> Last night I went running, which is not a regular habit for me, but
> something I plan to do more of.
I'm sure you won't regret it
> What is a good exercise program to get better at this? I was thinking
> about four 1/4 mile runs, each one spaced by a walking 1/4 mile rest
> would be very reasonable for me, especialy for the next few months.
> I lift weights a few times a week, and I would be running 2-3 times
> /week also.
> Is this a reasonable plan for speedy improvement, or would I have to
> do more? I am aiming for cardivascular improvement, a lower resting
> pulse (currently ~70min), faster times, and possibly a small amount
> of weight loss, although that is not as important to me right now.
> I never _ever_ plan to enter any kind of competition of any kind.
> This is solely for my own well being.
I think that following your running schedule is not going to achieve what
you are aiming for. You are planning to run three high intensity workouts
each week combined with three weight sessions which if done properly will
also be high intensity. Doing this will almost certainly injure you or burn
you out - even if it doesn't you will not improve your c-v fitness but will
improve your strength and anaerobic capacity.
I would suggest that you try to run at least three times a week for at least
20 minutes each time at a pace that allows you to do this consistently. This
will mean running slower - if you find yourself thinking after a few weeks that
there are "reasons" why you can't go for a run today then you are pushing too
hard. The right pace for you may well feel ridiculously slow to you at first
but think of improving your fitness in terms of pushing a car from a standstill
- the way to do it is steady applied effort, if you try to kick it into motion
you will only hurt yourself.
To improve at first try to increase your mileage by both running more frequently
and for longer distances so that you work towards a pattern with about five
runs a week with one run (lots of runners do this on Sunday morning) about 1.5
times longer than the others. Vary your routes and never increase your mileage
more than ten percent per week.
Once you are running comfortably and have lost some weight (this may take about
a year) you can start to add in quality sessions of the sort you describe but
these should only be about ten percent of your total training.
> I don't like the mile any more. I would prefer to train faster at a
> shorter distance repeatedly, with walking rests.
I think this is because fast running *hurts* if you run further than 200-400m.
This is because you are burning oxygen faster than you can breathe it and after
this distance you will have used up all the oxygen stored in your muscles and
the energy you are using comes from anaerobic processes which produce acid as
a waste product -hence the pain. To avoid this you need to use energy at a slow
enough rate such that your cardiovascular sytem can replace all the oxygen that
you are burning ie you need to slow down. By doing this regularly your c-v
system will become more efficient at delivering oxygen and you will be able
to run faster for the same stress level.
Incidently your diet should predominently be complex carbohydrates (60-70%)
for the most rapid improvements but thats another story...
> Jim Del Vecchio
Good luck - Paul