Meeting your level

I used to be quite fit when I had no car and two kids to perambulate by myself . Now kids are older and I have both a car and a licence to drive it. This means I've done less and less activity in the 4.5 years since I passed, and my life has changed so that I really can't do without most of the driving - school runs, work from a car office, etc. So, the inevitable has happened and I'm now about 1.5 stone heavier, puffier, and much creakier (not to mention 5 years older - ahem...)

However, I still have some residual fitness and haven't REALLY struggled with the runs up to now (week 4), at least not physically, more psychologically. What I'm wondering is whether I'll meet my level at some point on the programme and hit a wall which will take some breaking through, or if I'll be able to move forward incrementally increasing fitness as I go. See what I mean about creating barriers in my head ?

I realise no-one can give me a definitive answer for my particular set of circumstances, but I'd love to hear anyone else's thoughts or experience.

20 Replies

  • Keep soldiering on: my first 'struggle' run was the one I've just done, W7R2 (well, a long stretch of it was uphill AND into the wind). I don't think it's a wall, though, just a duff run. Everyone on here will tell you that now and then you'll have one of those. So when that happens, be prepared for it and take heart.

    Psychologically, I find the first 3-5 mins the worst - just feel breathless and wonder why I'm doing this. That seems to be a common feeling too and again, the advice is to just keep on going through it, find your pace and you'll feel better.

    Good luck!

  • Thank you so much for this reply - it's so great to hear that other people have similar problems/concerns. I'm new to this lark, and always tempted to feel as though it's just me, I'm so unfit, I'm the only one...

  • Thanks for your reply: glad it helped.

    And guess what? I just did W7R3 and it was my best run yet: plenty of fuel in the tank after 25mins so I just carried on (yeah, so I'm slow - but I'm running!) I think what happens is that you get comfy with a particular distance/number of hills etc and when you take a step up it can be a bit of a killer - and very demoralising to feel like an old wheeze-bag again. Whenever I feel tired or fed up I just remember how I once couldn't even run for 5 mins. That's VERY cheering!

    Good luck….

  • Have you gone straight through from Wk1 to Wk7? I can't quite believe I'll make it in so short a time!

  • Well done for starting c25k . Everybody is different & some find different wks tougher than others . You can make it more challenging for your self ( not too much) by increasing your pace a bit . The runs do start getting longer soon & I personally could feel myself getting fitter by the end of each week . Keep up the good work & enjoy . Happy running .

  • Thanks - I really found I responded to Laura's comment that it's by pushing against the feelings of exhaustion that we gain fitness. Gives a reason for the pain!

  • Good morning, and well done taking on the challenge to go back to the level of fitness you once had. Maybe you will gain even more than fitness, you will be fit and lose some of the weight accumulated. However, I'm not sure if you can get the 5 years back! :-)

    I also used to be fit. Running 5 km was the norm 3 times a week. Back then I was a full time mum of four and was worried that I would 'let myself go', so going for my runs was part of my 'keep-yourself-sane-you-are-important' programme!

    Today, I'm in a different place. Children are growing up fast and do not need me as much. I went back to work. Have hit 40 and put a tonne of weight on :-(

    Hooray! I light went on in my head 6 weeks ago. I started to think about me again and joined this programme as a result. As you said, the mental battle seems bigger than the physical one for the first few weeks. I'm now on W6R1(I'm becoming a runner again!) and I'm finding it tough. The physical pain is crawling in. The sandbags that the invisible person attaches to my legs in the first 5 min of a 20 min straight run are very heavy. Also the invisible hand blocks my nostrils and I find myself breathing through my mouth messing up my breathing rhythm!

    I hope you don't have the 'invisible person' coming to you! And if he/she does...fight! Don't give in. The programme has worked for so many people here and we are going to be two more members of the 'graduated club' soon! Yes!

    All the best and don't take you eyes off your goal!

  • "The sandbags that the invisible person attaches to my legs in the first 5 min of a 20 min straight run are very heavy."

    In my case it was bags of tatties that someone attached to my legs! But, I used to imagine the bags each had a hole in them, and as I ran the tatties slowly fell out and the bags got lighter. Could you maybe reach down and cut a wee hole in your sandbags? ;-)

  • Sandbags! There is so much about this game that is common to us all. I thought my heavy legs were just me...

  • Thank you so much for this reply. My plan is to be looking (and feeling) better on my 38th birthday that I did on my 37th - so turning back the clock in that way!

  • As someone whose level was somewhere before week 1, i have observed folks who began with me, or after me, hitting this point. Coming along here to check in, they garner some reassurance and advice: repeating a week, taking an extra rest day between runs. Sometimes, reaching the point that it is harder is when someone realizes they do too need better shoes, or compression shorts, to take stretching more seriously or add core building exercises on rest day.

    You will do fine though. Well done for starting!

  • Thanks! I'm definitely finding this site a real source of inspiration, wisdom and solidarity.

  • "What I'm wondering is whether I'll meet my level at some point on the programme and hit a wall which will take some breaking through, or if I'll be able to move forward incrementally increasing fitness as I go."

    If you've not really struggled in the programme, I think you'll find you can keep progressing slowly and surely until you can run for 30 minutes. Like you, I too, came to the programme having previously being fit (from being car-free and walking everywhere with the children) and I didn't find any stumbling blocks. In fact I reached 5km and immediately went on to train for 10K.

  • Thanks so much - that is definitely my secret hope! But I think I might be a bit over-optimistic... Will keep jogging and blogging!

  • It is a mental journey JUST as much as a physical one, and that is part of the training that isn't covered as much. In the programme I had nightmares about W5 Run 3 ( I am not joking!!!) and at the start of every run I was convinced I wouldn't make it. However...every time you do thats the gremlin punched. Since graduating I do 2 things now:

    1. I have a mantra ( I would recommend thinking about that now. Mine is PTB PTB ( Push That Body, Punish That Body)

    2. When it gets hard I go into a mental zone....I look at something a metre or so away and aim for it, then the next thing a metre away etc. It mesmerises you and gives your brain the pleasure of little goals. I use it particularly on hills...

    I really hope all that has helped, and sorry I went on a bit there didn't I??!! And well done on your progress and just getting out there!!

  • Great advice - thanks. I do have a running mantra grace a Tony Robbins: "Every day in every way, I'm getting stronger and stronger / braver and braver / more resourceful..." (adding in whatever positive attribute I feel in need of that day) I also try to visualise myself crossing the finish line of a race, and lift my arms in the air as I do so - something about the physical act creates in advance a tiny feeling of elation. I will also make my focus on milestones shorter - at the moment they tend to be road signs or lampposts which can seem quite far! Do I sound a bit nutty? I'm overdosing on personal development stuff at the moment as things are taking off in my professional life and I'm trying very hard to keep up!

  • One thing to be aware of is whether your joints are suffering. I thought I wasn't too unfit when I started as I had been swimming a lot, and indeed my heart and lungs have been OK and my leg muscles have got used to things. But I've had to learn to take care of my knees, and now my left hip is demanding some TLC too. Anyway pay attention to grumbles and if in doubt, get things checked.

  • Yes, I'd add to ajwyld's advice. I, too, had the cardio-vascular fitness prior to starting the programme and think I pushed too much, too soon. I got an over-use injury in the form of Illiotibial Band Syndrome. You need to get the 'miles in your legs' by continuing to build up slowly and surely.

  • Yes, slow and steady is the advice I'd give everyone else. I'm just impatient and lose heart easily. So I've got to take my own medicine!

  • Yes, I'm super-conscious of knees and ankles. That's what's always stopped me in the past, but I've got the supports at the ready and so far... (well I'm not going to jinx anything by saying it)

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