Going backwards to go forwards: I'm still here... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Going backwards to go forwards

coryluscontorta profile image

I'm still here, jogging on. A couple of my post grad weeks were a bit unfocused, and I just ran 5k every time I went out. But it got to the point of tedium, and I realised I need to sense progression in my running to enjoy it properly.

So I hunted out a 10k app and I've started working on that. Trouble is, it feels like I'm going backwards with one 20 min 'steady' run day (push yourself a bit), one intervals day (easy does it, interspersed with heartthumpingly fast) and one longer run day (easy does it). I'm definitely a little faster, but I've yet to be convinced that the stamina is improving. The longer runs are still not up beyond 35 mins - and I was doing that and more before I started this 10k caper.

I guess I'll persevere, in the absence of any better plan. I confess I'm tempted to abandon the app and look for a different one, but all this chopping and changing is fraying my edges.

9 Replies

The nice thing for the rest of us seeing what you Graduates have to say is we can start to think about what comes next. My plan has been to get up to 5km and just stay there, but now I think about it, what one actually wants to do is to improve one's "fallback point" as much as possible. For example, if I now hit a bump in the road and need to take more than say 2 weeks out from exercise, I'll probably have to go back to Week 5 to restart. After a month, that's probably more like Week 4 or even Week 3.

So someone with Week 9 behind them falls back to Week 8 (albeit maybe a bit more slowly). However, if you push on to 7km runs, you fall back to 6km. Something like that. It goes on. You build yourself a taller ladder if you stretch yourself a bit.

As far as your plan goes, maybe you should try pushing ahead? Do one run of the current week, instead of 3, and move straight on to the next week. Keep doing that until you've found the point where you have enough challenge without the risk of injury? Just a thought.

Slow_Rob profile image

I think it is definitely worth trying a few different things to find out what you like and suits you best ... nothing wrong with changing something if you feel it doesn't work , that is part of the joy of it post graduation

It is really up to you how you progress :)

AncientMum profile image

First of all well done. You've obviously done the postgraduate 5k consolidation that so many people (myself included) recommend. Now, why not give yourself a wee bit of extra motivation by signing up to a race. Look for something in your area, maybe in October or November, then get yourself a customised race plan. Lots of people use MyAsics plans (look on the Asics website) and I know Poppypug used the BUPA website to devise the plan for her first 10k. Having a definite goal to aim towards is fantastic motivation and helps fill the 'post-Laura' void lots of us feel. I'm signing up to the Leeds Mo-Run in November to help keep me focussed as I fight my way back to fitness. Very best of luck :)

Just signed up to this (5k) as I'm only in week 3 and thought it's a great goal to work towards. I've booked and paid and ordered the t shirt! Never done anything like this before so really excited :-) p.s. Is it at roundhay or temple Newham?

AncientMum profile image
AncientMumGraduate in reply to Lizzielooly

Fantastic, I'll see you there! Last year it was at Roundhay, then they posted that it would be at Temple Newson this year, then I saw Roundhay mentioned again and now Temple Newson again.Your guess is as good as mine but, where ever it is, its a really fun race in a great cause. Poppypug is going to be there too doing the 10k, but I'm just aiming to be fit enough to do the 5k. :)

misswobble profile image

I did Sami Murphy Bridge to 10k which I reckon is the best. Sami is a bit kick ass but the music is rather brilliant with lyrics chosen to inspire struggling legs. It's on a dropbox file which can be found by doing a search using the box at the top right of the screen. it's free, which is a bonus. It's only five weeks which is tough but I ran week 4 quite a few times as I struggled with it. It's a keeper though and each time I go out the house it's the one I choose to run to every time. Week 1 podcast is a bit duff and cuts off part way through, but the rest are fine and the volume gets corrected

Mixing up your runs is quite a good thing to do so don't worry. Keeping your legs guessing is supposed to be the thing to do

Have fun! Don't overdo it though will you. It's early days yet

I'm in see exact same situation! I was doing so well with the c25k. For a few months after my times were going in the right direction and I was pushing myself distance wise. Today, I struggled with a 10 min run. I can do the 30mins. But not with the regularity I was. For me, right now, life is the problem. I work shifts so I no longer have a set running time.

I guess you need to register focus. Give yourself a goal and work towards it. I plan to start this next week. Aim for a good 5k in a few weeks and then focus on a 10k!

Even if you don't feel that you are running to your limit, your body will continue to adapt and your performance will improve. Your aerobic fitness, skeleton, joints etc all continue to strengthen as you run regularly without needing to push too hard. Then, when you do decide to up your training, you'll find your body is much more ready for it than you expected. Having reached the ability to run 5k and having run 5k 3 times a week for months are quite different situations.

To avoid getting bored, you can mix up all sorts of things: vary your route & discover new places in your area, do longer, slower runs one week and then pick up your speed another, find a friend or group to run with or any combination.

You're a runner now and it's good to try lots of things to keep that fresh - but no hurry. You have the rest of your life to work on it!

Happy running!


Steve_L profile image

Don't feel constrained by any of the plans out there, unless you find one that does exactly what you want. That couple of weeks after graduating is a difficult period for a lot of people, me included. I toyed with the idea of entering a 10k race soon after graduating, but wasn't sure if I would be able to. I didn't sign up for one, but found a real race that was going to take place a couple of months ahead, and pretended I had. I then found a myAsics plan to get to a 10k race by that date, and tried it out. One of the early runs in the plan was a slow 8k. That seemed a heck of a distance, especially as at that time, the furthest I'd run was 5.6k.

I set out on that run, trying to find a slow comfortable pace that I thought I could sustain,cleared my mind, and kept going. I was surprised to find that it was a very comfortable pace, and I wasn't getting tired. By 5k, I was pretty confident I could get to 8k. As I approached 8k, I realised I was feeling good still. So I ran on to 10k - not a fast time, it was about 1:17, but it was 10k. I did it again a week later to prove to myself I could, and then signed up for a real 10k race for June. That was a blast - I loved it. I've now got a 5 mile race at the end of August, and a Half Marathon in October (ten weeks last Sunday!). I ran my first 10 miles on Sunday, which was an experience!

I think you just need to learn your body and how it works - what it's capable of and what your limitations are - everyone is different. Then just have fun challenging yourself and most of all, making your runs enjoyable.

Also, if you haven't yet, try Parkrun!

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