Very slow runner


New member
Posts: 4
Hi everyone,

I was able to gain muscle and weight through weight training but I felt that my cardio was not up to par. So I decided to start running.

My problem is that I am very slow. At 7km/h I'm up to 170 beats per minute and after 20 minutes it becomes very difficult for me to run. My record is 30 minutes but I was dead after that. At the beginning I had started at 6 km/h and was around 150, but psychologically I know that I am walking and it is depressing.

I wanted to know if you had any advice on how to improve my cardio? I would have liked to improve my endurance, to be able to run one hour or more without interruption, and when I see running forums they are in the 10-12-16km/h range! At first I did the darebee marathon training, but after two failures to do the 35 minutes without interruption, I do not know what would be more effective. Short 15 minute runs? Lowering the speed to 6km/h again? Walk until I get a better heart rate?

I would like to point out that I am only 25 years old, my heart should be able to cope better but a very sedentary job coupled with the lack of sports activity has obviously destroyed my capacities


Well-known member
Posts: 972
"On the Run!"
Hey @MagnusFidelis,

With knowing almost nothing about your running history, it is hard to advice anything specific. In general start with long distance walks, if you are able to do that, then incorporate parts of slow running until you can run 5k, or do, in one go. After that you can extend the distance, or work on a faster pace.
There are a few easier running programs.

You can only work with what you've got.
That said and eventhough you might not like it, you should try to accept where you start, and improve gradually from there.


Well-known member
Ranger from Australia
Posts: 1,669
"Motivation is temporary. Discipline is forever."
I also am a very slow runner. Incredibly slow, but I was gratified to discover today that I actually run faster than I walk!
Right, start with HR. You say you get up to 170bpm. But how do you feel? How hard do you feel you are exerting yourself? Do you have any problems with your heart? Last year, when I saw a cardiologist, I asked her about this - why my HR shoots skyhigh. She said in some people (with perfectly normal healthy hearts like mine. If you have any concerns, get it checked out!) it just does that, and it was more important to focus on the rate of perceived exertion than the numbers.
I'm doing the 8 weeks to 5k programme. No way will I get to 5k in 35 minutes! I'm just working on getting to the 5k. I have received wonderful advice simply to work on my endurance - keep going, no matter how slowly, just to build up the time spent running. I run at just over 7kph and initially I was embarrassed by that, but I am more mature now and I'll just accept that until I can make it faster. Bear in mind that when you just start running - in a workout, I mean - your heart is going to have to work harder to supply what your body needs, so I find it useful to start my runs a little slower than normal, and once I've got into the swing of things, I speed up a (tiny) bit.
I very much recommend walk/run drills, and don't go all out with the running. Focus not on speed but on distance, as a wise person once advised me.


Warrior Monk from Terra
Pronouns: He/Him
Posts: 599
@MagnusFidelis without asking a ton of questions specific to you any advice given here is a guide only designed to help you raise your own knowledge and awareness of how your body works. Having said that there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • For every lb of weight (muscle or fat) your body requires up to six extra miles of capillaries and veins. This means that your heart and lungs have to adapt to the new weight and your body then has to allocate the resources necessary for the adaptations that need to take place.
  • Everything that we see as a result of exercise which we then label 'fitness' is the result of energetically costly adaptations that are triggered when the body feels there is sufficient external pressure to justify them. So, for example, lifting heavy for one session will do nothing just like running six miles once will do nothing. Both will tire us out as we expand energy and our muscles and cardiovascular system will get tired and need time to recover but if we don't consistently lift or run then the body is unlikely to allocate the resources necessary to build more muscle and/or more capillaries.
  • Consistency trumps everything. Start slow and build up. Be patient. Be methodical. Give yourself time.
  • Understand that lasting changes require small steps. Start, perhaps, with the walking challenge. Go from there and build up slowly.
Finally and, for knowledge purposes, and also to address @TopNotch's comment regarding running and walking speed, each means of locomotion accesses different biomechanical sequences in the body and uses up different amounts of energy. For instance, we know that when we walk our energy needs go up in direct proportion to the speed of our walking. As we continue to speed up the energy burnt by the body goes up and up and up and then, once we reach a certain threshold, we break into a jog. The moment we break into a jog we, for sure, move a little faster than walking, but the energy needs of the body drop to sometimes less than half of what we used up when walking (!). The point is that everything we do and the adaptations we experience as a result (i.e. stronger muscles, faster running) are the direct result of the body seeking to make something that is hard for it, easier. Give it time to do so. :LOL: I really hope this helps a little.


Well-known member
Warrior from France
Posts: 1,963
You've been given very good advice just before, I'd just like to add a little something :
If you want to improve your run, you need to improve your strength in your leg muscles, your heart and breath (they go together always) and your stamina (which is both in your body and in your mind).
There are very good darebees workouts, programs and challenges that will train you in strength and help your tendons adjust to the work.
For the cardio, except if you have heart problems (in which case I strongly recommend seing a cardiologist before running) you should forget all about you HR. First because it's often not really representative of what's going on in your heart, second because it de-centers you from what you should be checking : your breath. And how does one check his breath while running? Only by trying to speak. As simple as that. If you can recite poetry while running, then you're under the speed where your heart and lungs have to work hard. That will be a good drill for your tendons and you should have such runs regularly if you want to improve your running distances.
If you do not want to improve your distance but only your pace, then it's a bit different and you should not seek to improve both at the same time. In that case : your pace should be the one that allows you to answer only "yes" or "no" kind of answers. One word at a time and breathless mean heart and lung working hard and efficiently. You should never try to run at a pace where you can't even say one word answers. That would mean pushing it too hard in our context. If you are starting at a really low level of fitness (and there are lots of reason for anyone to start at that point like diseases or simply a really sedentary life) you will reach the "only one word phase" while walking. And that's okay. Start there and slowly build it up by showing up regularly and training as much as you can squeeze in your daily life. If that is what's blocking your progression you can even train that capacity lots of different ways, which will all improve your running (hikes, biking, using stairs or deciding to do your shopping by walking with a trolley, or elliptic bikes and all those things if you're more into gym equipment).
On the stamina side it is mainly a question of what you're objective is, and having realistic objectives : maybe focus on finding it easiee to run 5K before running 10, then build up form there to 21 then from there to marathon instead of jumping to marathon training right away 😉 but the most important part of stamina is pleasure. If you like it, you'll get back to it. And that means pushing your bounderies just the right amount : too far, you'll be to tired and sore and never want to do it again.
If you give yourself time, check your breath and keep at it, you'll improve. The hard part is finding the way to sticking to it 😊
Good luck!