Couch to 5K
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My First Running Anniversary

Hi everyone,

It's been a little while since I popped in here, but as today is noteworthy (for me anyway) I thought I'd make the effort.

Sorry - it's turned into a long one :)

It was a year ago today that I laced on my first pair of trainers, bought specifically for running, and embarked on Week 1 Run 1. Half an hour(ish) later, struggling for breath and realising just how long a minute is when you're knackered I finished it and so began my C25K adventure.

It wasn't an easy journey, the first week went swimmingly, as did the second up until the last run of the week. Then I did my knee a mischief and spent 3 weeks on the injury couch under the care of a physiotherapist. After that though, I didn't look back and made it all of the way through to the end of week 9 and graduation on November 20th 2014.

Since then I've had ups and downs. I've continued to run at least 3 times a week pretty much every week since. I started attending my local parkrun earlier this year and this past weekend completed my 20th (have actually done 21 but one of them got abandoned when I stopped to help another runner who had had a funny turn). I completed my first parkrun in 38:10 and by June had gotten that down to 34:03.

Back in the spring I decided I wanted to try my hand at running 10K for an event in my home town. The first time I ran the 10K distance felt like such an achievement. Even more so when I did it again a week later and ran it over 3 minutes faster than the first time.

I completed the 10K event back in June and found myself with aspirations of attempting a half marathon - the Oxford Half - in October. I started on a training plan and made it successfully through the first couple of weeks.

Sadly then things started not going so well. I'd had a couple of issues in the build up to the 10K race. Most concerning was a couple of instances of heart palpitations whilst out running. They only lasted a couple of minutes at a time but were still a bit of a worry. Fortunately I got myself checked by the Doctor and have been told it's nothing to be overly concerned about.

The second issue I had was a pain in my right knee whenever it was bent, with weight on my forefoot - like when running up hill or walking up/down stairs. At first it was intermittent, some days it would hurt and others it would be perfectly fine. I decided to see how it went for a while and see if it settled down before seeking the help of my friendly neighbourhood physio.

The last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle. My knee didn't settle down, it of course got gradually worse, to the point where it hurt nearly all the time and negotiating stairs became really troublesome. So I've had to return to the physio and been diagnosed with patellar tendinitis. Fortunately I haven't had to stop running, just the opposite in fact. He has encouraged me to keep running to keep my knee moving, but I've had to avoid hills like the plague. I've also been following a program of single leg squats for the last few weeks to build up my quads and I've had to shelve the plans for the half marathon for now. It seems to be working, the pain in my knee is much less - even non-existent some days.

However just lately, the last few weeks or so, I've really struggled with my running. Despite knowing that I can (and have) run 10K, for some reason I am struggling to run for more than 15 minutes or so at a time. My breathing is fine, for the most part my knee and legs have been fine although there have been a few times when my calves have cramped up. I don't know what it is but after a couple of kilometres or so I can't seem to carry on running without stopping for a break.

It is most frustrating, especially considering how far I have come in the past 12 months. IT's also sapped some of the enjoyment out of running for me recently. Although I am looking forward to my anniversary run tomorrow morning (couldn't go today as it's a rest day). I might go back and try a speedier W1R1 for nostalgia sake.

For anyone just starting out on the C25K journey, have faith in the plan. It really does work. Despite my recent troubles, if I can go from where I was at the beginning to running 10K then anyone can.

Sorry for the long post everyone.


11 Replies

Hi Peter - congratulations on twelve months! Best of luck with the knee - how difficult is it to keep up running whilst avoiding hills, I know it would be hard around here. I'm sure you'll be back to running uninterrupted again soon.


Congratulations on a year of running and well done on persevering through all the difficulties. Hope you are back to full form soon!


Happy anniversary, Peter. Sorry to hear about your recent struggles, but I'm sure you'll work them out/work through them.


Congratulations Peter. I'm sorry to hear of your struggles - but obviously you've been sensible and taken advice throughout. You've made massive progress and I'm inspired by your story, so,please don't apologise for the length of your post! You never know what another reader ( me, and others I'm sure) will gain from it. All the best as you continue to work with/ through/ around everything.


I wonder whether sometimes when you hit a wall like that if it isn't your body responding to things like the history of the knee problem, the palpitations, etc, and choosing a more conservative approach for you? Speculation, of course, but the 15 minute wall might be some kind of protective mechanism. And at least if you work on that assumption, you can work it over into a positive attitude to the activation of your protection circuit. Slow down, stop, whatever, and then just go again. Apparently as far as the fitness benefits go, it's just a function of total hours accumulated, rather than continuous runs sustained.

I suppose my next suggestion is a bit rich coming from someone on a possibly permanent injury couch, but maybe another approach is to change from stamina to speed work? They say intensity doubles the reward (and the pain, and the injury risk ... maybe). Something to research, and maybe try out, just to break the evil spell on you.


Sounds like quite a year! Thanks for posting your adventures, it's quite exciting and encouraging to hear. Do you think the gremlins have got to you since the knee problems? I hope you can distract yourself and ignore them for your future runs. Sounds like you are quite the accomplished runner - tell the gremlins to do one! :-)


Peter, many congratulations on running for a year.

As you have discovered, running teaches you so much about the body and mind that you previously gave so little attention to. Your 15 minute block reminds me of coming back from a layoff and thinking, wow, this is hard, but when I checked my stats on Runkeeper, I realised why. I was running faster than normal. This has happened on a couple of occasions and has resulted in at least one PB. I attribute it to not being as aware of my pace because I had not been running regularly. Try easing your pace way back, to go as slow as possible and see if that gets you past the 15 minutes. Maybe try some unfamiliar but interesting routes (for me that would be off road) and aim to rekindle the buzz of running to get, what seems like a mental block, out of your system.

Good luck. Keep runnning, keep smiling.

1 like

Unfortunately I don't think it has been pace related. I've purposely taken it easy and still struggled to run solidly. In fact my pace in general seems to have slowed.

The other sad thing is that I'm a bit limited in terms of running routes in my village. Especially with having to avoid hills of any great gradient. For the last few weeks I've been running around the same ~1.6K block, which isn't very inspiring.

The good news is, I did mange to complete a non-stop 5K run this morning, with a very watchful eye on my pace.

Hopefully it's just a mental gremlin that will go away as my knee gets better and I manage more runs without stopping.


Happy Runniversary Peter !

Sorry to hear of your struggles, here's hoping that you are back on track soon.

Keep your chin up and Good Luck ! :-) xxx


Welcome back Peter, good to hear from you again.

Really sorry to hear your medical tales. I've got a pacemaker so was particularly drawn to your palpitations (if you know what I mean!) - just keep an eye on yourself won't you - I'm sure it's nothing, but now you're aware make sure you take it steady.

Take care and hope you're able to get back to the longer distances you're after.

:) xx


Thanks for the support.

Fortunately the Dr said the palpitations weren't caused by exercise (have also had them when doing absolutely nothing but watching TV).

He said it's SVT (Super Ventricular Tachycardia) and is just something that some people suffer from. In my case it seems to be brought on by tiredness and lack of sleep - which having 21 month old twins is an occupational hazard!

Since seeing the Dr I've not had another instance of them.


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