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I am training for my first half marathon. I started running back in december 2009, and have been running regularly since. Everytime i go to push past 6 miles I usually hit a wall. As far as fatigue goes i have been taking GU energy gels which help, but my ankels and shins usually start to hurt, I only have about 125 miles on my sneakers so I don't think they have broken down yet. Any suggestions for pushing past this point? I have a little under 7 weeks until my race.
Thanks for any insight.
It could be a couple of things that I would be aware of.
What about hydration? Are you drinking enough before the run and getting some on the road if you are out more than 45min - 60min?
What about your pace? When you are increasing distance and building endurance you should be doing one long slow distance run per week and increase that gradually each week.
The last thing I could share is sometimes distance barriers are mental also. Sometimes you just have to get through a distance as much in your head as in your body.
You should check out the 1/2 marathon trainers group. There are some very helpful experienced runners there that could also help. Good luck.
You rarely regret the runs you do; you almost always regret the runs you skip
I usually drink a glass of water, and have a couple of slices of bread and an energy gel about 20 minutes before my runs. This is probably a large part of my issue. My pace when i first started training was a little to fast, i was a middle distance runner in high school, so i was judging off that pace. After a lot of reading i found out that my pace was too fast. I also think i might have been over training a bit, i have scaled that back too.
I will definitly check out the half marathon trainers group. Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it.
Other than right before and during the run, are you fueling properly? Did you do something draining the day before the 6 and not properly refuel?
Everyone's body is different, but I find that I need more carbs the day before a long run rather than right before. After a hard workout I need carbs and protein immediately or the next day's work out will feel gassed and sluggish. Play around with you calorie intake, write down what you eat and how you feel after working out and try to find a pattern. Maybe try taking the gel earlier in the run because maybe you're taking it too late?
I think your shoes should be broken in enough by 125 miles. It could be that your body just needs to get used to the pounding. Or maybe as you become more tired you let your form slip and that's causing the pain. Rick has the right idea with slowing down and hydrating.
Also, don't forget to stretch, foam roll, loosen those muscles!!! A lot of lower leg pain is from tight muscles. Especially stretch your calves. Tight muscles pull on tendons and make everything out of whack (I got a way better explanation from my doctor and I'm sorry for butchering it...but that's it in a nutshell!). If the shins are really painful get checked out by an orthopedist, try to find one that specializes in runners or one who is a runner him/herself. You'll want to have one on file anyway if you continue to run. Good luck on getting past the wall...def look forward to seeing you in the half marathoners group!
-Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne)
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You don't want to hear this, but it's too soon for a half marathon. You've only been running 4 months and aren't past 6 miles yet, and there's nothing wrong with that at all! You're trying to push yourself too much for a race that you're not ready for, and you're suffering the consequences, which could and probably will result in injury. It takes TIME and patience to build endurance! Your body is telling you it's not ready. It's OK to walk part of the race if you're really set on participating. I've been running 2 1/2 years and trained carefully for my first half marathon last month, with no problems achieving the 10- and 12-mile training runs. Still, during the race I found myself talking to a friend and not paying attention to my form, and guess what - at about mile 10 I realized my sore leg was actually injured and not just tired and sore. My first-ever running injury. Luckily it isn't serious but it's prevented me from running the last 3 weeks.
Speaking of form, lots of new runners need time and attention to achieve a more efficient, less tiring running form. Personally I follow the ChiRunning approach (www.chirunning.com... although as I said, I didn't follow it well enough during my half!) I suffered from severe shin pain when I was a brand-new runner, and this helped me tremendously. A couple things come to mind. Be very careful to keep your lower legs relaxed; don't push with your feet and toes. And don't land with your foot landing out in front of you; take short, quick steps so you land "midfoot," with your foot just under you. (Midfoot means just softly landing on the sole of your foot, letting your arch be the natural shock absorber that it was designed to be, rather than having your heel take the impact or landing on the ball of your foot with your calf muscle taut... that's very tiring.) Relaxation of your legs, especially lower legs, is key; it takes quite a while for your calves and shins to get used to this and to build up strength, so minimize the abuse by keeping all of your leg muscles as "lazy" as possible while running.
Have you tried doing a run / walk. By mixing in some walking, you are able to extend your mileage. I started running in 2010 and have successfully ran / walked 3 times over the 6 mile mark. Training is different for everyone, but one thing is the same for all runners, and that is patience. Eventually, you build up the endurance to conquer 10 miles or even a half marathon. Keep up the good work.
A couple points that I would raise:
1) I actually disagree with the reader who says you're not ready to do your first half yet. If you're consistently able to run 5 miles without stopping, you're likely ready to get involved in a half marathon training plan. I started running in June, and ran a half in September and a full in November of that same year. I had a couple guys that pretty much followed the same story, so it can be done, and can be done healthily (is that a word?) if you follow a good program that doesn't increase weekly mileage more than 10% per week.
2) I know you said you 'broke in' your shoes, but are they the right shoes? Were you fitted for them in a quality running shoe store? Hopefully you've begun doing your research, and educating yourself on the ART of running, because as we've all learned, there's a lot to it. Virtually everything you read says that at the first signs of joint soreness, you need to examine your shoes as the most likely culprit. You raising issues about your ankles in addition to the shin splnts would be a red flag that your shoes may not be best suited to your gait - especially as fatigue sets in and your pronation tends to get exacerbated, which could lead to both of the problems you describe.
3) SLOW DOWN! I, too, was a middle distance runner in H.S. and gauged my pacing off of that. I was crazy! Because I could run a sub-5 mile when I was 17 (20 years ago) I figured a 7:30 pace was a reasonable goal for my first marathon. Ha! Real life, experience, and some tough self honesty produced something around a 9 minute pace, which I've come to embrace. Remember that for your first races, unless your Kenyan, your likely a completer and not a competer (I use this as my mantra to keep running FUN, which is why we do it anyway, right?). Once you beat the distance the first time, you can start trying to beat your last time. If you go out guns blazin', you will almost certainly end up shuffling (or crawling) the last few miles, miserable and defeated. It may even ruin your desire to run again and that would be tragic. If it means anything to you, one of the guys I mentioned earlier ran a 7:30 pace in our half, and I beat him with my 9:00 pace because he was walking by mile 9. I jogged by him with a friendly 'hello' and a smile as big as Texas...
Personally, I say go for it. I think you are hitting a mental wall. Just keep pushing. A half-marathon is tough, but with all of the other runners and the spectators and all of the energy going on, I think it will help carry you. Try in the next couple of weeks to get up to 10 miles, even if you have to run/walk get to the 10 mile mark. Or do what I do try not to pay as much attention to the miles, go for time. An average half marathon is completed in 2:00-2:10 aim for a work out of 1:30-1:45. If you amke that then ou should be fine. If you run into trouble during the race just keep setting goals and shift them as you come to them at 6 miles remind yourself you are almost half way. At 10 miles you only have a 5k left. At 11 miles your have about 15 or 20 minutes left. I admit it will be a tough venture, but it is that way for everybody running with you. Everybody will be suffering along with you, some are just more experienced at it.
I don't think it's too soon for a half marathon either. I managed a 2:15 time in my first HM with only two and a half months of training after an exercise-free 17 years on the couch. Did it hurt? Heck yeah. Was I proud of doing it? HECK YEAH!!!!! And yes, it gets waaaaay easier as your body adjusts to running over time (quite a surprisingly long time in all honesty). But only you know the difference between feeling sore and being injured and as long as you're sensible and back off/take a break if it's the latter I think you'll be ok.
You've got seven weeks. If you only add one mile a week to your long run you'll be up to 10 miles in four weeks. Do that distance for a couple of weeks and run very little in the last week and I think you'll be fine. Race day adrenalin and spirit will do the last three miles for you
A few things have really helped me...
1) Learning to incorporate rest days - might be obvious in hindsight that your body needs time to recover between runs but at first I thought I wasn't going to get any better unless I was out every morning pounding the pavement. Started to run less often (4 times a week) and suddenly I was running longer and stronger...
2) Perhaps use a treadmill for some of the time? I had big problems with sore knees for the first three months I ran (all outside). When winter came I switched to using a treadmill and the pain gradually went away. It hasn't come back since I've switched back to outdoor running and that's with about 30 miles a week now. My thoughts are that the TM allowed my legs to recover because it reduced the impact stress whilst also building up muscle strength. Whatever it was, it worked great...
3) Slow down. You can't run too slowly. Aim to finish whatever distance you set yourself, forget the watch... speed will come.
4) Aim to get some protein into yourself as soon as you finish a long run. I'm no nutrition expert but this was one tip that really worked for me. Good excuse for nice milk shakes...
I also agree that it is not too soon for me to run a half marathon. The shoes i didnt think were the problem because they havent given me any type of problems in any of my other runs. The only thing i can remember giving me any amount of trouble was the 1hr 15 min run i did on a treadmill, and that was only that i was more tight then usual after i was done, and started stretching. Kinda went down hill from there. I did go to a Specialized running store called Schawbs 2nd wind.
The sub 5 minute mile mark is impressive, i never achieved that goal...Best mile time was 5:01. Ya know one of those numbers that will be forever etched into my mind lol. I am currently running about a 10 minute pace. When i first started i was probably running an 8 min pace. As weird as it may sound when i slow down too much, i think it actually hurts more then when i hold a consistent pace. Ive taken the last 3 days off, and i feel lost. I have done some cross training in the gym so light lifting and some time on a bike. The bike doesnt bother my leg at all.
Thanks for the advice.