Allen's 5 Easy Miles
Thought we'd have a new thread for this.
Basically I think you need to bite the bullet and run. Lot a talk about short stuff and sprints and the Xfit approach but if you are required to run regularly you need to be conditioned to do it. This should be about more than just passing a test. Running distance may be an archaic way to train soldiers but it's the way that it is still done. When CrossFit becomes the chosen method then do CrossFit. If you are required to perform 18 pull ups with an overhand grip you don't spend your life training chins. It's like telling someone how to sprint by doing everything but sprint.
In July 2001 I came back from a trip to Australia and realised I was pretty off the pace. 18 months of working stupid hours and smoking and drinking far too much had taken me from being able to bang out 12 mile cross country/trail efforts with impunity to being exhausted after a mile. So I drew up a programme for myself.
I had the advantage of having a few set runs of varying length up my sleeve although I'd never really recorded the times properly. These became benchmark runs and I scheduled sessions around them. I started a training diary that I recorded my activity in every day of the week and have not stopped doing so to this day.
Ok, I'm a comfortable runner, you hate it, but I am by no means a natural distance runner. I ran with the cross country guys for a term at school and just got blown away by them. Freaks.
Couple of theories behind the programme. Most beginners or those returning to running go off too hard. Either you don't know how to pace yourself or you think because you were running 45 minutes a couple of years back then no reason why can't you do that now. You feel like shit for the first 5 minutes and then you give up. The majority of people who start running and quit, quit in that first 5 minutes when the energy systems change over. We need to start steadily.
Programmes written by serious runners are far too complex. I want this to be simple.
Most of these sessions take around 30 mins. I normally run cold but I prefer to run in the evenings when I feel 'naturally' warmed up. I just keep my pace in check for 5 or so minutes. I do cool down afterwards and then stretch so let's say this all done in 45 minutes. You, I guess, would be expected to run at any time of the day so you will need variety and be sensible about running with cold muscles.
I normally try to do 3 sessions a week, 4 if I'm feeling strong. A day's rest is good but back to back days are fine if you feel up to it. I get tired from running in a way that it totally different to other training so bear that in mind.
I'm lucky to have a few challenging hills and a mixture of pavement and open land/trails around me for mixing things up. Run outside, not on a treadmill. Unless specified mix the ground up so you are taking in some ascents/descents. Hopefully this is possible. I think running on a track (note 'running' not 'sprinting') is brain numbing but that's just me. For your benchmark runs you'll need to measure out some routes. Variety is important. Don't run the same course every time you go out. You'll stuff yourself with boredom and also the memory of how you feel at certain points of a run. Get to the phonebox, look at watch, "hell I'm 30 seconds down and feel dreadful". It doesn't matter. Keep going. Every time you do a benchmark your aim is to beat your previous time
Get some proper running shoes. Asics for instance. Not those things that look like gloves that everyone laps up on the Xfit boards.
4 months is plenty time. We can get you running comfortably in 6-7 weeks. You may even grow to like it!
Here are 20 sessions to get you started.
1. 15 minute run. This can be a jog. Get out. Don't stop. 15 minutes that's it. Go home. No more jogging after this.
2. 1 min on, 1 min off, 30 minutes. You will run hard for a minute. Recover by walking for a minute. This will give you 15 minutes of work, 15 minutes of recovery. The pace should be around your 400 metre mark but really this about perceived exertion. I use a lot of these intervals. The aim is to push as hard as you can but never so hard that you get crushed and can't finish the whole session. If you don't feel great after a recovery drop your pace down a little for the next interval. BUT DON'T STOP!
3. 3 x 7 minutes, 3 minute recoveries. Obviously this will be slower than Run 2. This is a tough one so early on.
4. Benchmark A. For me this run is about 2 miles long. The first 5 minutes are a steep climb, then followed by about 4 minutes fairly flat ground, 2 minutes very fast descent and then two to three minutes of flat running to finish. For the first time aim to do this in about 17-18 minutes ie pace yourself heavily. If you don't have any hills and are just running 2 miles flat then make that 15-16 minutes. Record your time.
5. 2 mins on. 1 min off, 30 minutes. 20 minutes work, 10 minutes recovery.
6. 20 minutes - flat ground. Just a simple 20 minute run at a comfortable pace. At 20 minutes stop and walk home.
7. Benchmark A. Go for it this time and beat your score.
8. Benchmark B. Mine is a 5 minute climb, 15 minutes flat, 4-5 minute fast descent. I reckon it's about 3.9 miles. Time and record.
9. 5 mins on, 1 off, 30 mins. 25 minutes work. 5 minutes walk recovery. This hurts. Intervals 3 and 4 will be challenging.
10. 20 minutes at an even pace over mixed ground. A bit more fizz than on run 6 and mix the ground up a little so you're not just running flat. 20 minutes done, go home.
11. Benchmark C. This should be about 3 miles. 5 minutes on the flat, 5 minute gradual climb. 7 minutes flat. 4 minute descent. Make the last 15-16 minutes fast. Time and record.
12. 12.5 mins on, 3 mins off x 2. 25 minutes work, 6 minutes recovery. Don't overcook it.
13. Benchmark A. Beat your score.
14. 3 x 10 mins, 2 mins recovery. 30 minutes work. 6 minutes recovery. You should be feeling pretty strong on these and reluctant to stop at 10 minutes each time.
15. 25 minutes, mixed ground/mixed pace. Get a hill in there, push your speed right up, drop back down to a plod. No walking. 25 minutes done, go home.
16. 3 mins on, 1 min off, 40 mins. 30 minutes work, 10 minutes recovery.
17. Benchmark B. Time and record. Beat your score.
18. Benchmark A. Beat your score.
19. 30 minutes. Wherever your feet take you.
20. 15 mins on, 3 mins off x 2. Push out on these intervals.
The Benchmark runs are a little hard to convey from where I actually run them but if you stick to the suggested mileage that should be fine. If you can get some hills in then that is fantastic. Your selection of route does not need to be too scientific. An obvious tip is take a course that takes you 'out and in' ie away from home and then finishes on the way back or, better still, on your doorstep.
Remember you are running to pass a test, be prepared for training not to run a competitive event. I think this method will work well for that. Later you should run with some other people just to get used to working off someone else's pace and as MOD suggests the experience of a surge.
We can then build on the first 20 sessions.
This may all seem really easy but please do only what is prescribed. I go back to Run 1 even now if I have been off for a while through injury or other commitments.
Wow, thanks a lot James. That is some great information and don't worry I don't think that stuff looks too easy. Just reading your 10-20 list fills me with a bit of dread.
For your benchmarks, you do run the same course right? Sounds silly but above you talked about measuring benchmarks and the sentence right after that you said don't run the same route all the time?
I'm definitely going to print this all out, how do I reconcile this with other training? Do you typically just have a run day and then another day? Or do you often do these on the same days?
Thanks a lot again, workout 1 to be done later today, so for this don't worry about a fast pace right?
I used to wear Asics+inserts for people with flat feet they are almost a pound each. After reading a lot about training the feet I now wear Nike Free's and haven't had a problem BUT this is mostly sprints or 1-2 miles.
Would/should I go back to the Motion Control/stabilty type of shoes? Or should I get a quality running shoe of another type. I just felt like those Asics+inserts became like a crutch and I wasn't really doing anything to address the problem just remedy the symptoms.
I think that is good advice. 3 on/2 off was always one of my favorite sessions to get my running fitness up
I would make the flat efforts longer, even if that means running 3 min, walking 1. You shouldn't underestimate how much benefit you will get from time spent on your feet.
I would keep you strength training at maintenance levels and concentrate on METCON. I certainly wouldn't be pushing too hard on Deads and Squats while you bring your running up.
I tend to wear Asics, but a lighter racer/trainer - like the Gel DS Trainer. You probably the only one who can answer this as it will depend on your running style and foot strike. My instinct is to go for "proper" running shoe.
The Benchmarks are always the same although A is different from B which is different from C.
Bad writing on my part: other than the Benchmarks, mix it up because familiarity breeds contempt, you'll get bored, psyched out etc.
In a good week I would aim to lift weights 3 times, maybe do a couple of short circuits with a medicine ball (12 minutes) if lucky, and run 3 times. This off the back of a couple days off. So I would normally have to run and then lift afterwards.
You're not going to become the best deadlifter in the world doing this. I'm strong but I reckon most people on the boards would cane me. But if we were to run distance, do some sprints, do some metcon, lift some shit, cycle somewhere etc. I'd be pretty good across the board.
I've not been running a lot this year and mostly lifting and I've put on weight, this doesn't normally happen. Greg and Robb's observations are spot on. Something has to give. I guess you have to weigh up your priorities aside from the 5 easy miles.
Run 1 is a slow jog out. You build from here. The intervals are fast. The Benchmarks are fast. The runs when you go for a set time are paced to keep running for that particular time.
Go for a shoe with good cushioning. I have a pair of Asics racers I use for, well racing, and for fast, short runs but they f#ck my knees if I do anything too long. As do my trail shoes (Salomons) if worn on the road.
When it comes to insoles, get a podiatrist to check you out so that they are done properly.
My girlfriend wears Nike Frees and says they're great. They scare the shit out of me because they look like carpet slippers.
But, as Josh says, go with your feeling. Bodyweight, force of footstrike etc. all varies. Just don't run in Chuck Taylors (always known as Converse All Stars in the UK).
Incidentally my best friend was very, very fast at school and out on the track could beat people in spikes while wearing CTs.
It's a building process. But ultimately yes, time on your feet is vital.
I don't think you need to run 15 miles regularly to race over 15 miles but I don't think 100 metre sprints are the way to train for it either.
The distances/times spent running do build.
What areas do run in James? I'm lucky as I'm in leafy SE London!
I will go to a running store to get checked out though.
Does your girlfriend run in her Free's all the time?
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