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I have never ran in an organization or on a team before. I've ran the mile once in 5th grade and once in 8th grade. I've been skateboarding 1+ hrs per session, 5+ times per week for the last ten years. Tonight I tried running and ran 5 miles at an easy pace to see how I'd do. It turns out this is also considered an "8k" and I ran it in 42 minutes.

If I were to run an 8k again, tomorrow morning, is it "safe" for me to ramp up my speed so I finish at the 30-minute mark? I don't want to have a heart attack or injure myself.

I'm 17 years old, between 5'8" and 5'11", and weigh just under 120 pounds. I eat a lot of grains and red meat, which I understand do not contribute to a good runner's diet. I'm also male if that affects anything at all.

  • It may or may not be safe, we don't know your fitness level. You can certainly try, but 6 minute miles is a pretty decent pace. At 5'9ish and 120 lbs, you certainly have a perfect cross country runners build. – JohnP Sep 17 '14 at 17:17
  • If you can go from 8:30/mile over 8k to 6:00/mile over 8k with no training at all then I'd hang up the skateboard and join an athletics club as you clearly have a very good base fitness level! Just be careful not to overdo it though as other have said as you will pick up 'overuse' injuries. Particularly to do with the knees and shins. I've suffered with shin splints off and on all year now and trust me, they can be a nightmare to get rid of! – Jimsan Sep 23 '14 at 8:21
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Just give it a try, but don't do it just the next day. Give your body at least one day to recover before doing a high intensive training.

Start running with a speed you think you can run the whole distance. If you feel good after the first half you can go a little bit faster. If you feel bad, run slower.

Edit: Most important thing is to listen to your own body!

But if you want to become faster, try a training schedule (just as an example).

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    +1 for highlighting ` Most important thing is to listen to your own body`. I cannot emphasize this more. Right now I'm off training because of injury I caused myself by exceeding what my body can do. – claws Sep 23 '14 at 4:17
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As a Dad of two cross country runners I have seen the late summer enthusiasm turn to shin splints and stress fractures. I would recommend slowing adding onto your running volume. Remember that speed is a small part of your workout routine and running fast alone is not the only thing. You should have easy days following your hard days as well as one day were you spend sometime doing a long slow distance. This will get your body used to the volume and help to prevent injury in the future.

You should ask your Cross Country coach if you can join the team now, they should give you some guidance and structure to help you ramp up and you will also get to compete! If you already do 8k in 30 minutes you will do 5k in 18 minutes which means you will also letter!

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  • The lettering depends on the talent around him and the team standards. Our high school, mid 18's wouldn't have gotten you on the varsity (in 1985). But, a newer team across town, mid 18's would have put you in the #1 or #2 slot. YMMV. – JohnP Sep 18 '14 at 15:02
  • @JohnP thanks for pointing that out. My daughter had 12 girls on her team. It made it easier to get on varsity. (She went to a small school) – brentwpeterson Sep 18 '14 at 15:04
  • Yeah, our school had 22 boys between varsity/jv and 20ish girls, IIRC. – JohnP Sep 18 '14 at 15:17

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