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Going to start training for running, what should my short term targets be?

  • 15-11-2022 6:39pm
    Registered Users Posts: 195 ✭✭

    I've been running on and off for a few years. My primary sport has been racing mountain bikes over the last 10 years but I don't really have time for that now. I've always incorporated a bit of running into my training but I've never really treated it as a sport to train specifically for.

    I think with my time restrictions building a house and getting married I'm going to focus on running this year. I love mountain running and I've done well in a few races at that but I'd like to get faster. I think I can probably do 50km a week anyway with my schedule and possibly more.

    I did a 10km at the weekend and set a PB of 40.40. I did a 5k in 19.01 last year. I have only been doing about 20km a week for the last month and didn't do anything this year before this really, all cycling. I currently weigh 77kg but my ideal weight which I was in April would be about 71kg.

    I'm not particularly interested in marathons right now. I'd like to get a bit faster in 5 and 10km races and stronger for the mountain races. I will be doing some Quest adventure races next year too.

    I'm using Run with Hal free version which I find very good. Would aiming for a 36 minute 10k and 17.30 for 5km in the spring be unrealistic? I don't want to be setting totally unachievable targets. How does this training for running thing work?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,404 ✭✭✭Ceepo

    Just a few small comments.

    If you can do 19 min 5k off 20k a week you have a lot of natural ability. Don't pick targets like you did for 5 and 10k. Why put a ceiling on before you get going at all.

    Regards training, consistent training trumps any one silver bullet session. Try to get out 4/5 or even 6 days a week. Some say 2/3 days will at best only maintain what you have.

    Break up the week to include one long run, one longish run, 2 easy recovery runs and 1/2 "sessions". By sessions I mean days that you will run Some of that run harder, this can be broke down in sessions like x *400m, x * 1 mile, km reps or a tempo run. This is all relative to current fitness and can progress as you get fitter and stronger

    Running easy is your key to running hard. Take your time and enjoy the whole process.

    Edit just to add. Training based of time might be better than milage per week. For example now your easy recovery run might be 40 minutes not x miles, your long run might be 90 miles not x miles. This can take the "pressure off" of doing certain milage targets than are usually arbitrary anyway. 6 or 12 months down the line you'll find that you're probably cover more miles in training for the the same duration anyway.

    Post edited by Ceepo on

  • Registered Users Posts: 195 ✭✭Capra

    Thanks, you are right. Maybe I shouldn't have any target times in mind.

    I have mainly been running to time rather than miles using the App. How much of a difference do the sessions make? I do wonder if going for slow speed runs really does much but everyone seems to do them so I assume so. There aren't really any decent running clubs within 30 mins of me so I'll have to do most of this on my own.

    Is throwing in a park run every week beneficial or counterproductive?

  • Registered Users Posts: 658 ✭✭✭MisterJinx

    @Capra maybe you could check out the following thread

    It is nominally for people just graduating from doing DCM however there is some clear information on pace guides for training and also a link to a set of sample plans which you can download and review. The plans cover distances from 5k up to marathon and are straightforward and easy to follow. There is also a base plan included which would be a good place for you to start as it would get you ready in terms of a consistent running routine and building yourself up in the off season to tackle some distance specific plans for the new year.

    FYI I also run by time rather than distance and these plans have been set out with time in mind rather than distance so may also suit rather than a random online plan which I find tend to be more based on distance.

  • Registered Users Posts: 361 ✭✭babacool

    I’d say, having a target is not a bad thing and your 17:30 do sound realistic and May even change to 17 or faster depending on training. I’d say your biking has given you a strong aerobic base and a bit of structured training would definitely give you a nice, quick jump.

    my advice would be though: when you see improvements don’t think “oh if I do more or go harder now, I’ll improve even further”. This will only lead to injuries (trust me, been there done that 😁).

    think with regards to what session, when to run, how long to run etc have a look at the some of thw training logs posted here. Just don’t cherry pick a session or run as mostly each run is based on the previous and following one. Everything should be linked together of done properly.

    also, strava is a great place to get inspirations and ideas. Think boards has a group there with plenty of runners sharing their profiles. I’m certain you will gain a lot of knowledge there.

    with regards to your current situation though:

    1. how often and for how long can you go out for a run?
    2. what would you normally do (in your 20k week) and what was your plan going forward if no help was available? (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday etc)
    3. how would a standard mountain bike training week look like?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 195 ✭✭Capra

    Thanks for that. That's a very helpful synopsis. This week I did my 10k race on Sunday, 8.5km/45min slow run on Tuesday, 11km/1hr Tempo run on Wednesday, 8.5km/45min slow run on Thursday and I did a Fartlek session this morning....I call it Fartlek as I just did what I felt like. It wasn't very structured. Jogging pace with about 5 X a mix 200m and 400m intervals at 3:15km pace. Did about 10km/50 mins in total. The plan for tomorrow is a long slow run of about 1hr 15mins.

    1. I could go and run at 5min km for quite a long time. I did a 22km run a few weeks ago quite easily at 4:56m/km pace. So I guess I could go slower for quite a bit longer. I've always been able to not run/cycle for ages and then suddenly go back and do quite a long effort at a relatively quick pace. I did the Gaelforce mountain run 14km a couple of years ago having done almost no training of any sort for months except for the two weeks coming up to it and actually did quite well in it. Trail running and mountain biking seem to cross over very well because I beat a friend who does a lot of road running by a fair distance and I was very strong on the hills. I always seem to retain a decent base fitness.

    2. I started running on Oct. 1st this year, only did a handful of runs throught the biking season. I would usually just do 5 or 6km at 5.15m/km pace once or twice a week and then would throw on a longer run between 12 and 17km on Sunday. That's about it really. Most of my weekly distance would come from the long run.

    3. Last year I bought a power meter and I started training in January. Did about 4 X 1 hr trainer road sessions per week and then rode for approx 2 or 3 hours on Saturdays and/or Sundays. Did the biking blitz xc race series. Did okayish but looking back I did very little training before it started really. (I always convince myself I've done loads of training when I start a month before) Then entered an XC NPS in May and got smoked but it was all just to try being fitter for Enduro. From May until start of June on it was all out in the bike for between 6 and 10 hours a week until I took a few weeks off until I got married. Then after the wedding back to 6-10 hours a week out on the bike. Most rides would be slow endurance mixed with max effort race type runs. (If you aren't familiar with Enduro racing, it's like rallying. The transitions aren't timed but the downhill stages are all out). Did that until October.

    As you say I've a good aerobic base but sorely missing out on specific training. By the end of the year I was going well and getting some good results but I think my fitness was well off the pace of the really fast lads. According to Garmin my FTP was 270w/kg in May which is okay but nothing special.

  • Registered Users Posts: 361 ✭✭babacool

    ok, my first question wasn’t clear enough. Apologies. Was meant for “how often could you go out for a run this week, next week and so on” 😁. If I was you, I wouldn’t do those intervals at 3:15 pace as way too fast. Then again, I’m not a coach and it might be fine since your overall volume is quite low and hence is perfect for it.

    assuming you could go out 5 days a week, I would suggest:

    1. week one take all days easy but move a bit. Saturday do a parkrun as hard as you can as a fitness indicator and use that to find the correct pace for workouts.
    2. week two I would do something like: Monday rest or 30min easy cycle. Tuesday: 30-40min easy running (5:20 per k or slower). Wednesday: 12*45sec hill sprints (90sec recovery/jog back down). Try doing those on a hill with 6-8% gradients. Try covering the same distance each rep but go as hard that after the last rep you could do 2 more reps (no more no less). 15min warm up and down. Thursday: 30-40min easy jog. Friday: rest or 30min cycle, Saturday: tempo session. 15min up and down. And 30-40min of a session. Either straight tempo run (pace 15-20sec slower than your previous parkrun pace) or break it down doing intervals. But no fast pace. Sunday: 90min long run at easy pace.
    3. week 3: do the same but replace the hill reps with a fartlek session at parkrun pace. Keep the weekend the same as previous week. Don’t go faster just see if it will start to feel easier
    4. week 4: repeat week 2.
    5. week 5: easy week and hard parkrun effort. Try doing the same parkrun as week 1 and see how the progress is and then see what needs and can be adjusted training wise.

    but again, I’m no coach and this may be a safe approach. Gains will be slow but risk of injury is low too as you don’t work too hard but controlled

  • Registered Users Posts: 595 ✭✭✭rooneyjm

    Be patient, don’t get injured

  • Registered Users Posts: 195 ✭✭Capra

    Thanks all. I've taken a lot of the advice on board. Did a 10k run tonight at 5.45m/km pace.

    Just wondering since I've relatively a lot of experience mountain running can I do my slow/base and long runs on hills. Obviously these will be much slower as I could have 500m of elevation on a 12km run. So long as I keep to the same HR levels as I would on the road will I get the same benefits or will I be running too slowly?

    I like the fact that I'm strong on hills and don't want to lose it by running on the road all the time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,530 ✭✭✭Enduro

    So why don't you train for hill running then? Running isn't just road running (just like cycling) and training isn't necessarily just road based (just like cycling). Why not aim to compete in as many of the IMRA races as you can make it to (They are great races, and a lot of fun)? Sounds like you would enjoy it more (which is a huge factor), and that you might be more talented at it to boot. You can do long runs on mountains (I do), you can do hill repeats on mountains, you can do steady/easy efforts on mountains, and you can do fartleks on mountains. Pure speedwork is probably best on the flat though.

    If you want to mix in both hill running and MTB then you could aim for a real adventure race (not the pseudo adventure race solo multisport races like quest). You'd need to team-up for that though, but that's not a bad thing. Those races are what got me into mountain biking.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 195 ✭✭Capra

    Hi, I love mountain running. I have done a few imra races in the past and really enjoyed them. I do the Gaelforce Mountain Run every year and I absolutely love it. 14 or 22km and 1200m of climbing in Connemara. It doesn't get much better than that. There's not much on this time of the year though.

    I guess I'd like to see how fast I can go on the flat but I suppose you have to be realistic too and you can't be great at everything. Long term I think it probably is mountain running where my talent and my passion lies but I'd like to build a bit of speed too. Especially at this time of year when there are no mountain running races.

    When you say proper adventure races what races are you talking about? The quest races are a lot of fun but it's road biking. I haven't touched my MTB in two months and with the weather I can't motivate myself at all to get out on the bike so that's probably why I'm gravitating to running so much right now. But yeah, I've been mountain biking very seriously for 12 years so I would love to do a race that combines mountain running and mountain biking.

  • Registered Users Posts: 361 ✭✭babacool

    To be honest, doing your long runs and some midweek easy runs in the mountains is ideal! It may not be perfect for short distance runners but anything from 5k upwards it should benefit you a lot. And I wouldn’t worry about HR on those runs. As long as you don’t feel like you have to run down hard to make up time.

    the hills overall will give you leg strength and endurance. Something flat landers have to work hard for and hence even drive to the mountains during winter for base building. So yea… keep them hills in there.

    you could also incorporate them into proper sessions. If you know your way around and have something that is tough but safe, go for it. Longer interval sessions would be ideal.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,182 ✭✭✭demfad

    From what youve posted so far it would appear you have a lot of natural endurance.

    To get back into it you should run easily and build up your mileage

    After a couple of weeks do 6-10 x 10-20s at the end of an easy run twice a week to start developing speed.

    Add two medium long runs.

    When the MLR = 60 mins then progress like this

    Do last 15 mins of a 60 min run steady (faster than easy), the fllowing week do 30e-30s etc

    Same time add 10 mins to your other run per week (this becomes your long run)

    Do a good lot on hills (if off road, i would go good quality ground for now like fireroads, if the ground is rough just do as easy run to get good at getting your eye in). Do lots on hills for you because hills are the bridge between cycling and running. Contrary to popular opinion you can convert cycling strenght into running speed via hills.

    A few montsh of winter doing that.

    I do both hills and road so DM if you like

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,530 ✭✭✭Enduro

    There is hill wunning on this time of year. Powerscourt ridge race is on this satureday. Run the line was last weekend.

    Go with what you want to go with. If you're interested in seeing your flat speed then go for it. If your true love is hills then go for it! If you want to try both then go for it. There are benifits to being good at both. John Lenihan is a formaer national marathon Champion, as well as a former mountain running world champion.

    Introductory real AR would be the likes of this ....

    That's a good website to get you into the AR world. This video shows the sport at a global scale (with a bit of footage from Ireland)...

  • Registered Users Posts: 195 ✭✭Capra

    I'm not really into team adventure races. Much prefer doing it on my own.

    I've ramped up my training to about 40-55km a week. Did a parkrun today and set an 18:30 which is a PB for me. I felt like I could probably go a bit faster but I find it very hard to judge if i'm running too fast or too slow. I think I probably need to do more tempo runs as I dont really do any running at close to that pace. What is a tempo run for me as my Run with Hal app tells me its 4;15 to 4;30 which isnt difficult or challenging at all for me so I don't see how it qualifies as a tempo run.

    I'm 45 days out from Kenmare adventure race so I'm going to start hitting bigger mountain runs at least once a week from now on. Will try to do a 20km with 700m tomorrow. I'm also trying to get under 71kg again as im 75 at the moment when I was 70 last year.

    I like road and mountain running now. I just like to suffer and race people I think. I never thought Id like road running but its actually fun and I dont seem to be picking up injuries thankfully.