Running Training for Over-40s from Totally Unfit

by Joanne
(Mogan, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria)

Hi there, I am hoping someone can advise as I don't want to injure myself. I'm a 43-year-old female, who stopped smoking 3 weeks ago after smoking for 31 yrs (bad I know).

I am trying to build up my fitness and stamina, but feel like I am hitting a brick wall. I live in Gran Canaria so it is always very hot and I am only 5ft tall.

running tips
At the moment I am going for a 2 mile bike ride this is half up hill then back down as there is no level ground. I do this 5 days a week early mornings.

At 4pm I go to the gym Mon, Wed, Fri, I run at speed 9 as its comfortable for 10 mins (well not really I am dead afterwards lol) then I do 1 hour small weights.

Tue and Thu I go to a not so local running track which is 1.2 km semi-level do my stretches first then run 1 round in 5 minutes and I can not do anything else as my chest packs in.

Please can someone advise me, should I just keep going, am I doing too little or too much? Please help I start a job in 2 months that needs me to be very fit.

Answer by Dominique:

Hi there,
Thank you for your questions about getting fit.

And thank you for providing all the additional detail.

running tips
It sounds like you have started some serious changes in your life.

After smoking 31 years and, what I assume, a life of little exercise, it will take a while for you to get fit.

You are doing some pretty serious exercise. If you can keep that going, you should start noticing differences within the next few weeks.

A great way to improve your running capability is to do run/walks. At the moment you can run a given time, but are then too tired to do anymore running.

Maximise your running time by taking well-planned walking breaks. E.g. instead of 5 minutes of straight running, do 4 x 2 minutes of running with 1 minute of walking in between. It's easier and you have just tricked yourself into running 8 minutes instead of 5.

Then build up from there. Over time increase the time spent running and decrease the time spent walking.

For examples of how to do this, check out my beginner running programs.

As I said in the beginning, it will take time, but it sounds like you are committed and you will make progress over those next two months and beyond.

Best of luck.
Kind regards,

P.S. By the way, I am not a big fan of stretching before the run. Well, more specifically, stretching cold muscles. Check out my page about running stretches for more info.

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