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Nowhere near as fit as I used to be

I have posted here recently about issues I’ve had running. I used to be a really good runner, I was a member of my local running team and I’d run on the roads 3 or 4 times a week and the rest of the time I’d either go the gym or go swimming. But then COVID happened and I ran 4 or 5 miles on the roads every day for about 15 months despite fact I was having terrible problems with a knee injury I’d had for a few years. But I kept on running until one day I saw a news article that frequent strenuous exercise can cause MND and it really scared me so I just gave up road running.

Since then I’ve left my running team and only run on the roads once a month if that, I go swimming 4 days of the week now, 2 days I’ll go the gym and one day I’ll have a rest day and just go for a walk.

I’m fine swimming and going the gym but if I try road running my fitness levels have just fallen off a cliff. Before COVID I would run 4 miles in about 24/25 minutes but now it takes me about 30/31 minutes and after about 2 miles I’m just knackered. This morning I ran 3 miles in 25 minutes exactly.

Also I have recently had some health issues, at the start of June I had a routine op(nothing running related) but couldn’t exercise for3 weeks after the op until my stitches healed. Two weeks after I’d started back at the gym I started getting a tight chest and struggling to breathe which I have since found out is exercise induced asthma. So since then I have had to scale back my exercising whilst I got the asthma diagnosed.

Is this normal? Is it normal that since I’ve stopped road running and the other stuff listed that my road running times have gradually become slower?
Reply 1
Original post by MikePL
I have posted here recently about issues I’ve had running. I used to be a really good runner, I was a member of my local running team and I’d run on the roads 3 or 4 times a week and the rest of the time I’d either go the gym or go swimming. But then COVID happened and I ran 4 or 5 miles on the roads every day for about 15 months despite fact I was having terrible problems with a knee injury I’d had for a few years. But I kept on running until one day I saw a news article that frequent strenuous exercise can cause MND and it really scared me so I just gave up road running.

Since then I’ve left my running team and only run on the roads once a month if that, I go swimming 4 days of the week now, 2 days I’ll go the gym and one day I’ll have a rest day and just go for a walk.

I’m fine swimming and going the gym but if I try road running my fitness levels have just fallen off a cliff. Before COVID I would run 4 miles in about 24/25 minutes but now it takes me about 30/31 minutes and after about 2 miles I’m just knackered. This morning I ran 3 miles in 25 minutes exactly.

Also I have recently had some health issues, at the start of June I had a routine op(nothing running related) but couldn’t exercise for3 weeks after the op until my stitches healed. Two weeks after I’d started back at the gym I started getting a tight chest and struggling to breathe which I have since found out is exercise induced asthma. So since then I have had to scale back my exercising whilst I got the asthma diagnosed.

Is this normal? Is it normal that since I’ve stopped road running and the other stuff listed that my road running times have gradually become slower?

Yep, completely normal :smile:

Swimming and gymming will help your overall fitness and strength, particularly your swimming- and gym-specific fitness levels. If you didn't go to the gym for a few months, then went back to the gym, you'd find it harder than you did before you left. Same goes for running. If you're only running once a month, then of course you'll find it harder than when you were running much more frequently.

Same with anything, really. Musical instruments, languages, sports, painting, maths… if you stop frequently practising, things will be a bit "rusty" when you have another go (I momentarily forgot how to do column subtraction and I'm at uni). Neural pathways and all that.

Sports and other physical activities also require some cardiorespiratory fitness (and some muscle strength etc.). If you frequently "stimulate" your heart and lungs and muscles, things that were once hard will get easier. I personally find that when I'm swimming, my heart rate is a lot lower than when I'm running; if I did an easy run and a hard swim, I might be able to average 140 bpm for each activity. But I'd really struggle to get 160+ bpm in a swim, whereas if I'm trying to run with a bit of speed I'd probably get into the 160s at least, probably more. Obviously everyone has different heart rate zones, but essentially: train your heart to work hard, and you'll find it easier. If you want to get faster at running again, you'd probably need to run a bit more frequently than once a month. Even once a week should be plenty, and there are many other forms of exercise that can get your heart rate up. Cycling up a big hill, going hard on the elliptical/cross trainer, burpees… but do what you enjoy. You don't have to be super fast at running. But if you enjoy it, do it. Trail running is lovely don't care about the pace, just be busy enjoying your surroundings and time in nature and moving your body :smile:

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