.

     

    One thing that might frustrate you less at races is to look at last year's results before signing up.  Don't choose a 5k for instance where the last 5 people to finish ran it in 32 minutes.  Choose one that had people slower than you at the end.

     

    It all depends on what you want out of running.  I think if you think it's "just brutal" that's difference than feeling some pain as you run.

     

    You might also mosey over the penguin thread.  Lots of us over there who are running your speed and slower.





    PR: 5k - 31:45, 4 mile - 45:15, 8k - 53.52, 10k - 1:09:57, 10 mile - 1:54:07, 10NM - 2:19:11, HM - 2:39:17, Marathon - 6:04:12

    http://athlinks.com/racer/results/78782435

    .

  • WIguy Pro 136 posts since
    Jun 24, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Aug 28, 2011 8:28 AM (in response to jeljohns)
    Re: When to throw in the towel?

    jeljohns wrote:

     

    Interesting to hear that's high. I know it's not completely accurate, but when I calculate my max HR based on the formula it's about 190 so I figured anything below that was okay!

     

    My resting is about 85, and walking it hovers around 130. In the past two weeks for the first time I've had a few runs where my heart rate stayed around 155 and that's never happened before. How do I get my heart rate to stay lower without slowing down past 12:00 mile? I feel like any slower than that and I might as well be walking!

     

    indigo,

     

    Your running club sounds great! I wish we had something like that here. We have one running club that trains for our annual marathon. Their first run of the season is 5 miles so I've always been too scared to join.

     

    You definitely don't want to be anywhere near your max heart rate of 190 on a typical run. Keep it around 150, even if that means jogging slower than 12 minute miles. I suspect that in order to consistently acheive 12 minute miles you first need to concentrate on increasing your distance per run and per week. Slow down to prevent fatigue and injury. Two mile runs or 4 miles per week and misery and injury due to overdoing it aren't going to get you where you want to be. Build more endurance first and eventually more speed will come.





    C25K - graduated 7/9/10

    ---

    Justiceworks' JustRun 5K - 9/4/10: 24:52

    American Cancer Society Walk/Run 5K - 9/19/10: 24:20

    Lettie's River Run 5K - 10/9/10: 24:59

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,413 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Aug 28, 2011 2:15 PM (in response to WIguy)
    Re: When to throw in the towel?

    Your resting heart rate of 85 is also on the high side.  I would expect it to be 70 - 75 (Wikipedia article says 60 - 80 is typical in adults).  You may be taking it at the wrong time.  Take it before you get  out of bed in the morning.  Otherwise I agree with WIguy - you need more method to your madness.  Slow down to keep your pulse between 148 and 158 (60% to 70% of max, by the Karvonen method).  Then work on extending distance.  Over time you will find you can cover the same distance at a faster pace while maintaing that heart rate.

     

    Len





    Len

  • redrunner32 Pro 151 posts since
    Sep 29, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Aug 28, 2011 4:17 PM (in response to jeljohns)
    Re: When to throw in the towel?

    maybe you are burned out and just need to take a few weeks off.. can you switch to cycling or something else for awhile?

  • nowirun4fun Legend 208 posts since
    Oct 22, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Aug 29, 2011 7:27 AM (in response to jeljohns)
    Re: When to throw in the towel?

    JJ - no I think I get it, understand, fast or slow, the art of running, at least the one I know, seems to be just as you're living it.  I guess I'm just trying to encourage you as a somewhat of a newbie, even though you may think after a year you're past the newbie stage.

     

    Extreme frustration and the need to rant again goes with the territory.  I can be guaranteed to start ranting after a few pints of local brewed pale ale.  8/24 I set a 5K midlife PR.  As you're saying, it took me over a year of additional training to show an improvement.  That was a mere 5 days ago.  For a few hours, I was on top of the world so to speak.  Ever since, it's been completely falling apart, again, and it still remains to be seen where I'll finally land, be able to dust myself off, and get back in the saddle so to speak.  Leading up to that race, my back issues flaired up.  They are not getting any better based on my own imposed schedule.  The Category 1 back episodes last about 7-10 days;  this one is apparently determined to show it made landfall at least as a Cat3.  Daily nagging pain can wear a person down, or it does me anyway.  Not being able to cut the grass, work in the yard, pick up my daughter, sit in a chair, all these things without pain, well...let's just say sometimes I'm glad I forget where I put the 9mm ammo.  Only after the storm has fully passed can I assess the damage and see how bad it is/was.  Trying to predict the outcome is usless.  Sound familiar?

     

    So, keep after it, know that better days will definitely come, and look back on these struggles as a necessary part of the journey.  You want to be good at running?  I'd say given what you've been through and that your determination is intact, you're closer to being an expert runner than you think.

     

    Good luck.

  • raf66 Expert 49 posts since
    Jan 15, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Aug 29, 2011 8:01 AM (in response to jeljohns)
    Re: When to throw in the towel?

    Your posted HR of 198 might be an aberration since the rest are between 161 and 170, which are not that high at all.  I echo the advice of some of the posters here - slow down.  I think if you would simply lower your pace a smidge (maybe 60-90 seconds or so per mile) you will notice that you can run your normal distance more comfortably.  Once you've done that distance for a couple of weeks, slowly increase it.  Rinse and repeat for 60-90 days.  Build up your base of miles, slowly and incrementally.  You'd be amazed at how much improvement you can realize by just slowing down and gradually running longer distances.  Your heart/lungs become better able to work efficiently over longer distances.  That will enable you to keep your HR down for longer durations.  It also sounds as if you might be creating some unnecessary mental stress/anxiety on yourself by being frustrated at your perceived lack of improvement.  That likely does not help matters.  Relax, slow down and do your best to enjoy the sport.  If you don't enjoy it, or are routinely having to suffer through injuries, there are other cardio workouts that may be better for you.

     

    Good luck.

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