Help for a naturally slow (but improving!) runner... | 80/20 Endurance

Help for a naturally slow (but improving!) runner…

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    Hi Guys, I am working toward completing 80/20 Running 10K, Level 2 (going to self-race locally at the end of May). I am 56 and have been a ‘boom-bust’ runner for the last 30 years before I found you and the 80/20 plans. This is my second cycle, having completed Level 1 earlier in the year.

    The issue that I would like some help with is that the long run on the Sunday for weeks 7,8 and 9 in the plan is given in time not distance – currently I am running at approx 14min/mile in Z2 which means for those weeks I will be back to 3 or 4 miles whereas in the weeks before I have been up to 9 miles (ok, it took me two hours but I really enjoyed it!).

    The question is what mileage should I be doing for the long run in those ‘peak phase’ weeks?

    Many thanks


    David can provide more scientific advice, I’ll just share my experiences here:

    I started four years ago at age 69 at about where you are now. I have been through the 5,10, & 1/2M plans. Today I am a 25 minute 5K and low 50s 10K runner on the roads.

    The plans are effective so be patient. I suggest you follow the plan as written to the best of your ability.

    The RL workouts are only to assure that you are exposed to the distance, and if you are taking a long time you are subjecting yourself to a lot of training stress. That will impair other workouts on your training schedule, so I’d suggest you stick with duration for the RF workouts.

    As a side note since you are getting ready to enter the “Golden” years, you might consider including strength and mobility workouts to your plan. I have found them to be game changers for older athletes.


    Thank you so much Charles – I will admit that there have been occasions where I doubted I would ever get faster so it’s really nice to hear that I will get there. Congratulations on your achievements!

    And I will certainly start including the strength and mobility workouts (something I have been woefully lax about) – It would be such a shame to have a well tuned engine and then have everything else seize-up!

    David Warden

    Charles, I couldn’t have said it better myself! But I will anyway… 😉

    Muddy, Charles is correct that your speed will improve over time, and that running too long interferes with subsequent workouts. However, I’m comfortable with the recovery demands of a runner running up to 1.5 hours once a week if they are having trouble getting below a 10-minute mile. That should get you close to 6 miles on your long run and not interfere with Monday’s workout. It will change your ratios from 80/20 to something like 83/17, but that’s ok.



    Thanks David – it never occurred to me that I might be overdoing it on the length of the run and explains why I was performing badly the following week. I’ll keep to the 1.5 hour guide for a while. Many thanks again.

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