I’m 47 and running mainly for health but also entering some 5 and 10 K runs (and eventually a half marathon) and would like to improve my times. My current schedule is two short runs on Wednesday and Friday and a long run on Sunday, the short runs are a little over 5 miles and the long is in the 10 mile range. I can’t run every day (at least not the distances I’ve been running) or my knees get sore. My question is if I’d be better off running the 5 miles every other day and only running the long run every other week. Over a month the distances would be about the same and there would only be one additional run with the every other day routine so they seem pretty even in those aspects. I’ve just started doing an interval run once a week so I’ll do that for either routine.
I’m not sure there would be much of a difference either way for general health or from a time improvement point of view. I do know that I, oddly enough, enjoy the long run, and if I only do it every other week I’m more sore the next couple of days afterwards, but not so much if I’m doing it each week.
I’m sure there’s no definitive answer, but I’d appreciate anyone’s feedback or advice. If you need any more info let me know.
I think a periodic run of 8 to 10 miles (or more) is beneficial for the distances you're racing, particularly if you want to improve your times. Does it have to be every week? No, although I would not recommend going longer than every two weeks. And of course it will be more needed if you decide to run a half-marathon. If the long run leaves you sore you might try slowing a little for that run.
If you find your knees get sore, you should check your running form A pretty good video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSIDRHUWlVo Note I don't agree with everything he says and I'm not sure what "natural running" is. But it has some pretty good tips on form, gait and footplant. Keeping your knees flexed and planting your feet under your hips are probably the most important. The other thing to check is your shoes: that they are not worn out and that they're a good shoe for you.
Thanks for the reply Len
I'm leaning towards keeping things the same with one long run a week, if for no other reason than if I extend it to every two weeks and I miss one then it'lll end up being three weeks. I took a look at the video too, thanks for the link. I've not done much work on my form so I'll try that and see if that helps and lets me run more than every other day. If I can just add one more day I'll be happy, maybe I'll go 5 or 6 miles one day, then a short interval day, then a 5 or 6 mile day again. I'll have to play with it and find something that works.
Thanks again for the reply and video link - I'm off to find some more now!
Just a semi-relevant pic from my blog
I love the feeling of relaxation and satisfaction the day after a long run. Did nine miles yesterday, and today I am not even doing strength training... just chilling out and taking care of the kids.
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Honestly if you are getting some seriouspain that is stopping you from running then you needto have that sorted first! The thing about knee pain isthat even though you think that it is bearable, subconsciouslyyou still put less weight on that leg thanyou normally would and so before long you startpicking up injuries in other areas of your body due to thechange in gait. Knees are problem areas anyway and so it is bestto see a physio as they will be able to work out ifyou have a muscle imbalance that iscausing the problem or if it needs further treatment. Thequicker you get your injury sorted out then thequicker you can get back into training!
Your schedule looks good and I would bereluctant to make any changes before you have hadsomeone take a look at your knee. Maybe in themeantime whilst you are receiving treatment you could try somethingnon-impact like swimming to improve your fitness before you start uppingyour distances again. Just a thought...
Hope that helps and goof luck with thetraining!
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