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Hi. I'm a woman in my 50s and am just about to complete C25K, a slow 11:30 pace but I can keep moving. I'm wary of injuries, but I want to progress. I'd like to increase distance first. Any advice on the next several weeks of training? Should I keep trying to add a little distance a couple of times a week or should I limit to 5K for a while? I plan to run every other day, with some walking, biking, and yoga in between. (I tried to go to the Over 50, 5K and Beyond group but it wasn't working.) Thanks!
I've got an answer for you, but to put things into perspective, I'm in my late 50's and I started running when I was 52.
I'm going to suggest that you identify your next distance goal; perhaps it is a 10K (6.2 miles), or even a half marathon (13.1 miles). Once you focus on achieving that goal, it is amazing what you will do to realize it.
If running further is not your thing, consider working on running a faster pace. Today you may have averaged a 11:30 pace for your 3 mile run - make next weeks goal an 11:15 average... There are little things and techniques that you can do to increase your pace and edurance. It all works.
After I got resonably comfortable at being able to run 3 miles without having to walk, I stretched it out to running 4 or 5 miles once a week. I thought that 5 miles was an incredibly long way to run... But what tipped the line for me was signing up for a half marathon. That got me focused on running further (not necessarily faster) and got me looking past 3 miles. Running that half marathon was an incredible catharsis for me - I was very nervous about running it. To me it was an impossibility - what? run for 2+ hours? are you nuts? But I followed a plan, more or less stuck to it, I had a minor injury (because I was an idiot), but I recovered, I arrived at the starting line healthy and excited, and I finished with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. One year later I ran a marathon.
Running, as in many new skills and abilities that we learn in life, is a series of steps. Stretching those steps is what keeps us healthy and alive.
best of luck!
My opinion is that you're thinking along the lines which are exactly right for you, increase your distance, even if that means slowing down to say a 12:00+ minute per mile pace. Those of us in our late fifties benefit hugely from lots of distance, the more miles you run, even if the pace is slow, the faster you'll be able to run any given distance.
Were it that I was coaching you, I'd recommend you work your way up to six miles every other day, and once that becomes comfortable, instead of trying to run the six faster (which will happen regardless of whether you try or not), you then work toward running two six mile runs every three days, and then eventually six miles every day. Once you're running over thirty miles per week, then you can make the decision as to whether you want to run more miles, faster miles, or a combination of both.
FWIW, I started running again last year with an eye toward doing one full year of what we call Long Slow Distance (LSD), and then start adding in some faster "speed drills". The thing is, I've gotten so fast from the exclusive LSD thing, I've decided to forego speed work for another year.