W9R3 completed but disappointing: I woke up this... - Couch to 5K

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W9R3 completed but disappointing

ChrisL profile image

I woke up this morning (dah, dah, dah, dah, dum) knowing that it was the big day - W9R3 - and I would be completing the 9 week course that I started, erm, well, 9 weeks ago. Unfortunately my planning for the big day since my last run was very poor - hardly any sleep Friday night, physically demanding garden construction project and 18 holes of golf yesterday, up late again last night and possibly a glass or 2 too many as well.

Consequently when I woke up this morning (dah, dah, dah, dah, dum) I felt, well, not quite rubbish but certainly not on top form. I thought maybe I should delay W9R3 til tomorrow but that would mean I would have taken 9 weeks & 1 day so that was unthinkable.

So I had my 2 cups of tea and a banana and off I ran. After about 100m I got my usual protest from my left ankle but that went away again 100m further on as usual. At about 1km I felt a bit breathless & tired. This normally goes away at about the 2km mark - only today it didn't and by 3km I was already off my 5 minutes per km pace. I didn't feel like I had any more in the tank to rectify the situation and I realised that this was going to be a rubbish run.

And so it was. Whereas W9R1 & 2 were both 5km in sub-25 minutes and slightly over 6km for the 30 minutes today was 5km in 25:24 and only 5.89km for the 30 minutes. Although this clearly counts as a graduation run I am extremely disappointed as I had set myself the target of a 5km parkrun in 25 minutes or less at graduation and I now realise that is by no means a done deal and will depend very much on how I feel on the day.

It also makes we question my rather ambitious plan to get to 10k in the next 4 weeks, but that will be the subject another post...

15 Replies
DH164 profile image

Hi ChrisL

I think you should be very proud of yourself considering all things stopping you from actually getting out there but you still went and completed it.

Many many people don't reach 5K after 9 weeks. I graduated in October and I still struggle with 30 mins running and never get to 5K but I can see slow progress in speed.

I am not the one to comment on your goal of 10K in 4 weeks but I read lots of peoples' comments about getting injured if you try to go too far too soon.

Don't beat yourself up... celebrate and look forward to next time and that graduate badge!

ChrisL profile image
ChrisLGraduate in reply to DH164

True DH164 but not having taken more than 25m for 5km for the last couple of weeks it was really annoying to miss the target on W9R3 of all runs...

IannodaTruffe profile image

Chris, you are not only a graduate but obviously one with a competitive streak. Have you done a Parkrun yet? I am sure you will find you knock quite a considerable amount off your normal 5k time when you are being towed around the course by other Parkrunners. Your times are good, whatever your age, so I would say don't beat yourself up over them. As for hitting 10k in another four weeks, the recommended increase in distance and duration is 10% per week and I know that I suffered by exceeding that. You have a lifetime of running ahead of you, there is no need to rush to achieve it all in a very short time, at the risk of injuring yourself and having to be laid up, maybe for weeks on end. "Too much, too soon" is a very common refrain from those who have been injured, often in the few months following graduation.

Congratulations. Good luck. Chill. keep running, keep smiling.

ChrisL profile image
ChrisLGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

Hi IT. No, I haven't done a parkrun yet. I need to get that sorted out.

I thought I would simply add 1km per week to get from 6km to 10km. That is 16% declining to 11% per week. I am planning to do it as 2x run/walk and 1x long run per week to reduce the chance of injury...

..and because long runs bore me to tears.


Well done. It doesn't matter how you got there - you got there.

Don't worry about the time, we all get difficult runs now and again. Since graduation last September my 5k time has come down by over 7 minutes, and I'm no athlete I promise you. It's just repetition and determination. As for pushing the distance, I did a few more 5ks before trying 6, then 7 and I was going to try 8 until it occurred to me that if I did 8 and stopped I'd be wondering why I didn't just push on to 10, so I just did and there it was: 10k. All of this was several weeks apart and I was (and still am) running 3 times a week with the other two runs being 'only' 5k.

Work you way up in measured steps and keep running and I bet you get there soon enough. It's as much mental as physical. When you're ready, you'll do it and when you do, come back here and tell everyone so we can celebrate with you.

ChrisL profile image
ChrisLGraduate in reply to Rob_and_his_westie

Hmm. I think I must have a very different attitude to running Rob. I don't really enjoy it and 10k would never simply happen. The only way I would do it would be as a series of personal targets - and ideally the fewer/quicker the better.

Chris, I promise you I am in no way a 'sporty' person. I'm not particularly fast over 5k and 12 months ago I couldn't run 5m let alone 5km. I was definitely obese, no question. Honestly, the time doesn't matter. How long you take to get to any particular goal doesn't matter. What matters is that you seize this opportunity to change. I have and I do not regret it. You don't have to get to any particular goal quickly, you just have to commit to the goal and accept that it might take a while, but please, keep on at it.

We all have it in us to change and improve. I consider myself living proof, and I am not special in any way. Honestly, you can do this.


ChrisL profile image
ChrisLGraduate in reply to Rob_and_his_westie

Ah but there you have it Rob. You had a definite target and a healthy interest in achieving it. You were obese and (I assume) pretty unfit at the start. I wasn't. I was about the right weight and really quite fit & active. I haven't changed at all apart from the ability to run a bit further than before, and nor will I change physically even if I get to 10k. Therefore the time/distance equation is everything. It is the whole point, the only point to running, for me anyway.

ju-ju- profile image

Blimey you are a bit hard on yourself aren't you? Id say thats amazing, a real achievement, and a time most of us have yet to achieve!!!!! You need to get a grip on your targets matey and get real....I did the 10k 4 weeks after graduating but that was the time I got knee trouble, so I am really cautious about increasing distances now and I stick to the rules.....well done you have done amazingly....

ChrisL profile image
ChrisLGraduate in reply to ju-ju-

Thanks JJ. But I need tough targets if I am to continue running. I will let you know how I get on...

misswobble profile image

Well done Chris. Your Grad badge looks lovely on.

Your post about hating long runs as they're boring made me smile. You play golf for goodness sake. 18 holes is a long walk isn't it! That's not boring is it.

Why run if you don't like it? Or is that a daft question?

ChrisL profile image
ChrisLGraduate in reply to misswobble

Thank you Miss W. The grey of the badge matches my hair, don't you think?

Golf is long and unbelievably frustrating but it is all about targets and perpetual improvement (in theory anyway) which appeals enormously to me. Sadly it seems I am a much more natural runner than I am a natural golfer. I would happily trade one for the other and never run again.

GoogleMe profile image

Maybe the real achievement will be the psychological changes that running has the power to effect....Maybe your next challenge could be to work out how to enjoy it... it sounds way tougher for you than the faster/longer thing. (Something tells me that catching up on Gardeners' Question Time podcasts might not be the answer for you...)

Reminds me a bit of the yoga saying "It's not about touching your toes, it's what you learn on the way down" (Just as well in my case....)

What a fantastic time for graduation. We all have good runs and bad runs. It's amazing what times you record without even pushing it yet when you go for it then sometimes it doesn't really happen. There have been runs when i've recorded times that i've been pleased with but knew that i could go quicker. When i've tried like yourself the first half has been good but then i've slowed over the second half while normally i'm even paced apart from trying to put a spurt on for the last kilo. I think it's down to slight stress and tension that takes more energy out of you as you are putting more effort in. The secret is to try and remain relaxed while running at a good pace for yourself. It's easier said then done. As a newbie graduate you are going to record some exceptional times. I should guess that if you did a parkrun now provided you do not set out too quick then you will easily out perform your best time.


ChrisL profile image
ChrisLGraduate in reply to baronblaze

Thanks BaronBlaze. I think you may be right about tension. I do need to get a parkrun sorted out.

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