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Increasing Pace and Distance

by Roberta
(Orwell, OH, USA)

I am 32 years old and have been running my entire life, although within the last year and a half, began running as my only source of exercise.

For the past year and a half I have run 3-4 miles 3-4 times a week. After a year and half I am still completely exhausted at the end of my run.

I don't run terribly fast, my mile pace is about 10 minutes.

What could I possibly be doing wrong and how can I make my runs better and increase the mileage so I don't feel like I'm dying at the end.

Also, my recovery is pretty quick, but I can't seem to get much past 4 miles without struggling a lot.

running tips
Answer by Dominique:

Hi Roberta,
Thank you for your question about increasing your running distance and/or pace.

It's hard to give you a definitive answer, but my first instinct would be that you are running too fast and that your aerobic capacity is not developing because of that.

With your running background you shouldn't be out of breathe after 3-4 miles at easy pace.

So, if you are not already doing that, make sure you start running at easy pace, i.e. the pace at which you'd be able to have a conversation with someone.

In the beginning this may mean that you need to slow right, right down to almost a shuffle. It will be irritating. It will be painstakingly slow, maybe.

But you will be able to go further that way. And stick with it and you will find out that over time easy pace becomes faster and faster.

What you are doing in the approach above is improving your aerobic base. Check here for more info: base running.

On the web you can find lots of interesting stuff around base running. Google "Maffetone" or "Mark Allen Maffetone" or "MAF Test" and you can read all about it.

I also give away a good resource regarding base running when you subscribe to my Best Running Tips Newsletter.

If you feel you are really already running at easy pace, then I would advise to use a run/walk approach. You say you recover fast, so instead of running 30-40 minutes, why not run 7 minutes and walk 3 and repeat this 4-6 times.

Then build up from there, i.e. increase the repetitions, or increase the time spent running. It's just another way to make the running less strenuous and it will help you run more and, over time, faster.

As your running progresses this way, make sure to increase your mileage safely.

Hope this helps.
Best of luck with your running.
Kind regards,

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