When and How to Add More

I’m finally to the point where I think my knee issues are almost gone and instead of getting tired during a run or a sprint I’m running out of lung capacity. That said, I’m not sure if I should look into adding more days per week to my running or adding distance. I’ve been hearing different things.

I’m not super fast like my friend Megan who went out running for the first time in three weeks and did nine miles at. 7:15 pace, but I am feeling more confident and like that I feel better physically and mentally now that I’m more active. I have had quite a few people tell me to enter a race, and I just don’t think I want to right now, but I’m also not sure what the next step should be.

I’ve been running since the beginning of March and while I don’t seem to see a physical difference, that is why I started, to burn fat and to get more toned. With that in mind, do I increase my five miles to a longer distance and stick with running every other day? Do I stay with five miles and run six days per week, which was what I originally thought was a good goal to work toward? The last thing I want to do is hurt myself.

Apparently to start burning excess fat you need to do 60-90 minutes of cardio per day. I don’t know if that’s true, but these love handles aren’t disappearing even though the tread on my sneakers is.


3 thoughts on “When and How to Add More

  1. Any ideas of cross training? Or running hill sprints as a different workout to the distance? The hills next to the Bethlehem Dog Park are pretty good. I hope to be able to run them someday myself. Or at least, not have to huff and puff on them when I bring the sled back up… (that’s THE sledding hill, BTW)

    • I haven’t run in Monocacy Park since high school cross country meets. I’ll have to check it out one of these days.

  2. Gonna throw this out that steady state cardio in the form of running isn’t always the best way to lose or keep off weight. It can mess with your internal hunger cues and your body requires a higher carbohydrate intake for longer (90+ minute) runs. I initially lost some weight (10 lb) when I ramped up my running back in November but have struggled with hunger/cravings as I’ve added distance. There are legitimate times to carb up (right before and during a race) and times when you need to back off and focus more on protein/fat-rich meals. Running is, however, at its core still an efficient means of burning calories and increasing your aerobic capacity.

    If you’re looking for a better body composition and an efficient means of achieving it, running shorter distances faster (speed work, 15 mpw or less), interval training, and strength training are more effective at getting results. It’s also easier to create a caloric deficit when you’re running less. If your goal first and foremost is to tackle a run or race of a certain distance, you can still get results, but they won’t come as quickly. You will, however, get more efficient and faster at running longer distances. You’ll have to maintain a smaller caloric deficit, though, due to energy needs for sustained performance.

    Lastly, if you’re looking at a distance goal, use a running plan – the popular ones created by Jeff Galloway, Hal Higdon, or Bart Yasso of Runner’s World are good. I followed the Higdon plan for the St. Luke’s half in April, and am now following his intermediate marathon plan for Steamtown. They’re popular and are useful in reducing the incidence of injury and overtraining. They also teach runners the importance of the taper.

    Unless you’re training for an ultra and require high weekly mileage, there is no need to run everyday. Build distance through your weekend long run.

    I’ve taken some breaks from running since 2005, but can say I genuine love the sport and I’m happy I found the local racing community. It’s really renewed my interest and has given me reason to train and improve.

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