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Discussion Starter #1
Hello there :)

Since 2000 I've made three separate attempts at taking up running, each time to hit a ceiling of 10 minutes sustained running, through which I can never break.

Here are some details about myself and my training that should help answer what would seem the most obvious questions:

I am female, now 27, with a tall and slim build. Don't drink or smoke. Generally eat a healthy diet etc.

I've been a weak runner for as long as I can remember. In primary school I hated playing tag because I couldn't run fast enough, so was always "it". Throughout P.E. lessons in school, whenever we were sent to "warm up" with a lap of jogging round the track, I struggled terribly, managing to sustain a sort of run for about 200 metres and having to walk the rest of the way. Cross country was a joke. I lagged behind even the more lazy/overweight pupils, despite looking fairly fit and athletic.

In 2000 when I lived in London, I started going to the gym 3 times a week and took up yoga lessons once a week, continuing practice at home. In addition to muscle toning, and using aerobic machines like rowing/recumbent cycle/that hill-climbing thing that I've just forgotten the name of, I spent time running on the tread-mill, as the main thing I really wanted to be able to do was run for a good period of time, e.g. at least 20 mins. So I was not weak or un-fit. Took great care to always do very thorough warm-ups, stretches, cool-down etc, with my strength and suppleness increasing significantly...but even after several months of this, I could still just barely keep up running for 10 minutes.

I left the gym when I moved house.
From 2003 living in Norfolk I made 2 more tries at taking up running. I was fairly fit and strong from regular dog-walking, and a lot of hard gardening in the form of hours of digging, building a rockery, laying a patio, shifting a skip's worth of turf, and occasionally a bit of yoga still.

I followed a good book on running, really slowly pacing myself. Going three times a week, starting with 1 minute running 2 minutes walking, repeated 5 times. The second week was 2mins running, 1min walking, 5 times. And if by the end of the week it was a big struggle, I did the same the following week before moving up. So after several weeks, there was a transition from 3 lots of 5min run with 3mins walking between, to a straight 10 minutes of running.
And it was always agony. Allowing for variables such as time of day, weather, mood, hormone levels, which all had varying effects, the struggle was still pretty much the same. Very thorough warming up and cooling down. Always kept my breathing strong and even and well-paced - yoga kept my breathing good and lung capacity strong etc.
It wasn't muscle pain stopping me; as far as my arms and legs etc were concerned I could have run miles and miles, but it was as though my lungs and body were just not communicating properly. I don't know.


So I've always ended up giving up. A thing that was meant to be a pleasure was always agony. And the muscle pain the next day was often terrible regardless of all my thoroughness in that area.
I'd love to have the freedom of being able to just go for a run. Maintaining maybe 20mins without too much effort, then perhaps pushing to half an hour.
I see obese middle-aged people, clearly just starting trying to get fit, going for a run and not appearing to struggle.
I don't understand!

Any suggestions? Anyone?
 

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Firstly welcome to RF.

Secondly you can do it!

Clearly you have tried various ways to break the barrier so you appear to be determined...what you don't seem to have done is find someone ..a buddy... or a club to run with. It is always easier to run alongside someone....you'll natter for a start and before you know it you've gone further than you think.

Go slower is next tip. Speed will come later.

Other than that perhaps chat with GP ABOUT LUNG CAPACITY.

All the best.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
ed_m said:
how fast are you running ?
When I used the treadmill I think it was set on about 7km/hr. I noticed most people were running at about 5 or 6, but that was my warming up brisk walking speed with my long legs.
But I think when I subsequently took up running I was going slower. I know I took great care to pace myself anyway, and go as slow as possible without it becoming a series of small awkward leaps haha
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Steve said:
Firstly welcome to RF.

Secondly you can do it!

Clearly you have tried various ways to break the barrier so you appear to be determined...what you don't seem to have done is find someone ..a buddy... or a club to run with. It is always easier to run alongside someone....you'll natter for a start and before you know it you've gone further than you think.

Go slower is next tip. Speed will come later.

Other than that perhaps chat with GP ABOUT LUNG CAPACITY.

All the best.
Re lung capacity - though I've never consulted a GP, when I was at uni studying dietetics, we did lung capacity measurments for some of the phsyiology practicals. I can't recal any specific numbers but I know we would have had a sheet of normal numbers to refer to and I don't recall being abnormal in that sense.

One thing I have noticed whenever I've been keeping up a regualr fitness regime, irregularity in my pulse becomes quite noticeable. Literally like it's pausing every few beats...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Could it be circulation?

I do have Raynaud's Disease which is a circulatory problem, causing the blood to depart from my fingers in the cold. But that is just when I'm cold. Does anyone know if it has general effects on circulation the rest of the time, even if the blood appears to be reaching everywhere? I can't logically think it would have anything to do with it. The blood gets to the muscles and brings the oxygen still.
Could slight anaemia be causing the problem??
 

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Just a thought - have you ever had a problem with asthma? I was just thinking about the last thing you said about your lungs not communicating with your body. I can do anything, 365 days a year, with no problems until I go out and run. If I don't take 2-3 puffs of an inhaler, after about 10 minutes my breathing will become faster and shorter, I will struggle to get air in my lungs and it will bring me to a standstill, shattered and exhausted. I told my doctor and asked him to let me try an inhaler because I was so frustrated. The inhaler solved the problem instantly for me. I'm not saying that that is what you have but it might be worth exploring. It only manifests itself during running because unlike anything else I do during the day, no matter how busy, running pushes the lungs to the limit. People who see me from day to day can't believe I have asthma as they never see the symptoms, i.e. I don't carry an inhaler at work - it only kicks in when I start running without an inhaler. If I use the inhaler before setting off I can run for miles on end with no problems. It does seem a bit baffling that you are struggling so much.
 

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Hi amybird

Having read through your information I can see no reason why you should not be able to run for more than ten minutes. Perhaps you are trying too hard and going to fast. Just run and walk as you feel gradually increasing the amount of running rather than sticking to a fixed plan. It took me a long time before I could move from walk/jog to a continuous run of ten minutes.

I would go and see your GP to get a check-up just incase, but the yoga sessions and hard garden indicate that you should be able to run foir longer after building up to it.
 

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If you run for 5 minutes then stop for a minute then run for another 5 minutes you've ran for 10minutes, firstly, so CONGRATULATIONS on that!!!

Get to the doctor and ask for a blood test to establish if there is any medical reason for your lungs not 'keeping up'. Then get yourself down the gym and get a lung capacity test, resting heart rate, blood pressure test and talk to a nutritionist about your diet see if there is anything in there causing your problems.

I also experience the "beat skip" quite often after I train hard it will go something like this...


Bump-Bump-Bump-nothing-nothing-BUMPBUMPBUMPBUMP-Bump-Bump-Bump.

It's quite scary at first, but I get used to it, and furthermore, it only happens whilst I am improving my fitness. Over Xmas when I sloth, it goes away, and when I am peak-fit it goes away too. It feels like it's my heart sorting itself out, I know that sounds wierd!!

Reynauds should improve with your fitness levels by the way...

Keep us posted :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I haven't had a problem with asthma or breathlessness/wheezing as such. Though you did just remind me of something from school aged about 12 I guess. One of the few times I got dragged into a race in athletics, maybe there was a lack of people. It was just a 200m so they talked me into it though I really didn't want to do it. And I ended up having to stop half way through with hyper-ventilation that followed the adrenaline rush. Have noticed a few times that adreniline can have a frustratingly adverse effect on me. "Fight or flight" turns into stop and panic.

I've experienced chest tightness on numerous occasions due to anxiety. When running I always tried to stay very focused on being relaxed (yes I know that doesn't make THAT much sense) becuase I knew I couldn't let my breathing get erratic, and even trying to go slow enough for long enough to maintain breathing through my nose as it seems to trigger fewer panic associations in the body I guess, keeping steady deep breaths, in for two steps out for two steps.
Should I have maybe not controlled my breathing at all? Let my body decide what's needed?

I have tried inhalers a couple of times - my ex-partner had asthma and I would borrow the inhaler if I was have anxiety chest-tightness, and it helped a bit - don't know if it was placebo effect or not.


Overall, even though I'd love to take up running again I'm very discouraged by past experience
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks, by the way!

When I wrote this post I thought I'd maybe get a reply one day eventually or perhaps not. So thank-you for all the replies and time taken :)
 

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I've had breathlessness-induced panic attacks, and a friend of mine also runs with an inhaler which we have both agreed is a 'placebo'.

When we run, we all get out of breath. I've suffered panic attacks too - the dodgy vision, tight chest with pain, "feeling of impending doom", the whole lot.

How to get over it? Well, that's very personal from one person to another. As I got used to the idea that a panic attack wasn't permanent, and that everytime I had one I got past it, suddenly I could see when I was having one, and although the physical symptoms were there I could slowly allow myself to endure the experience without reacting mentally to it, so like when the shower is too cold and shocks you, just think "the water is cold, my skin is tightening I feel slightly shocked".

The idea is to allow yourself to physically endure something uncomfortable without mentally reacting to it. Let it wash over you. It's really REALLY difficult to do, but it is possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
luthor1 said:
I've had breathlessness-induced panic attacks, and a friend of mine also runs with an inhaler which we have both agreed is a 'placebo'.

When we run, we all get out of breath. I've suffered panic attacks too - the dodgy vision, tight chest with pain, "feeling of impending doom", the whole lot.

How to get over it? Well, that's very personal from one person to another. As I got used to the idea that a panic attack wasn't permanent, and that everytime I had one I got past it, suddenly I could see when I was having one, and although the physical symptoms were there I could slowly allow myself to endure the experience without reacting mentally to it, so like when the shower is too cold and shocks you, just think "the water is cold, my skin is tightening I feel slightly shocked".

The idea is to allow yourself to physically endure something uncomfortable without mentally reacting to it. Let it wash over you. It's really REALLY difficult to do, but it is possible.
Thank-you for the kindly-considered advice. I'm familiar with what you mean about an essentially mind-over-matter approach, using logic to get through and past something. I do consider myself pretty good at it, but have definitely hit a wall on this one. And it doesn't make sense. Even thinking about it in reflection: my body was well-nourished, my muscles were warm and supple, my state of mind was good, I was enjoying the scenery, I was breathing lots of nice air into my lungs, there was no fatigue in my muscles to suggest they weren't getting oxygen...i should have been able to just run and run. There was not even what I would describe as pain in my lungs, it was literally like there was just an off-switch in my body, something all of a sudden just saying "No."

Thank-you though. If I do manage to start up again, I will definitely try harder with my head
 

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Discussion Starter #15
How long should it take, do you think?

Ok. So supposing I start again from scratch.
I've had a very very sluggish year. I moved to Norway in Decemeber 2006 to be with my now-husband (yay! :d ). My lifestyle changed drastically, no longer containing the activities that were just keeping me fit without any conscious effort on my part. I gained some fat (ok, barely the odd centimetre here and there, which is nothing for most people but significant for someone who has never known anything but a flat stomach).

Over the past few weeks I've been making a start at reversing this, working on some basic strengthening exercises on my joints, which have lost all their strength and suppleness. Focusing on shoulders, hips, knees, back, inner-abdominals, and their supporting muscles. Very gently starting back up with yoga (shamefully stiffly).
I'm not pushing myself at all. Allowing all muscle ache to totally pass before repeating exercises etc. Will try to increase the number/length/speed of walks I take.

If I get back to a point where I feel my body is in a condition to begin something as intense as running again, and if I start again with 1minute run, 2or3minute walk 5 times, perhaps just twice a week, not increasing anything at all until that 1 minute of running is like walking.... how long would you expect it to take for me to expect to run for, say, 10 minutes comfortably and consider increasing that time? And after how much time of it continuing to be like hitting my head on a brick wall should I start to suspect my body is just wrong?

Should I see a doc anyway before beginning?

I remember seeing an article about a guy who just runs and runs all day, somewhere like Yorkshire or Scotland, running over the hills for hours and hours, ordering pizzas to be delivered to him on the run.
One day my husband and I are going to have a small farm in the middle of nowhere in Norway. I'd love to be able to just run and run and take in the scenery and keep fit and strong for as long as possible e.g. well beyond age fifty....


*wistful sigh* :rolleyes:
 

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Some good advice on here, two things stand out that i would suggest checking, firstly Asthma, im lucky and dont suffer from it but my son does he now has a preventative inhaler twice a day and the difference it has made to him is huge. Secondly your comments about your heartbeat.

I would strongly advise that you see a medical bloke and ask him to check your heart beat and at the same time discuss asthma with him. You may find that a minor amount of medical intervention may make a huge difference.

Regarding the running im new at it so i cant offer the depth of experience that a lot of others can (and have) however i found a month ago that i could not run for more than 3-4 minutes until i had to stop. What i do is run the same route and remember where i stopped last time and set a goal 100 metres further on when i reach that i set another goal 50 metres on and so forth. In four weeks (running 2-3 times a week) i am now stopping once in a 2 mile (roughly) circuit. In fact last night i only stopped because i got a stitch, i was so annoyed about this that at the end of the run i added 500 metres on and still felt like i could go further.

My point (other than self gratification) is that setting lots of little goals and making them progressively harder works for me and may work for you. One other thing i find running with music really helps me to focus on something other than the voice that says "thats enough have a break now".

Keep at it and good luck.
 

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Hi
Just my two penneth as I work for the ambulance service and know a little about stuff....Go to your GP and insist on a 12 lead ECG. You may have something called AF (Atrial Fibrillation) or Atrial Flutter. It's quite common, usually in older folk but people in their mid twenties can have it too. It's nothing to worry about too much, but it tends to raise it's ugly head during exercise or when you begin to push yourself. Hence the 10 minute 'wall' you are hitting. It also may explain the chest pains and irregular pulse. A 12 lead ECG will pick up any abnormality. Definately see a Doc before you set off again. As it's not a one off and this problem re-occurs every time you attemp running, you need to be seen by someone.
Good Luck
Chris
 

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I agree that you should seek medical advice primarily, just to rule out any undiagnosed condition which may be affecting your stamina.

But once you get the all clear to go, which I'm sure you will, it might be worth exploring the experience you had on the track when you was young... I strongly suspect that that is a factor.

Do you wear an Ipod or listen to music when you run? Maybe listening to something relaxing as you run could help, or maybe have a 10 minute meditation before you go out?
I do think that there is something in this... the mind/body experience is so powerful
 

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Try Intervals...

Hey Amybird,

Interval training can be very helpful for you.

Basically what you can do is jog for a few minutes at your desired pace and then walk for a few minutes to recover.

This is a great to develop your cardiovascular capacity while getting your legs used to running for longer periods of time.

Try this one to start:

Run for 4 minutes, Walk for 2 minutes - repeat 4 to 5 times for a total of 24 to 30 minutes.

You can also check out a great set of running workouts called the Treadmill Trainer. Just do a google search and you'll find them. They're based on interval training and are great for beginner runners as well as advanced runners.

I'm currently using the Treadmill Trainer workouts in training for an upcoming 5k in April.

Hope that helps.
 
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