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I'm not the type to post in a public forum, but I guess I'm looking for advice and encouragement here. Here's my background-I'm a very thin mom with mild asthma. While I rarely sit down most days, I've really done very little in the way of formal exercise over the years. I've currently been running for just over 2 months and run about 2.8 miles in 33-35 minutes 3-5 days a week. I've definitely seen a change in my body in tone (which is great!), but endurance-wise I'm making virtually no progress. After all this time the longest stretch I can run is 7 blocks. While that's farther than I started out, it's incredibly frustrating to not be making much progress. Has anyone else experienced this? The funny thing is a can speed walk without much of a problem, but the minute I start running it's like I'm going to die. LOL! Is it a just hang in there kind of thing or am I possibly doing something wrong? I would appreciate any advice or encouragement. Thanks!!
You may simply be trying to run too fast. IMHO, it's the single biggest mistake beginners make. You should be able to talk in short sentences while you run (sing to yourself). If you can't, slow down.
I have totally been at that point where I felt like I was making no progress... it's hard, especially since in the VERY beginning you make progress pretty fast, when you think about the change between the couch and running at all, it's a huge improvement, right?
I think giving myself permission to run slower to run longer, and to take a little walking break when I needed it and then run more, helped me increase the distance I was able to run without stopping. If you run four miles but take a lot of breaks, then it's easier to run a whole mile without stopping, and so on.
I also had more trouble with breathing than with my legs being tired as I worked up to running longer without stopping... but I kept getting better as I kept running.
Every time you get out there and run, even if it's not the progress you'd hoped for, it's boosting your mood and your fitness and getting your body and lungs more used to running.
That said I've got no experience with asthma so you could also ask your doctor about tips for running with mild asthma... maybe they'd have some pointers too?
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Couch to 5K graduate, September 2012
First 10K, June 2nd, 2013
First Half Marathon, September 2013
I am a fellow asthmatic. Five years ago I started working out and slowly moved from walking to running. It sounds like as the other poster mentioned that you might be doing too much too soon. You are right in that your lungs have to build up endurance. I would back off your distance and very gradually increase it. Another thing you will need to work on is your breathing. When I run I try to get into measured breathing approach whereby I don't overbreathe and trigger the asthma. The breathing part is huge. Work on that and the distance and speed will eventually fall into place.
Watch your asthma! Just be CONSISTENT in your running/workouts. Little steps first! Walk and run some. Build up. In time you will find out that running will become a lifestyle if you really want it too. I repeat...CONSISTENCY is the key.
Find a running program that you are comfortable with. I know for me, I like easy running. Running at a "talking" pace. The key I was taught was to build up and get the miles in! I completed my 1st marathon in 2005. I have completed 6 total since then. Please don't ask me my times, but for me, the thrill is beginning and finishing a race and hopefully, beating my previous time or PRing (Previous Record).
You will do fine if you don't get caught up with all those "jack rabbits" out there. Just enjoy what you are able to do. I know I am NOT an elite runner, but a happy recreational one :-) Running has help my health and if I get to the point that I cannot run...then I will WALK. Happy running! :-)
Message was edited by: Jerry Flippin
Jerry Flippin, Jr.
I'm on board for encouragement. You can run almost three miles! That's a fantastic accomplishment. Congratulations! Sounds like your next goal is to increase the distance you can run between walk breaks - and you can come up with some strategies to meet that goal. Maybe you could do that by planning that on your next run you will run 8 blocks before you take a break, then 9 blocks a couple runs after that, etc.? To do that you might have to slow it down, especially at first, but as your body gets used to the distance there is no question it WILL get easier. The first time you do it will probably always be the hardest.
I am working on a similar goal - I have a huge, 2 mile long hill on one of my routes and I can't run the whole thing...yet. And I've got a marathon, a couple half marathons, a few 10-milers, etc. under my belt. Not sure if its the endurance or just my head that doesn't want to run the whole way, but either way I'm just breaking it down.
You don't mention if you use any sort of program to track your progress (e.g., mapmyrun, micoach, nikerun, etc.). If not, you might want to start. Realizing and celebrating what you have accomplished is great motivation for what comes next! Whenever I get discouraged that I can't do something I think I should be able to do, it helps to look back at my running log and see how far I've come (1,500+ miles run!) and realize its a marathon, not a sprint (whether it's a sprint or not!).
I think it's great you're getting out there several times a week and running nearly 3mi at a time! People make plenty of excuses to not exercise at all. I used to always find an excuse. A little over a year ago, I wanted to lose weight and have an outlet for stress so I decided to begin running. I've considered myself to not have a runners build because I'm 5'3" and have short legs - I just didn't think I'd be able to cover any sort of "impressive" distance. My attitude was "why bother, I'm not built for it". Running was difficult at first, very difficult. I began by walking a couple miles in the evening and eventually added a few jogging spurts. One day I decided to try to run a mile without stopping. That attempt was unsuccessful, but I decided I'd try it again the next day. A few months after beginning, I got to the point where I was running 5mi 4-5 days per week. I couldn't believe I was able to accomplish that, but because I had, I wondered what more I was capable of. However, I couldn't figure out how to get myself past the 5mi point. I felt exhausted!
For me, it became a mental game. Instead of feeling surprised that I could run 5mi, I needed to believe it was a minimum I could do before stopping for the day. Even if it meant I ran 5.4mi, that was further than the day before. Are you running the same 7 block course everytime? If so, you can find a marker like a particular house, a tree, a crack in the sidewalk etc. that you must pass the next time you run. After you pass it, just keep going and see what you can do. Set a new marker for every run. The continued sense of accomplishment will bring more incentive to keep running. If you begin feeling like you want to stop before you've surpassed a marker from a previous run, tell yourself that you've done it before and you can do it again.
Do keep in mind that not every run must be better than the last. A slow run is better than no run and there's no shame in walking breaks along the way. Let's face it, some days are more exhausting than others. While pushing yourself is encouraged, you should never ignore signs of bodily distress, especially since you're asthmatic (I am too). I've finally gotten to where I can run 10mi without stopping. It's been something I feel proud of, but I'd like to run a half marathon soon. I want to prove to myself that I can do it on my own first. So, when I decide to do a 10mi run I tell myself that 10mi is the minimum and I can't give in before then. Running is as mentally challenging as it is physically. You'll find discipline within yourself you may have never realized you had. Especially when you're beginning, it brings a strong sense of self-accomplishment. Keep up the good work!
Don't worry. You will get there. It just takes a bit more time sometimes.
I think you should increase the time you spend out. If you cannot run more than 7 blocks - that's fine. Just add few more running stretches when you have energy.
And don't get frustrated. We've all been there.
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