New to Running - Need Some Tips for Beginning Runners for a Race In Five Months' Time

(SE Iowa)

need some running tips

I am out of shape and over weight, a 37 year old female. I have begun a weight loss program consisting of cutting calories and increasing my exercise. I do weightlifting every other day and cardio 6 days per week. I began by walking one mile on my treadmill and have over the last few weeks increased it to where I can jog 1 3/4 to 2 miles first thing in the morning.

My goal is to run a 7 mile road race five months from now. A year ago I broke 3 bones in my leg / ankle and now have 3 plates and 17 screws. It has fully healed and I have vowed not to allow myself to take my ability to walk or run for granted. I could use any advise to help me prepare for this race.

Answer by Dominique:
Hi there,
Thanks for reaching out with your question about preparing for your upcoming 7-mile road race. It's fantastic to hear how committed you are, especially after your recovery from such a serious injury. Let's dive into some practical ways you can gear up for your race and ensure you're on the right track:

1. Run/walk to get to 30 minutes of non-stop running
2. Next step: a 10k running program
3. Supporting your running with strength training

Run/Walk to Get to 30 Minutes of Non-Stop Running

need some running tips
You're on a great path with the combination of walking, jogging, and gradually increasing your mileage on the treadmill. This method is great for building endurance safely, especially considering your past leg and ankle injuries. As you continue, it's crucial to listen to your body. When there is a hint of pain, it's wise to pull back a bit and have a light day or take a day off.

Given that you're already managing to jog up to 2 miles, you're off to a strong start. It's unclear to me how you are covering these 2 miles. But I'd recommend a run/walk strategy to cover more distance, e.g. run 4 x 0.5 miles with 3 minutes walking in between. At the end you will have covered 2 miles of running and 12 minutes of walking. And build from there, by gradually increasing the distance spent running. Over time, you can decrease the walking segments until they disappear.

You might want to look at a beginners running plan like my Beginner's Running Program 3 which gets you to running 30 minutes non-stop. You need to work out what makes sense to you, but you could feasibly start at around week 5 or 6 of this program.

The gradual buildup of this program will help enhance your stamina without overstraining your previously injured leg. Note that even if you don't like the look of that program, just follow the principles of it: a slow and steady increase of time spent exercising and running.

Next Step: A 10k Running Program

need some running tips
Once you're comfortable running for 30 minutes straight, the next step could be shifting towards a 10k running program. Again, I have got you covered with a free running program on this site.

Although a 10k is slightly shorter than 7 miles (10k equates to about 6.2 miles), the training is comparable. When you can run a 10k, you can run 7 miles.

A 10k running program takes about three months to complete generally. The link I shared provides you with a 12 week program. It gets you used to gradually longer distances and will help build the endurance necessary to keep running for 10k.

Supporting Your Running with Strength Training

need some running tips
Strength training, which you're already doing, is important in supporting your running journey. Especially if you want to do a lot of running like you (six days a week). Strength training can help you avoid injuries and it also helps to make you a stronger runner.

Finally, remember to stay consistent, be patient, and keep a positive outlook. Training for a race is a journey, and every step you take is an achievement towards your goal. Celebrate the moments in between. Hitting 30 minutes of non-stop running, 45 minutes of non-stop running, first time you get to running 60 minutes non-stop, etc.

Keep up the great work, and don't hesitate to reach out if you need more advice or support!
Best of luck as you prepare for your race.

Kind regards,

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