Today was Week 2 Day 2 of Couch to 5K. Six reps of 1:30 running and 2:00 walking, and it all went pretty well. The running pace was quick and comfortable, the walk breaks were more than plenty and I feel that I am making progress, not just in terms of the C25K Program, but also in terms of my running as a whole.
Couch to 5K works, there has never been any doubt in my mind about that. However, I have noticed that the whole experience of repeating Couch to 5K is very different than it was the first time around, not just physically, but also mentally. So, here are a few of my thoughts on repeating the program:
Firstly, and probably most obviously, is that doing Couch to 5K the second time round (after successfully completing it before) is much easier. Even though I’ve had a few months of running on and off, and for the past 12 months have been using run/walk for my races (marathon included), I was still starting off at a much higher level of fitness than the first time around, so those early week sessions haven’t been anything like as hard as they were before.
Motivation has been a problem though. The first time I did Couch to 5K, I was so desperate to run that I could barely wait to get out and do the next session; however, this time around, I’m much more laid back about the whole thing. Yes, I want to get back to running 5K, and yes I have a specific goal in mind, but that sense of urgency has gone, which means I need to draw on all of my old motivational tricks to make sure I get myself out the door and stay on track.
One of the best things about repeating the program is pacing. Not only do I know how to judge my pace for each session, but I can also run much faster than before without tiring. Ok, so the running sections are still very short at the moment, but even with that in mind, I know that in running faster for these shorter intervals, my 5K pace will have improved by the time I complete the program.
Unlike last time, recovering from a run is so much better. I no longer feel the need to raid the fridge after returning from a 2.5K run; I don’t need to take a nap in the afternoon if I run in the morning; and the DOMS, when they do appear, are nothing compared with what they used to be.
And finally, progress. We all know that Couch to 5K produces great results and that the progress is noticeable after only a couple of sessions, but here’s the difference. The first time around, the sessions became less difficult; this time around, they become easier. I know, there’s a fine line between something being less difficult and something being easier, but the point is that repeating Couch to 5K is not difficult at all. The sessions are easy and they become easier, which definitely helps with the whole motivation thing.
How’s your training going? Have you gone back to Couch to 5K after injury or a break? What differences did you notice the second time around? Please share your thoughts in the comments.