It's been three months since I finished C25k. In case it helps anyone with motivation or ideas for continuing after the programme, I thought I'd jot a few notes. I decided to continue improving 'free form', rather than use the after-C25k podcasts, and started attending Parkruns on a pretty much weekly basis. Concentrating on 5k hsa allowed me to keep on improving, with quite big improvements still in my personal best - I ran my first proper 'race' yesterday, and did it in 26 mins 23 secs - I still have to pinch myself thinking back to the effort of Week 1 Run 1 C25k, and my collapse-at-the-finish-line attempt to do 5k in 30mins in Week 9 Run 3. I'm also enjoying lunchtime runs from work, and am trying to go a bit further, usually 6-8k, but I did manage 10k in under an hour a fortnight ago too.
I did C25k as a challenge to myself, not expecting to get hooked on running, but I've got the bug. 10k race in a fortnight, then a half-marathon in October to come. I'm a big bloke (BMI around 33) so this all takes some effort, but the weight is coming off, and I'm feeling good.
Reflecting on my experiences:
1. Keep on going, as Laura says. That's the most important thing by far, even if you need to slow it right down. In the 5k race yesterday, I was so tempted to have a walk at the 4k mark. I really hurt. But I slowed it down for a bit, then found a second wind. C25k is time-based, so it's the time you must do.
2. Trust the programme. It seems some jump in week 5 to go from five minutes to 20 minutes, but the idea is that if you can run five, you can run 20. It'll hurt some more, but you *can* do it.
3. In nearly all cases, the barriers are mental. If you can just find the mental will to take one more step, over and over again, you'll do it. If you have to stop, ask yourself if you could have taken one more step, and next time do it.
There's two bits of feedback about the programme I'd suggest from reading this forum:
1. Perhaps it would be nice to know about the methodology early on. I think some people would find it useful to understand why the weekly targets are set the way they are, why there's that big Week 5 jump etc. I remember the nervousness I had at the end of each week wondering whether I could make the 'little' increases, then the horror of seeing the Week 5 programme
2. The other big question is advice in knowing the difference between "it hurts because this is a challenge" and "it hurts because there is something wrong and I shouldn't continue just now". At some point just about everything has hurt during or after running, but I've been lucky it all seems to be effort-related and temporary. Any guidance on the difference between "my knee hurts because it's doing something new and challenging" and "my knee hurts because it has something wrong that I'm making worse" would be good.
Anyhow, keep running, and again, praise be to C25k - if anyone had told me six months ago that I'd be running 5k in 26 mins 23 secs, I'd have branded them a nutter