C25k: Hitting 5k & An Update

Well guys, it’s safe to say I have been slacking on the blogging front recently. I’ve been carried away and preoccupied with other things (good and bad) and I haven’t been very good about remembering to take my camera out and about or making time to edit and upload photos.

But one thing I have been doing is running.

After a couple of times of running my C25k app alongside my Runkeeper, along with a bit of googling and research, I concluded that the timing issue I mentioned previously was definitely not my imagination, and promptly sacked the app off. By that point, I was at the stage where runs were reaching 25 – 30 minutes of solid running, so I figured it wouldn’t make that much difference.

I was pretty pleased with myself when after about 2 runs, I hit the elusive 5k and what’s more, I didn’t feel like I wanted to die. Goal officially reached!

Since then though, I have to say I haven’t been particularly good at heading out three times a week, but I have been making it out twice a week at least. I also haven’t been particularly good at sticking to the targets I set myself. I’ve been switching it up between aiming for a distance and aiming for a time, but I seem to be sticking around the 2.2 miles/20 minute mark.

Going forward, I’m determined to get back into the habit of going out 3 times a week and ideally, I’d like to be doing 5k every time (and more, obviously). I’ve been experimenting with some new routes too, and now that summer is almost officially here, the park is open later so I’ve been trying out going through there which is nice (the time I accidentally ended up heading up super-steep Blackheath Hill was not so fun). I even managed to persuade M to come out with me on a run, which may be the coupliest thing we have ever done!

I’m also gearing up to buy some actual proper running trainers, which is a sign of commitment making me more nervous than it should be! Any recommendations of where to look/how to decide/what to buy?!

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?

Couch to 5k: Weeks 3 & 4

It’s been a while since I gave an update on my C25k adventures, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing it. That said – I have to admit I’ve slipped a little bit and am probably about a week behind where I should be (and suffering because of it!). But in my efforts to keep accountable, I figure it’s high time for a quick update.

To be fair, I continued to find weeks 3 and 4 relatively easy and rewarding. Week 3 involves 90 seconds of running / 90 secs of walking, followed by 3 minutes of running / 3 minutes of walking, then repeat. This sounds way more complex than it was, and I was surprised on my first go how difficult I found 3 minutes. But by the time the second repetition rolled around, and then the following two days, I got into my stride and consistently felt like I could do more. Good news! (Although it was a little bit disheartening when I figured out I was still only actually running for 9 mins total).

Week 4 sounded even more complex, with 3 minutes of running followed by 90 seconds of walking, followed by 5 minutes of running; 2.5 mins walking; 3 mins running; 90 secs walking; and 5 mins running. Mathematicians amongst you may have already figured out that this is quite a big jump in total running minutes (up to 16 mins from 9), and the first time I ran more than I walked. It was easier than I imagined and I found that the amount of sections meant that these runs went by fastest. Mind you, I was definitely ready to stop by the end of the last 5 minutes.

However, this was also the week where my routine & schedule went a little bit downhill. I’m going to blame the bank holiday (and a monster 2 day hangover that nearly killed me) – although it seemed like I’d have loads more time to run, I found that without my usual routine I didn’t really make the time. I did my last run on Easter Monday, though, after a weekend of excess and alcohol, and found that it was actually the easiest of the three. Take from that what you will, kids!

Since then I’ve embarked on week 5, which has been a bit of a rollercoaster so far and definitely deserves its own post, and rewarded myself with some jazzy sports leggings. Look out for that update next week!

If you’ve done C25K I’d love to hear about your experiences – at what point did you find it got really hard? What did you do to keep up motivation/