Hello all, I'm new to the forum and would love your feedback.
I'm a 33 year old woman who had a baby 9 months ago. 8 years ago I injured myself running (foot issues and chronic tendinitis). No one seemed to be able to workout what was wrong with my foot and lower leg, and after 3years i sort of gave up looking for a fix. It never felt really much better. I continued to train in other sports - cycling and then rowing. My body radically changed and I increased muscle mass considerably, and I also got older! I used to run 25-30 miles a week with a temp run, intervals or fartlek and a longish run. I didn't compete in many races, and only actually competed in a couple 4-5 months after I initially took up running. My first 5k was 22.29 and a local 4.7 mile fun run a few weeks before that was around 36 minutes. This was in 2000. I was forever getting injured, though..
Anyway, fast forward to around November and I realized that my foot felt much better. My physical therapist gave me some KT tape to put on my leg and my foot has been doing pretty good. SO I decided to train for a half marathon. i used Galloway's program, but found that I didn't need to use the walking breaks. But I was having problems with my hip flexors. I ran 2-3 times a week - usually 5-6 miles with a long run on the weekend (my longest run was 14.5 miles). (probably averaged 15-20 miles a week) It was a struggle to stay healthy with my hips so I missed the very few speed session in the program. I ran my half a few weeks ago. It wasn't the best race for someone who runs without a watch(!), as there were no mile markers and I had no idea how far I had to run and no ideas as to pace. I didn't push it as much as I wish I had but I did finish under the goal time in a time of around 1 hour 58 minutes.
I'm currently taking a bit of a break from running.. I should have been very happy with the time, not least because I have just had a baby and I work full time, but I am a bit disappointed and wonder if I will ever be able to run even remotely fast ever again. Do you guys think that I can improve my times, and can I get back to running a 5k in 22 minutes?
Thsi is probably impossible to answer but I could definitely do with some encouragement
Unless you finish #1 and bring home the loot...time is irrelevant. Put the baby in a stroller and build lung capacity and injury free exercise. The whole race day routine...the crowds, the anticipation, fulfilling a task and memories (Pictures and Results and a Framed number ) it's all good.
Yes you should be proud of completing the half not beating yourself up about time/pace. 1/2 traing (except for elites and advanced 1/2ers) is generally just to conquer the distance. It is probably good that you did NOT do speedwork while training for this if you were "making a comeback" into the running world. Now would be a good time to start doing the tempo, intervals, and all that stuff you seem to have a good grasp on that increases speed. As far as being "fast"..... Well yes, from personal experience I have stopped running for about 3 years lost ALL speed and endurance and come back to be just as fast at 39 as I was at 33. Same as at 23? Not quite yet. It was a frustrating AND LONG process but with a lot of time and effort the speed came back. Now I'm working just as hard but fighting for seconds per mile vs. minutes so enjoy the "comeback" and be patient....
I would guess the only things slowing you down are time (training time) and injuries. Like gatorman said, work at it gradually, to heal your current injuries and to avoid re-injury. Really, a 1:58 is pretty good after 8 years off and pretty minimal training (for a half, at least). Heck, I ran a 22:something 5K in my mid-40s. If you stay healthy and train well, you should be able to do it in your mid-30s.
grid-rider said it perfectly. I'll add.....get out there and run for FUN...don't take a break because you are disappointed in yourself (but of course if you are injured) get back out there with baby or get time away from parenting for a few runs and do it by yourself. Focus on WHY you began running in the first place, and enjoy running for the great sport that it is. I don't know that much about your physical condition other than your prior injuries, but it can be done...running fast again (if you are healed), I've mentioned before I had 10 years of strong fitness going on before I had a baby last year and worked my way back to my fightin' self again.....and I'm forty *cough* one with a toddler in the jogger on my short runs. Leave the self doubt and disappointment behind, and head out the door with a positive attitude and a belief in yourself that you can do your absolute best and work back to your former speed. (again, I am speaking from an injury free standpoint). I would never encourage someone to get back out there and pound pavement with an injury, but if it is only a mental setback you are having, then yes......by all means get back out there and work up to your former speedy self.
These are all great suggestions. I would add that you really don't need much interval work to run faster than 1:58 in the half-marathon at your level. Your focus should be on developing your aerobic base with easy mileage. Stay consistent, keep it fairly easy and you should be set to PR in 6 months.
If you want to break 22 minutes in the 5k, my suggestion is to set that goal for after 6 months of easy base-building mileage. You'll have a much greater aerobic capacity and will be able to handle the harder workouts. There's really no need for intense track sessions, but instead focus on fartleks and quality tempo runs. Do strides after your easy runs 2-3x per week to keep your leg speed intact.
Lastly, to combat your injury problem, you should definitely incorporate core/body-weight exercises into your program. These sessions are usually only 10-15 minutes long and are done 2-3 times per week. Also, do you lift weights? Gym workouts that focus on compound movements (squats, lunges, bench press) are the best for you and can greatly increase your strength. Also check out hill sprints if you can: http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=15737&PageNum=1. I do them once per week and they are awesome.
Good luck! -- Jason.
The answer is that you certainly can run fast again. The question is how much you'll be willing to work and how much time you have to dedicate to running, especially now with the baby. It'll take more work to get to the pace you were at before. As others said, base mileage is the first key.
I had not run much at all since 2000. I started my comeback last spring around this time. I'm 29 now. My first 5K back in June was a 23 something. I'm actually training for longer races, but I've chopped my 5K time down to 20:30 on New Years Eve and I'm hoping to run under 20 minutes tomorrow. My half marathon time was a 1:41 in October and recently I cut that down to a new PR of 1:33:12. It has certainly taken a lot of work to get there though. I'm now in the best shape of my life. I've been running over 50 miles every week. My times are as fast or faster now than before, but it took a lot more focused training to get there. When I was younger, I was just much faster naturally.
Good luck with your comeback. It can be hard, but I promise you it is very rewarding. Focus on the long term. Think about working on improving for several years.
2009 Philadelphia Marathon 3:48:12
2010 Pocono Run for the Red Marathon 3:14:31