Building distance/stamina

Hi all,

So I'm 49 years old and 5' 8". Desk jockey. I have to work very long days, and part of every evening. Therefore do not have masses of time for phys.

When I was 21 and serving I was a 10 stone 4 lb light welterweight boxer, who ran, swam and played rugby and hockey. I left the army 17 years ago and over the years got steadily worse in terms of weight, alcohol intake and fitness.

In June this year I was 13 stone 1 lb. I then took up running again, and began to cut down beer (possibly balancing that by increasing the intake of wine).

I am now 11 stone 11 lb. I run once or twice a day. Nothing massive, and no more than 3 miles. Thing is I want to do more and get better. There is a local cross country 7 mile race in October that I would love to enter. I don't expect to be amongst the leaders, but do not want to disgrace myself.

Thing is I am finding that 2 - 3 miles is about all I can do. I get very heavy legged and find it hard to have the energy to do even that distance, let alone more.

What can I do in the next month to get me up to being able to complete a 7 mile cross country race without walking?

Any sensible advice would be most welcome.
Alright mate

Bin the running twice a day to start with. Run every second day (cycle/gym/circuits/swim on the alternative days). That will give the legs a chance to recover so you can push harder when running

Increase your distance to 5 miles and if your hanging out then start walking for a period to recover and then start running again. There are no shortcuts, you just need more time on your feet to get the muscles accustomed to it.

Remember to warm-up, cool-down, stretch well, drink lots of water and most importantly listen you your body. It will come.
Agree with Spenny. Slow and steady with lots of gaps to reflect on what you've achieved, where you're going and what's working for you. You need to recover at your age so start taking: Glucosamine Condroitin (Joints), Vit B12 (Muscle Endurance), Creatine (Energy and Performance)

And get in the pool at least 3 times a week. Swimming is low-impact, high-resistance so will facilitate your joint repair and imporvement while burning off calories like spending one night as Britney Spear's bodyguard. We want 50 lengths of a 1/2 Olympic size pool per session mixing breast-stroke and back-stroke. If you can't do it all in one, then do what you can, rest, repeat.

Good luck and let us know how you're doing. I feel Rocky VII coming on.
Intervals are your friend. Find a loop about 3/4 of a mile long, run round it once. Rest for 2 minutes, run round it again. Try for 4 reps the first time out. Your pace should that the first rep is done at the same pace as the last - if you're not sure, run it slow the first time and you can up the pace on subsequent sessions.

Ways to progress initially would be to lengthen your loop to about a mile, and then work on increasing your pace (keeping it equal across all reps). Do no more than 2 sessions a week, at least 2 days apart, as this will be demanding on your legs and CV system. The aim of the exercise is to up your total mileage, whilst keeping any one run relatively short. The rest will be enough for you to (just) catch your breath, and therefore allow you to run at a higher average pace than would be achievable on a "steady" run.

The best way to do this would be to join your local running club - they'll run sessions like this once or twice a week, and more importantly, they'll nearly always have people who'll be running at the same pace as you. Teamwork and encouragement whilst hanging out can only ever help!
I find being older getting into the comfort zone of running is taking longer, where you are comfortable at the speed, breathing steady etc. I am still slowly breaking myself back in to running, started at 1 min run 1 min walk for 20 mins, now up to run 4 mins walk 2 mins, last covered 13km.
Good reply from Spenny and I can only echo his advice; make sure you give yourself plenty of time to recover and slowly build up your distance.

If you are running twice a day, it's no wonder you are feeling "heavy-legged". It's probably DOMS(Delayed Onset Muscular Soreness)caused by insufficient recovery time.

Brotherton Lad

Kit Reviewer
I was in Army XC and marathon from 1979 till I left in 2000, and still run well over a 1000 mile a year (if somewhat slower) in fact I did a hilly off-road marathon today. I'm 52 and about 11st 5lb (at the moment I'm about 5lbs lighter but the beer will soon fill me up).

Your aim is to finish in good order, this will be down entirely to endurance (which you currently don't have), speed work can always come later for future races.

Cycling is good low impact stuff for building cardio-vascular endurance, for a 7 mile XC, you probably need to be on the bike for an hour or slightly more, maybe once a week. If you like swimming (I don't), then a session a week as a gentle recovery jobbie.
Your current training is too repetitive, same old, same old stuff. A schedule needs variety and rest. Hard day, easy day, hard week, easy week. So, something like (running once a day):
3 mile steady
45 mins bike easy
3 mile harder
3 mile slow (conversational pace)
4 mile steady
Swim or walk or rest
A longer run easy, pace doesn't matter but time on feet does. You didn't mention your BFT time, but say 1 hour.

The second week try to extend the distance by about 15% (but not the speed)
Third week, easy, do week one again.
Fourth week, hard, do week 2 distances but a tad faster und so weiter

I'm no fan of any supplement, they're more the preserve of gym bunnies.

Good luck.. I'm a great fan of Hasek, btw, one of my favourite books.

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