C25K – Week 8 – Run 3

31st July 2018 — 0


Last run of week 8 and it’s another 28 minute’s of fun back at the local park. I was tempted to mix it up and try a different location but I thought I’d stick with the park and compare the Endomondo stats to see if there’s any measurable progress.

It’s a fairly lazy walk up the road, a full afternoon of puppy mayhem with little respite and I’m not really feeling up for this run. Usually, I’m chomping at the bit. I try to shake my self out of it before I hit the park, worried that it’ll be an exploit I’ll be using against myself in a few minutes.

It’s another early evening run, perfect running weather not to warm and there’s a refreshing cool breeze. The park is fairly busy, lots of people enjoying the sun. In another amazing stroke of luck, I start the run at the top of the park (it’s uncanny :-)). Settle into my standard shuffle, I’m conscious of going a little bit quicker than usual, always the case when I start recording runs. Let’s hope it’s not too quick, I won’t know for 20 minutes.

Laura chimes in at 5 minutes, and then at 10 minutes. I easily get out to 10 minutes these days before my breathing starts to become a thing I need to focus on, a fact I find totally staggering given I couldn’t control my breathing for 1 minute on W1D1. It appears I’ve built up some real stamina over the last few weeks.

Laura announces the halfway mark (14 mins), I’m expecting my old friends to try it on and sure enough they’re trying to convince me I’m not really up for this. It won’t work, I do the usual status check:

  • legs – fine, little bit heavy, quads are starting to light up, nothing to worry about
  • feet – good to go. I did have some mild foot ache at the 5-10 minute mark, but it’s gone now
  • stomach – as usual, warnings about slowing it down on the steepest part of the incline, but other than that no problems.
  • lungs – laboured going up, recovered going down – it’s all good but there is a slow trend towards heavier breathing as per usual.

The conclusion, no problems, no reason to stop. It doesn’t matter what my mood is I have no reason to stop. I hit the 20 minute mark and it’s the 3rd time up the incline. It’s not fun but it’s well under control, more so than the last two runs.

I’m just coming down the incline at the top of the park and Laura indicates we have 5 minutes to go. Do I want to pick up the pace? I’m not feeling the need to go nuclear, there will be other days to leave it all on the field. Let’s just bring it home and draw a line under week 8. I minutely pick up the pace anyway just to show willing and I make a special effort to keep my form clean for the last 5 minutes.

Hanging on, hanging on. Call it already Laura! Hanging on … hanging … she finally hears my pleas, just after I reach the top of the steepest part of the park, thanks! Stagger engaged I head towards the exit. I’ve recovered. i.e. my breathing is back to normal within 90 seconds. Amazing. I can definitely feel this one in my quads, they are burning from the effort. Good, that means they’ll be stronger next time, but it does make the walk home a little bit interesting.

So another solid performance. Physically it felt ok, I again successfully managed the situation without hitting the red line or blowing a gasket. There was probably a bit of fuel left in the tank, but then there will need to be for next week.

Mentally I’m over the moon, I have struggled throughout the program with a continuous cacophony of negative thoughts, engineered to undermine my every step. These last couple of runs, I have to listen very hard to hear a defeated and frustrated grumbling voice. They sometimes half-heartedly try it on but I’ve seen it all before and we both know it isn’t going to work. I have a whole bag of shhhh and it’s got their name on it:

I now run for the most part focussed on the task, like the captain of a ship I just keep an eye on a set of well-established processes, tweaking here, adjusting there. It’s not even a full-time job, I catch myself daydreaming, the sort of random thoughts you’d have watching clouds float by, before having to remind myself to check back in.

The status reports I’ve described aren’t hyperbole, but a very real mental dialogue/coping strategy that forces my inner demons to put up or shut up. I discussed in an earlier post the huge mindset change that asking yourself to “prove I CAN”T do it” makes, at least to me. Each run adds more evidence that I can do it, making it increasingly difficult for negative thoughts to succeed.

To reach the point where I can daydream while running for me is utterly staggering when only weeks ago every run was a trip to hell and back, I entertained every pain, every doubt, every fantasy failure scenario. It’s a change that eclipses the physical improvements of the program.

Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable

It looks like I was over optimistic in my last post that I was looking at 36-38m, it’s more like a solid 40m run looking again at the stats. Another 10 minutes! This run was slightly quicker than the last, which is good. But I think I’m going to have to really take a closer look at my pace in Week 9 and see if I can start cranking it up. I don’t want to be out there all day.

Looking out to week 9, adding another 2 minutes is obviously not that much of a concern. In fact I’m looking forward to mentally just running 3x10m, rather than the odd milestones that got me to 28 minutes. But upping the pace is going to be a fine balancing act, get it wrong and I could end up giving giving my demons the ammo they so desperately desire.

Run Rating : 


C25K – Week 8 – Run 2

29th July 2018 — 0


I’d waited most of the day in the hope that the rain would abate, but it was fairly obvious by 3 in the afternoon it wasn’t going to happen. After almost a month without rain and the last 2 weeks a scorching heatwave, I’m not complaining.

I was also not going to use it as an excuse. Today is W8D2 and one way or another it’s going to get done. The way I sweat the end state is going to be the same in any event, i.e. I am going to look half drowned.

I’d deliberately not eaten since breakfast, in prep for running and by mid afternoon I’m starting to get hungry. Finally my hunger won out, I threw on my running kit and headed to the park in the pouring rain. I had tried on a light weight waterproof jacket on the way out, but it was obvious it would have only acted as a personal steam room. I’ll need to look into some all weather kit, as a treat when I complete the program.

It’s fair to say I was drenched by the time I’d reached the park and I had garnered some surprised looks from several drivers. My first scan of the park, reveals sheets of pelting rain and it appears to be completely empty other than a pissed off looking squirrel.

As I’m doing my warm up walk, I realise I was wrong, there were several dog walkers out there walking their water logged pooch’s. I guess there’s no negotiating with a pup when it comes to walkies. An experience I can look forward to in a couple of weeks when Archer will finally be able to meet the world.

I had seen a word of warning on /r/C25K about watching your footing in the rain, so I was critically scanning the route as I walked round, sure enough several patches of super slippy wet leaves, a couple of sizeable puddles at the lower end of the park and mishmash of branches and twigs strewn across the path. Nothing that can’t be danced around.

Laura announces the end of the warm up and it’s time to get going, what a stroke of luck I’m at the top of the park (rightttt!). I get my head down, mainly to try and keep the rain off my face but also to spot for suspicious looking leaves.

Out to 10 minutes and no issues, other than I can sense the annoyance from the dog walkers. The fact I had choice and instead of sitting in the dry reading the Sunday paper chose to be in this down pour (in a bloody t-shirt), let’s just say it’s a good job I’ve got earphones. Laura announces we’re half way, there’s a half hearted effort from my negative voices, but at this point in the program they’ve lost all credibility and they know it. Try again at 20 minutes, yet again I conveniently forget that Laura doesn’t announce 20 minutes any more.

22 minutes in and Laura announces 5 minutes to go. I’m heading back down the incline (I still can’t bring myself to call it a hill) and once again I’m trying to plot a last 5 minute route that minimises having to go back to the top of the park. In a unprecedented flash of anger I pull a U-turn and start straight back up the incline, fuck you negative voices, yes I know it’s you cut that shit out. 22 minutes is the commute time to the pit face, this is where I start work, this is where we will start counting. Get your arse up that F****** HILL! There I said it!

I start digging in, my brain is back on board and provides the updated end point, just after the top of the incline. My pace automatically slips down a gear, I’m skirting the edges of what I can do without losing control and spiralling into a puffy mess. The brain kicks in with an update on the end point, we won’t be getting to the top of the park after all. I don’t care I just want to finish one of these runs going uphill without playing chicken with a heart attack.

Laura finally chimes in, my calculations of the finish line were accurate to the metre, I’m starting to think it might be my secret super power. I’ve managed to finish strong, there’s nothing left in the tank, but I didn’t have to dig into the emergency reserves to get here. I take my cap off and let the rain wash the sweat and spit off my face, mission accomplished.

The playlist for this run was a hand crafted selection of tracks featuring rain, Wen and myself had put together just before I headed out and included such classics as:

  • I wish it would rain down – Phil Collins
  • Here comes the rain again – Eurythmics
  • I can see clearly now – Jimmy Cliff
  • Red rain – Peter Gabriel
  • Stormur – Sigur Ros
  • November rain – Guns N’ Roses
  • It’s raining again – Supertramp
  • Have you ever seen the rain – Creedance Clearwater Revival
  • Only happy when it rains – Garbage
  • Set fire to the rain – Adele
  • After the Storm – Mumford & Sons
  • Africa – Toto
  • Rain – Madonna
  • Rainy night in Georgia – Randy Crawford

It really helped, what can I say I’m easily amused. The stand out track for me was Stormur. My grasp on the Icelandic language may be non-existent, but the main crashing beat of the track kicked in as I resolved to push myself back up the hill, and it provided an excellent backdrop to my own thrashing efforts.

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

I’d turned on the Endomodo app to collect a whole bunch of disappointing stats, chief amongst them my pace. Even allowing for the fact I always forget to stop the app until half way through the cool down walk. I’ve still got a LOT of work to do.

Extrapolating the data, I’m looking at best at a 36m run and more likely closer to 38m assuming the wheels don’t come off completely in that last EIGHT minutes. Where the hell am I going to find EIGHT minutes, I can’t imagine the 3 x 30 minute runs in week 9 are going to fully prepare me.

It’s a problem for another day, I have 4 more runs to sort out first and this nonsense is just ammo for my inner demons.

Let’s finish on the positives. It was another good run and I’m really enjoying them. Dodging the puddles and leaf landmines was a great distraction and I managed my pace nicely to my capabilities and bought it home on fumes as opposed to having to glide to the finish line.

Best of all no reoccurrence of pain in my left knee, phew! So there is progress here it’s just not as spectacular as earlier in the program. One more 28 minute run to go and then we’ll get into the last 3 x 30 minute runs, not long now.

Run Rating : 



C25K – Week 8 – Run 1

27th July 2018 — 0


It’s taken me 3 days to get back out running, I’ll admit I lost a bit of motivation somewhere between the insane heatwave and picking up a couple of nasty mosquito bites on the ankle and shin. The result of standing around in the middle of the night in shorts waiting for a puppy to do its business.

I react very badly to bites since a bite a few years back that developed into full-blown cellulitis creeping up my leg. So a couple of days of antihistamines luckily did the trick once again and the swelling finally receded. Unlike the heat.

I was honestly going to welch out today. I had convinced myself I needed another day to recover (or avoid the heat). Luckily, I’ve been finding motivation in such times in the Reddit C25K forum. If you are doing C25K or planning to do C25K do yourself a favour and give it a try. It’s just real people doing sweaty impressions of beetroots.

Anyway, it worked. Two posts, in particular, did the trick. Nobodez hitting W6D1 . The dude is rapidly becoming a legend on the forum, and Gaffaj who’d just done his W1D1 in the same heat I was currently hiding from. It was the kick up the arse I needed to get back out there.

So, back out to the local park. It was just past 7pm and it must have been 32c+ with most of that radiating back off the baked tarmac. But there is hope, a cool wind is picking up and in the distance, some interesting looking cloud formations are forming. The possibility of storms has been forecast. I’m seriously considering offering up a rain dance, to break this drought. I need the rain, my poor pup needs the rain and my lawn most desperately needs the rain.

Off we go at a steady pace. Laura checks in at the 5-minute mark. It truly is amazing only weeks earlier I thought running 5 minutes was madness. Now I struggle to settle down into my running in 5 minutes. The shooting pain I had in my knee at the end of the last run hasn’t resurfaced so that’s a positive.

At the ten minute mark, Laura checks in again, which caught me out. I was expecting it. I’m definitely into my running at 10 minutes, heading up the incline for the second time. At 14 mins, halfway and Laura checks in again. Dear god, I’m trying to run here give it a break. Head down again and I know I’m putting some real effort in. Somewhere around the 18m mark, I was heading up the incline for the 3rd time.

This last stretch seems to be dragging. Where’s Laura? Come back all is forgiven! I’m starting to have to dial it back a bit. Another trip up the incline is going to be tough. Best not to get to panty. Where’s Laura? FFS she’s gone off in a huff. I’m starting to think the app has crashed and then she chimes in “5 minutes to go … you got this”. Damn you, oh  5 minutes you say, yipee!

The last 5 minutes were tough, I won’t lie, I was hanging on by the skin of my teeth, trying not to dig into what little reserves I had left. I hadn’t had a single negative thought in the whole 20 minutes period. Not one. That’s unprecedented. But at the 23-minute mark, I’ve got an entire chorus screaming for me to stop and they’re trying every trick in the book to get me to quit this abuse. Where the hell is Laura with the 60 second left alert, I’m dying here.

Laura finally pipes up, and I actually groaned. I’m dead on my feet and I’ve got another minute. I can make it, I will make it but it’s going to …. hang on what? What did you say? It’s over? I’m still running I can’t believe it I must have misheard, there’s always a last 60 seconds announcement. I’m playing tricks on myself, surely. Laura starts the post-run cooldown chat, I can believe it, she’s getting her own back on my mid-run snappiness.

And then it happened. At first, I thought it was sweat hitting my hand, but no there it was again, it’s …… R A I N. The prophecy (forecast) is true and the heavens open …

We runners have a saying, God created C25K to test the faithful. One cannot go against the word of God (Laura)! Damn I should have the Dune soundtrack playing. I’m amazed Toto didn’t do more soundtracks.

The park by this point is empty. No one to witness my “stagger strut” to the exit. The rain is coming down so hard it’s bouncing back off the ground to waist height. W8D1 done and rain in the desert, what more could I ask for. A great end to a tough run and a reminder that I almost missed out because of my laziness.

Run Rating : 


C25K – Week 7 – Run 3

23rd July 2018 — 0


Last run of week 7 and it was a 25-minute scorcher. At least this time I didn’t suffer from bad diet choices.

I finally got to the park at about 7 in the evening and it was super toasty. It was very busy. Surprising for a Monday but we don’t get good weather in the UK very often and people make the most of it. There’s BBQ’s on the go, about 50 odd people doing a fitness class on the green and the usual crowd of kids, teenagers and OAP’s.

There’s even the chap who overtook me last week. I don’t get it, he’s wearing what looks like a cotton grey shirt and he’s clearly been running a few minutes and there’s not a sign of sweat on him. He’s not human. I decide to run the opposite way around the park to avoid him lapping me multiple times.

Off we go, slow and steady, I’ve mentally broken this run down into 4 stints of 5 + 7.5 + 7.5 + 5. Started at the top of the park, not by chance I know exactly where to start the app so the 5 min warm-up walk coincides with a nice downhill start. So needless to say the first 5 minutes were a breeze. It’s going well, even the heat radiating off the tarmac isn’t cramping my style. Up the first climb back to the top of the park. I’m having to put a shift in to get to the top and my breathing is starting to get laboured (standard) but I know I can recover on the downhill part.

Out to the halfway mark at 12.5 minutes and I realise there’s something very wrong. It takes me a full minute to realise there’s no voice telling me I’m only halfway and it’s going to get so much harder. It usually chimes in about the ten-minute mark and is screaming by halfway. What the hell, no interrogation? Great, push on.

Here comes my running nemesis, I can’t believe it he still not sweating, seriously it’s the hottest day of the year. We break the tension with a curt nod of recognition. I’ll have to try for a high 5 at some point if only to find out if he has sweaty palms.

Second time up the incline and I’m definitely feeling it now, I’m having to dig deep and I get to the top puffing and panting. It takes the whole downhill section to pull myself together. Next time up the incline and I’m starting to really struggle. Time to take inventory:

  • legs – feels like I’ve got diving boots on, but they’re still down there somewhere pumping away.
  • feet – no problems, but they’ve been pretty much numb for the last 5 minutes so anything could be going on.
  • stomach – no problems here. I can feel the effort to get up the incline in the pit of my stomach but I wouldn’t call it nausea.
  • lungs – taking one for the team. Well off of a sustainable rhythm, but they only need to hang on for another minute, just get to the top of the hill.
  • mouth & throat – that’s new. What’s the problem? Try swallowing once in a while you twat! The dry air and excessive panting have turned my mouth and throat to sandpaper. I try to summon some spit and swallow hard. The irony of being covered in water and struggling to get enough spit to swallow isn’t lost on me.

So it is doable, we will get to the top, I never had a doubt (much). Laura chimes in with 5 minutes to go and right on cue the voices start pointing out that means another time up the hill. They’ve got the working out and everything and they are right. If I thought last time round was hard, I haven’t seen anything yet. Well, I’m definitely not quitting but I’m mentally re-working the route to see if 5 minutes means I can take a short cut and avoid the incline and still end up near the park exit. Yup, I can hang a right and avoid the majority of the hill. Crisis averted.

A minute later and I’m almost at the fork in the path. Left up the incline or right round the easy path? A new voice chirps in “What’s it going to be? Give in to the negative voices and take the easy path or grow a pair and get up that incline one last time.” My first thought was “it’s a trap”. It’s some trick to make me fail. I’m running out of time left or right, choose! At the last second I pick left and with a massive pump of adrenalin pull it together and drag myself up the hill one … last …. time.

I’ve got to the top. The wheels are coming off. I can’t see for sweat in my eyes and Laura is back with “60 seconds to go, if you still have something left speech …”. You are shitting me, aren’t you? Oh, what the hell, I pick up the pace and lunge forward. In for a penny, in for a pound. I was pleasantly surprised to still be conscious when she finally waved the chequered flag. A spectacular transition to a staggering walk that saw me almost fall off the path (it was 3 metres wide).

Walking back I start to realise how hot it is. I look like I’ve been waterboarded. It takes me a good minute just to raise enough spit to swallow. Today’s playlist was a random selection of tracks I’ve thumbed up at some point or another. On the most part not hugely inspirational except for:

Breathe Me – Sia

This is a beautiful track and not one I’d have ever thought to put on a running list but it really helped me through the last 5 minutes of the run.

“Help, I have done it again
I have been here many times before
Hurt myself again today
And the worst part is there’s no one else to blame”

The lyrics register and I’ve got sweaty goosebumps. It feels soooo cool in the heat. I grit my teeth and dump a ton of adrenalin into my system. I’m on borrowed time now.

“Ouch, I have lost myself again
Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found
Yeah, I think that I might break
Lost myself again and I feel unsafe”

Last time up the incline. I’ve definitely lost myself again. My form has gone to shit and I’m not going to find it again on this run. Yeah, I’m close to breaking that’s for sure and unsafe yeah I’m seriously wondering if my knees are going to give out in the last few metres.

That was the last of the 25-minute runs. Onwards to the 28-minute runs. I’ve already rationalised it as just running 25 minutes and then hanging on for another 3 minutes. That seems possible. My only slight worry is by the time I’d walked home my left knee had developed a stabbing pain. Fingers crossed it’s nothing serious.

Run Rating : 



C25K – Week 7 – Run 1

19th July 2018 — 0


We are into the long runs now, no more breaks and starting with a re-run of 25 minutes. So it was back to the local park on a blisteringly hot Thursday evening, I tend to be favouring the park because of my full-time dog minding duties, it means I can be in and out in 45 minutes.

Usual types at the park, mostly flat out on the grass. It was pretty damn warm. I’d made sure I’d had a good glug of water before heading out, anticipating it might get a bit sticky.

I’m a bit embarrassed to talk about any form of incline having just watched Geraint Thomas win the Aple d’Huez in a spectacular sprint finish after climbing a mountain for most of the day, in the process securing back-to-back wins and holding onto the yellow jersey. But today’s run was definitely an uphill battle.

To mix it up I decided to run clockwise around the park, I tend to favour anti-clockwise for no particular reason. The park itself is on a slight incline, so for about a 1/3 of the run you are going uphill, doesn’t matter which way you go round, there’s a 10-metre difference according to Google Earth. Anti-clockwise is steeper but shorter, while clockwise is shallower but probably twice the distance. Having run both now I absolutely prefer the short sharp shock as opposed to the prolonged grind. But it’s good to mix it up I guess.

All the usual warnings from Laura about pacing and off we go. We hit the 5-minute mark and I’m still settling in – i.e. probably going too fast and having to back it off. Amazing to think in earlier weeks 5 minutes was a target and now it hardly counts as a warmup. Laura chimes in at the halfway mark, the negative voices have been trying the old “not even halfway, and it’s going to get harder” routine since 10 minutes. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to stop a couple of times.

Instead, I performed the mental status check I did on the last run, tell me why I should be stopping:

  • legs – not ideal, my thighs are burning more than usual, seems to be the result of going down the steeper downhill. But no show stoppers although I might want to take it a bit easier downhill next time round.
  • feet – no problems
  • stomach – no real problems, the dial is just nudging the red, particularly on the uphill climb, take it easier
  • lungs – having to work quite hard going uphill, but I am able to recover to a degree going downhill

In conclusion, the usual bunch of issues to manage but no show stoppers. Get your head down, crack on and check back in 5 minutes.

Laura chimes in at 20 minutes, it’s fair to say I’m not having fun but I’ll be buggered if I’m going to quit a 25m run at 20m, even if the latest status check is indicating the legs are starting to suffer quite badly, a couple of staggering steps testify to my fatigue and the lungs are slowly failing to fully recover on the downhill, so it’s all getting a little bit choo-choo.

Luckily the last 2 minutes was all downhill, that was a bit of a break. 60 seconds to go, Laura is tempting me to step it up again. I’m thinking I could probably pick the pace up a bit, but let’s not go mad, I know how long 60 seconds can last when you hit empty. So I pick it up and got to the finish line fairly strong.

This session was harder than the last 25m session, I think because it’s difficult to completely eliminate the overconfidence at the start of a repeat run. I know I’m doing it and I dial it back but it’s still quicker than the super tentative pace the first time around. I also really felt this one in my thighs, more than any session so far. Hopefully, it’ll translate into more stamina next time.

This outing was the usual running playlist the only new track on it was Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine. It kicked in the last 5 minutes, there really isn’t a “running” message in the whole track, except the last minute’s worth of “F*** you, I won’t do what you tell me” coincided perfectly with the last uphill slog when my body was pleading to stop. Guess what my response was!

Run Rating : 


C25K – Progress Summary

18th July 2018 — 0


I’ve had a go at summarising the overall ratings of each run over the course of the C25K program, just to see if I could spot any patterns. The rating is a summary of  my general feeling about a run, bold rows are the first run at a new time. There are at lot of factors that ultimately decide for me if it was a good or bad run, including (in order):

  • mental – by far the biggest factor (75%+) in any run is my mental attitude going into and during. I’ve turned up to races already defeated and turned easy runs into a waking nightmare.
  • physical – I have over done it on a few occasions on the rest days only to regret it the on the next run, e.g. went walking for 10 miles, spent 2 hours on my hands and knees gardening.
  • food/water – I need a good 4-5 hours between eating and running to avoid any issues, in the same vein I try to avoid turning up with any unnecessary extra weight if you get my drift. I don’t think I’ve run far enough that hydration has really made a huge difference to me, even if I am sweating from the start.
  • weather – not a huge factor unless it’s high humidity, muggy weather tends to sap the strength out of me pretty quickly (it’s just nasty). Similarly time of day in the end didn’t make any difference to me, although I have a preference to get it done early in the day, just got get it out of the way.
  • kit – so far hasn’t made a huge difference to the outcome of a run. Obviously running shoes are the most important piece of kit to get right, Be careful breaking them in, that you don’t end up breaking yourself, as I almost did.

My rating would typical take into account all of these factors.

Week – Session  Date (d/m/y) Summary  Total Rating
Week 1 – Run 1 16/05/2018 8 x 1m 8m

Week 1 – Run 2 18/05/2018 8 x 1m 8m

Week 1 – Run 3 21/05/2018 8 x 1m 8m

Week 1 (Rerun) – Run 1 23/05/2018 8 x 1m 8m

Week 1 (Rerun) – Run 2 25/05/2018 8 x 1m 8m

Week 1 (Rerun) – Run 3 31/05/2018 8 x 1m 8m

Week 2 – Run 1 03/06/2018 6 x 1.5m 9m

Week 2 – Run 2 05/06/2018 6 x 1.5m 9m

Week 2 – Run 3 08/06/2018 6 x 1.5m 9m

Week 3 – Run 1 11/06/2018 1.5m + 3m + 1.5m + 3m 9m

Week 3 – Run 2 13/06/2018 1.5m + 3m + 1.5m + 3m 9m

Week 3 – Run 3 15/06/2018 1.5m + 3m + 1.5m + 3m 9m

Week 3 – Run 3 (Extra) 16/06/2018 1.5m + 3m + 1.5m + 3m 9m

Week 4 – Run 1 18/06/2018 3m + 5m + 3m + 5m 16m

Week 4 – Run 2 21/06/2018 3m + 5m + 3m + 5m 16m

Week 4 – Run 3 23/06/2018 3m + 5m + 3m + 5m 16m

Week 5 – Run 1 25/06/2018 3 x 5m 15m

Week 5 – Run 2 27/06/2018 2 x 8m 16m

Week 5 – Run 3 29/06/2018 20m 20m

Week 6 – Run 1 02/07/2018 5m + 8m + 5m 18m

Week 6 – Run 2 (FAIL) 04/07/2018 2 x 10m 20m

Week 6 – Run 2 (Rerun) 06/07/2018 2 x 10m 20m

Week 6 – Run 1 (Rerun) 12/07/2018 5m + 8m + 5m 18m

Week 6 – Run 2 (Rerun) 14/07/2018 2 x 10m 20m

Week 6 – Run 3 17/07/2018 25m 25m

Week 7 – Run 1 19/07/2018 25m 25m

Week 7 – Run 2 21/07/2018 25m 25m

Week 7 – Run 3 23/07/2018 25m 25m

Week 8 – Run 1 27/07/2018 28m 28m

Week 8 – Run 2 29/07/2018 28m 28m

Week 8 – Run 3 31/07/2018 28m 28m

Week 9 – Run 1 03/08/2018 30m 30m

Week 9 – Run 2 05/08/2018 30m 30m

Week 9 – Run 3 07/08/2018 30m 30m



C25K – Week 6 – Run 3

17th July 2018 — 0


Well, this run had been a long time coming, between failing week 6 run 2, fixing that and then going back to re-run week 6 days 1 & 2 again to get over a back injury, I finally ran out of excuses and had to grow a pair and get out there and DO IT!

I’ve been living the waking nightmare of a new puppy for the last week and a half and it’s been full-on, to say the least. The opportunity of getting out of the house and not dealing with the darling little fluff-ball for 45 minutes filled me with so much joy I practically skipped to the park.

In terms of mental preparation, just the usual run every 5 minutes at a time, don’t go too fast, just focus on the running NOW, not 20 minutes from now, tomorrow or the next run. Right here, right now in the words of Fatboy Slim. The park was oddly full of teenagers not sure why I’d run the 7pm slot a few times last week and there were none to be seen it was just families. Maybe the Pokemon were out in force, who knows. It didn’t matter I had 25m of running to get done.

So off we go, Laura gave all the same warnings, go slow, don’t stop just keep moving (echoed by Sia 5 minutes later). Laura chimes back in at 5 minutes, I’m not even breathing hard everything is well under control, nice slow steady pace, it looks like I have really found a running rhythm finally.

Into the 2nd 5 minutes, seems to be going well apart from going on a bit, then Laura chimes in with you are now halfway (12 and half minutes) hang in there. Very clever I see what you did there and it worked. The negative voice that was whispering “ONLY halfway” shut up instantly. I was at the 15-minute mark in no time, I had found myself running periodic status checks every few minutes, that went:

  • legs – good, feeling a bit heavy at this point but fully functional
  • feet – nothing major, maybe some slight numbing in the right foot
  • stomach – no problems, amazing, not a twinge or any sign of the ever-present threat of nausea
  • lungs – starting to breath harder, slow it down a tad, still under control

Laura chimed in at the 20-minute mark, I’d hoped she wouldn’t because I knew I would take it as a cue to come up with new reasons to quit. But I couldn’t believe it a quick mental status check still came back all systems go.

I’d finally reached a point where even my brain was having to admit that there really was no reason to stop running, a complete mindset change. I was no longer wondering if I could make the next 5 minutes but instead asking what could stop me running the next 5 mins. A total game-changer, no more negative thoughts, no more visions of nightmares to come. I was just running and I could definitely run for another 5 minutes.

Rather annoyingly a fellow jogger overtook me at the 23-minute mark, my first thought was the usual negative “see a proper runner” and then I noticed he wasn’t sweating at all, he’d obviously just started, I was already 23 minutes ahead of him, slacker. I floated on …

With 60 seconds to go Laura chimed in again, I was very tempted to up the pace and finish the last 60 seconds quicker, but deep in energy management mode I correctly decided to just bank this one. I’ve got 3 more of these runs next week, plenty of time to experiment with leaving it all on the field in a spectacular sprint finish.

It was over, Laura chimed in with congratulations and then added: “I think we can say you’re a runner at this point”. Yes! FINALLY, where’s my medal? I’d have to say this is the first session where the burden of proof had shifted, from “you can’t do this, there’s no proof you can do this” to “i can do this, where’s the proof I can’t do it”. Not only did I do it, I didn’t have to wreck myself to get there either, in fact, I think I could have made 30 minutes if I really had to (e.g. outrunning a tiger, catching an ice cream van etc).

I’d added a few more “inspirational” tracks to the running playlist as I was starting to get bored of Sia’s demands to keep on running, effective as they were:

Where is My mind? – Pixies

A question I often ask myself when running and an excellent running track. Especially on this run, it kicked in about 15 minutes in and I used the lyrics for my own purposes:

With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself

Where is my mind
Where is my mind
Where is my mind
Way out in the water
See it swimmin’

Basically a reminder to just focus on running, no other thoughts, stay in the moment. Way out in the water in my head was way out in this run and still, swimmin = still running.

Float On – Modest Mouse

I really like this track, I heard it on some advert a few months back and it got added to my general playlist, and now promoted to the primetime running playlist. I particularly liked the rhythm of it, as it seems to match my own natural pace. particularly the chorus:

And we’ll all float on okay
And we’ll all float on okay
And we’ll all float on okay
And we’ll all float on anyway, well

Pretty much speaks for itself, I’m trying to literally float around this field and it’s going to be okay.

Alright, Already
And we’ll all float on alright
Already we’ll all float on alright
Don’t worry even if things end up a bit
Too heavy we’ll all float on alright

And a reminder that even when my legs get heavy we are all just going to keep on floating, ALRIGHT! ALREADY!

So onto week 7 and three more 25 minute runs, I won’t make the mistake I made at week 5’s 20 minute run of thinking it will be easy. It won’t, but there’s far more evidence suggesting I’m going to succeed than fail.

Run Rating : 


C25K – Week 6 – Rerun

14th July 2018 — 0


I ended up re-running week 6 day 1 and 2, as I managed to put my back out at the weekend. We were picking up a new puppy (Archer – see other posts) and the plan was we were going to train him to go in an outside doggy toilet. So I got up early on the Saturday Delivery-Day and spent 3 hours digging and generally getting his latrine sorted. We then went down to Folkestone picked him up and as I went to get back in the car something in my back when twang. By the time we got home my back was spasming at the slightest provocation and I was reduced to shuffling around after the new puppy.

We had family round (it was the day of the England quarter finals in the World Cup) for a BBQ and I was struggling to move around let alone deal with a new puppy that needed picking up every few minutes. So it took a couple of days before I could move around without my back complaining. So between that and the demands of a new puppy it was almost a week before I could get back to running. The interesting thing is I wanted to get out and run, partly I suspect because I was cooped up with a furry terror for 24 hours a day (he can’t go out until he gets his second set of jabs, which is another 4 weeks – so we are both grounded).

I had left off at W6R3 and I thought (after a week out) I had better ease myself back into it, rather than go straight to the 25m run. It was a pleasant Friday evening run around the local park, it had been warm during the day but there was a cool breeze by this point that made it nice and fresh. I always assumed come the evening the park was full of drug dealers and teenagers up to no good, there have been a few stories in the past, but in reality on a delightful summer evening it was full of families out with their kids, the usual dog walkers and a number of OAP’s.

Week 6 – run 1 (12/07/2018)

I fired up the app and setup W6R1 again (5m+8+5m) and shoved my regular running playlist on. I was hardly breathing hard after the first 5 minutes, I had ensured the pace was very slow to ease myself in. Recovered in probably less than 30 seconds. Onto the 8 minutes run, and found an even longer route around the park, making a lap now closer to 12 minutes at my current pace by my estimation.  Again paced myself and was happy to get through to the last minute in good form, I was actually enjoying it. It took about a minute and half to recover. Onto the last run another 5 minutes, easy in fact picked a route that was a little more uphill to try and make it harder for myself.

Two weeks ago I had run this same session and it had been a living hell, today it was probably one of the best runs I’ve had and I honestly enjoyed it. What changed? It wasn’t my physical capabilities if anything I’d probably gone backwards in the last week. Better pacing for sure made a huge difference, if I compare the two runs that’s a big factor. Over confidence was the main problem in the previous run, this time I was confident but I was also super critical that I didn’t hurt myself doing it. That seemed to make a huge difference.

Run Rating : 

Week 6 – run 2 (14/07/2018)

I re-ran W6D2 (2x10m) in the baking midday heat on the Sunday, with a new puppy to take care off I take my chances to run where I can. I popped up to the local park, lots of people out all of them in the shade of the trees. The first 10 minute run was pretty easy, generally getting out to 8 minutes before getting a bit panty. Recovered within the first minute of the 3 minute walk The second run I got to about 6 minutes before I started to feel it. The last couple of minutes were very slow in comparison to my earlier pace. but whatever it takes.

My running form continues to improve, I noticed a few times that I had a nice rhythm that was very easy to just keep going without a lot of mental or physical effort. I still find it helps to break these runs down into 5 minutes sections and just tell myself to run that 5 minutes.

I still get negative “why not quit” thoughts but it’s easier to ignore them the more times you do the same distances. These thoughts are generally at their worst at the start of the run and they tend to elude to how far it is and how difficult it will get. it’s fairly easy to ignore them when you can get to 8 minutes without struggling. I tend to just go back to focussing on now.

My feet don’t hurt anymore in the walks between runs which is a major bonus. I still get a touch of nausea, in this case in the last 2 minutes of the second 10m run, I take it is a sign I’m digging deep, on longer runs it’s a danger sign and something I’ll need to actively manage,  i.e. I shouldn’t be digging deep when there’s a lot of time still to go. much better to slow down and back off.

The next run is W6D3 a 25m straight run. Should be interesting, I’ve still got a mental block when it comes to these “long” runs, I’m honestly not convinced I can do it. But I definitely should be able to get to the 20 minute mark and I’m hoping having got there I’ll have enough to push on for another 5 minutes.

I feel like this is the last hurdle, todays run was the last with breaks in the program and like a reluctant horse approaching a big jump I keep balking at it. I need to get my shit together and get used to it, it’s the new norm from next week, just like 1, 3, 5, 8, 10 mins all became norms.

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C25K – Week 6 – Run 2 (Take 2)

6th July 2018 — 0


I came too around 6:30am and my first conscious thought (other than I need a pee, yeah I’m at that age) was I need to run today. Followed by the realisation that the sooner I got it done the less time I’d waste worrying about it, I crawled out of bed, threw on my running gear and headed to the local park. A glorious summer morning, not too warm yet and a slight breeze perfect running conditions.

Walking up to the park, I replayed the last session. I told myself this was going to be bloody hard, it was not going to be fun and I would at least do more than 14 minutes. I mentally broke the run down into 4 x 5 minutes in my mind. The thought of the next 25m run raised its head and I angrily stamped it down, I was here to run today’s run. Not a marathon.

The local park was strangely busy, I had been here a few times now and this was the busiest I’d seen it. So this is where all the fit people are, they are in the park at seven in the morning. There were several runners, wannabes like myself and even a couple of real runners. One lady, who looked like she was part antelope passed me and I was envious of her gliding effortless pace. In spite of her stature, she was running at a truly stunning speed, very close to what I would consider a sprint. I put it out of my mind and got my head down.

The first 10 minutes weren’t going to be too much of a problem I knew that, I focussed in on the moment, just keeping my form and not thinking. I noticed a few of the runners were running a longer path around the park, I hadn’t even spotted, which also had the benefit of being in the shade. That extended the run around the park from about 5 minutes a lap to close to 8, my brain was already doing the math’s to calculate where I had to get to too stop.

I got to the 8-minute mark and was starting to feel it, so I just eased back a bit. Laura chimed in with 60 seconds to go and I tried not to take it as a cue to change anything. Just keep the same pace. At the 10 minute mark, I was ok. I realised at about a minute into the 3-minute walk that my feet weren’t hurting. They usually kill me in these walks, this time however pretty much nothing. Well, that was progress. I was recovered by the 90-second mark and took the remaining 90 seconds to get some deep breaths in and stretch a bit in my walking.

The 10m run starts and all I’m thinking is get to 5 minutes at least that would be better than last time. Constantly trying to keep a slow steady pace and not waste any effort. The 5-minute mark came surprisingly quickly, I had to remind myself I was here to run today not tomorrow and keep putting the 25m run out of my mind.

The last 5 minutes I was under no illusions was going to be tough. My breathing was slowly spiralling out of control and my legs were getting heavy. My brain had calculated the likely finish line and it was far on the other side of the park.

Before coming out for the run I had watched a news bulletin about 12 Thai kids (and their coach) stuck deep in a flooded cave, the story had been running for a few days after the miracle that they had been found. This mornings update was all bad news, a Thai Navy Seal had died delivering oxygen to the slowly suffocating kids buried 4km underground. And here I was on a lovely sunbathed morning, sucking in fresh air thinking I was in hell, f**** me!

I got to to the 8-minute mark and knew I had done it. I also knew the next 2 minutes was going to be unpleasant, my breathing by this point was very much like the noise of a chugging steam train. The last-minute as advertised was not fun but I was still berating myself for thinking “I” was having a tough time. Pussy!

I had finished it. Yes, it was tough but in the BIG scheme of things, it was a walk in the park. I was annoyed again that I had failed it the first time, more annoyed than on the day. A firm reminder that this was very much a mental game with some physical elements.

Of course, I didn’t even get to the gate before the thought of the W6R3 – 25m run was back, I wish I could just somehow celebrate the moment, these small victories. With the exception of the 20m run, my only thought after every run is “right, what’s next”. Actually, it’s probably a good thing because the only time I ever did give myself a pat on the back I managed to convince myself I was Mo Farah.

Here we are again. I’ve read that the brain has an extraordinary ability to find patterns in things. But for some reason in this instance it can’t join up the dots, this is the same mindset at the start of every new run and every time I’ve found a way. Every single time! So why am I sitting here writing this convinced it’s impossible.

Walking back I’d almost convinced myself I should re-run today, you know to build up more stamina, get more metres under my belt. Which is utter nonsense, it is better to try and to fail than not to try at all, I won’t be beaten before I even make the field. So the next run will be W6R3 and we’ll see what is out there, ideally, it will be only me running.

Music-wise today I went with my “running” playlist of inspirational tracks, I’ve commented on all of them before so nothing new here I’m afraid. Although that bloody Flames track by Sia still stands out at the moment for being on message.

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