Couch to 5K
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The good and bad with running

Just thought I would share my recent experience. Just when I think I am not an absolute beginner any more and gaining a bit of running confidence this happened.

I did it I went for a run with a proper runner. We both agreed to a leisurely 5k as an interim run as we both have running goals to achieve. Mine was a long slow run a couple of days later.

So off we trot - it felt ok, having a nice chat but I started to puff slightly. - mmmm I often get this in the first 10 mins. Map my run tells me first k was sub 5 mins. WHAT ,, I mention this to fellow runner who runs without any technology. I suggest we slow down, 2 k is 5 mins15. HELL. I can't keep this up. A second request to slow . 3 k at 14 mins. I am puffing and my leg hurts . Mmm. I suggest she goes on without me. I Finnish sub 30 mins, god knows her time, I couldn't even see her in the distance. It must be way under 25. MMMM. I felt hot ,bothered and tired but worried for the long run.

So Sunday arrives. Long run day, I trot off again- legs are heavy and tired. I did 2k and for the first time I stopped, abandoned the run and walked home. No achieving running goals that day, it should have been 10 k but what an awful run.

So I have spent the week reflecting. Thus is what I think:-

1 running requires you to know and understand your pace and capabilities. I pushed too hard just to keep up, I was stupidly competitive

2. Running is a mind game - goal setting is important. Sometimes those goals need to be small and achievable . This week was just to run one minute in each kilometres faster. I achieved that and felt great

3 I agonised over the bad run, thoughts like I can't, I didn't , I failed. Why. I did well on Friday

4. I ran on my own again this week - I felt better. It was nice to run with people but I think I need to be more specific about my abilities. Clearly I was nowhere near matched last run. I know how the conversation should go, next time. Oh my friend though it was a lovely run - beautiful, she was full of compliments and supportive, apparently I speed up going up hills and she slows dow!n !!!

In conclusion running is a constant challenge, it a journey with no final destination . Keep going folks , run through the bad times and enjoy the good.

5 Replies

What a great post and I'm sure at some stage we've all felt a bit like this. I've done a few runs with my sister who even at her slow pace is much faster than I am and I often feel like I'm holding her back, but at the same time I do quite like the fact that helps me push myself a little bit more.

I think I much prefer running on my own and running my own race.

Happy future running :-)


Hi Julie. Don't be disappointed. Sounds like you were going very fast on the run with your friend and that probably took it out of you a bit. It's a pity your friend didn't slow down a bit for you when you asked or not agreed to the run at all, if she didn't want to run at your level.

A couple of years ago I tried running. I wasn't on couch to 5k, just done a bit of jogging on the treadmill (10 mins or so).. I said to a friend of mine who runs that I was going for a jog, she thought she'd accompany me. She then spent the whole session "coaching" me which was basically shouting at me to keep up, speed up, run from point A to B and back again "Now!" "Faster!".

I do laugh looking back and my friend finds the whole thing thoroughly embarrasing. :-D


Hmm ... Makes me think of the nice guy I met recruiting for a running club at one Parkrun I volunteered at. At some point I told him I was managing 20 whole minutes of running, and he said, "Well you need to up your game, then, don't you?" And you could see he wasn't being mean, just stupid. A lot of athletes simply can't understand non-athleticism (that's one point), and a lot of athletes and non-athletes regard running as identical with athleticism. You only run if you can compete. (point 2).

Basically what this means is that you have to simply ignore athletes most of the time, when they're talking of running. They dont get it, not our version of running. When you consider the health cost of that way of seeing the world, it has cost humanity an enormous amount of health and happiness. c25k overturns those notions, and that's what's "great" (in the grand sense) about it. It's really revolutionary (but in a good way).

So then what? We need to defend the c25k way sometimes. This can be done just by not being demoralised by someone being innocently ignorant sometimes. (No need to go waving banners and fighting over this). Mostly, it's something you defend by building a little fortress for it in your own mind. You keep it in its own category, and don't allow cross contamination from the "running is a race" idea. Yes it can be, but that's a rather narrow view of it.

I'm sure there's more that can be said about this, but I think setting aside a clear distinction between running for its own sake, and running for something extrinsic (including clocking some time) is a good start to making something worthwhile and practical out of the "philosophising".

I'm sort of trying to paraphrase you here a bit. Either that or I'm trying to put words in your mouth. :D

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My wife and I don't often run together because of our pace difference, so when we do we clearly set out the expectations and pace, so that there is no frustration on either side. This sort of communication is important with any new running partner. Now that you know what sort of pace you can maintain it should be easy to make sure that you run well within that, unless of course you are using a faster partner to pull you up to a PB.

After running harder or longer than you are used to it is inevitable that you are going to take longer to recover than on a slow easy paced run, but that is how to build up speed and endurance over time, so running with a partner can be beneficial.


Thanks all. I am not too disheartened . I just know I still have a long way to go in this game. 6 min km are more my style. I don't want to get into competitions - I did this with others sports. I pushed too hard and got injured. Running is my keep fit hobby

Enjoy. Celebrate the good runs. Did a cracker yesterday !!!

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