Couch to 5k – Achievement Unlocked – 20 Minutes!

So if you told me 5 weeks ago, or for that matter 2 days ago, that I’d be able to run for 20 minutes, I would have laughed in your face. BUT I DID IT!

First off though was Run 2. I’d found the first run relatively easy and was getting used to running five minute intervals after Week 4. Run 2 this week was two eight minute runs. I could feel my legs getting tight and they felt like lead for a while, but I kept on going and made it through. The podcasts are starting to re-use some of the music from earlier on in the programme, I’m not sure whether I like that or not. I quite liked having the variety and not recognising the songs (although some of them aren’t great!) but I think the repetition maybe helps you get the rhythm and there’s some songs now I can sing along to. In my head, though. I’m not mental.

So today was Run 3 – the dreaded 20 minute one. I think this is the run I’ve seen most people worried about on the forum. You’re running for an interval more than double the longest one you’ve done before. As usual, the weather was a bit drizzly and windy, but I’m getting used to that now and once I’d dodged the slugs on the path (found one on the wall in the utility room earlier, hope I didn’t bring it in on my trousers!) I was fine. Again, I got the tired legs but just kept on going. Laura the podcast lady was giving time updates and encouraging words every 5 minutes which helped too. As cheesy as they are, they get you pumped and believing that this is something you can and will do.

I remember grimacing towards the end of some of the very early runs, but when Laura finally said “That’s it!” today, I was genuinely surprised and was feeling like I could have carried on! I spent the 5 minute cool down walk feeling very chuffed with myself and wondering how I’d managed to go from barely managing 1 minute runs to wanting to carry on after a 20 minute one!

As the podcast says, this was definitely a mental challenge as much as a physical one. Once I’d got my head around the fact that I’d been training to a point where I would be able to do it, it wasn’t half as hard.

Looking forward to next week!

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Couch to 5k – Maybe I’m a Morning Person After All

It’s so easy to get behind on these posts! Maybe it’s because running is already becoming part of my routine so I forget to write about my progress. I’ve also just started a big freelance project and after a quiet few weeks I’m actually getting plenty of work to do.

So where was I? Apparently one run away from Week 4. I did my last run of Week 3 fairly early (for me) on a Sunday morning. And what a difference it made!

I normally ran in the late afternoon after giving my lunch a few hours to go down, but mornings are definitely a better fit for me.

  • I don’t get that nagging feeling that I need to run all day
  • I don’t have to have two showers a day – saving money!
  • I don’t get as hot and sweaty and gross as it’s cooler outside
  • I can get on with my day

The only downside is that I run past two schools, so I have to time it right on a weekday to make sure there’s enough room on the road!

Last time I was pretty chuffed that I could run 3 minutes, but now I’m running 5 relatively comfortably! I thought that Week 3-4 would be a massive jump and spent some time looking round the forum┬áto see if I was the only one and was glad to see I wasn’t alone. I’ve actually been doing this every week as the progression seems to be really quick, but I’m learning to trust the podcasts and my own legs.

I was very surprised that during the recovery walk after the first 3 minute run, I found myself wishing the time away so that I could get on and see if I could do the 5 minutes. The feeling at the end of that first run was great, I can’t remember the last time I ran for anything near that amount of time!

I overran my house for the first time this week! Normally I do a loop that gets me back to my house just as the cool down is starting, but I still had about 2 and a half minutes of running to go when I hit that point in this run. It’s a clear sign that I’m running further and pushing myself harder, especially as I overran by a slightly longer distance each time.

My breathing is definitely getting better, I went through all of Week 4 without taking my inhaler on the way round. I’m finding that the only time I feel myself getting out of breath is when I focus on that. I think I’m starting to find the zone runners seem to get into where their body knows what it’s doing and they can just run and run and run.

I started Week 5 this morning and there are three different runs this week. Today’s was ┬áthree 5 minute runs with 3 minutes walks between them. I like all the little milestones you get doing the plan (first 3 minute run, first 5 minute run…) and this week there are two! My next run will include two 8 minute runs and after that it’s the dreaded 20 minute one. I’m feeling a bit nervous about both of them (especially the 20 minutes!), but as I said before, I’ll trust the plan and give it my best shot!

Couch to 5k – Long Overdue

Last time I wrote, I’d just started Week 2 of the C25K plan. I’m now one run away from Week 4!

The week 2 runs got a lot easier as the weather cleared up. I found myself covering a bit more distance each time which is a great moral booster. Another bonus was completing my first run without having to take my inhaler part way round. I quite liked the music on week 2 as well, especially the first run which was a not-so subtle remix of this classic:

The thing I seem to be having the most trouble with while running is definitely keeping my breathing in check. I’m not sure whether this is linked to my asthma or whether I just haven’t trained myself hard enough. I was never any good at it when I was swimming either, holding my breath while my head was underwater instead of breathing out. I’m trying to follow the suggestion given by Laura who narrates the podcasts (breathe in for 8 steps, breathe out for 8), but I find it really difficult to maintain it. I’ll keep trying though.

I found the jump to week 3 quite big. I’d looked up what it involved, and you go from running 90 secs, walking 2 minutes in week 2 to 90 secs walking, 90 secs running, 3 minutes walking, 3 minutes running, repeated twice. I had a look through the forums to see if anyone else had thought they wouldn’t be able to cope with this. I found the best advice on there – if you put it off til you feel ready, you’ll never do it. So off I went! Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a massive caffeine crash from a Starbucks I’d had earlier in the day and it made everything even harder. By the end I thought I was going to throw up at the side of the road, but thankfully that passed! I was really pleased that I managed to finish the run, however knackered I was.

It got a little easier yesterday, didn’t feel so ill and wiped at the end of it. I definitely wouldn’t have made it to 3 minutes on my own without the podcast. I think it’s a general fact, not just with running, that you’re far more capable than you think. It just takes someone or something to give you that little push to go further, work harder, achieve more.