W9R3 Completed, but what do i do next?

Started running this morning thinking about how great it will be to finish the program and looking forward to the prospect of buying my graduation jacket I promised myself on week 1.

I forgot to wear gloves so I really was trying to get warm when Laura said I had run for 5 minutes and I was slightly ahead of my normal spot. In a moment of madness I thought, just maybe, I could try for the 5k so I moved up a gear and went for it......

With 5 minutes to go I was feeling really tired my body was shouting to slow down but I pushed on, with the 60 second warning I could see the end in sight but there was no energy left in me, my tank was empty. I really tried hard but my final sprint was more of a desperate splutter across the finish line in 30 minutes and 23 seconds. Knowing I couldn't have given any more, I was done.

Whilst I know this is brilliant, and I know how far I have come, I now feel rather flat at the prospect of losing Laura, a bit like the feeling when you have read a really good book, before you discover the next one. I know I can re-do some runs but really I need to keep moving on.

So to the future......

Plan 1, I started running to improve my fitness and hopefully shift a few pounds, both of which I have achieved (yippee) to a certain degree, but I have more work to do. So my target will be to work on my stamina so that I can do the 5K in 30 minutes BUT feel good and healthy at the end. I intend to continue running 3 times a week to achieve this.

Plan 2, So far my runs have been on a purpose built, flat exercise path, originally because this was mud free, then because I discovered how difficult hills are to run up. However I live on the South Downs, surrounded by beautiful countryside, big hills and deep valleys and my ambition is to run over these in a carefree manner with Lucy off lead.

1) So how do I introduce hill work and off-road running without injuring myself ?

2) Is there anything I should be aware of ?

3) Can anyone help me with a sensible plan of attack?


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13 Replies

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  • Each one of us is different but my experience was after completing C25K I thought I would fly straight onto a 10k programme - wrong, my legs told me off so I thought again! I went back to running 3 X 30 mins. When I felt I was ok and had a good run, just kept going and did a 5k! This took me about 43 minutes which was ok. Then I wanted to do 3 X 5k. I found that sufficient for many weeks so just kept clocking up my runs. I made it more fun by going to different places to run (wooded tracks, footpaths and fields) and loved that. I found the uneven ground really strengthened my legs gently and the uphill parts were challenging but because I was on soft ground, no injuries at all.

    On a good day, again I increased from 5-5.5k which mentally was a breakthrough. I stuck then to 2 X 5k runs plus a "long" run per week and 25 weeks after graduating, have got up to 13 km.

    Just see how your legs are when running and how well you recover. I recommend soft ground as it is more adventurous and less impact on your knees. 30 minute runs, 5k runs are still well worth doing, still a good challenge and you can vary where and when you run to keep it fun. Julie

  • Thanks Julie, this is great advice. I have got bored of the same run every time and I really want to try new trails but I think I've got too hung up on worrying about the distance. Concentrating on time instead of distance for a while and enjoying new scenery sounds good. I was nervous about going straight from roads to off-road, but it sounds as if you benefited from this. I'm going to relax and enjoy the running for a while until it feels more natural. Thank you.

  • Running on Tarmac repeats your foot strike whereas every angle on grass is different and so this ensures a more varied fitness build up. Also, I find it much more interesting - watching every inch of ground to avoid a dip, jump a tree root, or twig, finding a path through the wet mud πŸ˜€

  • Well Julie, I've listened to your advise and haven't been anywhere near tarmac since graduating. After I got over the initial girly avoidance of puddles and not wanting to spoil my trainers, I eventually realised it's OK to get wet and muddy. Today was a different level of mud altogether. I live on top of a hill so every run starts downhill and finishes uphill which I'm sure would be easier the other way around. I tried a new downhill patch which turned into a gully, had to climb over a fallen tree, then had to manoeuver around cows (I don't think it was mud I trode through) then up a 1km long hill, then through a newly ploughed field. Got home totally knackered, filthy dirty, and absolutely grinning from ear to ear. Jumped in the shower fully kitted as couldn't even see my laces.

    You're so right, off road running is the best!

  • I agree with everything Julie has said and followed a similar build up to my 10k. After graduating I think the first thing is just to consolidate the 30min runs and work up to 5k (not necessarily in 30 mins). Don't push too much too soon or your legs will start to complain and you will be more prone to overuse injuries. From there, the world is your oyster! Some people like to use the speed and stamina podcasts but I personally used a similar plan to Julie, keeping 2 x 5k runs and a longer run once a week to take me to 10k. I have also taken to the trails somewhat over the winter and discovered that I love splashing through mud and water and pushing myself up the occasional hill! Some people prefer road running only (I do both) and working on their speed and there is also Parkrun out there for those who want a friendly timed run with other people. whatever you decide to do - good luck!πŸ™‚

    Ps Don't forget strength and flexibility exercises too!

  • I have got hung up on achieving the 5k in 30 minutes and am terrified of injury so I need to step back and enjoy the running for what it is. I'm going to try off road, but without too much mud I hope.

  • I agree with the other posts...each to his/her own so to speak. I ran two or three runs for pure pleasure after graduation...no pressure, running wild and free..like Elsa the Lioness, only less fierce!

    Then I moved onto the Couch to 5K podcasts and worked through in my own way...

    Now working out new patterns and routes as the mood takes me and today for the first time went out completely without Laura!!!! How brave am I ?

    So much out there, and your area sounds amazing... and,as the saying goes, there are no footsteps to follow when you take your own path!

    It will be awesome! :)

  • Oh Floss, it absolutely beautiful here, I'm not too far from the Seven Sisters, which I plan to run one day. I can go from country side, to forest, to beach and to cliffs so have lots of options, I just need to be fit enough to get to these wonderful places. A few free runs sound grrrrrreat (that was my lion impression, or was it Tony the tiger).

  • It sounds wonderful..you are going to love itl

    Lucky you..and sorry,forgot to say...


    Congratulations....Graduate...! 😊

    Get your badge on!!!! πŸ˜‰

  • Congratulations on graduating Slowstart. :) you did it albeit finishing in a heap at the end. Lol.

    I have been doing 30+ min runs still on the flat, starting slowly so there is enough in the tank to go as far as I need to. One of my routes has a slope which i now can run up. When I found I was managing this ok I have started the c25k+ stepping stones back with Laura again. Its really good having her back on board with a new challenge.

    Everyone has differennt goals though but whatevet you decide keep running proud and posting your progress. :)

    Dont forget to get your badge x

  • Many Congratulations on your Graduation Slow start , that is a fantastic achievement and you should be very proud of yourself !

    I would concentrate on running for 30 minutes , 3 times a week just to build your running legs . You could still use Laura , I didnt want to let her go at first :-)

    You live in a absolutely gorgeous part of the world there, youve got it all on your doorstep to explore .I wouldnt worry about speed or distance for a little while. I know everyones different , but speaking from my own experience , I tried to progress too far, too soon and ended up with over use injuries - Pah !

    Enjoy your running and dont forget to ask for your badge ! :-) xxx

  • Hi Poppypug, was so looking forward to running this morning after all the encouragement, but got struck with a stomach bug yesterday so walked today and felt really frustrated as I just wanted to run. Perhaps I've got the running bug too.

  • Oh no ! That is such a shame ! :-(

    Never mind, hope you feel better soon . Ha ha , the running bug ! I can see what you did there ! :-) xxx

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