Couch to 5K
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I thought I'd go for a long one today. I needed the solitude of a long run to think about stuff so I thought I'd drive to Richmond Park and run around the damned thing. I parked up in Pembroke Lodge car park and set off. There was no-one around at all - I was completely alone and the grasshoppers were clicking away in the long grass I was running alongside. The air temp was perfect for running and there was a stiff cool breeze on my face.

It's a weird thing how "mental" running is because I wasn't especially in the best frame of mind for a run today. I tried to banish any negative thoughts from my brain, but at 6K it came and bit me on the aristotle (bottle? Bottle and glass? ....). Suddenly my entire body was exhausted and I had to walk for a minute. I didn't want to make it longer than 60 secs cos I thought I might never get going again. I set off again and reached Roehampton Gate where I turn left for the lonnnnnnnngggg section up Sawyers Hill. Again, gremlins in my head kept niggling and once again I was forced to give up. The long incline stretching ahead of me was too much and I was now totally bushed. My bum muscles hurt, my glutes were singing the death march and my breathing was loud and heavy. I got quite dispirited I have to say and fished my phone out of my pocket to text Mrs Dan. She worries if I'm gone for too long and I thought a quick "This is gonna take ages" text would put her mind at rest. I was walking now.......beaten and dispirited......but then I quickly banished all that sh*t to the back of my head and thought how lucky I was to be able to be out here amongst the deer, the birds and the grasshoppers & breathing in the fresh air. Some peeps aren't so lucky are they?

Having decided to walk the 1.5K back to the car, I suddenly got a second wind (or was it a third?) - anyway, I set off again running....stiffly too.....not much fluidity to my running form whatsoever as my body hurt......eventually my sore muscles decided to give me a break and allowed me to get to a decent pace, up the final ascent to Richmond Gate and then left towards the car park where my motor was. I reached the car and took the last swig from my bottle of water, did my stretches and sat in the car with the door open for a while, looking across the park. I was drenched but at least I'd made it back to the car in one piece.

My time for all this 10K nonsense astounded me ; 63 mins 46 sec. I kept thinking how if I'd kept a decent pace non stop, I could have got a personal best there. I easily walked for 5 minutes. Maybe more. Ah well - it's not ALWAYS about PB's this running lark is it? (although it IS nice to get one!).

At least I did it though and beat those niggly negative gremlins on my shoulder. I'm going to have a few days rest now I think and allow my 51 year old bod to recover fully.

So to all you newbies - when you hit the "wall", don't panic! Walk for a bit, recover and when you're ready set off again. The main thing is you're out there DOING it.

happy running folks.


13 Replies

G'day Dan,

Great post, but perhaps not the greatest of runs today eh? Tell you what - you tell me you didn't just complete a 10K run with a bit of walking in less time than I ran 10K in a race? No? You can't can you?

That's because you are awesome and 10K is a LOOOONG way (your words actually)... and today you weren't in the zone (and dare I say it - perhaps going a bit too fast being distracted by them gremlins?)... Them gremlins are annoying like that - the important bit (as you so eloquently put it) is that you kept going. You didn't stop when you were tired - you walked. You only stopped when you were DONE...

Well done! 10K completed for Mr Zargo... now rest, eat, drink and be merry... the PB will come! And then you'll want another one... greedy lot we are!

I'm now mapping out your run in my head... did you run through the center of the park? Is that incline the last bit of the Parkrun? I didn't like that much on Sunday... but it was better than Dark Hill... :)

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Aussie! - It IS a bloody long way, 10K. That Richmond Park is a test of ones endurance isn't it? I did the same way round as you did - Dark Hill though leg screamingly difficult was fairly early on in my quest today, so managed to crawl up that without too much bother. I ran around the Tamsin Trail until Sheen Gate but decided to go straight on up the agonising Sawyers Hill instead of making a right turn and doing the 2nd Half of the Richmond Park Run. It would have added another kilometre and in the state I was in there was no way I could have managed it.

But as you say, I kept going (even though some of it was walking!) and the time aint that bad I suppose.

Tally ho!


Don't forget your recent achievements though Dan - that smashing sub-26 min 5k. Hang on to that thought. Sometimes the stars are not aligned for the perfect run, and other life worries get in the way - but you didn't give up, and think, you're now eating 10ks for breakfast when just a few short months ago the distance seemed so daunting.


Of course you are right TT. I think perhaps that the 5K dash wore me out last week and left me wanting, energy wise today. I've just foam rollered my ar*e because it is ZINGING!!!

Thanks for your most kind words.

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Well done Dan. Another 10K just keep logging the miles ;-). No gremlins for me today and just wish I could work out why. It really is mental! There is no such thing as a bad run and as Laura said there is always something left in the tank which you proved after your recovery walks. Great time too!

Time for a well deserved rest. I believe 50 is the new 40 ;-)

Do you take any notice of Miss Garmin and her recovery time?


Thanks GF. It's funny, but the time IS good (for my age!) yet I'm still thinking "Grrr....coulda done better!". Annoying innit?

Miss Garmin with me is Miss Endomondo. She kept good time throughout (as usual - an amazing app!) and informe me that I ran one of the K's in 5:28. WAY too fast......


Brilliant I'm a year older so that time would be great for me too. I know what you mean though.


Great post dan , & in my book a great run , even if it didn't feel that way for you at the time . Remember dan , we are only human & you have had a some terrific runs in the past few wks maybe you need to take it a bit easier for a few days , listen Ito me , I'm older & wiser lol


I bow to your wise words Rockette! I think you're absolutely right. We ARE only human and it's easy to forget that for most of my life I didn't do ANY exercise, so we ought to be thankful for what we can do really.

Cheers! :-)


Sounds like you did really well. So you ran out of steam, and you felt like throwing the towel into the ring. But you didn't do any of those things. You found a way of making yourself run again, and that, I think, is a brilliant victory of the gremlims.

So enjoy it. You've done well. Again, I might say.


I think you've done great too Dan.

You overcame the desire (or perceived need) to stop by just taking a little walk - what great advice that is.

And all those hills too?? Haven't attempted more than a gentle slope yet.

As many have said in the past - and this comment stays with me - any run is a run - whatever happens or however 'good' or 'bad' a run is, it's better than not doing one at all.

Posts like this inspire and entertain :-) :-)

Now go and have a well deserved rest :-) x


you did really well to manage a 10k with a bit of the gremlins on your shoulder and thats not a bad time at all! Best of all you kept going and didn't give in! Some days are just better than others! Has mrsDan been baking lately? if so reward yourself for all those calories burnt!

I got out of work late@ 5.45, so almost persuaded myself that i couldn't POSSIBLY get to running club on time - they set off @ 6.15 (haven't been for few weeks in the hot!) As i walked to the car where my running gear was(original plan was to pop to my dads to change) i devised a plan as i really have to put my mind to it as have a 10k in 8 weeks! so water bought at Sainsburys to top up bottle, quick dash in their loos and transformed to Wonder Aliboo!! So made it, not an easy run, still humid and legs were cranky, but like you i thought "get a grip"and enjoy the scenery (by the river in parts) and made it round the 5.2 k! :)


Well done Dan... Nicely done :)


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