Speed Equals Distance Over Time

One of the nice things about the later stages of C25K is that it gives you the option to focus your run on either time or distance. Ideally, you would do both, but I’m not sure how many people doing this after a lifetime on the couch actually manage a sub 30 5K within the nine weeks. There may be some who can, but I’m certainly not one of them.

So far, I have been going by time (running for however many minutes) and this has really helped me get going, but after Wednesday’s 5K I know that I can keep running for over thirty minutes. The problem is, when I run 5K, I want to be done before the 30 minutes are up. I want to run faster.

So, as my high school Physics teacher taught me, Speed equals Distance ever Time (s=d/t).  I know it’s not what he meant, but for me, for the next few weeks, distance is going to take priority over time. And, strangely enough, focusing on distance has helped me improve my speed.

I guess this is because in the earlier stages of C25K, all I had to do was keep moving; but now, when I’m completely exhausted and can’t wait to finish, focusing on distance means that if I pick up my feet a bit more and push myself a little bit harder, it will all be over a lot sooner. And that, of course, gives me a better time.

So, for today’s run, Week 6 Day 2, I ditched the timed voice prompts on my C25K app and plugged in to Run Keeper. Here are the results:

W6D2-2013-08-31I had to change the settings to miles rather than kilometres, and I know it’s a shorter distance than I ran on Wednesday, but my average pace was over 30 seconds faster and that includes a walking segment. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings when I finally finish Week 6!

How do you set your daily running goals? Do you focus on running for a specific time or distance? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

An Unexpected Milestone

Those of you who are kind enough to read my blog will know that I have had a bit of a struggle with the C25K program over the last few weeks. Today though, I put all of that behind me and achieved a rather unexpected milestone.

On Monday, I repeated Week 6 Day 1 to try to get my confidence back. I found it hard but managed to complete the run and intended to do the same run again this evening to try to build up my fitness. But something strange happened.

For some reason, after a hard couple of days at work, I decided that I didn’t want to be told when to run and when to walk. I wanted to just go out and run on my own to see what I could manage.

My plan was to get as close to 5K as possible, so I set my RunKeeper app to 10 minute reminders, thinking that I would try to do some 10 minute running segments. Then I figured that if 10 minutes was too much, I could try running for 1K at a time, so I set the 1K reminder so that I could go by distance if necessary. This was a great motivator as it also told me my current and average pace every 10 minutes and every 1K.

I set off at a nice easy pace, knowing that I would be running a lot further and for a lot longer than I had ever done before. And it felt good. The air was cool and I was feeling relaxed knowing that I didn’t have the added pressure of having to reach a specific goal.

I was surprised at how easily I managed the first 2K. Running further along the seafront than I had ever done before gave me a huge lift, especially when I reached the end of the promenade and had to turn around again.

It felt amazing. My breathing was slow and steady and my legs seemed to be working all on their own. It was as if they were gathering some kind of momentum. I knew that if I made them stop, it would be hard to get them going again. So I kept going and was shocked when the voice came through my headphones to announce that I had done 3K.

Of course, after a while, it did begin to get harder. My legs started to get tired and by the time I reached 4K I really felt like stopping. But I didn’t. I just kept going and going, until I had to look at my app to see how much further I had left.

When I realised I only had about 0.25K left to go, it occurred to me that the faster I ran, the sooner it would be over. So I took a deep breath and gathered all my strength to run as fast as I could to the finish.

And I did it! 5K in 37.10 minutes!

5K-2013-08-28I have to admit, I am feeling pretty damn pleased with myself. Knowing that I can run 5K without stopping has given me a huge confidence boost and is a great motivator to complete the program.

My goal now is to use C25K to try to improve my pace and eventually achieve a sub 30 time. I’m not sure what kind of pace I will have to maintain to do that, but I’ll figure it out. For nowthough, here are my splits for tonight’s run.

5K Splits-2013-08-28

Not too shabby for a 39 year old who hasn’t run in over 25 years!


Back to Week 6 Day 1

Ok, so perhaps last week’s plan to pick up from where I left off wasn’t such a great idea. While I enjoyed last Monday’s run and didn’t really mind that I had to break down the final ten minute running segment with some walks, I didn’t run again for the rest of the week.

The reason for this poor attempt at a comeback? I lost my confidence. Plain and simple.

Last Monday’s run wasn’t easy. It was slow. Much slower that I have been used to, probably because I had been out of action for a few weeks, and I didn’t want to have another run where I walked at the wrong times. I also had to work late last week and was feeling pretty exhausted.

I know my fitness level has dropped through not running and the virus that I had hasn’t helped. But I don’t want to make excuses. I want to run and I want to run knowing that I can achieve what I’m supposed to achieve each time.

To do this, I need to get back into a routine and, much as I hate to admit it, go back to a run that I know I can complete. So, today I went back to Week 6, Day 1.

The run started off well. I got into a nice easy pace and focussed on my breathing from the start, which made this first five minute running segment pretty easy. Having three minutes to get my breath back before the eight minute run really helped and gave me just enough energy to get through it. But the final five minutes was tough.

I almost stopped a couple of times, but I knew I could do it. I’d done it before so it was just a matter of carrying on. Slowly. One foot in front of the other until I’d finished. And I did finish. Slowly, yes. But I did finish.

So, lessons learned? Stick to the program. Stick to the schedule. And if I miss a week or two, pick it up again by repeating a run that I know I can do.

I have another busy week at work ahead of me, but no matter what happens, I need to make sure I get a run in midweek. It will probably be a repeat of today’s run, just to get myself back to where I was before, but it will be worth it.

Have you ever had to repeat a run or a whole week? How do you feel about doing the same run or week all over again? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.


Picking Up From Where I Left Off

So, after three weeks of not being able to run, I finally put my trainers back on my feet and headed for the Hove seafront to pick up from where I left off… Week 6, Day 2.

It wasn’t easy, and it felt kind of strange to be running again. It took a while to find my rhythm and I struggled to regulate my breathing, but I managed to keep running for the first ten minute segment. And it felt amazing! Slow and awkward for the most part, but amazing nonetheless.

The second ten minute running segment didn’t go so well. I know that my fitness level will have dropped slightly after being out of action for the last three weeks, but I also think I may have lost some of my confidence.

While a few weeks ago, I would have pushed myself to keep going no matter what, this evening something was telling me to take it easy. Don’t over do it. Don’t get sick again. So I walked. Twice.

I would have liked to have completed the run properly and it is kind of annoying that I will have to repeat Week 6 Day 2; but I’m also pleased that I didn’t go back to Week 5, which would have meant repeating a whole lot more.

So, on Wednesday I’ll have another go and hopefully get back to the level I was at before. But no matter what happens or how long it takes, it’s great to be out there running again!

How is your training going? How do you get yourself back on track after illness or injury? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

My C25K Comeback

It has been so many weeks since I went for my last run that I don’t even want to think about it. After being ill for a couple of weeks, I was still finding myself short of breath and really didn’t want to make things worse. But today I decided that enough is enough. It’s time for a comeback!

So, tomorrow evening I’m going to try to pick up the C25K program from where I left off. Somewhere in Week 6, I think. I did consider going back to Week 4 or 5, but I really want to be able to run 5K by the end of the month if possible and there’s not much time left.

Of course, if I can’t do it, then that’s ok. I’m not going to push myself too hard or beat myself up about it. But I want to get back out there and get fit. I miss it. I miss the running, the routine, the knowledge that every day is progress. And of course, catching up with this wonderful blogging community.

For now though, I’m going to enjoy the final evening of my prolonged rest.

I hope you’re all doing well. See you tomorrow!

The Foot Commute

Keep Calm and Get BetterI just thought I’d check in this evening to see how everyone’s doing. It has been two weeks now since my last run and I’m really missing it, but still I’m not ready to run yet.

I went back to work on Thursday and, even though my boss allowed me to do a shorter day than usual, I was exhausted by the end of it. Perhaps I shouldn’t have walked to and from work, but I didn’t fancy getting the bus and being cooped up with other people’s germs – yes, I’m a bit paranoid after two weeks of being ill.

Still, tiring as last week was, I did enjoy my foot commute on Thursday and Friday. The fresh air felt like it was doing my chest some good and it was great to be exercising again, even if I wasn’t running.

Hopefully I’ll be back on track again towards the end of this week, but I know better than to push it. Of course, I could always replace my C25K training with some extra walks until then, just to get out. I guess I’ll see how it goes.

Have a great week!

The Week That Wouldn’t Start

I should have finished up Week 6 of C25K this morning, but I didn’t. It’s not that I didn’t want to or that I’ve lost my motivation. On the contrary, there is nothing that I would love to do more this morning than go for a run along the seafront. But I can’t. And I haven’t done all week.

The problem is that those annoying sniffles from last week turned into an epic cold which turned out to be flu, lasted all week and has now developed into a chest infection. Or at least, that’s what the doctor said. 

To be honest, I don’t feel too bad most of the time. On Thursday morning, I even attempted to go to work. I wasn’t feeling great. Probably about 90% fit, so I figured I could handle a day at the office. Within an hour, however, I was feeling light headed, sick and sweating a bucket load. So I went home and felt rubbish for the rest of the day.

On Friday I went to the doctor, which is something I try to avoid at all costs. Mostly because the doctors at my surgery aren’t very helpful, but that’s another story. 

When I went on Friday though, I saw a doctor that I’d never seen before. She was really nice and helpful and even gave me antibiotics. This is something that doctors never do. Apparently it’s not good for us to take antibiotics if it can be avoided. So I guess that means that I must be ill.

So, sorry C25K, but it looks like I’m going to be out of action this weekend. Hopefully I’ll be back on track next week once the medicine kicks in, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

I’d still like to run 5K by the end of the month, and will still be working towards that goal, but if it has to wait another week or so, then so be it. 

The whole point of this is to improve my fitness and enjoy exercising. So that’s what I’m going to do, when I’m feeling better.

Hope you’re having a great weekend.