Having completed Couch to 5K (C25K) I found myself with a lot of work still left to do. The program teaches you to run for 30 minutes, unfortunately that does not equate to 5k with my pace. I’m not alone, it’s fair to say most people who complete C25K will struggle to get it done in 30m during the program. So where do I go from here?
There’s a lot of great advice on the forums (particularly Reddit/C25K). The general consensus is to consolidate your 5k, or in my case actually get one. The furthest I’ve run so far is 4k in just under 35 minutes which was at a very conservative pace on a rapidly improvised route.
I’m aiming to keep running 3 times a week, it’s a routine I enjoy and can maintain and I still rely heavily on the rest days to recover my legs. I’m going to ease into this post-C25K (P25K) phase by drawing up a very simple 3 week program, running 4km, 4.5km and finally 5km three times for each week. On paper and assuming no increase in pace that’s going to be close to 40 minutes of running. doesn’t sound that daunting given the progress of C25K.
Once I have a solid 5k under my belt, I think I’ll be looking to head out to 10k. I’m really liking the idea of ending this year with a 10k in the bag, that would actually be a good use of a year of my life. Even better, come the inevitable new years resolutions I’ll be well ahead of the game.
I’m also going to switch to blogging weekly rather than each run, as there’s only so many times you can write about feeling puffed out in detail.
Run 1 (10/08/2018)
I’ve been using Endomondo for a while now, I switched to it from MapMyRun after running into reliability problems. Somewhat ironic as they are both owned by Under Armour these days and I’ve no doubt like any good business they’ll be rationalising their acquisition. Boths apps upload and track your runs to a central website, so you can share and brag (not much of that going on yet).
I’ve set Endomondo up to announce a bunch of stats at every kilometre. It occurs to me this will be the first time I’ve ever run to a distance goal rather than a time goal. It shouldn’t matter but we’ll see.
I’ve gone to the local park, my usual haunt which has a circuit that is almost 1k. It’s also on a bit of an incline which I convince myself will help in the long run. The weather is slightly on the cool side (at least after recent record breaking temperatures) and there’s a nice breeze, it’s probably the coolest run I’ve done. Excellent.
First lap round the park, apart from almost falling over a terrier that decided it would deliberately wander into my path, it’s going well. I’ve set off quicker than any run to date, a clear statement of intent. I’ve found a rhythm and I’ve got Max Richter’s re-arrangement of the Four Seasons playing. I know it sounds very pretentious but I love the Four Seasons and Richter’s re-arrangement is almost better than the original. It’s certainly making a change to my usual upbeat running playlist.
The female robotic voice chimes in at the first kilometer (come back Laura) my first split time is 7:14. That’s not bad I’m usually closer to 8 minutes, if I can sustain this I might do a 30 minute for the 4k. That would be something. My very next thought is I’m going to pay for this pace in a few minutes.
Round the park to the second kilometre, split time 7;38. I’ve obviously got the memo and dialled it back a little. Not sure it was a conscious thought, more of a matter of instinctual necessity. Back up the incline, everything seems to be under control, I know I’ll be able to recover. I seem to be developing a better approach to the long second part of the incline. I get to the top of the park and I’m feeling good.
The third kilometre split is a 7:54., that’s a more usual time based on past performance. I decide to pick up the pace on the last kilometre. I’m starting to feel it, and I really am missing Laura’s words of encouragement. One last time up the steepest part of the incline and I secure the last 4k in a slightly quicker 7:39.
Well that was tough, it always is. I had some moments of doubt early on with a negative voice pointing out how much was left to do in distance now rather than time. I guess they’ve got to try everything, it didn’t work I just kept on running. I think I could have gone to 5k, but I’ll stick with my plan and get there in time!
All in all a good run, a new PB for 3k (22:43) and just over a minute for 4k, that’s not bad. That’s almost 5 minutes quicker than my first 4k effort. I think I’ll like the transition to running distances (as opposed to time). I’m happy with this than the last run of C25K.
Run Rating :
Run 2 (12/08/2018)
Back to the park again, for another 4k run. The weather is cool and it’s threatening rain, my ideal running conditions. I start off eager to get the first kilometre sorted and settled into a steady pace, I’ve deliberately tried to set of a bit quicker again and I’m already feeling it as I pass the first kilometre mark, the second kilometre is going to be slower as I’m going to have to ease off.
I hate the first two kilometres of these runs, my inner voices are constantly jabbering on about not even being halfway (i..e the majority of the run is still ahead of me), even when I’m not hugely struggling. When I get to the half way/2k they generally give up.
There seems to be a notion that it’s better to quit early rather than later, the more I have invested in a run the less likelihood I’m going to quit. So a huge effort seems to be put into the first 2 kilometres by my inner demons. It’s of course all nonsense I can run for 4k without a problem, I still don’t understand why the mind/body rebels so much, if I ever get to the bottom of that I’ll report back.
I’m on the second kilometre and passing a small yappy terrier that decides it’s going to chase after me. I’ve just kept running careful to avoid tripping over the little land shark, when I feel an almighty whack into the back of my lower leg and my first though is I’ve caught little bugger in the head, the force of the impact doesn’t bode well. I stagger to a stop look back, no terrier instead in it’s place a hulking great brown mastiff is staring at me, wondering why I’ve stopped playing. I stare around and 20 metres back is it’s owner desperately trying to catch up. I wave “no problem” and push on, the Mastiff thankfully decides not to pursue.
The interruption has messed with my pacing back up to the top of the park, and I’m having to put a bit of effort in. Once around the park again and we are at the 3km mark, last lap. My pace is really starting to slow down, as I’m heading down the incline I’m conscious that out of the corner of my eye I have a companion keeping up. After several yards I look over, to see a young bulldog carrying a sizeable stick and clearly having the time of it’s life. It’s eye balling me and finally decides what I really need to do is throw it’s stick for it, so weaves into my path. forcing me to stop.
I try to grab the stick, it’s a no go, the tease. It’s owner is waving and apologising, I wave back and push on. I realise several yards later the stick fiend is on my other side now, jogging along next to me showing his stick trophy. He finally gives up his gloating and goes off to find another victim. Seems like I’m the dog entertainment today.
A super fit teenager steams past me at a truly stunning pace, each stride is carrying him forwards a couple of metres, he must be on target for a 20 minute 5k. I try and ignore it but damn! On to the last kilometre.I’m not a happy pup, I know I’m going to make it but I’m seriously not enjoying the uphill climb, digging deep when damn it if the teenager doesn’t shoot past me again. I literally spit foam in his wake. Then I notice he’s following the easy path off round the left, as I head back up the right incline, I’m thinking what a lightweight!
I get to the top of the incline and I’m done, I know the time is slower than last time. I think I knew it after the first kilometre and the doggy distractions haven’t helped the cause. The stats reveal that sure enough I’m a minute and a half slower than the last run. Ho hum, I console myself that it’s another 4k I can scratch up and every run improves my fitness.
I have one more run at 4km, and I’m thinking I’m going to try and up the pace and try a risky one. If I overdo it, it will be a lesson in hanging on for grim death, I haven’t done one of those for a while I think it’s time to push the envelope. .
Run Rating :
Run 3 (14/08/2018)
Last run of the week! My weeks are skewed at the moment (this is Tuesday), I can’t be bothered to fix it, a) because it would involve skipping a few days and b) it’ll only slide back out again, due to unforeseen circumstances. I’m trying to stick to a pattern of 3 runs with rest days and then the extra rest day before the next week, with the intention of pushing myself on the 3rd run of the week.
That was the plan for this run, to head out quick and push myself. I decided to head back to the riverside route around St Mary’s Island, the last time I ran this route was an absolute nightmare, I went off way too quick and I ended up paying for it big time. In hindsight I’m surprised I didn’t connect the location and over zealous pacing ahead of the run.
I decided to go anticlockwise aound the island, the advantage of which is the main hill on the climb would be in the first kilometre when I was still fresh. The run starts with a couple of hundred metres along a wooden floating platform that is aside one of the old docks, which was different, I seemed to make a hell of racket as plodded along on the boardwalks. The hill is pretty steep but not that long so early on it was easy to get up to the summit. In fact looking at the split times it was my fastest kilometre on record, in spite of the hill, more a testament of my intention to push the envelope.
Into the 2nd kilometre and I’m trying to keep the pace up, but it’s starting to get a bit tricky. I’m starting to realise that I’m already breathing hard. I spend some time trying to get my breathing back under control. I’m sweating extra hard, having to wipe handfuls of sweat away from my eyes (in spite of the cap). This isn’t fun and I’m only just half way and I’m starting to get flashbacks to my last effort along here.
I’ve almost made it around the island and I’m in dire straights, a steadily rising feeling of nausea and my breathing is totally out of control. I’m into a slog, legs are heavy and I’m really doubting I can make it off the island. I’m determined to hang in for 3km at least, hoping I can then trick myself into the last kilometre.
I finally get to the 3km mark, I’m off the island at least. I can’t do another kilometre, or rather I can do it but I’m just not up for the 8-10 minutes of agony it’ll take. I’ve pushed the envelope and I found the ragged edge and I don’t like it. I have failed to manage the situation,
I pushed too hard, it was my intention but I’m frustrated that I wasn’t prepared to suck up the last kilometre. I could have slowed it down, rather than stopping, I might even have been able to recover at a slower pace. A new PB for 3km of 22:25 feels hollow, of course I can do a faster pace if I don’t do the distance, my 100m is a lot faster.
I set myself the task of going faster, but I failed the primary objective of doing the 4k. I need to do the distance and then the speed, it has been a valuable lesson in finding myself on the wrong side of that equation. As they say no run is a bad run, and I’ve learnt a lot about my current limitations on this one. Next week we’ll focus on bridging the gap to 5k.
I think I’ll be avoiding the island run for a bit, I’m starting to get “the fear” about it!