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Hello all! I'm 18 and I consider myself to be in pretty darn good shape... I'm about 5'9", and I apparently have a very mild case of asthma, but never an attack. I did gymnastics competitively from the time I was about 7 to the time I was 13, so I developed a lot of strength in my body young and I seem to have maintained it. I have been pretty inactive over the past 4 or 5 years... considering the fact that my weight has never been over 140 pounds in my life, and that I have never been fat (by any means) I haven't really felt the need to do anything physical to keep myself in shape. It seems my body just maintains itself pretty darn well no matter what I do to it. (Although absolutely no drugs/alcohol, no ifs ands or buts)

So, I have been a coxswain on the crew team @ my school for the past 6 months (I just joined the team and my timeframe would not allow me to develop as a rower, so my only option was basically to cox) which meant that I did not really have to do anything physical. I just lay, drive, plan, and yell. Anyways, I did like to help the guys in my boat stay motivated, so I would initially do their workouts with them. Having not really done anything for a few years, I was probably in the second worse shape in the boat, but considering we're talking rowers that got 2nd in states this year, that s really not that bad.

I can do crunches (I have started doing 120 a day), pull-ups (15 in one sitting I think?), etc etc. The part of the workout (which is of course why I am here) that gets me is the running. Clearly although I have maintained a relatively stout muscular system, I do not have an equally qualified cardiovascular system! My mile time, as I clocked it the other day, was about 7:05... Utterly horrendous in my book!

Before the winter break I was trying to run 4-5 miles a day, but I realize now that I was doing nothing more than trotting or jogging them, I was not actually doing them at any considerable speed, just jogging them no matter how long it took. Now, when I try to maintain my 7 minute mile time, I can hardly make it two miles, and of course my second mile is way slower than my first. It is killing me that I cannot get my mile time down some, and my endurance up. Granted, I've only been trying to run now (again) for about the past 4 days, but it is hard and I am used to seeing rapid changes with my body (it seems to respond rapidly to other types of workouts).

Thus, I am lost. I am not a runner... but I talked to our coach at my school and she helped me find a reputable shoe store that could get me some running shoes to correct my "severe pronation" (pigeon toeing?). I have some shoes, but I don t really have a plan. All I really try to do is run nightly as far and as fast as I can before I feel I cannot go any further. The problem is, its not really getting any easier or further, so I know I need a better plan.

Right now, my nightly routine consists of: stretch muscles (calfs, thighs, etc), run for ~2mi trying to keep 7:05 miles. Then I do 30 crunches, 30 'jumpies' (crew thing?), 30 pushups, until I have 120 crunches done, 90 jumpies, and 60 pushups.

This workout seems all right, but the weight I lost for our states regatta is coming back, and I am getting close to that 140 pound mark... which I want to avoid.

More than anything though, I want some endurance. I ran with one of my rowers and had no trouble staying with him for the first 400m, but after that I became noticeably more winded and my 400m time slowed way down from his... my pace just dropped off and I was tired. He ran something like a 6:10 mile, I ran a 7:05... Really disgusting in my book!

So, what should I be doing about this? I feel like I am not doing something right, but I dont really know what I need to do. I feel I should emphasize that right now my goal is not to be able to run a marathon, a 10k, or even a 5k.... I just want my mile time down and I want some endurance. I am sure in the future I will want to try my luck at some sort of races, but I will build to that when the time comes. For now, I just want the general endurance and cardiovascular fitness that running offers.

Any advice would be great, because I cannot stand to be so out of shape anymore!



First of all 7:05 is very good for not doing anything for 4 or 5 years

Since your best one mile time is 7 minutes, obviously you cant hold it for 2 miles... :P

Anyway, you can't expect to see big changes in the first four days.

Assuming you are going to run 5 times a week -----

Monday: 3 miles easy pace (like a jog or easy run)
Tuesday: 5 miles easy
Wednesday: 2 miles hard (try to aim for 7:30 per mile the first couple weeks)
Thursday: Off
Friday: 5 miles easy
Saturday: 3 miles hard (8 minutes per mile)
Sunday: off

If you can do the hard runs faster than that, by all means go for it as long as you aren't draining yourself out. The point is that they should be runs that you run at your near race pace and you have to work hard.


Sounds good....

I ran tonight and my first mile was 6:55 ... My second was 8:16 ... obviously I slowed down considerably. I continued running for another 3 minutes back to my house, but I'm guessing it wasnt much more than 2.3 miles total.

It feels like that clip is about my maximum pace right now... but towards the end of my run I dont feel like it is my breathing that is holding me back, I would say it is more of my legs/shins wearing out.

I iced my shins tonight because they began to hurt... I dont want to hurt myself obviously... but I did take last night off to jump rope instead...

Thanks, I will give that schedule a shot, although I'm not sure how slow/long it will take for me to get 5 miles in ;)


Keep your pace the same..if you want to build speed endurance, doing a 6:55 mile and then 8:05 mile wont help that much..keep it even at like a 7:20-7:30 each mile when you're doing the 2 mile hard run i told u to do on wednesdays

as for the shins..r u rnning on sidewalk? that is the hardest on the shins, try finding somewhere lese to run


Ok thanks,

Anybody else with some advice/opinions?


Nate, you sound like a very fit young man but I'm sure by now you are begining to realise that fitness is sports specific.

Two things, is dropping your weight the priority or is it reducing your mile time and what is your time frame?

Either way you would have to give yourself at least 4 weeks minimum of longer base miles before I would attempt any 'speed work' The great New Zeland coach Arthur Lidiard advocated "Marathons for Milers", not that your at that stage yet
Your 4 or 5 miles sounded OK to me. Why not try to extend that out every alternate day or so to 6/8 mile AYF. Remember it has to be controled running and you should pull up feeling that if you had to, you could easily go another mile. I'm a great believer in running on natural ground it's much kinder to your body than roads and the track. Most of our work is done on gravel tracks, open paddocks with undulating hills, beach sand, golf courses etc.

My runners never went near a track apart from racing each Saturday until 2 weeks before the State Champs. and that was just light easy stride out work. Speed work, if you could call it that was done on the golf course.

You mention a coach at school; why not talk to her about more specific speed training (after some decent base mileage) the advantage in talking to a local coach is that they can see you run (pick up on any basic technique faults) and can adjust your training program to suit (more intence, less intence)


Phar lap: most excellent, thanks for the advice! I am decent fit I suppose... I definitely have upper body strength and I am by no means "out" of shape considering what I could be, but I'm just not where I want to be personally. Certainly I realize that fitness is sports specific, and I know that I am not buildt for running, nor do I have much of a desire to become a competitive runner, however it is definitely an effective way to get my cardio up!

That said, my timeframe is not very specific.... however I am no slouch, so the sooner I can get my times down, the better. I have until August when I get to college, but I have a goal to run to school with some friends by the end of year (which is about 6 or 7 miles) so I need to attain that first. I suppose my priority in the long run is getting my times down... and then my distance up, but only for the sake of cardiovascular fitness. I think of mile times as a respectable judge of relative endurance/cardio fitness, and I feel that once I have my mile times down to the low 6s/high 5s it should only follow suit that I would be fit enough to run a pretty respectable distance.

I will start resuming longer runs then, and stop worrying about running one/two miles so fast right now. So I should be attempthing 4/5 miles at a comfortable pace M,W,F with maybe a 6/7 mile run on Tu,Sat?

I would love to run on natural ground, however I live in an urban enviroment and there are not alot of places around here that I can run in mother nature :( This summer I will be spending more time at our beach house, so I will be going for runs on the beach, or if nothing else no asphalt (there are no roads on the island)

The only reason I do not talk to my coach at school about more specific speed training is because I graduate in less than a month. I won't really have much time to develop before I will need to leave. I think I will talk to her about what I should do after I have gotten quite comfortable with a few weeks of longer distance stuff... but I know it wont be face to face.


Actually Phar is right, at this point you shouldn't do 2 tempo runs a week (the hard, faster runs).

I would advise you to do ONE 2-3 mile tempo run a week though..just to keep your speed up and get you used to faster paces