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Question
Posted by: BEACON | 2003/12/19

AM I NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH TO GET RESULTS?

Im 26, female weight 54, height 1.68 and job 10 km in 1 hour. When I do this my heart rate is between 168 - 183. I run this 3 - 4 times a week. My heart rate says Im putting enough effort in but is my distance good enough for the hour? How many km would be cosidered a good run in one hour for a non athlete woman trying to stay fit and healthy. I feel like Im getting a good workout, but maybe Im fooling myself. The treadmill only allows for 20 minute runs, so for the fist five minutes I run on 8.5 and move up .5 every 5 minutes ending with 10 the last 5 minutes. I do this 3 times. I do run the last minute each time on 12. Is this not good enough to get fit? I do do weight training on the same day, so its 40 minutes weights plus 1 hour run. ( Upper and lower body of different days).

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Our expert says:
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No, it certainly sounds good enough to get fit - I'm not sure what you were capable of a few months ago when you started, but i very much doubt whether you would have been able to run for even 30 minutes. So, whatever you did to get to where you are now shows that you have done something right. For a female recreational runner, 60 minutes is right about what you should be doing, so there's nothing at all wrong with it. The heart rate bears this out, although I would caution against using heart rate too strictly - it's a guide, nothing more, and so don't worry too much about it.

As for the progress and future outlook, the key is gradual progression, assuming you want to continue getting better. So, what you might try is to increase the speed for the treadmill - so, instead of starting at 8.5, start at 9 or the first five minutes and then move up by .5 every 5 minutes - this way, the training stress is just little higher than you are accustomed to, the body will adapt and you will get fitter. Of course, if these 60 minute runs are really tough already, then just keep going until they get better, which they will do.

I think that the most important thing is that you must look at the whole picture - look at three months ago, and where you were, and then you should be able to take encouragement out of your improvement. It's really difficult for me to comment on one moment in time, but it sure sounds good, and the thing to do now is just to keep enjoying it and don't put undue pressure on yourself - it will come in good time.

Good luck

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