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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi guys,

I've been running for the last 3 months as cross-training for football and badminton, and a very steady progression has taken place. I ran 4 miles at a time, and on average 4 times a week to begin with. I felt I had to kick start the fitness thing this way in case it petered out immediately. I'm not an advocate of the notion that too much too soon kills the desire, motivation or confidence - well, perhaps it does for some but in fact it does the opposite to me (the more effort I've made in the past the more committed I feel, i.e. starting a plan of one run per week after a while I don't feel I've put a lot in the bank so not much will be lost if I get lazy!).

Then after Christmas it went down to 2-3 times a week (on days when I don't do sport) and things have stayed hunkey dorey since then. I feel that NOT being tied down to a schedule is better for me; I don't imagine a running overlord with an iron fist watching over my progress, so I run more freely and enjoy it more, doing it when I feel like (and the fitter I get the more I feel like it). In fact I think that even though I'm doing it less often right now i'm still seeing the same fitness improvements - recently when I run, I run hard. Many people would say that an "easy" day is needed every so often, but I treat a few fun games of sport as an "easy" day.

Mid-November I didn't time the first couple of 4 mile runs, but a time of about 34 minutes sticks in my head. By the beginning of January that time had been cut down to 30:12, and at that point I changed my route slightly. Heading out on to the main road at rush hour with all the car fumes was getting me down so I took a short cut down some old roads which meant a distance of 3.8 miles, which I managed in a time of 26:29 yesterday. I've sliced big chunks off the time for this distance the past 4 times I've done it, about 25 seconds each time. One of my worries is that maybe I'm doing too much right now and it will catch up with me? I know my body and I'm not feeling rough right now, but in the future I may do. Also there is the problem that my expectations are becoming too high to keep up with and one day soon I'll start running slower times, demotivating me and forcing me to quit. Any advice here?

My main worry is that this distance doesn't seem all that specific to either of my sports. I come off the football field so drained, whereas nobody else does the work that I do, they go out drinking and can last longer than I can having put more effort in! Not fair is it! I'm thinking that "natural fitness" (whatever that is) is to blame. On the other hand if I can run 3.8 miles in 26:29, I don't know how this measures in the running world but I feel good about it and I know I must be fairly fit to have achieved that. Football and badminton often involve fast, short-lived actions, so should I change distance in order to accommodate the need for gains in these areas? I've tried interval sprints in the past but perhaps I don't do it right. Even when I've put all my effort in I don't feel I've done anything (sprinters would probably have me hung drawn and quartered for saying that)! It's not the same exhaustion and euphoria that I get from middle distance running.

It's been the same distance and roughly the same route for 3 months and I'm amazed I'm not bored of it. I've got my music and I love the feeling of exertion so I guess these things keep me going. Also, even though I've not kept a running record of times, I know what improvements I've made and this has been a big motivation.

Thanks for reading this, just had a few things on my mind that could hopefully be answered.
 
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