Couch to 5K
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Intervals - Ugh

Having recently completed the programme I've been trying to decide where to go from here. Do I go for speed or distance? On my last run I decided to uprate the distance slightly and went for 15 minutes running, 1 minute walking repeated 3 times. This isn't such a major issue as I was already running for 35 minutes (6.5K) as part of my week 9 runs. Things were great. I just plodded round and thought to myself "this is quite easy"

This morning I thought I'd sample Laura's C25K+ interval routine. I set off on my usual 5K route which starts on a walk from home to the Hall of Gluttony (the fish and chip shop). From there my route meanders round to finish at the Chapel of Consequence (the undertaker's). If I'm feeling good I may extend things on to the Home of Redemption (the parish church) and even on to the House of Recovery (the pub). There was no chance of me doing that today however. The one minute sprints followed by one minute slow jogs near did me in. Laura timed things deliberately, I think. My one minute slow jogs were all on the nice easy bits whilst the sprints all occurred where you have to concentrate and get the timings right (e.g. crossing the road at the traffic lights which always change just at the wrong moment, the 50 yards of accurate foot placement I have to make down dog dirt alley, the one stretch that is always sheet ice). I'm sorry, but intervals just suck.

To add insult to injury, Laura abandoned me in the middle of nowhere when the podcast finished. It wasn't a full 30 minutes so I had to continue on with a slow jog (I call it my tortoise jog) to get up to the half hour minutes so I could record it for Jantastic...

If intervals are all like that, I think I'm going to aim for distance and not speed in future. This is the first run I've had since starting the programme that I didn't rate.

11 Replies

Ah that's because it tested you and you don't like being tested do you? It sucks. LOL

You could just spend your time on long, slow runs once a week

Yawn, snore, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Fast intervals, say of 3 k, will move your running on, get your juices flowing and improve your speed. They sure take the boredom out of the proceedings, specially if you find fresh places to run.

Don't get me wrong, I love a long slow run. They're wonderful for recharging batteries but I wouldn't want to keep doing them. You need to constantly mix things up or you get bored


Yeah - I think I'm going to have to find somewhere else to run though - a rout where I can concentrate on running hard, rather than avoiding the natural and un-natural hazards that seemed to bedevil me this morning. Every time it came to a sprint there was something happening which I had to consider (e.g. brewers delivery lorry unloading at the top of the hill ahead of me - rolling the kegs towards me - I've had a keg break away and come bowling down the hill at me in the past - I like to give them a wide berth). I never realised quite how much I tend to anticipate and accommodate what's happening around me. It's normally a quiet route, or so i thought. I go out early straight from home when I first get up. I don't really want the faff of getting the bike out and then cycling to the park before I start my run - if I did that I might as just well go for a bike ride.

It looks like I'll just have to grin and bear it... :(


It wasn't the running it was the surroundings! Perhaps you need to find a more 'reliable' set of streets to do your intervals on. I did intervals to Wk1 for the first time last weekend and it was extremely hard work and I discovered a new found respect for C25K beginners - I'd forgotten how hard it really is, which means I clearly haven't been pushing myself enough with my boring 5k runs of late.

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I love the names you give the locations in your neighbourhood!

As for intervals... yeah, they're hard work. That's sort of the purpose. But - and it's an important but - they make the normal non-fast running feel easier (while it gets faster), so they're a bit of pain for quite a lot of gain. I hope you'll give 'em another change, you might just find that you like the results :)

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>"As for intervals... yeah, they're hard work. That's sort of the purpose. But - and it's an important but - they make the normal non-fast running feel easier (while it gets faster), so they're a bit of pain for quite a lot of gain. I hope you'll give 'em another change, you might just find that you like the results "

Yes, yes, yes! I dislike intervals, because they are hard work, but the rest of the non-fast running is so much easier and so much more enjoyable! :-)


A couple of observations on Speed. One: yes, do pick a suitable route to avoid the obstructions - in my case this was to avoid inclines as nothing is worse than wanting to speed up with Laura says so, only to find you are huffing and puffing up a hill. When choosing a route think about doing a slightly longer warm up too. Some of us, myself included, found we needed about 8 - 10 mins of steady running before attempting the first burst of speed. I used to run for a few minutes before starting the podcast.

And two: doing interval training is not supposed to be easy. :-) If it was you wouldn't see improvement. And if you found the Speed session easy, then what would you do next? There is only one Speed podcast, not 9-increasingly difficult sessions. The first time I did it, I couldn't manage all 6 intervals, I think I did 4, then I gradually worked my way up to 6. Then I increased that by one more every few weeks (I spliced two copies of the podcast together using audio software) until I got to 12. Did I find these easy? Not at all. I once complained to my (hill-running, marathon-running) son that I felt sick after completing the last interval on one intervals session and he said I wasn't trying hard enough unless I actually WAS sick! OK we don't need to go to that extreme, but the point is running fast intervals is hard, but they help. As does increasing your long, slow run - which is much more fun! :-)


i do intervals roughly once every 2 weeks and inbetween just started doing some hill work to alternate things , so far so good, technology allowing ... :D the secret is to mix things up :D


All I can say is "FARTLEK, dear fellow" That way you are in charge of the pace and duration of intervals and so long as you keep challenging yourself, I think you will find the results similar to Laura's interval regime.

Keep running, keep smiling.


honestly....a combo of both with really help....I would preserver with the intervals, they pay off in dividends :)


I have noted that you have used the word "sprint" twice :) -- intervals are meant to be hard , but controlled. By their very nature full on sprints are not really controlled - you are basically way out of control during a sprint !! :) So - these intervals are meant to be "hard" and "fast" but sufficiently slow that you can finish the task given to you. If you can't finish the full task /number of repeats, you are going at it too hard!! :)


Thanks for all the replies. Now it's a day later and I've had the morning off, I can't understand what I was moaning about ;) Things seem much rosier now.I'm certainly not going to give up on intervals - I just wasn't very impressed with them. I've now got today to think about my running plans for the weekend...


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