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I've been running for a while now, i think about a year, except these last months I've been running consistently every other day. Now, my goal last year when i started was to run a 5km. I didn't make it. I'm still doing intervals every time i run.

Now, I feel like I could do a 5km stamina wise, because when i need to stop running I'm not overly exhausted or anything. Its just that after like 1.5 - 2 km my knees, shins and calfs start hurting super much.

I've bought some running shoes a while ago so that's not it (I have Asics GT 2000 shoes for the ones wondering)

I just really wish i could run faster, am I doing something wrong? Do you guys have any tips for me?

  • I don't have time to write a full answer now, but will later. But basically, run. Run lots. Mostly slow, sometimes fast. Also, See the answer here (Blatant self promotion :p) – JohnP Apr 24 '18 at 20:48
  • 6 runs a week is a lot though :O – Mark Fijn Apr 24 '18 at 20:50
  • I was told it was best to do a run every other day – Mark Fijn Apr 24 '18 at 20:51
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    told by who? and for what reason? – JohnP Apr 24 '18 at 22:26
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    Only if you are running really hard, which is one of the biggest problems with novice runners. There are many many people that run every day, from one or two miles up to 15-20. It's all in effort. – JohnP Apr 24 '18 at 23:09
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Here is a list of things I have experiences throughout the years help buildup distance prowess.

  1. Variety - Don't have all your runs be at the same distance or the speed. For example each day you can either have a medium speed medium distance, a run where you switch of a slow jog and close to sprint speed (Fartlked), a long slow run, or a run with a several minute push in the middle buffeted by a warmup and cool down. Try to switch off harder days and easier days, keep your body guessing, and really don't feel bad just walking it out sometimes.

  2. Stretch - Before you begin a run, especially if you plan on pushing it that day, try to do some dynamic stretching. This means skips, high knees, lunges, and things like that. After you run almost always try to do the typical static stretching. These stretches should include your glutes, calves, quads, and everything else that feels tight. If you want to invest, try getting a foam roller as well.

  3. Goals - Pick a 5k race and tell people you are going to do it. That will make sure you skip fewer runs, and also generates some gratitude as people ask about your nice training plan.

  4. Other Exercises - If you are really feeling injured, then try to take it easy and do some injury prevention exercises. I personally believe in stability exercises over weights, which would include single (or double) leg squats, fire hydrants, and lunges. If you like biking or swimming, then definitely try to mix that in as well.

If you really only want to "run fast", which I interpret as meaning you want to hold a fast pace for 1km then shift your training to be less on distance and more on quick intervals, which would mean run fast for a short time, walk a little and repeat. Exercises should help here as well.

If you want to better your cardio and build the distance then follow the steps I mentioned and also try to get on a training plan. There are quite a few on the internet including: Nike, Jenny Hadfield, and Shape Magazine. Pick whichever one you think fits your current plan and just stick with it.

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Short version:

Run 7k or 10k really slow once a week - even if it takes you 2 hours to finish. Just keep going. An easy way is to have someone drop you off 10k from your house and leave you there.

Run 1k a couple of times a week, and try to do that as quickly as you can.

  • FYI: This is a technique that Marine Corps boot camp has used for years. – jp2code Jun 7 '18 at 19:55
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Focus on time spent running, not speed. At this stage you want to enjoy running, not suffer like a dog each time which might deter you from running. Unless you are extremely serious about coming within the top ranks in races, you don't need to do intervals. And listen to podcasts or get a friend to run with you. It's less boring that way.

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We don't know your age, height and weight, so I'm going to make a few assumptions, namely that you're not extremely overweight and don't suffer from arthritis or general joint pain.

If these are true, running 5k is a very achievable goal. It's encouraging that you don't feel limited by cardio, because that signals your general fitness is adequate.

Now, the knee-calf-shin pain you're experiencing is very common amongst runners old and new, the more experienced people learn to avoid/restrict it. It's called 'shin splints', and is an indication that your shins are accumulating damage faster than they can heal. Not a good thing. Since you're training for 5k, don't reduce your running, but take care of :

(1) Warm-up: So crucial! Do a good warm-up tailored for distance running. The 15-20 min will be well spent. If you're running in the morning (soon after waking), it's all the more important because your back may not be fully stretched and a slouched back during running can add to this injury.

(2) Running surface: Maybe stay off the roads for some time, try running on a track, grass, and keep mixing it up. Gradually add a road component, and slowly move back to road (if your target race is a road route).

(3) Form: Your cadence and landing of the foot may be inappropriate, and I'm not capable of explaining this well here, hopefully the experienced runners can help on this.

(4) Ice: Ice your shins after you run. It will accelerate the healing and prevent buildup. Some people advise against this, saying that it interferes with the natural healing and building process, but I think when you face pain you shouldn't be a hero. I am surprised at how much this helps me, especially when I feel these pains starting to crop up.

Other factors include your training plan etc, which I'm sure other answers will cover. I do feel though, that these plans include interval training and hill runs too early for beginners, especially over short distances. But then, that's a divided area.

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Sounds like you have three questions:

  1. How do I run longer distances?
  2. How do I run faster?
  3. I'm in pain, how do I run through it?

There's some great answers/observations in this post — sharing your age/height/weight will go a long way with help from the community.

  1. Go slow. If you're running 10min/mile slow down to 11min/mile, 12min/mile... or even slower.
  2. Just keep running. Speed will come, but ask yourself, "Why do I want to go faster?" Is it just vanity/ego? Are you training to make the Cross Country team? There's no shame in running slow.
  3. See a doctor. Rest.

Finally, congrats on getting closer to your 5k goal. Keep running!

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