What sort of runner do I want to be

What sort of runner do I want to be

It's one and a half weeks since I graduated and I have missed the structure of C25k. I've done two runs without Laura both of which have felt uncomfortable and I've had to stop, on one I didn't even manage 30 minutes. I've also done a park Run which I cruised round pretty easily coming in at just over 33 mins, I was pleased with that, it gave me a boost because I felt really comfortable and didn't feel the need to stop at all. I'm not a competitive person and I'm mindful that I don't want to slip back on what I've achieved doing the programme.  I'm struggling given my performance post graduation to work out what I want from running, I hadn't really thought beyond completing the programme and surprising my husband.  I have just looked up my last run which was on Monday on Map my Run and I did just over 5k in 31 minutes so despite stopping I was faster than at the park run! So is that good even though I stopped? Post graduation I had set my goal as 5k 3 times a week but is it ok to stop or not, can I say I ran for 5k if I walked a bit?  I enjoyed the park run but really I'm running for health benefits and as an activity I can use to wear the dog out in addition to her daily walk so I'm not really in it for speed although I do find myself fantasising about something like a 10k or more just to shock everyone including myself further.  I know you are all going to say just consolidate but what does that really mean?

Photo attached of my running partner who also completed the programme doing every run with me. This was taken on graduation day.  She found the whole thing well within her abilities and is looking to add speed and distance now that we've graduated!  (Not sure why it is displaying sideways, I can assure you she completes all her runs upright!)

23 Replies

  • Hah I think you are already the runner you want to be :)

  • No rush to make that decision. Why not just keep up the 5k runs for a couple of months and see what evolves? Presumably it will all become clear in a little while 🏃

  • Yes I will do that and really try not to stop. I went out this evening and did a route with quite a hill to start, this route defeated me last time. I took my husband with me on the basis that this would make me less inclined to stop and it worked. I think I will just use whatever strategies I can.  Many thanks for replying.

  • The important part is to maintain the habit of regular running. You don't have to increase speed or distance, or become a competitive runner, but having targets is one way of keeping it interesting and satisfying. The best runs for me are longer runs away from home turf, along a cliff path or a moorland ridge or through the woods, with no real thought of time or distance. 

    Stick with it. The health gains are too valuable to discard after all the work you have put in.

    Keep running, keep smiling.

  • Yes I'd love to be able to run like that, maybe a bit more easily and where I feel confident in meeting the challenges of a route a little better. My husband assures me that settling into running takes time.  Thanks.

  • Don't  fret getupandgo. You should be very proud of yourself for completing the c25k program.

    I'm not particularly ambitious about running for longer or faster but I intend to keep up the regular 30 min runs for the health benefits. Every time I go out I feel I have to do 30 mins  because I can, there is a point about 8 mins in where it becones hard to breathe , but if you can push on you quickly recover and find your breathing settles. Maybe you haven't experienced this yet. Start the runs as slowly as you can and aim to do the 30 mins. Be proud and run tall with your shoulders down and chest open.

    If you miss Laura why not try c25k+. There is structure and new tips to improve your technique. You did the park run with ease...hold that thought  and enjoy running for yourself.😊

  • Yes the first ten minutes have always felt really uncomfortable except on the park run oddly. I think excitement just carried me through that. This is one of my frustrations, on the programme I forced myself to run through the gremlins but now I've graduated I seem less able to. I pulled in another strategy tonight in the form of a human running partner and that worked. I did a full 5k with no stops but did really slow down when I needed to. Thanks.

  • Lovely pooch!

    I think you can be whatever you want. There are so many things to try - speed, distance, races, trail runs, orienteering, park run, intervals, running clubs - the world is your oyster.

    If you don't have a strong leaning to any of these then mix it up a bit until you find a winning formula. Still perfectly alright to do anything you want - but it needs to be enjoyable or else you won't stick at it. And that of course is where the real benefits come in.

  • I like to "run like a child".  Watch how young children run - they run to something for reasons known only to them - and stop. Then they run to something else - and stop.  If you do that for long enough, you never know where you might end up!!! :)

  • Gorgeous idea!

  • I love this sense of freedom that you portray in this approach. I will definitely try this mindset, I think it would work really well on a weekend run where I would have the time to run, walk and explore more. The dog would love this and we do have loads of footpaths around us which I haven't fully explored, it's that usual thing of sticking with familiarity. Thank you for this.

  • I know what you mean. I graduated about 6 weeks ago and have been trying different things out. The main structure is "run 3x a week" and try to make one of those runs at the weekend a bit longer. That's basically it. I try not to beat myself up if I have to walk (but I do!). There are whole programmes where you run and walk alternately, it helps you get faster, so it's really no problem. I feel a bit guilty if I run less than 5 k and anything under 30 minutes really gets me thinking! But one of the podcasts "Speed" is only about 17 minutes long and it's a perfectly valid training run!  There was one week where I ended up walking on every run - that woke the gremlins up big time! So I had to kick them out by doing a non-stop 5k on the next run. Nevertheless I feel I'm darting around a bit and don't really see a huge amount of progress. But maybe Laura made me greedy! The progress there was just so rapid and obvious every week - I sort of feel it should continue like that. All very difficult!

  • Yes you reflect my feelings really well here. You are right about Laura making us greedy for progress, that is probably why we found it so rewarding. My husband pointed out today that it takes a long time to settle into being a runner so our collective experience gives me some reassurance. I am enjoying it though and feel so much better.

  • Looking at your times I was also wondering if you might be going a bit fast. If you are hitting 30 minutes and walking some of the time you are really speeding along (or at least I would be). Maybe just really slowly and see if that feels more relaxing. 

  • Took your advice tonight and really slowed down especially on the hills and it did help. I kept going and did the 5k, that's progress!  Thanks.

  • I tend to think of a 'basic run' as 30 minutes. Like you I am always accompanied by a springer (a Welsh one in my case) so with the walks, a 40 minute outing is decent enough. I  will occasionally do less if I am doing an intensive interval session or don't have much time or, like the other night, have gone out unusually fast and ended up at my finish point earlier than expected and not in the mood for quite enough running back and forth/in circles to make it up.  There's nowt wrong with run walk, it has got us to where we are and many people continue to use it... however, you are doing it because you are not confident about your ability to run continuously which is not so good. So perhaps it would be most useful to consolidate continuous running for 30 minutes since your grad week hasn't quite done it. As others have suggested, there's scope for you to achieve it very easily by relaxing a little on the pace.

  • Lots to add to this first love your Springer just like mine and she loves running with me the best ones are when she can go off the lead !  Don't fret about giving up Laura I still used her for quite a while just ran for the whole time as I was looking to run longer not faster ! I have given her up now I have a good playlist ! I also think you are probably running too fast maybe slow it down and relax ! Don't ever worry about walking I have discovered Galloway and some of my best runs are 60/30 I find my times are almost as fast as continuous, I feel better doing them and much more relaxed, my heart rate stays in a better range and I can cover much more distance easily. Have a think about whether its speed or distance you want to achieve I'm not an expert but I have found increasing distance naturally increases speed , but I think with speedy runs it will be hard to increase distance ! Good luck and Happy Springer running !!  

  • Firstly, love the photo of your doggie! Lots of lambs about now so my dog will not be coming with me tomorrow (running through common grazings with no fences - he gets all wound up and pulls too much). 

    Secondly, I too miss Laura and the structure of couch to 5k. (I graduated around the same time as you).I am also trying different things on my three runs including stepping stones, speed (stamina tomorrow). 

    Thirdly, 5k in 30 mins sounds excellent to me - well done! I haven't achieved that yet. Same as you I am running to help maintain fitness. I want to focus on increasing distance but very gradually. I need a target (vague ambition to get to 10k) otherwise I might find it difficult to keep motivated! This community is fantastic for helping with motivation too! 

    Finally, I note down my runs in a diary and I find that helps me keep on track.

    All the best

  • Thanks for that. Just my luck we met a ewe and two lambs on the lane tonight, they had got out of the field somehow. One very excited and bouncy dog, a training opportunity I suppose!  I also want distance because I love the countryside and can just enjoy more of it the further I can get.  I agree about the community and I had noticed I wasn't logging in so often as I did when I was on the programme and that was part of the reason for my post. It is a huge help and I never done any 'social media' type of thing before so that has been another new discovery for me.  Good luck and go for the 10k, it seems perfectly possible from the posts on this and the other forum.

  • I am nowhere near 5k non stop  in 30 mins but this is my next target.  I am still using Wk 9 podcast as my comfort blanket; I need to hear Laura telling me how well l'm doing to counteract the wobbly moments during my run. 

  • I love your dog! Your ahead of me I haven't graduated yet but enjoyed reading your post as it makes you think about what you want to do after graduation! 😃

  • Hey well done on completing C25K!!! If its the structure you miss then I'm sure there are other plans beyond C25K. I use and app called run double that has plans for 5 to 10k, 5k improver, 10k event training and half marathon event training. 

    Otherwise you might want to try other things like rowing or cycling. The app I use I had to pay for after the C25K w2 so I'm not saying to use that necessarily but the plans will be out there. I used to be good at running a few years ago and remember finding lots of plans to improve speed etc for free online. For me I like to see numbers going up or down but everyone is different and I really hope you find what you enjoy about it and keep going! I will definitely read what other people have to say on the forum as I'm sure I will miss the structure when I finish - only just starting week 4..

    Don't worry about stopping during a run, it doesn't matter, you still ran 5k in 31 minutes! Well done Keep going!


  • To me it sounds like you're a social runner. You seem to enjoy it more with people around. Team up with someone or join a club. Speed and distance will follow if you want it to.

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