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50+ cross training

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Old 08-02-17, 10:14 AM
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wphamilton
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50+ cross training

More precisely, running. I thought I'd ask here since there are considerations for 50+ folks and I know some of you are serious runners.

Goal is: I want to run 5K, and targeting 8 minute pace. I know, that's not fast but it's my target.

History: two years ago I registered for a 5K event, got about 5 training runs in before breaking a collarbone bicycling, which discouraged me from further workouts. I ended up with 30.something on the run, just happy to run it. Last year I started training again, ignored something I shouldn't have and had a bad sprained ankle. That run hurt even more and was even slower. That's basically it all the way back to track in high school where I was a half-miler.

I'm in pretty good cycling shape, although my anaerobic threshold pace is poor both cycling and running. But that's a kind of imbalance where I could go for a run tonight and easily push myself to an injury. So I've been limiting distance and pace both, stopping when I feel any danger and with extra recovery days. So I'm winding up with only 9-12 miles per week so far, mostly at 9-10 minutes pace. My 5K is fairly easy at that speed, without any pains.

So the questions. I've started alternating my target 8 minute pace with a slower jog to catch my breath, on the theory that if I want to run that fast, I have to run that pace. One day it's alternating 400 meters with 400 jogging for 3 miles, then another day it's 800 meters. Does that make sense, or would it be quicker, or safer, to just run until I'm done at the target pace and try to increase that?

Also I realize that 10 miles is a very light workload for a runner. Given that soft tissue is still being toughened up and I'm still kind of rough at a jogging pace do you add longer runs anyway, say 6 or 8 miles, which would necessarily be at a slow pace? My issue is that what I consider a running pace is much smoother than 9.xx so I've been hesitating to take the pounding with those, but is it basically necessary after all? If you had to choose that or speed work, one or the other, which would it be?
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Old 08-03-17, 04:45 PM
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My opinion would be to forget the target pace and train to have a successful 5k. Two speed sessions a wk is more than you really need at this point. Shoot for one quality speed workout (your 400 and 800 sessions are good). One kind of tempo run (just however you feel). And one longer easy run of 6+ miles. You can run more often but these three are the ones that will count. It takes some time to get the running legs so I wouldn't put extra pressure on myself to hit a goal straight away. Do the race, see how it goes. I'm certain you will likely do well. Bike on the days you don't run or do both.
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Old 08-04-17, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by ddub View Post
My opinion would be to forget the target pace and train to have a successful 5k. Two speed sessions a wk is more than you really need at this point. Shoot for one quality speed workout (your 400 and 800 sessions are good). One kind of tempo run (just however you feel). And one longer easy run of 6+ miles. You can run more often but these three are the ones that will count. It takes some time to get the running legs so I wouldn't put extra pressure on myself to hit a goal straight away. Do the race, see how it goes. I'm certain you will likely do well. Bike on the days you don't run or do both.
Thanks. What distance on the tempo run, 5K?
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Old 08-04-17, 10:45 AM
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5k minimum. Give yourself a half mile or so warmup and cool down. 4mi. total would be sufficient.
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Old 08-04-17, 02:54 PM
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I am lifelong runner and cycle too but did not get real serious with cycling until I was 47 now age 56. Since I took up cycling much more my running speed has really decreased. I am in the camp that if you want to be a fast runner then run and avoid cycling. Cycling is great if you are injured and cannot run and it burns calories if you do enough of it but otherwise I do not think it makes you a faster runner.

I think you will find if you train 9-10 minute pace you will probably easily manage an 8 min ave 5K as long as you rest. Running 10 miles is not really easy for a runner if you can run 10 miles even really slow like 10-11 minute pace that is no small feat. A 10 mile run when I was in my best shape at age 30-33 was still a good workout even if I did it slow. Back then a slow run would have been 8-8:30 pace and I could run a 10 mile race in 67 minutes.

I would want to know what your all out mile time is on a track or level terrain and then I can give you an idea of what you can expect. Just to let you know at 56 these days I train 9:20 to 10:20 running pace and find going under 8:30 is pushing unless i stop cycling. I love to ride so that is out for now. As we get older generally we loose speed but endurance can be surprisingly good in comparison. My 10k probably is not much different that my 5k these days. If you were a 1/2 miler you probably have speed and that still is around if you can train it up.
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Old 08-04-17, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by deacon mark View Post
I am lifelong runner and cycle too but did not get real serious with cycling until I was 47 now age 56. Since I took up cycling much more my running speed has really decreased. I am in the camp that if you want to be a fast runner then run and avoid cycling. Cycling is great if you are injured and cannot run and it burns calories if you do enough of it but otherwise I do not think it makes you a faster runner.

I think you will find if you train 9-10 minute pace you will probably easily manage an 8 min ave 5K as long as you rest. Running 10 miles is not really easy for a runner if you can run 10 miles even really slow like 10-11 minute pace that is no small feat. A 10 mile run when I was in my best shape at age 30-33 was still a good workout even if I did it slow. Back then a slow run would have been 8-8:30 pace and I could run a 10 mile race in 67 minutes.
That was 10-12 miles in a week that I meant, not all at once I tried a 10K workout a couple of weeks ago, at that slow pace, but I doubt there was another 4 miles left in the tank. I'm seeing a pattern here, that some longer runs would be the most benefit.

I'm not actually trying to get fast or competitive, just want to run a 5K and do it in a decent time. Basically to build up to where I can run as a regular workout.
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Old 08-04-17, 04:08 PM
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I personally think your 8 minute mile 5k might be ambitious. I used to do a mile in 6:30 when I was in my 20s now I'm more like 12:00 over a 5k. Of course everyone is different, but I couldn't do an 8 minute mile over 5k without killing myself. Pretty certain of that.
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Old 08-04-17, 07:24 PM
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It IS ambitious from where I'm starting, but you must have ambitious goals if you want to achieve. That doesn't change with how old you are.
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Old 08-04-17, 08:06 PM
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I would also like to run and intend to start this fall. The problem, as you're aware, is that cycling has trained your cardiovascular system to the point where it can destroy your running muscles and ligaments which take considerable time to adapt to training. For a good training program search slowtwitch for Barry P's running program. He suggests running 6 days a week with a 3-2-1 ratio: 3 Short Runs, 2 Med Runs and 1 Long run per week. Med and Long distance is 2x and 3x short distance respectively. Start with a low total distance and increase no more than 10% per week.

I wouldn't do any speed work until you've been running consistently for a few months. It takes considerable time for your ligaments, tendons and muscles to become accustomed to running.

I'm able to provide rational advice but invariably end up tweaking my calf muscle whenever i start running. It's hard to take it slowly and I usually push too hard when it starts to feel good.
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Old 08-04-17, 09:05 PM
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I have been running since I was 14 and I am now 54. I like cycling a lot, but I love running. I have slowed down a lot the last few years though. I have never been a talented runner, but I couldn't break an eight minute mile in a 5K these days unless I am running at least 20-30 miles a week. I would say that 40-50 miles a week is the sweet spot for me where I feel really fit and I don't break down. There are genetically blessed people that could easily do it on 10 or 12 miles a week though.

MTA: I just read the rest of your post. You need to run mostly easy slow miles in training. I usually do one tempo run a week and one long run. You can also throw in a speed work session or fartleks one day a week, but speedwork does risk injury at our age. Speed work will get you some short term gains and there is a place for it, but you need to run more (slow) miles to get faster. Don't run at your target 5K pace in training. An easy run is 2-3 minutes per mile slower than your current 5K pace and a tempo run is 8% slower than your 5K pace. Build up your mileage slowly. The rule of thumb is add 10% to your weekly mileage each week, but I know from experience I can ramp up a little bit faster than that.

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Old 08-04-17, 09:29 PM
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First get some basic jogging miles until you're comfortable doing that, then incorporate one (maybe two) days of interval workouts a week. For intervals I'd say change from 400m running/400m jogging to 400m speedy running/200m fast walk, then repeat that duo until you're exhausted ('anaerobic threshold' where its tough to catch your breath between the 400m runs). Not sure how fast you can run a mile ( 4x400m) but try to get the 400m intervals down to what your 1/4 mile speed is.

Distance jogging: Bicycling mileage shouldn't hurt for basic aerobic workouts, but also do a long run of maybe 5 miles each week to get youe legs used to pounding out a long distance run. Try to do it on grass or other soft surface.

Just the opinion of a former 4:24 miler / 2:31 marathoner (30+ years ago)
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Old 08-05-17, 01:17 PM
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I took you guys' advice and set out for a longer run at a slow easy pace. I was thinking 6 miles but didn't plan out any mile markers so it turned out to be 5.2 miles at 10:34 pace - at least I got the "slow" part right But, everything held up and since I didn't even have a sustainable slow pace 2 months ago I'm actually pleased so thanks for that. So that, but a mile or two longer and maybe a bit faster for the long run, a couple of 3-4 mile medium speed runs, and intervals one day only if everything holds together, sounds like a plan.
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Old 08-05-17, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I took you guys' advice and set out for a longer run at a slow easy pace. I was thinking 6 miles but didn't plan out any mile markers so it turned out to be 5.2 miles at 10:34 pace - at least I got the "slow" part right But, everything held up and since I didn't even have a sustainable slow pace 2 months ago I'm actually pleased so thanks for that. So that, but a mile or two longer and maybe a bit faster for the long run, a couple of 3-4 mile medium speed runs, and intervals one day only if everything holds together, sounds like a plan.
That sounds like a better plan. Just a note: an easy run is neither a long run or a fast run. It is a run you do to recover from a fast or long run. A 10:34 pace sounds about right for your current level of fitness. As you run more miles that easy pace will become faster for the same perceived effort. In fact, your easy pace will vary depending on how you feel that day. Some days will seem like a struggle and some will feel like you are just floating down the road. The rule of thumb is that you should be running at a pace that you could hold a conversation at.
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Old 08-05-17, 04:32 PM
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I'm a coach for triathletes. 63YO and long time runner (40+). I don't believe biking ruins your running. Just the opposite as it gives you a little relief from weight bearing exercise and incorporates other muscle groups that help balance out those used in running. Maybe at the pointy end of the "run only" people biking may not be the answer. But it works for me preventing injury. Currently; run 3 times/wk, bike 2-3, swim 1-2. I have slowed dramatically after 59-60 YO 8:30 training pace and 23:30 5k this year. God and good genes gifted me as a runner so YMMV but the one hard day, one tempo day and one easy longer day works for most. Sorry about the I and me post, just an example.
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Old 08-05-17, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ddub View Post
I'm a coach for triathletes. 63YO and long time runner (40+). I don't believe biking ruins your running. Just the opposite as it gives you a little relief from weight bearing exercise and incorporates other muscle groups that help balance out those used in running. Maybe at the pointy end of the "run only" people biking may not be the answer. But it works for me preventing injury. Currently; run 3 times/wk, bike 2-3, swim 1-2. I have slowed dramatically after 59-60 YO 8:30 training pace and 23:30 5k this year. God and good genes gifted me as a runner so YMMV but the one hard day, one tempo day and one easy longer day works for most. Sorry about the I and me post, just an example.
No, you nailed it I think. True I want to run like you do but ... as a cyclist you know that you need the weight bearing exercise, and at some point you realize that it's no longer optional.
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Old 08-05-17, 06:00 PM
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Used to be a 7:30 pace 10k runner in my 20s/30s. Over time it took a toll and my running was less and less and biking more. Now at 63 I just train for one run a year, our Great Aloha Run that's about 8.1 miles. I've tried it cold turkey and also moderate training (about 2 months in advance). The best I can do is about 1:30. A 30 min 5k is about all that's in the tank these days

I can say that cycling does about nothing for running, at least the legs.

Agree that LSD just trains you to run slow. I liked to jog up to the local HS track once a week and do quarter mile intervals (or do I have to say 440M these days?)

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Old 08-05-17, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ddub View Post
I'm a coach for triathletes. 63YO and long time runner (40+). I don't believe biking ruins your running. Just the opposite as it gives you a little relief from weight bearing exercise and incorporates other muscle groups that help balance out those used in running. Maybe at the pointy end of the "run only" people biking may not be the answer. But it works for me preventing injury. Currently; run 3 times/wk, bike 2-3, swim 1-2. I have slowed dramatically after 59-60 YO 8:30 training pace and 23:30 5k this year. God and good genes gifted me as a runner so YMMV but the one hard day, one tempo day and one easy longer day works for most. Sorry about the I and me post, just an example.
I started Duathlon and triathlons. Since I've been training for multi sport, my endurance has greatly increased and my short distance speed has increased. Train right and, in my opinion, the two will work together and you will become faster.
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Old 08-24-17, 08:49 PM
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I had a successful event, although I didn't advance much towards my goal since I had to curtail training after a couple of weeks, developing shin splints But I ran it with 9:30 pace which was about what I expected, being my tempo pace on the treadmill, and it was in the upper third of the 50-59 age group anyway so I'm not unhappy with that. I feel like I can start working on improving now.

So, thanks for the training hints.
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Old 08-25-17, 08:21 AM
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Racing will usually increase your speed. You learn the edge of your comfort zone to know how to push. The shin problems may be just transitional as your bones add density. Of course I'm no doctor but you made the right move by easing up the training. Great job on the race anyway and enjoy the runs no matter the pace.
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Old 08-25-17, 08:22 AM
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I am an avid inline speed skater and took to spin classes approximately 18 months ago to supplement my training. It brought my skating to a new level, not to mention that I dropped 25 pounds in close to 4 months. After 18 months of spin classes, they're starting to get a bit stale. I still love the HIIT that they provide, but I wanted to add something else. My wife has been wanting a bike for a while, so we hit up a local bike shop and grabbed a pair of dual sport bikes for rail trails and some dirt road riding.

We usually do 15-20 mile rides together at a moderate pace and I ride fairly hard when I ride solo. It's helped with both my indoor short track skating and outdoor long distance (15Km+) skating.
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Old 08-25-17, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by ddub View Post
Racing will usually increase your speed. You learn the edge of your comfort zone to know how to push. The shin problems may be just transitional as your bones add density. Of course I'm no doctor but you made the right move by easing up the training. Great job on the race anyway and enjoy the runs no matter the pace.
I did feel like I left some slack on the run but I was cautious. The second mile has a hill, about 120 feet, which is more than I'm used to so I dialed it back at the start.

added: I'd self-diagnosed it as mainly musculature by the location and nature of the pain. I probably could have trained through it, more than a few warm-up runs that I did, but not being competitive in this one event why risk it. It's faded away now btw. I'll probably have to deal with feet and Pubofemoral ligaments next, nothing seems exempt.

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Old 08-25-17, 04:43 PM
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I am going to repeat this again that I personally think cycling does not make me a faster runner. If you want to run fast stay off the bike and if you want to cycle fast do not spend too much time running. That said I love them both so these days I just do both pretty mediocre. I can still cycle with the a group that is 15-20 years younger and no issues. But running I have to run with the slow midpack seniors over 50.
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Old 08-25-17, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by deacon mark View Post
I am going to repeat this again that I personally think cycling does not make me a faster runner. If you want to run fast stay off the bike and if you want to cycle fast do not spend too much time running. That said I love them both so these days I just do both pretty mediocre. I can still cycle with the a group that is 15-20 years younger and no issues. But running I have to run with the slow midpack seniors over 50.
I'm still working to that mediocre. Fast as in competing with 21 minutes that won the age division is out of reach regardless.

But with regards to why, I've got to mention this. Even if all we want to do is ride a bike, at 50+ like it or not we need (require) some form of load bearing work to prevent injuries and to keep injury from becoming worse. Primarily our for skeleton but also soft tissues, eccentric load muscles and all the rest. And once the separate parts are toughened up and strengthened to where they aren't flashing pain and otherwise balking, then just like with cycling you can realize how far you've let it slip. Regardless of how fast, but the way to bring things back into condition is to train to get faster.

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Old 08-26-17, 04:27 PM
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Well put. And correct.
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Old 08-26-17, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I did feel like I left some slack on the run but I was cautious. The second mile has a hill, about 120 feet, which is more than I'm used to so I dialed it back at the start.

added: I'd self-diagnosed it as mainly musculature by the location and nature of the pain. I probably could have trained through it, more than a few warm-up runs that I did, but not being competitive in this one event why risk it. It's faded away now btw. I'll probably have to deal with feet and Pubofemoral ligaments next, nothing seems exempt.
It sounds like you ran a smart race. So many people get caught up with the faster runners at the start and forget to run their own race. In the first eight to ten weeks of running, your muscles will get stronger faster than the connecting ligaments and you are prone to injuries during that time. If you ramp up slowly, you can avoid those kinds of injuries, but I don't seem to learn that lesson no matter how many times I get out of shape and start up again.

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