Couch to 5k: Week 5

Picture stolen from week 6…soz!

Week 5 had been looming over me for weeks. On the app, they describe it as “where the fun really begins” but, having flicked through each day’s description a few weeks back, I was inclined to disagree. After weeks of merrily jogging about for 3 mins at a time, during week 5 my pal Laura threw a series of 3 different runs upon me.

The first was easy enough, with 3 x 5 minutes of running punctuated by 3 mins of walking. I managed that no problems.

The second, I attempted to do on a sunny Friday. On the news that morning, there had been a warning of record pollution and advice to exercise inside, in air conditioning, especially if you knew you would be affected. Now I have recently developed mild asthma, so in my infinite wisdom, off I headed just before midday to complete run number 2: 8 minutes run, 5 mins walk, 8 minute run.

Needless to say, I failed. I made it about 5 minutes down the road, feeling pretty good, but as soon as I turned away from the river I basically thought I was going to die. I decided to quit while I was ahead (or at least still breathing), and slunk back home to the safety of my flat. It was the first time I’ve failed a run on the plan and it did not feel good!

In a weird way though, this spurred me back on. I’d been getting kind of complacent, I guess – I hadn’t found anything that hard so I figured I’d just meander my way to 5k. Nope! I nursed my wounded pride for a day or two and then (more sensibly, on an evening, when I know I like to run) I headed out to complete it for real. The first 8 minutes were a bit of a struggle, to be honest; I think I panicked myself a bit. But after the 5 min recovery walk, I found the second 8 minutes much easier and felt much more satisfied on my route home (the fact that Matthew lapped me during this time was not so satisfying, however!)

The final run of week five featured a solid 20 minute run and marked the first run that didn’t include a walk. Needless to say, after the ups and downs of the week so far I was basically terrified and put it off for a few more days (at this point I gave up on the “week” aspect of the plan). Finally, the night before Copenhagen I could put it off no longer and so off I went.

Now, first things first I’m proud to say that I managed it no problem at all. However, time seemed to be going by awfully slowly. After running a fair distance and far further than I usually run in an effort to match my route to the running time, I checked the app to see that, apparently, I had been running for a grand total of 3 minutes.

Suspicious, I started taking note of the time on my phone each time Laura popped up to update me on my progress. Long story short, according to the clock on my phone, I ran for 35 minutes straight. What was supposed to be 5 mins walk + 20 mins run + 5 mins cool down took 50 minutes to complete.

Now obviously I am not complaining that I was able to run for that amount of time, and my indignance was definitely mixed with a sense of pride that I’d managed it at all. But there was definitely something fishy going on. I felt almost manipulated by the app (not to mention annoyed that my quick 30 minute run, crammed in between packing for Copenhagen, had taken up SO MUCH TIME!).

Now that I’m more or less in the habit of going out for runs and I’ve started to feel sluggish and gross if I don’t, I’m debating switching off the plan altogether and using a regular running app, but another part of me really wants to “officially” complete the program. I don’t know whether it’s just a weird problem with the timer on my app or what, but I’ve definitely lost a bit of faith in C25K; has anyone else had any similar problems?

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