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Couch to 5K
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9 Miles (14.5km) in 1:28:43 - Not as difficult as I thought it would be

Hi all,

Just got back from my longest run so far. I plotted my route last night and managed to find a reasonable route which didn't involve crossing too many busy roads. It also helped that I ran from 7am to 8.30am and the roads were not very busy.

I use a heart rate monitor when I run and I think my fitness is improving because I am able to run at this speed while having a lower average heart rate. Hopefully that allows me to up my pace in the coming 6 weeks to stand a chance of a sub 2 hour half marathon.

Ankle watch - I managed to run without any pain and as I type the ankle is the same as it was before the run, so not 100% but fine to run at this pace.

I also ran for the first time with a waist belt. It is a Nathan Trail Mix hydration water bottle waist belt and it was very handy for this longer run. I carried out some research into a few energy gels and overall wasn't sure if it was the thing for me. I then researched a few natural alternatives and the one that kept cropping up were dates. When we opened our fasts during Ramadan we always had a date, as is the tradition, and we had a few left so I tried them today. They fitted snugly into the belt and were easy to get to when I wanted them. I ate one after 45 mins and had a bit of water to wash it down. I was surprised that it actually made a difference, but it wasn't that easy to eat a date while running! Also having some water to drink on the longer run did help a lot. I ate 3 dates while I was running and guess I'll get through 4-5 during a HM.

Here is a link to the belt a used:


I felt at the end that I probably could have run longer so that bodes well for the next few weeks when I will be running 10 miles each Sunday.

Here is a link to my run:


Happy running all!

22 Replies

Cliff do a jelly type product (i prefer the blue one). There's six to a pack and they're separate so easy to get at and easy to consume. I used then yesterday while going my 21k run. I used to have Cliff's cherry bomb concentrate as well, but I think I prefer plain water.


I prefer water too and don't think I'll be experimenting with that. I might give Jelly babies a go, I've never enjoyed them as a treat but it maybe worth trying out in the next few weeks.


Jelly babies are definitely the way to go - do the same job as gels but much more palatable :-)


Well done Aftabs, sound like you had a really good run this morning, especially after your Parkrun 5K yesterday. Looks like your well into your training for 1/2M.

Interesting read about dates, I love them but would never have thought to eat as an energy food, don't know why not though as they are nice and sweet so would give an energy boost. Keep up the good work and good luck, stay injury free for goodness sake.

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Thanks! It was an enjoyable run. The only thing I'll do next time is cut the dates in half before running. Eating a whole date is a bit of a mouthful, so it'll be easier eating two smaller bits.

I'm replacing my interval sessions with steady 5kms until the ankle is stronger so that should stop any further damage occurring. Also any attempts to beat my 5km PB will also be on hold. I had to let a few of the Parkrunners know why I wasn't going flat out yesterday, they have got used to me trying for a PB every week!


Well done Aftabs and good luck for your HM. Interesting to see the change in your HR as you get fitter. I am one of those people whose HR is always up there as a result I slowed down my pace to kept it lower, seems to be working.

Agree re: dates, broke my fast on them during Ramadan and I swear by them and my favourite are the Tesco organic Madjool ones.


The HRM is a very good tool for monitoring progress. I like as many stats as possible to track progress and this is one of the most helpful.


Your HR is much slower than mine Aftabs, I'm about 180 and max was 190 but only for a few seconds when I put a spurt on to cross a road. Not sure how I would be able to get mine as slow as that and still be running!!!


I have seen a big improvement in the past month, which I guess is to be expected after having a month off previously. My HR gets to about 180 when I go for a fast 5km


I've just been out and done some hill work on the forest tracks, ave H/R 176 max was 189 you can see by the Garmin stats just exactly where the hills were!!


I have just had a look. It appears that the hills put you through your paces!




Thanks Ian!


I echo Ian's comment - full respect!!!

I too have been monitoring my heart and trying to get to a comfortable heart rate to sustain a distance run - not quite there yet = but it is getting better and I am getting stronger.

Good advice on the dates- I don't like all the gels ect - but want to be able to take something to supplement my nutrition when doing long distance running.

Good luck with the HM :-)




well done you!!! Fantastic achievement, I've been taking my pulse a few times whilst running following on from what you were saying, just to check I'm not about to collapse! Ive carried chocolate a few times but it melted, in fact I'm tempted to take a tiny hip flask of brandy to tuck in my socks just to spur me on when it gets too much!!! Good luck on your training programme you really are doing so well!!!


Thanks! I was about to ask how you check your pulse accurately but then I remembered your profession! It gives you many more practical skills than us number crunchers!

Also I'm actually looking forward to next weeks 10 mile run, if someone would ave suggested that to me last year I'd have thought they were taking the mickey out of me.


Totally mad isn't it when you reflect back


Great time Aftabs! Well done! I also run with a belt and wouldn't be without it. I think for next week's long HM training run, I'm going to look at fuelling and take something out with me.


Thanks. All the HM training articles I've read state that we should be experimenting with fuelling while training and settle on whatever suits us at this stage. The articles advised that we shouldn't experiment on the day, so you are doing the right thing.


Well and truly on your way to your half marathon, looking at your times, I have every belief that you will run a sub 2 hour. :-)

Never ever considered dates and can't remember ever having one, gonna put that on my list to try.

I generally can't be bothered to carry anything so normally buy a bottle of water whilst I'm out. But will soon be leaving a bottle in a friends garden to pick up on my longer runs at the 60-90 min mark. I've also got to try carrying a bottle :-(


Thanks Phil!

Dates are the only thing I have tried and they seemed to work for me, so I think it definately is worth a go.

It took me a few minutes to get used to the running belt, I couldnt swing my arms in exactly the normal way, because they were hitting the bottles. But after a slight adjustment they were fine. The water does make a lot of noise though, I was happy I had my headphones on so I drowned some of the noise out!


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