C25K – Week 5 – Run 3

29th June 2018 — 0


So the day that every C25K hopeful dreads had finally come, the 20 minute run. I was so close to calling it off. My left knee wasn’t 100%, more to do with weeding in the garden than the running.

That and I have a habit of slouching on the couch when using my laptop (often with a cat keeping me company), I know it’s terrible posture as I’ll often get off the sofa and my back will go twang.

Well having done a couple of hours of work on the laptop first thing I went to get off the couch and TWANG, tried to walk it off getting ready and my back went several more times. I’m thinking my knee, my back maybe I should call it off, my old body is betraying me.

Or more likely it’s just trying to pull a sickie. I thought bollocks to it, I can’t fail before I even get out of the door. By the time I got to the field lo and behold my body had got over it, cheeky bugger! How am I supposed to spot a real injury when even my own body is pulling this bullshit.

So into the usual once round the field extended warm up, they’ve mowed the entire field again, no drag from grass it’s a sign! Not many people out here, apart from two lady’s showing me how it should be done. One of them an older robust lady was literally going at my walking pace, so I slowed down a bit not to catch her up. She then turned off the field and headed into the hills I realised she was doing the whole park, christ total respect. Time to get this show on the road and maybe one day I’ll get off this field too.

I’m running through my mental preparation in the last minute of the warmup walk. I had scoured the C25K forums for W5D3 tips and one of the useful ones was to break the 20m into 4×5 min runs and just run each 5 minutes at a time. That along with the most important tip, START SLOW. I wasn’t as nervous as I had been before other runs for some reason, almost no butterflies. So with one Last “You can do it” from Laura we get into it.

The first 5 minute mark went past surprisingly quickly, in fact it caught me out when Laura announced it (I wasn’t expecting her to chime in). I just focussed on the mechanics of running and staying in the moment (i.e. avoid pondering all the possible failure scenarios). The cause was not helped by a lovely Labrador repeatedly throwing his ball in my path in the hope I might throw it for him, sorry Lad I didn’t sign up for touching my toes as well today.

I got to the 8 minute mark and had to consciously stop myself from thinking about the fact it was the furthest I had run, because I could feel my brain trying to use it as an excuse.

At the 10 minute mark with  Laura helpfully pointing out I was half way, I started to feel the oh so familiar feeling of nausea rising and I knew it could undo the whole run. So, I had chat with my body (literally an internal dialogue) to get on and do whatever it took to sort it out, because I wasn’t going to stop therefore what purpose was it serving? It seemed to do the job and it eased off. I knew the 15 minute mark was doable at that point, if I could just avoid that digging deep feeling for as long as possible.

I had built the 15 minute mark up in my mind, it was a place I couldn’t imagine what it would be like and for that reason it worried me. Now I was there staring it in the face I realised it wasn’t some new level of hell, but just the same as the last minute of every new run I had ever made. Nothing new, out here that can’t be managed by pacing and focus.

Laura chimes in with 5 minutes to go, “you can do this” (she hasn’t been wrong yet). I knew I wasn’t going to fail by this point I had found a sustainable pace, it might not be fast or pretty but it was getting the job done. My brain helpfully calculated the finishing line as 3/4 of the way round the field, and I knew I could hold on for that long no matter how bad it got. So the only question was going to be how bad could it get.

I was doing perfectly fine (not quite skipping along) up to the 18 minute marker, again just focussing on keeping everything steady, I could start to feel fatigue creeping in at the edges. and I had to remind my body about another pang of nausea, and again it abated. Then Laura chimes in with 2 minutes to go, no chance of failing at this point, but as always it seems to be a trigger to my body to start losing form, in the last minute I’ve gone from totally in control to hanging on, and I know the change is purely mental at this point not a physical limitation.

“You’re done you can slow down”, Laura chimes in and it’s over. I’m panting and staggering around, but I’m wondering what all the fuss was about. And that in a nutshell is obviously the purpose of this 20m shock run, and now I get it. In fact I’m slightly annoyed I let myself turn the last minute into more of a struggle than it needed to be, I’ll need to work on that.

I read every forum trying to understand what exactly the mindset change is that obviously must occur in this 20 minute run, in the hope I could intellectualise my way to acquiring the knowledge. But I’m afraid this is not something that you can read and understand without getting out there and experiencing it. I read it time and time again across all the forums, “the only thing holding you back is your own mind”. I understand those words, but I don’t think it’s possible to understand their meaning without first hand experience. Now I’ve been there I truly KNOW the only barrier out there in that field was me, and a lab that wants someone to throw his ball.

There are many reasons I decided to start writing a journal about my C25K experience, but for me personally I realised in the first week that C25K was going to be more of a mental battle than physical. I was stunned in the first 3 sessions how my mindset changed, a process that continued week after week and it’s that change that intrigued me. I wanted to document it, because when your on the wrong side of it, it really is impossible to understand how the next milestone is achievable.

As always as soon as I’d caught my breath, my first thought is about the next run and for the first time in the program I can look all the way out to the remaining 4 weeks and I know they won’t be any harder than the mountain I now stand atop of. Next week goes back to interval running and it feels like a holiday.

You can tell how worried I was about this run by the fact it’s the only one I felt I needed to put a 30m playlist together of tracks that had helped me over the weeks. I wasn’t going to leave it to chance this time. I also chucked in a couple of new tracks that should get me across the line.

Lose Yourself – Eminem

I deliberately made this the first track of the run, it’s literally about getting your shit together, getting in the zone and seizing what you want. If anything is going to get me in the right frame of mind, this should do it:

Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity 
To seize everything you ever wanted 
One moment 
Would you capture it or just let it slip?

Fairly obvious, seize the moment and get this run done.

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy 
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti 
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready 

Yep, good chance I’m going to have all of these symptoms in the next 20 minutes. But I just need to keep it under control steady pace.

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment 
You own it, you better never let it go 
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow 
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

I keep banging on about it, but the most useful mental tip I’ve learnt on this program, is just to remain in the moment, listen to the music and don’t let go in terms of losing focus/form. To be fair this is hardly my last shot, I can do this as many times as it takes, BUT I am here now and I see no reason to fail, so I’ll take THIS one.

Great track first 3 minutes have flown by, also helped my the distraction and sheer joy of a lab.

Flames – Sia

I’m a big Sia fan but I have to say this track feels like pure commercialisation, it might as well be sponsored by a fitness firm or gym. Either way it’s hands down the most on point running track I’ve heard so far, there’s no real need for translation:

One foot in front of the other babe
One breath leads to another yeah
Just keep moving, oh
Look within for the strength today
Listen out for the voice to say
Just keep moving, oh

Something tells me that Sia’s done a few miles.

Go, go, go
Figure it out, figure it out, but don’t stop moving
Go, go, go
Figure it out, figure it out, you can do this

Are you shitting me, honestly the C25k app people need to think about licensing this track.

Don’t stop, tomorrow’s another day
Don’t stop, tomorrow you’ll feel no pain
Just keep moving, oh
Don’t stop the past’ll trip you up
You know, right now’s gotta be enough
Just keep moving

I was listening to this somewhere around the 8-10 minute mark, at my point of greatest doubt and there was a second where I almost convinced myself it wasn’t going to be today. Not much chance of that with Sia screaming encouragement from the side lines though.

So 4 weeks left, 2 days of interval runs and then it’s ever increasing single runs up to the target of 30 minutes. I’ve no doubt there’s challenges out there, I’ve seen enough posts from people post week 5 struggling to know there still be dragons but now I know they are all in my mind.

Run Rating : 


C25K – Week 5 – Run 2

27th June 2018 — 0


I had a lot on today, so I decided I was going to get up and go do the session in the local park first thing. The previous day had been exceptionally hot (for the uk) this morning it was decidedly cooler and overcast. Perfect running conditions.

I was confident I could do the first 8 minutes, the second 8 minutes not so much. I’d know after the first 8 minute run how deep I’d have dug and only then really understand.

Turns out 8 minutes at my pace roughly translates into twice round the park, which was decidedly empty apart from a couple of dog walkers, one lady walking for exercise and an old boy having a smoke on one of the benches. Well at least I had one audience member for this mornings performance.

I got to the half way mark fairly easily (given the previous 5 minute runs), just kept a steady pace and kept plodding away at it and in no time at all Laura was saying it was the last 60 seconds. I’m starting to have mixed feelings about these final minute announcements. One part of me thinks yeah I can hold on for 60 seconds and the other half seems to take it as a cue to start slacking off on form. I’m starting to think it’s not wholly because of fatigue.

Recovery time was about 90 seconds, my feet where aching as always but on the whole I didn’t feel that bad. The 5 minute recovery period was more than I needed, even my feet had even stopped aching.

The first half of the second 8 minute run was fairly easy, legs were heavier than the first run but my form was under control. When Laura gave the half way call, I knew I was going to make it but I also knew it was going to get tough.

Sure enough the last 90 seconds and I’m really starting to feel it, my breathing is starting to get messy, followed inevitably by my old friend rising nausea. I’m starting to dig in and it’s not fun. There’s no doubt I’m going to finish, I’m not going to fail so close to the end and ruin all the good work, but the last 30 seconds was decidedly unpleasant. Not helped by the fact I’m trying to push myself by not slowing down, in the hope it’ll count in the next session.

Laura finally chirps in after what seems like an age and I slip back into a post-run stagger. Took me about 3 minutes to recover after this trip back into hell. As always, there’s no celebration, no mental pat on the back my mind is already starting to figure out what today’s performance means for the next session. The big 2 – 0!

It still seems like a step too far. I’ve climbed the foothills and it’s taken 5 weeks to get here but that 20 minute target sits there like Everest, towering above everything I’ve achieved to date. I tell myself that it’s only 4 more minute’s than today’s run and try to to ignore the annoying voice pointing out the fact it took a halfway 5 minute walk to achieve that.

Part of me knows the truth, I’ve got at best 15 mins (and probably less) if I perfectly pace myself, but that last 5 minutes (or more) is going to be somewhere I don’t think I’ve been before, and experience tells me it’s probably not going to be fun. We’ll find out on Friday one way or another. Note to self start slow! The only positive thought is if I can do 20 minutes then I can definitely do 30 minutes, so the rest of the program should get easier.

Today’s playlist is curtesy of Peter Gabriel who’s back catalogue seems to have finally turned up on Amazon’s music service. Over the years the number of albums I’ve had that weren’t available on digital services has slowly dwindled, after the Beatles, PG had been the last artist, so it’s been a while. Anyway picked my favourites and shoved them into an hour long playlist about to get the “running” re-interpretation:

The Rhythm of the Heat

Was the featured track for most of the first run. I love this track, more for it’s frenetic tribal drumming, it’s a great pace maker, of course that doesn’t stop the lyrics being twisted:

The land here is strong
Strong beneath my feet
It feeds on the blood
It feeds on the heat

For strong read unyielding, I’m doing a rare run on tarmac, I’m pretty sure I’m leaving bloody foot prints on the asphalt.

Self-conscious, uncertain
I’m showered with the dust
The spirit enters into me
And I submit to trust

Self-conscious and uncertain, err check and check. Dust, well it was the hottest day of the year so far yesterday, for my purposes I’m running through a desert. I submit to trust, yup I’m trusting that Laura isn’t going to kill me.


This kicked in about 2 minutes into the last 8 minute run and my brain picked up on every word of potential encouragement:

Let your spirit stay unbroken, may you not be deterred
Hold on, you have gambled with your own life
You face the night alone
They do not see the road to freedom
That you build with flesh and bone

Pete is right on message and with perfect timing and it’s a message that doesn’t need translation. Given my age and fitness levels he’s not far off about gambling with my life.

You want to resist them, you do your best
They take you to your limits, they take you beyond
For all that they are doing there’s no way to respond
Hold on, hold on

The “them” in this context is the clamouring of thoughts that want me to quit. I’m certainly beyond my limits by this point, my stomach is making that very clear and the only response is to hold on, I don’t need to respond – keep a steady pace. Stay on target.

Though you may disappear, you’re not forgotten here
And I will say to you, I will do what I can do
You may disappear, you’re not forgotten here
And I will say you you, I will do what I can do
And I will do what I can do
I will do what I can do

I can guarantee you there’ll be one old man smoking on a bench who won’t forget what he saw here today, it’ll be a subject of amusement down the pub for sure. But, I will do what I can do, which is finish this bloody run.

So onwards and upwards, it’s time to get the climbing gear out, there’s a mountain that needs climbing.

Run Rating : 



Jogging vs Running

26th June 2018 — 0


I was a number of weeks into the C25K program when a friend of mine who was starting C25K, asked me if I was running or jogging? I must admit the question stumped me, I had been calling it running, it was a running program, wasn’t it? But I had to admit it didn’t feel like I was “running”.

Needless to say I ended up googling the situation and it appears there is a very clear definition.

  • Walking is defined as <= 4 mph
  • Jogging is > 4 mph < 6 mph
  • Running is >= 6 mph

I hadn’t bothered measuring my speed (what was the point), that was until I got to the first 20m run (W5R3) and I used the Endomodo app to track my progress. My first 20m run clocked in at 5.2 mph which would translate into almost 36 minutes to do the 5k. I’m guessing that will improve over the second half of the program, and it’s certainly not a huge concern at the moment.

I suspect I won’t be hitting the 6.2 mph target required to achieve the 5k in the 30m target on my first full run, but then I don’t think many do. As far as I’m concerned if you are out on the field pushing yourself in any form you are better off than the people still sitting on the couch.

TODO: Insert a simpler chart based on this data


C25K – Week 5 – Run 1

25th June 2018 — 0


The next two weeks appear to be the ones where I transform from a caterpillar to a butterfly. Going from 5m to 20 mins and onto 25 mins. Reading other peoples feedback, post W5D3 they actually started to hate having to walk in week 6. That is either a sign of madness or a complete mindset change and one I can’t quite fathom at this point in time.

That said, I have enjoyed the longer runs over the shorter ones, but that’s mainly because there are fewer of them, so maybe there’s a trend that this week should crystallise.

Well let’s start with I screwed up thinking I was running day 2 today (i.e. 2x8m). Somehow I skipped over this run, what a let off. I know I can run 5 minutes, 3 of them with 3 minute breaks, yeah I can do that. Beautiful summer day in the garden of England, it doesn’t get any better. Did the usual once round the field to take it all in.

The first run went well. I was only just starting to feel it and breath heavy by the end (last 30 secs). Recovery time was about 90 seconds. So I actually had a full 90 seconds to get my self ready for the second run, great!

The second run, again not bad starting to get a bit fatigued/laboured in the last minute. Recovery time was again a little over 90 seconds. Looks like this fitness thing might actually be real.

Third run, didn’t need to attack it mentally, it’s just a matter of fact I will finish it, because it’s only the same again. Last minute was a little tough, I was slowing and only at this point did I feel a few seconds of nausea. It’s a feeling I’m start to associate with digging deep – stretching myself, the bit where it counts. Recovery time probably a little over 2 minutes. Job done!

Physically not that bad. I’m still perplexed why my feet hurt during the walks, I don’t feel it as much when I’m running but when I stop, it’s like my shoes are 3 sizes too small. It’s nowhere near as bad as it was in the early days, but it’s odd that they hurt more when I walk than when I run, given the stress of running. No other aches or pains to speak off.

Mentally it didn’t take much effort, it did help getting the wrong day for sure. No visit to the interrogation room, I find just focussing on a steady, efficient rhythm, not wasting effort and trying to avoid too many stray thoughts helps. In the middle of the 3rd 5 minute run I did think to myself where is that wave of mental/physical agony I usually have to fight through?

I did have an internal dialogue with my brain/body that went … “you just run and do your thing and only tell me about it if there’s a REAL problem. I’ll be over here keeping an eye on things. Stop telling me about all the little niggles because nothing short of losing a leg is going to compel me to stop, so you just need to deal with it”. I seemed to get the message, on the whole.

So all in all, today’s run was pretty easy (relatively speaking), on par with the last run. Now let’s see what happens with these 8 minute runs, because that’ll be a real test of my mental/physical conditioning.

Today’s play list was just one of the many random playlists I have on my phone, shoved on shuffle, so totally random:

Road Rage – Catatonia

If there’s one song that sums up my mind set in life at the moment it’s Road Rage. I’ve reached a point in my life where I don’t need to work to just live anymore, after spending 20 years living and breathing work in the City of London. It has left something of a vacuum, and left me wondering just what it is “I” want to be doing. It’s actually been a question I’ve yet to answer to my satisfaction, when your career has defined your entire life so completely for so long, it’s difficult to see beyond it.

Cerys Matthews vocals makes this track something special, and there’s just something about how she’s says RRRAGE I love.

*You, you’ve been racing through the best days.*
*Space age, road rage, fast lane,*

Pretty much sums up all the missed sunny days stuck in the office working on mission critical IT projects (i.e. all very space age). When running it’s a reminder to me to be grateful, that I’m out in the sun doing something I want to do. All those years of looking out the window wishing I was outside enjoying it.

*And if all you’ve got to do today is find peace of mind*
*Come here, you can take a piece of mine.*

A very basic truth, ALL I have to do in my life is have peace of mind. I don’t have to meet other peoples expectations I just have to be happy! More importantly in the context of this run “peace of mind” is just focus on maintaining an efficient pace.

*You could be taking it easy on yourself*
*You SHOULD be making it easy on yourself*

More reminders to slow down and pace myself, it’s not a race. Too quick now and you’ll pay for it later (later of course being 3 minutes away).

*But as all you’ve got to lose, alludes to yesterday,*
*Yesterday’s through, now do anything you please.*

Another reminder that previous runs (and my old career) is in the past and it’s up to me what I do now – i.e. I will finish this bloody run for starters!

Teenage Wasteground – The Who

I must have listened to this track a thousand times without analysing the lyrics, but today it’s getting the “running” treatment:

*Out here in the fields*
*I fight for my meals*
*I get my back into my living*
*I don’t need to fight*
*To prove I’m right*

Well I’m in this field, I haven’t eaten breakfast but as soon as I’m done here I’m having a meal. I don’t have to fight, yet another reminder to pace myself. It’s not a fight I don’t need the adrenaline, it’s an exercise in avoidance not fight or flight.

*Don’t cry*
*Don’t raise your eye*
*It’s only teenage wasteland*

Just DO IT! Keep your head down and get through this wasteland. Yea okay, it was a lovely meadow a minute ago, now it’s a lava strewn burning cinder for my purposes. Crack on.

Skyscraper – Demi Lovato

Into the 2nd minute of the last run, deep in new territory and what we really need is a power ballad. I’ve not heard this track much, don’t even remember adding it, but it’s a cracker. The chorus kicks in:

*You can take everything I have!*
*You can break everything I am!*
*Like I’m made of glass,*
*Like I’m made of paper…*
*Go on and try to tear me down,*
*I will be rising from the ground*
*Like a skyscraper!*

Yeah that’s the good stuff right there, it just needs a chant of “Rocky” on the end. It has the desired effect I there is no way I’m giving up, even if I am wondering if the c25k app has crashed, surely Laura should be telling me I’m half way already!

*Go run, run, run!*
*I’m gonna stay right here*
*Watch you disappear, yeah!*
*Go run, run, run!*
*Yeah, it’s a long way down,*
*But I am closer to the clouds up here!*

Nothing is going to give you more incentive to run than a song that actually tells you to run. Just need to attenuate the adrenaline rush and the jobs a good ’un.

Roll on the next session.

Run Rating : 


Get over yourself already

24th June 2018 — 0


Having done quite a few sessions now I thought I’d summarise my observations of the types of people I meet when out and about. One of my big concerns when starting C25K was what other people would think about a sweaty middle age man trying to give himself a heart attack.

What you realise fairly quickly is that no one gives a shit. You could literally be on fire and all you will get is a nod from some bloke walking his retired whippet. But if nothing than for my own amusement I stereotype them into the following groups, these are sweeping generalisations:

Dog walkers (casual)

These are the people I pass the most. They are the group of people who honestly give the least amount of f***s. Most of them spend all their time out in this park. Occasionally you’ll get one who wants to talk but for the most part they want to get their chore done and get back home. The bottom line is if they stopped to talk to everyone they passed their 30 minute daily routine would take an hour. Worst still if you were to pass out in front of them it could really waste a morning. So they really don’t want to engage with you in any way.

Dog walkers (professional)

I am amazed by the sheer number of professional dog walkers. When did that become a thing? If I run between 10-11am there are more professional dog walkers than amateurs (is that now a thing as well?). Each of them walking anywhere between 3 and 8 dogs. Needless to say they are more worried about managing their pack than giving your passing a moment’s thought.

I have a fairly low opinion of the more successful dog walkers (let’s call them). Those pushing the number beyond half a dozen and are clearly beyond their abilities. I tend to think it’s become more about the money, and my general observation is they really aren’t fully in control in many instances. So I am a bit more careful passing them, in case I punt someone’s prized Chihuahua into the long grass.


You rapidly discover, there are two types of runners, what I think of as noobs and real runners, and yes I know there’s a group of people who’ll feel the need to point out if you aren’t walking you’re running. So I’ll classify real runners as those who are obviously post c25k.

You learn to tell the difference within a few sessions, but early on I assumed everyone was a “real” runner only to see them pull up five yards after passing me and start walking. I share your pain.

I see far more noobs, than real runners which is a little bit of a concern, because either people aren’t following through on the program or they go to some running heaven I’m not allowed in yet. Running around in a country park that is particularly hilly, the real runners I come across are the hardcore folk who like to get off road. Very inspiring seeing one dance up the side of a steep hill at a faster pace than I am doing on the flat.


As with runners, there are two types of walkers. Joe public out for the day, I don’t see too many of these to be fair at least not in this country park, most likely because I avoid using it at  the weekends. You can generally spot them by their backpacks and leisurely pace.

Then you have your hardcore walkers, you know the ones with sticks, that usually travel in packs. These are the only group of people I hate to see. Why? They all look pretty fit (must be something to all that stick waggling) and in most instances they are walking quicker than I am running. So they are reminder that I’m not a “real” runner, yet!

For some reason I also feel they resent me for running. I don’t know if it’s because I have it in my mind that many of them used to be “real” runners until their knees gave out or simply because when I’m leaving the field they’ll have finished their warm up. Part-timer!


I hate to see teenagers, having been one, way back in the day I know what a bunch of lads with nothing to do hanging out in a park are generally just looking for trouble. Needless to say my pre-conceptions are completely out of date with the reality of being a modern teenager.

For starters, no teenager would ever be caught in a country park from what I can see, I’ve never seen one alone or in a pack (I suspect it’s do with the terrible phone signal). They do appear in small packs in the local park but obviously not before early evening (some things don’t change). The majority have mobile phones and generally sit in groups instant messaging each other using this weeks hip chat app. The only way you’d typically get a teenagers attention is if there’s a bad 4G signal or they’ve run out of bandwidth for the month. Given the great deals these days that’s going to be relatively rare.

So in a nutshell, none of these groups of people give a damn about you and what your doing, it turns out you are not the centre of the universe. Shocking I know but get over it and go running!


C25K – Week 4 – Run 3

23rd June 2018 — 0

Amazing, the “easiest” run I’ve done so far in the program. I decided to go the local park at the top of my road, the place I run when I’m feeling more confident about putting on a public performance. I had some concerns being a sunny Saturday the park would be packed, which of course it wasn’t. I mostly have the World Cup to thank for that I suspect. No other runners, usual smacking of dog walkers, lots of kids in the play park, in summary a whole bunch of people who don’t give a f*** about a middle aged jogger.

I’ve definitely found a running rhythm, it might be a bit of a shuffle and it’s only slightly quicker than my normal walking pace, but it’s something I’m starting to believe might be sustainable. I managed to hold my form for the whole of the second 5 minute run, the biggest benefits being far less fatigue/pain and a recovery time on par with Kaiser Soze.

So I finished week 4 strong, I am truly gob smacked, from where I was at the end of Monday’s run. It didn’t require all the mental gymnastics of earlier runs, I was simply focussed on using as little energy as possible pretty much the whole run, with very few negative thoughts sneaking in, no interrogation. My playlist was fairly uninspiring and I don’t think I even payed it that much attention. Physically the legs at times where getting heavy, the odd pang of nausea (couldn’t have lasted a few seconds) towards the end of each 5 minutes run.

Needless to say I didn’t get much into the cool down walk home without thinking about the fact next week is the dread week 5, with the insane 20m run on run 3. I’ve triple checked it’s not a typo. As with every week even the next run (2x8m) doesn’t seem doable. To extend my 5 minute record by 3 minutes, seems unrealistic, to do it twice just insanity. There will need to be a Matrix moment, I look forward to Laurence Fishburne chiming in with “Do you think that’s air you’re breathing?” at some point in the week. Something is going to have to click, there must be a point my running rhythm becomes sustainable. Fingers crossed.

Before today’s run was I was seriously going to re-run week 4, maybe extend the second run to 6, 7 and 8 minutes each session. To get there a bit slower. But given the clear improvement in just this week, I’ve decided to keep the faith and trust the program. I’d rather try and fail, I haven’t failed a run yet. But I’m under no illusions I’ve got 4 minutes booked in the interrogation room again on Monday … “Mrrrrr ANDERson, we missed you”.

Run Rating : 


C25K – Week 4 – Run 2

21st June 2018 — 0


I’ve been dreading this run. I was still beat up from Monday, not helped by deciding to do the yearly reclaim of the overgrown vegetable patch on the Tuesday, in the process knackering my hand trying to use a scythe poorly.

So I decided to take an extra day to recover which was definitely the right move physically. Mentally the last run was so hard the thought of struggling through all it again had been praying on my mind, delaying a day didn’t help. So I decided to watch a bunch more of the motivational videos on Youtube this time from a chap called Robin Best. That sorted my bullshit right out and I headed to the field of pain, renewed to really kick my arse.

I wouldn’t say it was easy but yet again it was “doable”, a term that seems to be cropping up with encouraging regularity in the program. It was easier than run one, reminder to self. I walked around the field at the beginning and end again (another nice day) adding another 2x15m to my warmup/cool down, which I find helps.

The big win for me this time was deriving motivation from music. I touched upon this in the last run, the brains desperate search for meaning to distract itself from the situation. But I started to realise in this run it could make a huge difference in the quality of my run. The benefits of attaching meaning to what were otherwise random lyrics can go a long way to making a run mentally more manageable.

I have already discussed the detrimental effects of hearing a “Rocky” track early on in my runs. The dump of adrenalin was short lived and ultimately made the run worse. So what’s changed? What you critically learn as the runs get longer is pacing and conservation of energy/effort, you really have no choice in the matter.

My breathing is a huge indicator to whether I’m in or out of my “comfort” (read less dreadful) zone. I can now run for 3 minutes and it’s almost all under control, breathing is heavy but regulated. In the 5 minute runs the last 90 seconds slide out of the zone, fatigue takes its toll and I start to loose form and it’s a vicious circle from there. i.e. increasing amounts of energy being wasted flailing around to ultimately go slower and slower.

But what I think I’ve seen (and time will tell) is it’s possible to attenuate the use of adrenalin, so rather than a big peek which basically pushes you straight out of the comfort zone into hell, it’s possible to stretch out the boost. Yes the peek is lower but it last’s longer and I can remain within the comfort zone. More importantly all the time adrenaline is coursing through my veins, I don’t feel the fatigue, aches and pains and it becomes very close to running on air.

So let’s take a closer look, I’m still on a Florence binge, so here’s an exercise in both how lyrics can be twisted and the physiological effects:


Half way through the first 5 minute run and I’m feeling guilty for attaching my own petty meaning to Florence’s hugely personal latest offering. But needs must, the hunger in my context became my hunger to run – so the chorus “We all have hunger” definitely carried me those few extra yards. Not to mention …

*“The way you use your body, baby, come on and work it for me*
*Don’t let it get you down, you’re the best thing I’ve seen”*

Yep that’s a pep talk right there and helped me make it through. In fact this 5 minute run was probably tougher than the 2nd 5 minute run, probably because I had been dreading it so much.

You got the Love

I’m still trying to figure out whether I prefer the Source version of this track or Florence’s. I’m a sucker for a electronic synth, but Florence vocals are so strong. The jury is still out. What is undeniable is it’s a killer power track for running.

*Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air*
*I know I can count on you*
*Sometimes I feel like saying “Lord I just don’t care”*
*But you’ve got the love I need*
*To see me through*

This made the second 3 minute run a cake walk. I was well recovered before the 90 seconds were up.

Dog days are over

Well it’s got the word run in it for starters, and the last verse coincided with Laura echoing “you better run”. Obviously, demands to run for your family are always going to provide the desired effect.

*“The horses are coming so yet better run.*
*Run fast for your mother run fast for your father.*
*Run for your children for sisters and brothers.*
*Leave all your love and your longing behind you.*
*Can’t carry it with if want to survive. “*

Leave your love and longing behind you, translates as stop wishing/longing you can run, stop the negative thoughts and just f***** run, because the wishing/longing won’t help you if you want to survive to the end.

In my mind the chorus of “the dog days are over” translated into “you remember those easier runs? They are long gone! It’s time to knuckle down and suck it up!. I went into the last 5 minute run with an almost angry determination and the fore-knowledge I wasn’t going to stop until it was done.

As a side note, another trick/ability I seem to have developed is the moment I take the first step of a run my brain instantly calculates the stopping point around the field (be it 60s, 90s, 3m or 5m) with almost pin point accuracy. When I think about 8m runs, and trust me when you’ve just done 5m practically your first thought is 8m isn’t possible, it has an answer for that as well – works out at about 90% round the field. I’m not sure if these estimation thoughts are negative or positive but they are amusing.

Shake It Out

So we’re into the final 5 minute run, the crucible, the one that matters. Pretty much all of “Shake it Out” (at least in my head) echoes my mental battle when running.

*“Regrets collect like old friends*
*Here to relive your darkest moments*
*I can see no way, I can see no way*
*And all of the ghouls come out to play*
*And every demon wants his pound of flesh*
*But I like to keep some things to myself*
*I like to keep my issues strong*
*It’s always darkest before the dawn”*

Regrets, oh yes I’d say so, right now I’m really regretting this run. I’m reliving my darkest moment again (flash back to same point in the last run). I can’t see a way to do it, demons/doubts are most definitely at play and I’m literally giving (what I wish) was a pound of flesh (fat).

I like to keep some things to myself, is twisted as a reminder to pace myself and hold something back. Blah blah … strong! Yes keep it together. It’s always darkest before the dawn = not long now.

Then the chorus chimes in “shake those devils off your back” to say it give me a boost would be an understatement. For the first 2 minutes of the second 5 minute run, the adrenalin kicked in and I was running without a care in the world. Shame it wasn’t the last 2 minutes but there you go, the power of adrenaline.

Needless to say it started to unravel in the last 90 seconds, but it didn’t matter by then because I knew I had won. I finished and yes I was tired, staggering to a degree, but actually it wasn’t that bad. Somewhere in there I think I found the beginnings of a sustainable pace and there’s clear improvement. I’ll have to send Florence a thank you letter.

I think I could derive motivation from anything during these moments of duress, I’ll report back. Roll on run 3, I’m going to crush it.

Run Rating : 


C25K – Week 4 – Run 1

18th June 2018 — 0


It’s finally arrived I’ve done everything I can to prepare (mostly fretted about it), had a yoghurt for breakfast and a few sips of water. Decided to get it out of the way early at the country park as I suspect it isn’t going to be pretty.

It turns out there’s an interrogation room in hell reserved for wannabe runners and I just spent 3 minutes in it being asked some very difficult questions. The first 3 minute run, no problem was feeling good, looks like the extra run last week might have paid off.

The mountain which was 5 minutes was doable right up to the the last minute. That final minute was torture and I don’t mean figuratively I mean actual real, physical and mental. My legs were dead, my old friend nausea is back and I’ve got Florence (& the Machine) telling me to basically lay down a die. Damn these playlists!

But I just managed to scrape through. My next thought was I don’t think I could do another 5 minutes, rapidly followed by shit I’ve got to do another 3 minutes in a few seconds, the 2 and half minutes recovery walk had shot past. I just about managed to pull my self together and made it through the new norm of 3 minutes. That’s right I now consider 3 minutes the new norm after one 5 minute run, that kind of caught me out.

And then there it was the 2nd 5 minute run towering in front of me and only seconds away. I had almost recovered from the 3 minute run so I knew I had at least another 3 minutes in me. But after that there was going to be 2 minutes back in the interrogation room and this time I’m not sure I was going to have the answers.

I got to the half way way mark and I was struggling, physically my legs felt like lead weights and mentally my mind is playing every trick it can think of to give me a reason to quit. The only bonus was at least Florence was back on side with lyrics I could twist to a more positive message. I’m desperately trying to keep my breathing controlled, a battle I’m losing rapidly as my lungs decide fast rapid panting will surely do the trick. It really doesn’t!

Then Laura chimes in with 60 seconds left and almost on the point of quitting I managed to convince myself I could hang in there 60 seconds rather than undo all the good work in todays session. Laura also throws in this is where it counts if you want to improve your fitness, which strikes a chord (see Ali’s quote from week 3). It’s time to suck it up, fitness costs and this is where you start paying (to paraphrase Fame!).

By this point I’m not even convinced I was going forward, the legs where moving (just) but I couldn’t have covered more than 30 metres in that last 60 seconds. But finally after what seemed like an eon (I swear a glacier tore across and receded across the field) it was over. Not that I was celebrating I was too busy trying to turn my stagger back into a walk and fighting down my old and constant companion at such times, nausea.

Then Laura chirps in with well done you just ran for 16 mins, you ran longer than you walked in this session. My god, she’s right I had never considered it, does that mean I’m a runner now? I certainly didn’t feel or look like it. So I staggered around the field for another extended 15 minute cool down walk waiting for the endorphin rush to kick in. Still nada.

The thought I always have in these warm down walks especially after the day 1 step ups is, christ I’m not sure I could do that again. In many respects ignorance is bliss. It’s like the interrogator saying now you know the cost let’s see if you are willing to pay it next time.

Well let’s find out in run 2 back in the interrogation room.

Run Rating : 


C25K – Week 3 – Run 4

16th June 2018 — 0


The jump in week 4 has got me worried, to go form 9 mins to 16 mins seems like a crazy jump. I was seriously considering re-running week 3 but I’m going to put my faith in the program and give it a go.

I was so worried about it, I squeezed in another run in the hope it might help next week. Changed the venue to the more public local park, now I have some confidence and I’m fairly sure I won’t embarrass myself too much. It’s a glorious sunny Saturday morning, just dog walkers and other newbie runners, neither of which care about my antics.

I’m learning the hard way (which is the only way) Muhammad Ali’s famous (abridged) quote:

I only start counting when it starts hurting

because they’re the only ones that count

Luckily it starts hurting fairly quickly so at least I have that going for me, straight to work.

It was my first time running on concrete as opposed to grass. It was obviously harder underfoot but I’m not having to wade through grass so it all balances out. My feet always hurt (especially half way) so it doesn’t really matter, the change in terrain didn’t make any difference.

As per the previous run, I’m only starting to struggle in the last 20 seconds of each of the 3 minute runs. Recovery is really good typically within in a minute. I’m confident there’s still something in the tank at the end of 3 minutes, but I’m not convinced it’s another 2 minutes. We’ll see on Monday.

Run Rating : 


C25K – Week 3 – Run 3

15th June 2018 — 0

Good run (if there is such a thing) I’ve taken to walking around the field first which is about a 15 minute walk before starting the program and extending the cool down walk as well. Mainly because it’s summer and it’s just nice to be out but also to really stretch my legs.

I’m definitely improving over the week, I only started to puff and pant in the last 20 seconds or so of each run. Mentally focussing on just optimising my running is definitely helping.

I have to say week 3 has been better than the first two weeks as I prefer that it’s only 4 runs vs 8. Yes they might be longer but being half way done after 2 runs is psychologically easier. It’s amazing the lies you tell yourself.

I’ve also spotted what I thought was a new muscle on my leg. It definitely wasn’t there before and it is between the calf on the back of my leg and the ankle, slightly on the side. Turns out it’s the Soleous muscle and it runs the entire length of the lower leg and seems to be quite important for endurance running and pumping blood around the foot and ankle. So there’s a very physical sign I must be on the right path.

Run Rating :