Hi everyone, not been actively posting for a while - lots of work stress - think of this as a very long post to make up for that
First of all, as per the title - it's been 2 years since I graduated, and I believe that makes me "no longer a beginner" in running terms! So if you need any "expert" advice, just ask
It has actually caused me to reflect a bit on "my journey" (oh yes, coming over all X-Factor!), and I wanted to share a couple of things, the highs and lows to date, etc.
I started C25K as my middle daughter was picked for cross-country, and I wanted to support her training. She is 10. She is MUCH quicker than me. I felt quite ashamed - it wasn't about speed, it was about not being able to run more than 400 metres without having to stop.
So I began the C25K, I kept with it, completed all the podcasts - I made sure I didn't overdo the speed, it was all about completing the time.
I was a bit disappointed initially as I thought I would definitely run 5k in 30 minutes just by doing the plan, so when I worked out it was closer to 4.5km, that wasn't great, but the 30 minutes non-stop was.
The main things I did was:
1 - ran in a local grassy park - less stress on joints
2 - ran in the day - less people to look at my red faced puffing
3 - i didn't get any running shoes until about week 5 - they were my reward for keeping going
So post-graduation my goal was to do the 5k in 30 mins - I see a lot of posts about whether it's right to be disappointed, etc. - it's a personal thing, and for me the 5k in 30 minutes was the proof I needed...
I tried the stepping stones, stamina, and speed podcasts - speed is the only podcast I couldn't complete first time - that is tough from just graduating...
I worked down from 34:35 to 31:32 over the next year. Then through 2015 I got a bit stuck... until there was a really good article in Runners World which was pretty much aimed at me (aiming for 30 minute 5k but just over it? Try this 6 week plan type thing). The key point in this was a tempo run half way through the plan where you had to run 1.5k back faster than you went out. It helped me realise that I could run "comfortably" faster than I ever thought, and it removed the self-limitations I may have placed on myself.
I completed the 6 weeks with a sub-30 minute 5k (almost 21 months after graduating!) It was 28:31. I maintained the schedule and managed to get to 27:51.
The main things I did in this 2 year period was:
1 - get a garmin forerunner 10 - if you are aiming for speed/distance, i think it's probably essential to have some kind of accurate measure - I tried software on a computer and it was around 200m wrong...
2 - ditched music completely - this was strange initally because of listening to Laura, but after a while it was more rewarding and a better social experience for me...
So now I had completed my first real goal - what next? Obviously a step up to 10k of course! So I did this by the gradual increase in longest run per week by 1km no more (tested my patience that did), managed to get there in about 1hr 10m. I tried to use the 5km speed to get sub 1hour, but the closest I've come is an agonising 2 seconds over the 1 hour. I find speed over 10km hard because it feels a bit of a slog if I'm honest...
So I decided to keep moving up, and this year I had a target of the Leicester Half Marathon. We are around August time now, and that race is end of October. I continued working up, but - disaster! - for the very first time, I got an injury! This was IT Band related. I did a fair bit of research. I was a bit concerned to say the least.
The HM plan was binned, I just took it easy to try and recover over a couple of weeks of not running, stretching, doing that exercise where you swing your foot off a step - I did it all because I was actually quite scared I wouldn't be able to run again...
So now we'll fast forward to 19th November, back running for a couple of weeks, all going OK but I'm not pushing speed or distance (5.5km at present), just really really happy and appreciating that I can go out for a run and enjoy it. I know I've been lucky (or is that careful?) to not be injured before, and maybe 10km is my natural limit (or maybe I pushed it up a bit too quickly), but in some ways I'm quite pleased I had a minor interruption, because I was no way appreciating how far I'd come before that, and now I feel it a lot more.
Blimey - drone, blah, blah or what?!
If you made it to the end you've read the equivalent of 5k! Have a great weekend everyone!