Um, not quite sure I was supposed to do that

So Friday after work I completed the 20 minute W5R3, and spent all yesterday feeling really good about myself for having done it. This morning was supposed to be W6R1. I looked at the information, and it said 5-8-5 for running, with 3 minutes walking between. I'm a 20 minute machine now, how can I possibly go back to only 8 minutes (because in my mind only the longest spell of running really counts)!?

I have a route planned that starts about 5 minutes walk from my front door, has a nice loop by the river and returns past a church with a big tower, and if I run right back to the start point, is exactly 5 km. I had been saving it for when I got good enough. So I thought instead of the specified run, I'd set out on that route. I'd run for 20 minutes (justifying it as a "repeat" of W5R3, after all it's OK to repeat a run right?), maybe a little more, and finish the route as my warm-down walk.

I turned on the running app on my phone, and got some nice music going (hey, if it's just a straight 20 minutes, I don't need Laura to tell me that, and now I can have my taste in music, rather than hers). So with my thoughts on pacing in my mind (see my other post), I set out with the objective of keeping to a pace that I could maintain "forever", enjoy the spring weather (when I started C25k the snowdrops were just coming up, now the daffodils are out) and see where my legs take me. I reached 20 minutes, and felt pretty good. I thought I'd keep going. The voiceover from the app came on and told me I had done 4k. That seemed a good place to think about stopping, right? But then I saw the church tower. Perhaps I'll just keep going to the tower, it makes a nice landmark place to finish. So I did. By the time I got to the church, I was feeling reasonably tired, but not in a "I'm going to die if I keep going" way, so I just went on and finished the route. According to the app on my phone, I ran 5.01 km in 34'41".

So where does that leave me now? I've run for 30 mins non stop and I've run for 5k. Have I finished the course? Or does it only count once I've done 27 runs total? I am inclined to keep to this route, and run this 5k three times a week now, with the aim of improving my time, at least until I get bored of it and fancy stretching myself further. I am aware that part of the steady ramp up of distances in the course is to reduce the risk of injury, so is doing what I propose a really bad idea on that front? I should point out that for the last three years I have been cycling to work every day (10 minutes each way), so I expect this has given me a higher starting point of general fitness than a genuine couch starter.


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4 Replies

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  • First off - Well done! You're clearly storming through this :)

    But sadly, I don't think you can claim graduation until you have properly been through the programme and run wk9 3 times! As you say its gradual so as to reduce the risk of injury, or premature knackeredness (that's a technical term!) but also about learning to pace yourself, with good measures of motivation and giving you the evidence that you can do it.

    I also ran for 30 mins before wk9. In wk 6 - by accident! But went back because i wanted to build up a bit slowly, adn I was enjoying it so much I as terrified of getting injured! Even after that I often ran minutes over the necessary - partially to prove to myself that I could, parutally cos I was further away from home than expected and wanted to get back quicker! But personally I still wanted to "run the programme" - although I can see why others might find it slow or limiting

    It sounds like you are doing really well - so you could try parkrun to build up and maybe start to think about some bigger goals for post-graduation - whether thats a bridge to 10k, or getting your time down further.

    We all start at different places - I cycle and swim regularly but found running used a completely different set of muscles - let alone the breathing which I'm still struggling with - and the coaching that the programme gives you will help with that. As Laura says - its as much about the psychology as the actual distance and time. (acutally I dont think she says exactly that - but she should!)

    Well done for getting so far, so fast and good luck with however you choose to continue!

  • Thanks for the reply. I didn't mean to sound overly boastful, I just came back feeling like I had to share that amazing run with somebody (I live on my own, so couldn't bore others with it). Part of why I went crazy was that I had built up the idea of W5R3 in my mind as something almost unattainable, and when I achieved it I felt a little let down. In my mind, "run for 20 minutes without a walking break" and "run for so long and so far that you can barely run another step, then run a bit more" were the same thing. I thought I was aiming for the first of these objectives, but in my mind I was was not going to feel entirely satisfied until I had achieved the second one too. So I did. I guess this is an important lesson for me, that I need to separate the objective goal from the emotional goal. Now that I've calmed down a bit, I can return to the program and see it through. I'll play it by ear as I go as to whether to strictly keep to the official timings, or run for a bit longer, but I don't have an obvious route near me that is longer than 5k, so that will do as a hard limit for the time being.

    From what I've read about them, I really like the sound of a parkrun. Unfortunately there isn't one near where I live, but perhaps I can figure a way to find my way to one before too long. What I definitely do know, though, is that running is something I can do and enjoy doing.

  • I have seen it argued that, if thoses of us who need to repeat weeks aren't disqualified by taking longer, then those who can leap forward aren't disqualified by doing so. I don't think it would hurt to do each of the remaining runs in between your long runs in the coming weeks. For variety, or a running 'rest' or just in case it makes you feel more complete or some such.

  • Having had my day off, I'm having second thoughts about my bravado. I'm really getting a kick out of feeling fitter, and having a routine that gets me active. What I'm a bit worried about is that part of the design of the c25k program is to slowly ramp up the distance so that my legs and joints can grow used to the particular demands of running. Maybe the right solution is to stick reasonably closely to the official running schedule and do something else besides. There's a hill near here I tried to ride my bike up last summer, and it nearly killed me at the time because I was so unfit. I reckon I could probably get up it now.

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