Leaps and Bounds (Post-Graduation Check In)

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 :-)

9 Replies

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  • What a great post thanks. I graduated on Saturday and have my first run without Laura in the morning so your post C25K experience is really helpful. I am managing 4.5k in 30 minutes at the moment and it really isn't pretty! I aspire to get to the sort of time you are doing now and it's great to hear its possible. All the best for the future!

  • I think it's best concentrating on the improvement rather than the time itself. The big thing for me was the day I went for a run, and found myself looking around, thinking about other stuff rather than "am I going to collapse? Can I make it? Is that a twinge in my knee? This hurts". If you haven't got to that point yet, look forward to it - it's an amazing day, no matter what speed/distance you are doing. Good luck!

  • Great post - thank you. I graduated last week and this week has been continuing on with the 30 minute and/or 5K runs. According to my GPS (which I don't always trust) I'm doing 5K in somewhere between 26-31 minutes (depending on my mood, the hills, the music in my ears, etc..) so I'm really happy with that.

    I am now going to try B210K (with my own music) and I've entered a 10K race at the end of July (giving me around 9 weeks of training). I think 10K will be my "limit" but let's see... I'm hooked now - it's tough work but I love the buzz of finishing and it's doing my fitness the world of good...

    Thanks for your post - and all the very best with your running --- you've certainly had this change your life too! Well done!

  • I'm sure you'll do well in the 10k as you're doing good 5k times. I've found slowing the pace down for longer distance a bit tricky (never thought I'd say that!). I'm sure once you've finished that 10k, you'll be looking up half-marathons before long! Good luck with your training and the 10k yourself.

  • Oh - and good luck with the 10K - I look forward to hearing all about it!

  • Really helpful post and thanks for posting. I start W9 on Wednesday, and was wondering what the options are afterwards. I was wondering whether to go for speed or stamina, and having thought about how I run and reading your post, I think speed is perhaps the next thing to work on.

  • I'm a bit constrained by time, so I've found regular 5k runs easier to fit in than longer runs. It seems to be helping my stamina anyhow, as I've felt surprisingly comfortable slowing down and running longer when I get a chance midweek. The other benefit of 5k is the availability of runs - particularly Parkruns, where it's easy (and free) to get a recorded time to improve week-after-week. Enjoy your final C25k runs, and the elation of 'graduation' when it comes!

  • Thanks - can't wait to graduate!

  • What a brrrrrrrrilliant time! Amazeballs. Your positive attitude should inspire newbies and I can completely concur with you about the "bug" you get when doing this program.

    It's hard to advise folks on here about what to do when aches and pains present themselves, as I'm sure none of us want to give advice that may just make something worse. All I can say is that I think we know our bodies well enough to let us know when a "niggle" is irritating and a "pain" is bloody hurting! Stretching muscles after a run is VITAL and one can always do additional "treatments' like foam rollering which for me has had remarkably positive effects.

    But hey, I'm rambling now.....! Enjoy your 10K in two weeks time. I too have my first "official" 10K not long after yours so I will be looking for your post about it all! Cheers.

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