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Running Advice, Please!

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Old 11-05-2013, 02:12 PM   #1
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Red face Running Advice, Please!

Hi everyone! I would love advice from some experienced runners who went from beginner to experienced in their journey towards a healthier weight. I know other runners in person, but they've always been physically fit and I don't feel like they understand where I'm coming from. Just to provide some stats, I'm 5'5 and currently somewhere between 160 and 165 pounds.

I've been running on and off for the last year. I can currently push myself into a thirty-minute run on the treadmill at about 4.5 miles per hour, but struggle outside with a five minute running, three minute walking interval. I started running outside about October and do it every other day, but I find it difficult to breathe by the end of those five minutes, and I don't feel that I'm even going that fast. However, I often feel light-headed at the end, even when I've eaten enough breakfast and it doesn't seem like I'm pushing myself.

Recently, a successful thirty minute run on the treadmill made me realize how unenthusiastic I've been about running outside. I'd like to get to that feeling of accomplishment outside too. I watch my pace, breathing, and posture, and I'm not sure if I'm doing something wrong or if I should just keep at it until things fall together. Does anyone have any tips for endurance, or words of inspiration? I would really appreciate it.
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:45 PM   #2
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I hate, hate, hate running and it is something I currently struggle with too. I feel like I am in pretty good shape and do Zumba, step, spin, weights, etc... about 8 hours a week. BUT I cannot run to save my life! I never feel more out of shape than when I run. I am also using a personal trainer and she is making me do some running, but I feel like with everything else I do I should be better at it.

All my running is outdoors and after about 5 minutes, I'm huffing and puffing like I've never exercised a day in my life.

My conclusion - is that being in running shape is a completely different thing than anything else. I don't know why it is so hard, but it is and I hate it. I don't really have any advice on the outdoor running other than to say I know exactly how you feel.
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:58 PM   #3
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You are trying to run too fast! It is extremely common when you first head outside, and I personally have BEEN THERE DONE THAT.

This is the best advice I ever got when I was transitioning from treadmill to outside. Slow down SO MUCH that you feel like you are not moving. And when you get there SLOW DOWN MORE!

Trust me, it works, but you have to concentrate on going slow!

Good luck!

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Old 11-05-2013, 03:59 PM   #4
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I agree with CherryPie's assessment. I love running, and I do the majority of running on a treadmill. Recently I was on vacation in Maine and did several outdoor runs, and without the pacing of the treadmill I went out WAY too fast and throughout the runs had problems keeping the pace in the right range.

I'm pretty cardiovascularly fit right now, and yet I had no problems blowing up my heart rate during these wild outdoor runs. I was totally sucking wind.

Road running and treadmill running feel very different. It is only in the last 6 months that I've done so much on the treadmill, prior to that I ran almost exclusively outside. And I started quite heavy as well. It *feels* alot slower outside.

If you keep at it, and slow waaaaay down as Cherry suggested, you will start to get the same feelings outside. What's funny is that most people have the opposite problem and face the treadmill with dread. Not me, I love it!


Edited to add: I just re-read your post and you said that you "watch your pace" during these outdoor runs. If the case is that you KNOW you aren't going way faster than you run on treadmill, I'm not sure what I'd recommend. Actually probably the same thing: if you are breathing that hard at the end of a 5 minute interval the simple fact is you're going too fast. Slow your pace until you AREN'T breathing that hard at the end of your 5 minutes (no matter how slow it feels) . Stick with that pace for a while before starting to pick up the pace. You will improve, never fear!
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:38 PM   #5
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Slow down. It's easy to run too fast outside and that will tire you quicker. To go the distance slow down and build up.

I use my Nike+ GPS watch to monitor my speed. Off the line I am typically 8 mph+ outside. Way too fast for the distances I like to cover. So I pull it back in to about 7mph. On a treadmill I start even slower than that, typically 6.3mph.

When I try to run longer for the first time I really slow down my pace until I get comfortable with the distance then speed it up.

So on a 10 mile run outside (my longest so far) I will start at 6.0mph and stay there for several miles.

I love outdoor running. I like the air cooling - although it's getting a little too cold now and my muscles won't warm up without a hoody and some thermal compression tights. (if you told me a year ago that I would be wearing tights, I would have laughed so hard I would have collapsed!)

My main challenge now with distance is not breathlessness but leg muscle ache. I have had to transition through several stages of 'running pains': breathlessness in the beginning, aching joints, strained groin, and then sore muscles in various parts of my legs. Sore muscles are best because they recover quicker.
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Old 11-08-2013, 01:54 PM   #6
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You say you are monitering your pace, but how so? are you using something with gps that tells you our pace or are you just guessing? I ask because I have had a similar issue, on the treadmill I can run for 3-5 minutes at 4.5-5 mph but on the street 1 min kills my lungs and heat. I finally took a closer look at my gps monitor and realized that during my running intervals I was going 6-7 mph without realizing it since it still felt super slow.
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:07 AM   #7
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You got some great advice. I know the treadmill has its place especially if you live in really cold temps. I however love the outdoors. Its just a different feeling running outside. Also, don't worry about speed like everyone said and slow down. Its possible, you are running so fast that its like a sprint speed for you. I know at my sprint speed I can't maintain that for very long at all. Since you are just beginning, you do need to run so slow you wonder if walking would be the same speed. That is how I started out.
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:07 AM   #8
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I'm not an experienced runner, just a week at running 30 minutes. I think my experience is validated by what I've just read.

I' m the opposite of you, transitioning from outside to inside. When I first went on the treadmill I thought surely I must be doing at least 4.5, and 3% incline. (I walk with incline at 6 or 7 so I thought 3 would be no problem) it was too fast, I could only make 10 minutes. I slowed it down a bit and lowered the incline and got 31 minutes today.

I was definitely at a slower pace outside, I am also on a very flat rail trail when outside after work, when I run on my hilly road at home it's way harder.

Glad you asked, it makes me feel better about my inside and outside runs.
Best to you
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:27 PM   #9
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Hey you guys, thanks for the great advice! I will definitely try to slow down in the future, and see how it goes. I recently went for a especially lengthy run, which I managed to do (I suspect) because I went running in the afternoon rather than the morning, which is my usual routine. So, I was more energetic and prepared. However, the results either hint that I pushed myself far too much or that I may have some kind of exercise related asthma, because there are supporting signs of that condition in my past as well (and it's in the family). I will be going to my school's health services to see which it is, because it would explain a lot. If it turns out that it's not asthma related, I must slow down.

IanG and pnkrckpixikat, I'm also considering getting a GPS watch, because I'm not at all sure what my pace is. I feel like I'm going slowly, but maybe it is just the opposite. I think it would be a good investment. I hope that one day I can reach the challenge of overcoming muscle ache rather than breathlessness. Great job getting to that point, IanG! Kelijpa, I'm so glad that my question helped you out! There are so many ways to adjust the way you run, both inside and outside, but especially with those high tech treadmills! The ones in my school gym have options for about everything. On the other hand, the one I have at home is from 1981 and about the only thing it does is go. It's probably safer to run outside, haha! Good luck to you on finding your level for both inside and out.

Again, thanks so much you guys! This has been really helpful and encouraging.

Update: Your advice to slow down really worked for me. I managed to do a steady thirty-minute jog outside a couple of days ago and then again today, this time without any breathing problems during or after the run. Thanks so much!
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:24 PM   #10
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As somebody who went from struggling to run a mile to now training for my third half marathon, I completely understand and I have been through it all. I never understood why I could go for 3-5 miles on the elliptical but had to push myself to the limits to even make it a mile on the treadmill, and could barely make it 10 minutes jogging outside without stopping. Like others have said, slowing down is key. I remember seeing people pass me and feeling badly about it, but you have to remind yourself that you are just starting. You are in it for the long haul, and if you have to run a 15 minute mile but you make it without quitting, that is the victory. Time and effort will bring the speed naturally. The hard part is the mental battle--how to keep going when your lungs are on fire and all you want yo do is walk. I suggest creating a mantra and repeating it to yourself when you most feel like quitting. Eventually, you will hit that runners high. The pace will get a little easier. Your breathing will be less labored. You'll feel on top of the world, but none of this comes without patience and a little bit of pain. Just do whatever you can, and push to do a little more each time. Eventually, improvement will just happen, and you might just find yourself hooked
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Old 11-25-2013, 12:29 PM   #11
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I've been running for just over a year (started Sept 12) and it's been a very important part of my weight loss journey. The first time I tried to run I was a dummy and couldn't even make it four blocks without switching to a walk. In the past year I've run a few 5ks, an 8k, and a 10 miler, and average about 12 miles a week currently (would be more but I'm in school).

One of the best things I did was buy a heart rate monitor. I have the Polar FT4 which is $60 and fairly basic, but does the trick for me. Rather than watch my pace, I watch my heart rate to determine how hard I'm working. Running outside is a bit more work than running on the treadmill (no ground moving underneath you to keep you moving), so it helped me pace myself outside at a rate that was sustainable. I figured out what was "hard work" on the treadmill and then kept that heart rate when I was on the road. I've gotten faster (probably part endurance / part weight loss) over time. Plus, it feels good to tighten that heart rate band as you lose weight!

I've never heard of anyone else using their heart rate the way I do, but for me it's worked really well.

I also have a workout playlist that basically repeats the same set of songs which helps me keep my pace. I don't always run with music (depends on if I'm on a trail or a road), but when I do I enjoy knowing that a certain set of songs equals a workout.

Good luck!
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