Changing approach

I haven't posted for a few weeks so thought I would share my experience today! Having just managed to do the 25 minutes run about three weeks ago I have now decided to slow down for a bit. I took a break for a couple of weeks because of a holiday but when I got back running for ten minutes it felt really hard. To be honest, for the first time, I questioned whether this was something I really wanted to do. The idea of attempting 25 minutes, rather than feeling challenging just felt like something I did not want to do. So I did an internet search looking up 'learning to run'. I came across what seemed like a very sensible article which talked about setting aside programmes and instead listening to your own body. The suggestion was to do the warm up and cool down walks, then to have a twenty minute running time but in it to take walk/breathing breaks as an when you feel your body needs them. So this morning after five minutes running I walked for probably 20 seconds then ran some more. On an upward incline which felt tough I walked for 30 seconds or so then ran again. Somehow giving myself permission to take little walking/ breathing breaks when I felt I needed them made all the difference. I don't need 3 minutes but I do need 20 seconds. So, in time I hope not to need them and then I will move onto a 25 minute run. But I'm 62 and am only doing this for my heart and my health. The real aim is to be doing something aerobic three times a week and strengthening my bones. But its no good if I feel unhappy. My reason for posting is really that I imagine there might be others like me. Reading of other people's success on the 9 weeks with Laura is great but it can also leave you feeling that somehow you ought to be achieving the same. But we are all very different and there really isn't one size fits all.

9 Replies

  • To me this sounds really sensible. If you don't want to do something because it feels like a chore, you'll find excuses not to do it. I'm a stubborn person, and I had set myself the challenge of completing C25K as per the instructions, which I did, but these days I just do what I feel like, and that's the only way I would keep it up. I still try to push myself, and I try to do a little more than feels 'comfortable' before I take a walk break, but run/walking is incredibly popular (google the Jeff Galloway) and seems a good way to avoid injury, especially for the more mature runner (ah hem). I personally find that if I run tired, I run wonky and pick up niggly injuries. By just taking a 30 second walk break I can run much more 'cleanly' and I will cover more distance in an enjoyable and achievable way.

    But that's just me - I know lots of people who hate taking the walk breaks because then they don't want to start running again.

    I think what I'm saying is that I agree - we're all different - do what works for you!

  • I think there's a big difference between *completing* the NHS C25K and then taking that tool, that deep down knowledge that you can run continuously for 30 minutes and doing whatever the hell you like with it (one of the things I love about this forum is that variety, and fartlek (which is what you are describing) is certainly part of a good few people's repertoire)... and rationalising not completing the programme in the first place.

    A big, big part of being able to run is learning to cope with all the negative emotions that come up - not by fighting with them necessarily but just accepting them whilst not being ruled by them.

    It sounds as though your strategy is more a way of coping with a tendency to measure yourself against other people and be negatively affected by it - this way you have no markers. There's merit in this... look how often we suggest to people that they ditch all the speed and distance monitoring until they've completed the programme.

    There's also the possibility of a rebellious streak! I think for quite a lot of us, C25K is a bit of a revelation because we are not, before it or after it, 'do as we are told' sort of people, but it works... not because every word Laura utters is gold (it isn't) but because it allows our *mind* to go free.

  • Mmmm… I think you are right! Rebellious streak - certainly. There is liberation in doing things your own way. Right too about comparison with others!

  • ..and it is so great that we are all different too ! :)

    You do this, or what you wish to do, your way. For me, if it all becomes tricky..I do a really, really slow jog, slower than most people walk.( I am 65), but that's me!

    Main thing is, as you say, find your own path and enjoy the journey

    As often said, " there are no footsteps to follow on your own path, but that's where the adventure and enjoyment may lie " !:)

  • Yup. This morning I decided to go out once the fog had lifted, and today felt like a slow-it-down-and-do-a-continuous-run-day. So I put on 'stamina' which slows my bpm right down and just ran with no breaks. See what I did there? Just did what felt good on the day. And it felt good.


  • That sounds great... I have done the three Couch to 5K podcasts a few times and Stamina is one of my favourites...I did get quite hooked!

    Go you...feeling good... wonderful!

  • Actually that should have said, Couch to 5K+ podcasts, duh :)

  • The most important thing is to enjoy what your doing.

    C25K provides a framework, it's a suggestion of what to do, it's not a rule book.

    If the rest pauses suit you, take them (they are pauses when they are that short). No-one's judging you, it's not a competition. This is about you and your health and well-being.

    I'm now running purely for enjoyment, and that revelation has made an enormous difference to my attitude, I run when I want, stop when I want, take in the views when I want, work hard when I want. Running is part of life and I don't want to rush so much I miss whats going on around me. I love the freedom of choosing what my run will be. I hope you can find what makes you happy too.

  • Take your time, you have the rest of your life to sort this out. Do your own thing, many people repeat a run or a week if they don't feel ready to move on. We're not in a race, we're doing this for us and any form of running is better than nothing at all. Just keep doing what you can and probably some time soon you'll feel strong enough to do that little bit more and then you'll storm on to graduation.

    Just enjoy!

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