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I think of myself as a total newbie. I look at the amount of time I've been running and how late in life I started and figure I have to be a beginner. I started to run last August and had problems with knee pain. Someone recommended that I get fitted for proper running shoes and it was like a miracle. I ran my first 5k road race on September 18th at the age of 38. I was amazed that after losing 30 pounds in the previous 5 months and only running for a month, I turned in a 24:34 time. I was so excited, that I ran and ran and ran. In fact too much. I ended up doing some damage to my achilles. That put a quick stop to it. I continued my fitness regiment otherwise preparing for a Tough Mudder event. It was not till February that I could start running again and now that this mud race is behind me, I am again focusing on running. I love it. If you're wondering how much I've actually run; by my endomondo tracking (I use it religiously), I have about 300 miles under me. My 5k times are about the same as last Sept.
I'm still a beginner, right?
I ask because when I signed up for my first 10k (Falmouth Road Race on Cape Cod), I wanted to train and be as ready as I could. I went to the training section here on cool running (love this site), and the times they say for a beginner seem unattainable for me, realistically. They list as 48 minutes as a goal...I was thinking that and hour would be more likely. My wife says shoot for 55 minutes.
When I speak with friends and look where I finish in the pack, I think my mid 24 minute 5k is pretty good. I don't want to push it and re-injure myself, but I also want to set a challenging but attainable goal.
So, my questions are;
I'm sure you'll want more info, so feel free to ask. By the way, I'm now 39, 162 lbs.
Thanks in advance for any advice!!
If you're still running mid 24s for 5K, 50 is a good goal for a 10K, with something below 49 a "stretch" goal. This assumes good training, ramped up a little for the greater distance. Also make adjustments if the course is hilly or for other conditions that may make it harder than average, such as heat or crowding.
You're certainly newer than a lot of runners, which is pretty much irrelevant. The point is not how long you've been at it but what you've learned. And believe me, if you're a good runner you learn something about running and yourself every time you go out. 28 years of running and while I don't think of myself as a beginner, I'm still learning. As they say, it's a journey, not a destination.
Oh, BTW, I started at about the same age you did.
That's some pretty sage advice. I do know what you mean about learning on each run. Sometimes it's as simple as where you step or for me, more complex as how you breath when you're getting a chest cramp. I agree with your perspective on "journey vs destination"; that for me is how I try to live life. This course, for which I am training, is not near my home, but I am familiar. I'm going to make a point to take a drive and pay close attention to the elevations. Fortunately for me, the course I run regularly has a great amount of inclines, so I'm hoping that will help.
One of the other issues which I have to contend is the season. Because of when I began, how long I've been at it and the time of day which I run (5 AM or earlier), I'm acclimated to running in cooler weather. This run is in the beginning of August in an area that is known for humidity. I'll have to make sure I keep up the training in the heat of the summer to be fully prepared. It's definitely something about which I am concerned.
So, you started when I did and your still at it...that may be the most encouraging info I've had in this regard.
Sounds like you are doing great Matty and I personally think that signing up for additional races (moving on to the 10K and so on) is one of the best things that you can do to further your goals for the future.
I also ventured into running later in life and the definition of beginner is really a personal distinction that sometimes indicates time of activity, level of regular activity or achieving progress. Basically, you should determine when you no longer categorize yourself as a beginner because there are different measures depending on the circumstances. When I placed in my first 8k, I was still technically new to running (6 months), but I decided to abandon the beginner title at that point. So, your expectations are the most important as opposed to other labels or qualifications.
Likewise, a reasonable time goal for your first 10K is a variable that you can decide based on your best efforts. (As Len suggested, there are other unknown situations that may influence your planned finish time and the experience is the most valuable). The point is to be proud in completing the race and then quickly look to the next opportunity to compete, enjoy your accomplishments and improve at your own rate.
Congrats and best wishes for many happy miles and events.
It has taken me over a year, but finally I don't feel like a complete "beginner", "rookie" or "newbie". I now have a lot of races of various distances under my belt and feel like I can finally call myself "in good shape". I still don't feel like a veteran though, as I'm still learning about my capabilities and running in general constantly. When I go to races, I can tell the majority of people running at my age and approximate speed are more experienced than I, but I really don't think it matters too much.
I think a mid 24 minute 5k for your initial races is a great time. I took me about 5 months or so of running to go from 30 minutes to get to that point last year.
Not sure where you saw it, but I don't consider 48 minutes a "beginner" time at all, especially for those of us starting or resuming running in our mid - late 30s. I ran 50:26 in my first real attempt to race a 10k earlier this year when I was running about 24 minute 5ks. With that time I was 36 out of 90 runners (and in the mid 200s out of 1300 overall, 48 minutes would have been in the top 25% of my age group). Now that I'm closer to a 22 minute 5k time, my hope is that I'll be under 48 minutes when I do my next one.
I think that somewhere between 50 - 55 minutes would be a reasonable time for a first 10k with your 5k time. In my limited experience (maybe I still am a beginner), 10k is a tougher distance to figure out pace than is a half marathon. Once you get one under your belt, you'll have a better idea for the next one.
The best advice I can give is to not worry too much about your time, especially for a new distance, and just give a good effort. Good luck!
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I agree so much about setting goals. I am working in the difficult but attainable range right now. I think I run a race every time I run. I don't think I'll realistically be competitive on any real road race, so I am constantly competing with myself and my limitations based on the last run. Not sure if that makes sense...it sounded profound in my head ;-)
I feel I am doing OK for times. As to experience, I think I am still a beginner.
Thanks for your insight and encouragement!
I'm just shy of a year, but because of being a little overzealous, I injured myself. Then after I was heeled well enough, I started really training for my ToughMudder event. During that training, I was doing a lot of treadmill running. I think that hurt me overall (the treadmill) The next 5k I ran, my times showed that I hadn't run on the road in a while. For now, at least until I am done with this next race, the treadmill will stay idle.
I saw the 48 minute beginner times here: http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_4/145.shtml
I may have misread it, goodness know I've done that before. This race I am training for is actually a 7 mile race. Do you think the training should be about the same? I know it will be somewhat hill and right on the ocean, so I'm expecting (and dreading) it to be pretty muggy.
During my practice runs I am concentrating on, amongst other things, pacing an 8 min mile and having pretty good results. I can go faster often enough, but I'm thinking it will be very important to be very steady. In short, I'm confident I'll finish...I just want to be satisfied with myself once done!
Let me also say that I really love the advice and encouraging comments thus far. I'm very new to the community and I wasn't sure what kind of response I'd get. Thanks a lot, it helps!