Hi, i.ve come to running late in life, im 45 years old and had never run or done anything aerobically challenging before now, I.ve been running now for about 14 weeks and run for between 20-25 mins without stopping….however I find this shattering and seem unable to progress. Also I run circuits around my 1/2 acre garden as its more practical for where i live but on the odd occasion I go “off garden” I really really struggle to keep up a 5 minute run, why is this? My children tell me I run at a snails pace and I am getting disheartened…I am loosing my grit!! Please help as I want to be a runner! (I have lost nearly half a stone on a plus note!)
From Alison field
Sister Alison hellooooo!?!?
Firstly, massive congratulations on taking up running at 45 and grittily nailing circuits around your garden. Whilst I can see the practical value in approaching your running this way, I can also see that it is probably what is hindering your progress. You need to take yourself ‘off garden’ my dear, and away from the prying eyes of your children and start again from scratch.
Create a circuit or loop that will cover about 4 miles taking you from your front door and back again, and just walk it briskly. You are already able to run 25mins around your garden which is brilliant and you may well be tempted to break into a jog on your new circuit – but don’t, not just yet. Familiarise yourself with this new route first by brisk walking your way round it a few times (obvs using the time when you had previously been circling your back garden). Ideally, choose an attractive interesting route as free of concrete as possible. Once you are walking it confidently, then do it jogging for 5 mins (after warming up walking for at least 5 mins). Extend this jogging time by 5 minute increments each week (or 2/3min increments if that’s all you can manage), doing the run at least 3 times a week but ideally 5. You will be able to run the whole way before long. I PROMISE YOU. There is no such thing as running too slowly. You are more likely going too quickly which is why you can’t go further than 25mins, so slow down even further….especially in fact when you build up to that first 25min run, do the last part super slow and when you step up to 30mins go as slowly as is humanly possible. I too run like a snail and I still never fail to feel amazing afterwards, so balls to that kind of criticism. You have some sort of mental block about going further than 25mins. You just have to push past it even if its just by 1 minute each week…
What is making it so hard at the moment are the following: 1. Your route – circling your half acre garden, because repetitive laps are not Gods Way I’m afraid; and 2. Not using your running time as vital escaping from home, kids, prying eyes, domestic chores, etc. the idea is to run away from it all for as long as possible. Insist your kids join you running (and they will soon change their tune when they think they are about to have a heart attack after two minutes) or be quiet about it. It is way harder than it looks and remember too that not matter how slowly you go, you are still lapping everybody you left back at home.
The Grit Doctor says:
You have all the grit you need. You have just got to trust me on this one and get away from your own turf because 9/10ths of the energy generated for running comes from running away.