Bridge to 10K
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This one speed runner

I still hesitate to call myself a runner...odd isn't it? I've no idea what I'm waiting for. Maybe it's because I'm slow? But then again, I am happy for others to be slow, and yet still be runners.

I did my first club run of the year on Wednesday. As I headed out of the door I know I was less than keen on having done a day at work, then hitting the dark chilly evening outside. I tried to find some enthusiasm on the 10 min walk to the leisure centre, but I'd obviously left it somewhere daft and couldn't find it. The group, who I barely know as I've only been out with them twice previously, were about ready to leave. I tried to prepare myself mentally for whatever route they chose at the time. "Just 4 miles tonight as it's our first one back," the group leader said. That sounded good to me.

We set off at an easy pace, through an underpass, up a short but steep hill, and onto a housing estate where I would usually go if I was on my own. We gathered on a street corner at the bottom of a hill. There's just no escaping the hills around here, but the leader had picked a steep one. "We're gonna do some hill repeats. Run up to the first lamppost, then back down. Back up, past the first lamppost to the second one, then back down. Back up past the first and second lampposts to the top, then back down. We're gonna do that twice." Hill repeats? I've never done those before. Isn't it enough running up it once? We were to try and do each repeat faster than the last. I gave it a go, but probably didn't give it enough of a go. Having not done it before I didn't want to try too hard only to find I couldn't complete the task or didn't have enough left in the tank to continue with the run afterwards. To my surprise I found I almost liked it. It's hill work, without going too far from home (I like to stay close to home after a day at work, especially if it's dark). It's also progressive with time for recovery when going back down, whereas one big hill is just miles of climbing. Also the exercise can be as long or short as you want. It was a new experience for me, and a good one. I decided I will use it when out on my own on my other weekday run.

We ran a while, then stopped, gathered and were taken through a few stretches. I have never stopped to do stretches on a run before. Is that common? I rarely see runners out doing stretches. But I threw myself into it, and it felt good.

Off we went again, running through the estate until we came to a dead end road. We gathered on another corner. "This time we're going to jog to the first lamppost, sprint to the next, jog to the next, sprint to the next... at about 70%-80% effort. There's 7 or 8 lampposts down here, so that should be plenty." I'd tried fartleks before using a watch to time minutes, I'd tried mentally counting, pacing, using visual landmarks (but I never managed to get the evenly spaced)...I knew I couldn't do it. I turned to the lady next to me and said, "This should be interesting. I've only got 2 speeds: go and stop." I really didn't have much hope for the activity. But, I'm always willing to try again, so off I trotted to the first lamppost. I looked up at the next one, aimed and dug deep, running nearly as fast as I could to keep going 'til I got there, then slowed right down to a jog. The next time my sprint was slower, but still at almost the maximum I could sustain to the next lamppost. I repeated this all the way up the road as I'd been instructed. I couldn't believe I'd done it! I had another speed lurking in the depths, one I'd never found before. The only difference to what I'd tried before was using the lampposts as a visual cue. Maybe it helped that they weren't too far apart and evenly spaced, but being able to see where I was running to really helped. I'll definitely be doing that again. This one speed 'runner' just found another gear and was oh, so happy about it! 😀

On my way home I reflected on how reluctant I'd been to leave the house in the first place, and what I'd have missed out on if I hadn't. A challenging and satisfying evening...and I'd done 4.8 miles almost without noticing. 😊

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You are a runner!

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Or a happy plodder? 😉 Maybe it's the happy part that counts? 🙃

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I'd say :-)

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Brilliant post. Its good to try new things, and as you have shown you may find you quite like them. Both the hill repeats and the fartlek will help you to become a better runner - for a runner is what you are.

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It was so nice to come home and realise how much I had learnt. Better running, here I come! 😃

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Well done Sandra - looks like you found some gears! I try to avoid hills but what you have described sounds possible with using the up to challenge and down to rest. Keep letting us know how your running club experiences go - seems like you are getting some useful tips.

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Go for those hills! I used to avoid them too, until I realised I'd get dizzy, and very bored, if I carried on going around the same little piece of canal towpath. Breaking them up into smaller chunks will be much more doable for me on a weekday evening. I hope you get the opportunity to have a go.

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Will have to do some planning for that. No running today for me - got a streaming cold. I would be doing intervals with run/blow instead of run/plod!! I get tired very quickly still so need to improve things there - maybe some short runs with hills up/down would be another option.

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Oh, I hope you feel better soon. Running with a cold really saps your energy, so I don't blame you for waiting until you feel fitter. The hills can wait! Take care.

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Hello, please meet my forum friend, Sandy the Runner😃🏃🏼‍♀️🏃🏼‍♀️🏃🏼‍♀️🏃🏼‍♀️🏃🏼‍♀️

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Haha, I'm definitely getting there...slowly...but with an extra gear. 😁

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What a great post, Sandy! The hill repeats and fartlek work as you describe them sound very interesting, and it seems that running with the club is a success in helping you find new facets to your running (which can't hurt your motivation either). Brilliant stuff all round.

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Thank you Helene. You're absolutely right...the club runs a great motivation, particularly on dark, cold evenings. The whole C25K journey has been a huge, but thoroughly enjoyable learning curve. The club is helping to continue what has already been started.

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Ha ha! You’ve been practising all this time! You never know what you’re capable til you give it a go

Well,done good job! 😃🏃‍♀️👍✔️

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Thank you miss wobble! May the practising continue...around 8.30am tomorrow morning!😉 You never seem to stop 🏃‍♀️. I'll tell you what...you keep being inspirational, and I'll keep practising. 😁👍🏻

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Go Sandy😊....this is really interesting and exciting Sandy,thank you for sharing. I am about to try fartleks this morning and reading this has helped so much!

Of course you are a proper runner, Silly, and one who is pushing new bounderies and acheiving their goals. I think you are amazing and applaud you for tackling what your running club is throwing at you...

I imagine this sort of training will improve your running a lot.

Not sure if someone said only do fartleks once a week ?

What a brave, strong runner you are. Can't wait to hear what you do next Wednesday😊xxx

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Oooh Jan, how did your fartleks go? I'll check...(few minutes excitedly checking Strava)...I can see on the timeline they are clearly there. Well done you!!!! I want to make pretty patterns like that. I'll make a point of giving it a go on Monday.

I figured things like hill repeats and fartleks should be done once a week. I never know what the club will do next on a Wednesday, and it's probably better that way. If I'd known what they had planned before I left home, it may well have stopped me leaving the house!

There's more club run adventures to come, I'm sure of that! 😉

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Ha, I tried to do a few between telegraph poles, but wasn't keen on feeling puffed. I did three separate bursts then had to run slowly to recover😆.. I will do the speed podcast next short run I think and then fill it up with some steady running and maybe a fartlek or two...😎

My E.T shape was a nice suprise when I got home, it was so windy I didn't fancy the main roads so did some local running as it was a short session.

You should ask to be team leader one week and trot them all up the Clent!

Have a good weekend😊xx

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The E.T. shape is brilliant! Are you sure you didn't map it out first? 😉😂

Not sure they'd keep me in the group if I asked for us to all trot up Clent, but there's one member who does it several times a week! We are all different.

I will enjoy my weekend indeed as it's my birthday tomorrow. Run in the morning, then take it easy...well, that's the plan.

Take care 😀xxx

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Happy Birthday Sandy😊xx

See you ran 12k this morning.. you definitely can have cake 😄🎂🎁..

Enjoy your birthday weekend. XX

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Haha! Yay, I earnt my cake! Thanks Jan. 😀

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That sounds great! Glad you had such a fun time. You make me think I should mix things up a bit :)

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Do it Helen! Mix it up! You'll not look back. As misswobble says, you never know what you're capable of 'til you give it a go. 😀

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Well, if you are a plodder I must be a snail!! Although Oldfloss would say that snails are good!

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Snails are definitely good! I think fartleks will teach me how to go faster, yes, but also slower. My most recent challenge, to myself, is to go slower and maintain the speed, so I may just have snail envy. 🐌

Most of our running is meant to be 'easy' where we can still hold a conversation, but I seem to have a particular effort level that I stick to no matter what. The first thing I noticed about the club runners was that they all run along while chatting to each other. I know I can't do that. So I'm hoping that practising fartleks will help me trot at a variety of effort levels. We'll see how it goes. 🙂

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What a great run, filled with lots of variation and new challenges to make the time fly by. I've been exploring some different plans to follow after I reach my HM in March to prepare for a 10k trail race I'm doing in the fall that is essentially 2 huge hills. I really like the hill training you described. I'll definitely be incorporating this into my runs this year. It looks like this running club is going to open up a whole new world of running to you (and us, as you share with us and teach us the techniques you've learned. Yay!). Thanks for sharing 😁

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Good luck with your HM training. I never intended to go beyond 5k, but find myself doing at least a 10k every week. I hope you find the hill repeats training useful. It's new to me but may end up being more beneficial than going up and down one big hill. Keep posting your runs on the forum. I love to hear how you're getting on. 🙂

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Will do. I know I'm always checking the forum to see how my running family is getting on 😆.

I'm just glad the weather finally improved so I've gotten outside for 2 runs so far this week (a 5 and 6.5k). Hoping for a 14.5k on Sunday 🤞(then maybe a post will be in order). The 10k program I was looking at starting late spring focused a lot on variable speed runs and the longest run is actually 16k. Should be interesting, to say the least, and will hopefully strengthen the legs for some crazy hills in September 😳. But first things first, trying to get a good foundation by working on the mileage for a HM .

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So glad you've finally managed to get out there. All that waiting and treadmill running would have driven me mad! I hope your 14.5k goes well. I'll be looking out for the post! 👀😃

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Me too 👀😁xx

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Sounds a really interesting run!

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💪🏃‍♀️😃👍

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I love this post. I have never tried anything other than just running, preferably on the flat or downhill, and at one speed. I think you have inspired me! Those sound like "challenging but not totally impossible" ideas.

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I was the same. My challenges came from going up and down hills, but the distances keep getting longer. It's good to have some challenging training to do that can be kept closer to home. We are both inspired! It would be lovely to know if the ideas work out for you. Keep us posted. 😀

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It sounds great... well done you...you had the speed in there all the time..just waiting to get out there..brilliant!!!

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Just got to keep at it now. And, do you know, when I finally feel I've achieved a range of speeds, I think I'll enjoy the slower running more than the fast. I want to run, but more than that, I want to relax and enjoy it. ☺️

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Well done. Until I found "back stitching" my nearest monster hill always beat me but by training with this method I now always beat it - running straight up. It is a good training aid. Just have to remember to pick landmarks that don't move if lamp posts aren't available 😀

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Lol! Maybe that's what I was doing wrong, picking moving landmarks! 😆

'Back stitching' is a term I've not heard before, but if it's worked for you then it gives me confidence and motivation to keep at it. Well done on your achievement. 👍🏻

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I love these terms! It's like a whole new language. I've been keeping a binder with different training plans I've come across that interest me for the future as I start to have different goals (other than surviving the run). I've now added a page with different training techniques and terms. There is so much that can be learned and improved upon. It really is the best sport!

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Hill reps, like squats, are basically magic! Well done.

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Maybe I should start squatting! Sounds silly, but I haven't done much of that. There's so much out there to try. How could we ever run out of ideas?! Thanks for that. 👍🏻

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Brilliant! What a fantastic evening, well done! I've done the lamp post exercise before but not the hill repeats, so thank you for adding that to my repertoire - I think! :D

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You're gonna love it, I just know it! 😉

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Oh my, that all sounds challenging. I’m glad you enjoyed it. You are definitely a runner. Well done. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

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