Couch to 5K
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An unexpected PB - an effect of the 5x50 challenge ?

Until the parkrun, I haven't really done any 5k runs and I think a 5k was taking me 34-35 minutes when I graduated and shown little improvement since then.

Now, these are my 5k result this year:

Parkrun 16/2/13 34:35

Parkrun 6/4/13 32:14

Parkrun 20/4/13 32:21

5k race today 31:37

I'm pretty chuffed with that and the improved times were all pretty unexpected. The parkrun on 6/4/13 was after the first week of the 5x50 and I was still feeling a bit in shock after exercising every day - but knocked 2mins 21 off my time.

The parkrun on 20/4/13 I didn't expect to get a good time at all, not only was I well into the 5x50 but I cycled 5.55km to the parkrun. Only 7 seconds slower than my PB seemed unexpectedly good.

Now, this week I've probably overdone it on the 5x50, what with my 19mile + ride on Wednesday and 14 miles cycling to work and back on Friday as well as the usual running club nights - it all hit me yesterday afternoon. I cycled to Parkrun, marshalled, then cycled back. Then walked to the pub for a jacket spud lunch. In the evening, I could hardly move for the pain in my legs and I felt exhausted.

This morning saw me aching and sore, struggling to walk up and down the stairs, popping painkillers, hayfever tablets and vitamins and generally feeling shaky. I had a 5k race in Shrewsbury and treated myself to riding there on my little Honda XL185, along the country lanes. I was still feeling wobbly when I got there and it hurt to walk to the start line. I was planning just to enjoy it and for the first 4km, I stuck to a chatting speed as I knew that would ensure I could finish. Out of the blue, I felt the urge to speed up for the last km - overdid it a bit and had to walk a couple of steps, then picked up again and legged it to the finish and a PB ! Where did that come from ?

I wonder if the 5x50 has toughened me up a bit so that I can keep going when it's uncomfortable and I'm tired. I've noticed several times with the cycling that I think I'm plodding along and it's hurting because I'm tired but then I check the Garmin and find I've actually been slightly quicker. My friend at running club has commented that I always look worn out when I arrive but seem a lot better by the end of it and that was certainly the case today.

I was amazed on my 19 mile + cycle ride that, even though it was the hilliest and longest route I'd done, on average I was slightly quicker than on my previous ride. Frankly, I was staggered when I saw that !

Has anyone else on the 5x50 noticed this sort of pattern ?

I'd decided not to do any races during the 5x50 because I assumed I'd be slower overall due to doing more frequent exercise. I only did the race today because it was a memorial run for a friend of a friend - I loved it !

One of my aims for this year was to beat the 30 minute barrier for a 5k - it's beginning to feel achievable :-)

21 Replies

Wow..I am so impressed with all the commitment of you all doing the 5 x 50 challenge it sounds so tough. What a fab time for your 5K, well done!!!! :) You are getting better with each run, bet my the summer you'll have nailed the 5k in 30 mins.


Well done, Hazel - that 30 minute barrier begins to look breakable! You really have been busy this week. Maybe time to ease off for a few days?

I think doing yoga for a while has given me more stamina - maybe developing my core muscles has just built up my overall strength more than I'd realised. I had thought that yoga was a bit of a cheat, but it seems to have been good preparation for running further, for me!


I miss my yoga. May have to splash out and join a class again.


Excellent Hazel, well done :-)

I've found a huge improvement in PBs during the 5x50 and I really was not expecting it at all! My target was to run all 50 days and I assumed to do so I would have to run quite conservatively and keep plenty in the tank to recover and be ready for the next day.

That simply hasn't been the case at all!

During the 36 days so far I have set a PB 15 times and have done so for the past 6 days in a row. I've gone from 27:56 on the first day to 22:57 today. I'm in territory that is so far beyond what I thought feasible .... I keep expecting to plateau .... it's a bit scary and exciting at the same time, who knows what tomorrow will bring :-)


Wow ! That's amazing !

I'd hoped to run most days but I started the Challenge with pain in both achilles tendons that started before Christmas so it soon became clear that I was just going to cripple myself. The cycling has proved more enjoyable than I expected but I do feel that I need to do a longer distance cycling to match up with 5k of walking and that is why I have set (and achieved) the new target of 10k a day.

It's amazing isn't it ? - our limits are somewhat further away than we think !


That is just amazing, pastyman! Eventually you'll be doing it in 15 seconds! :D


If I continue to improve at my current rate I am on target to break the 5k World Record on October 8th .... I've provisionally booked a day's leave just in case ;-)

My favourite line of the week and apologies if I've used it on the forum elsewhere


I'll pencil the date in on my calendar, so we can all have a big celebration then! :D

Keep up the very good work. :)


haha love it! Mo Farah will be quaking in his running shoes! Seriously though, stonkingly good times you are pulling out, I'm in awe!


Done it again this morning ... it's starting to freak me out! I'm getting these daft thoughts that at 51 I've only just found what I should have been doing as a pup :-)

"You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody"

Brando - On the Waterfront



What are you taking Pastyman?? I need some!


Seriously impressed with your improvement, if you'd taken this up as an adolescent we might have been watching you at the Olympics!!!

Your comment really struck a chord with me, I only said to my other half this weekend that I've never felt this fit in my whole adult life and finally 'get' the benefit of exercise. C25K should be part of the school curriculum, this programme needs more publicity, if you stick with it, it works like magic!


That is absolutely amazing, you must feel fantastic, sub 25 by a long way :-)


Wow, what fantastic times Hazel. :-) I have been quite conservative in what I have been doing each day but have Improved my times at Parkrun last week and this, and my cycling has felt easy and been quick (for me!) I hope to continue doing at least 30 mins a day when 5x50 is over:-)

Pastyman you are incredible! :-)


Yes, I hope to carry on after the challenge is over - I may schedule a rest day once a week but forgive myself if I overlook it. I want to bring in an extra intervals session each week too.

Patsyman is almost certainly a superhero who wears a cloak and pants outside of his tights ;-) He is just amazing !


Go Hazel! Well done. That's a big improvement on your times. I definitely think there is a 5x50 effect at work here. I have just started taking up swimming again and after an hour last week was really surprised that I didn't ache the next day as I had in previous times, especially as this is the only upper body exercise I do.

I am also planning to keep this up after the challenge, but will probably schedule 1 rest day also.


Go, go, go Hazel!! Great work!! It's funny that we all think we're going to be knackered doing the 5x50, but, actually (in the main!) we are all improving quite dramatically.


I'm having a couple of bad days at the moment. Yesterday I barely did 4km at running club because I was feeling groggy after having a filling at the dentist. Today it was just to difficult to fit in around other commitments. I'll be cycling to and from work tomorrow to catch up but I hate it when it doesn't go to plan !


Well, dentists bring us all down. I do understand though. I did too much digging on Sunday after a difficult walk, and my left knee has been decidedly dodgy ever since. Had to cancel a walk with a friend which I'd been looking forward to ;( Life doesn't ever go to plan!! But overall, when we look back....I think we will be a lot fitter!


Congratulations you'll soon get to the 30min mark and have to agree that this challenge has surprised me in so any was and one of them is the increased speed.


*so many ways


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