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Some time ago I injured my lower back, I believe at the time the physiotherapist I saw referred to it as a "l4/l5 disc bulge" and also seems to have caused a bit of sciatica. The injury slowly cleared hence I stopped seeing the physiotherapist, but it has recently recurred.

In order to help strengthen my body in general and help my back in the long term as the physio recommended exercise and slowly strengthening the lower back to relieve the pain I have taken up going to the gym. At the moment my regime mainly involves the following:

  • Fast walk/Jog (6kp/h) for ~20 minutes
  • Recumbent exercise bike, ~20-30 minutes
  • Shoulder Press Machine (upper body only)

I have also been doing some work using an exercise ball to flex my lower back without putting too much stress on it. So far I have managed to avoid making the pain any worse and in fact the pain has lessened a good deal. Keeping it loose and mobile seems to be of benefit for my particular injury.

What I want is to increase my running stamina so that I can run/jog for longer periods without causing undue stress on my lower back. I would like to be able to get up to ~10 miles run/jog within 6 months.

Is there any other (preferrably gym based) methods for increasing my stamina and overall body strength without causing problems?

Would a back brace or similar help at all?

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Have you had a look at Couch 2 10k? That sounds like the ideal plan for you. Also I think you should separate the running training and the training for your back problems, they're not really related –  Ivo Flipse Apr 11 '12 at 19:16
    
I've had a look at it and my overall fitness is quite low at the moment, I'm not quite up to running for long periods yet and it sounds like a bit of a fast plan. It looks like it could be a good start though, I'll try and give it a go. –  Mokubai Apr 11 '12 at 22:26
    
That's the whole point, at the start you just come of the couch and work towards a 10k. Almost anyway can run a 10k, the question is: how fast will you be running? If you run/jog at 6 km/h you should be fine –  Ivo Flipse Apr 11 '12 at 23:34
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Apparently my standard "fast walk" pace is about 6km/h (I have quite a long stride) and I break into a jog somewhere around 8km/h with actual running pace around >10km/h. I gave this particular C-2-10K a go this evening and it definitely seems like a good way to get into the running regime. Thanks @IvoFlipse! –  Mokubai Apr 12 '12 at 17:25
    
Feel free to self-answer it, I'll add whatever details I think are necessary ;-) and have a look at this answer if you need ideas –  Ivo Flipse Apr 12 '12 at 17:55

1 Answer 1

Per Ivos advice I have begun looking into some of the C-2-10K (Couch to 10km) plans and I have been having good results so far. The plans are relatively "light" and as I have plenty of time to work up to the distance they suit my requirements quite well.

My back injury also appears to benefit from the exercise and has almost entirely gone, presumably because I am keeping it mobile and helping to build strength in the back around the problem area while I am moving and exercising.

I may not be completely "sticking to the plan" but I believe I am following the main points, which are:

  • To push my body a little bit more each time I exercise. Conversely;

  • Being aware of my body and its limitations, running too hard and too long can potentially set me back as it is a gradual building of strength that is required rather than doing it all in one go. One fast stumble and clumsy landing could be all I need to cause myself a worse injury.

This seems to be the emphasis behind the C-2-10K plans, a slow but sure improvement over time, and I quite enjoy the rest-run-rest-run style as you can see a gradual but definite improvement over sessions. Each time it starts to feel easy, which is roughly once a week, sees you moving on and working that bit harder.

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