I feel a little lost without Laura

I graduated 19 days ago and aside from the 6 days I spent on the IC, I have been running every other day. My graduation run was around 3.7 km and my next goal is to reach 5 km.

But I must admit that I miss Laura.

I've reached 4.2 km, so I am getting in the direction of my next goal, but when I get tired around the 25 minutes or so, I'm finding it hard to keep running without Laura's loving whip over my back. It's like the gremlins speak louder when she's not around. "You can stop now, you can do a longer run next time, no need to strain yourself, it's really hot, walk a bit..." I'm sure you all know them.

The structure of the programme, and my trust in it, made it so easy to just go and do the next run. I knew I was progressing in the right way. Now I have to figure " the right way" out for myself, and I know I can, but I miss Laura!!

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  • You don't really need to abandon Laura now :) -- you can always redo the programme - but this time, do it a bit faster than last time. Last time, if you were like me, you were struggling to finish each day and everybody said "slow down!" :) But now you know that you can finish each days task - but this time you can afford to put more energy into it and see how far you can go this time.

    Or you can just go on and find your own way - which is probably what most of us have done. :)

  • Maybe not a bad idea... Worth a thought...

  • I so understand where you're coming from Iben! I feel a bit as if I'm darting around, jumping at new ideas, trying new things, but without any real structure. With Laura you just got told what to do and knew in the end you would be successful. You knew what awaited you each week and made real progress. Now the progress seems a bit haphazard and depends on my decisions. There's so much to think about - long runs, intervals, fartlek, regular 5ks, c25k+ podcasts, speed or stamina. I'm trying to do one longer, slow run, one short and fast run and one bog-standard 5k a week in the vague hope that all options are covered in that way!

  • Exactly! Choices, choices, choices... I need more guidance than choices at this point. I'll figure out a way though. Many good suggestions in this thread.

  • Hi Iben, have you tried the C25K+ podcasts, Strength, Stamina and Speed? The lovely Laura guides you through three more runs. I still use Speed (which is hateful, but very valuable :D ) although I don't use the others now, but they were very helpful to me in my first year after graduation. I needed Laura's friendly encouragement and the structure of the programme, as you say. Love your description of 'the loving whip'! Keep going though, you can do this. Happy running :)

  • I haven't tried them yet, but definitely will.

  • Loads of us felt like this Iben.Check out the advice re C25K+ podcasts..(maybe have a look at some past posts I wrote too?) I really missed Laura and as you know I am still incoporating her into my runs. I needed,and still do,off and on,her reassuring tones and tips.

    You do it your way..I love Speed and Stamina, I don't use Stepping Stone..just did it for 1 week's runs. When I graduated I kept the C25K pattern,only using the C25K+podcasts.....so...Stepping Stone,3 runs..Week 1, then Spees,3 runs,Week 2 and then,Stamina 3 runs, Week 3. After that, picked and mixed,until I felt ready to find new paths of my own...some with music...some without..some with Laura..some not.

    This week,as you know too, I used Stamina and Speed in a looooong run! Needed Laura with me for company...because I feel I almost know the podcass by heart☺

    Your running journey your way. If you make your own path,there are no footprints to follow.

    However you do it, you I feel sure,will love it.I cannot wait to follow you on this new part of your journey☺

  • I will definitely figure out a way to move forward from here. I'm just missing the structured progress. As secan says, the mental aspect of running really becomes evident now that I have to take on responsibility for myself and my own progress without Laura to guide my every step. But I will do this!

  • I was literally just thinking about you and your running..!

    Yes, you will...😏

  • Sorry about the typing errors! Speed..and podcasts😏

  • The end of any relationship can leave one bereft, but when it was as significant and life changing as your brief flirtation with Laura then obviously you are going to feel the loss deeply. I cultivated a blossoming and now quite long standing attachment to Annabel Runkeeper Smythe, whose soothing reassurance every ten minutes keeps me on task, without being too demanding. In fact she only speaks when l have asked her to and always remains totally pertinent to the subject, which is refreshing. Her American cousin, Gwendolen P. Runkeeper, was a previous crush of mine and while she could challenge me with pre-arranged intervals, as does Annabel, her brusque manner and sneering announcements of my achievements left something to be desired. I wrote on this forum on more than one occasion about the tussle for my commitment between Annabel and darling Gwendolen, if it is of any help.

    Move on Oven, (sorry, the spell checker will still not permit your real name, (l think it's a female)). Look around, there are loads of other motivational women who can whisper sweet nothings, or kilometre pace notifications, in your ears and keep you inspired and moving.

    Glad to hear the injury was not too bad.

    Keep running, keep smiling.

  • You unfaithful you! I couldn't be with another woman now, not after what Laura did for me...

    Well, I do have some voice telling that I have reached x km and my laptime. But it is not a programme that promises to be sound and get me from a to b...

  • How fickle men can be☺

  • I didn't have any problem at all in breaking my relationship with Laura - In fact , I divorced her after only a short while. She just kept playing that damned music of hers all the time - I couldn't take it any more!!!

  • Oh! Bazza1234, I'm glad I'm not alone then when it comes to Laura's music, I love her voice and encouragement but I cannot stand that damned music as you rightly put it, I feel if I keep listening to her musics I will definitely fail the rest of the podcast, I like you I cannot take anymore of her musics and I've still got some weeks to go yet before I graduated.

    Lord help me, I need to edit the run so that I can hear her voice and then have my own choice of musics it's doer-able as some people has already told me.

  • The C25K+ podcasts are good, and still with the wonderful Laura. I graduated in Nov 2014 and I'm still using C25K+ stamina for my short midweek runs. For my long runs I use Audiofuel Polyrunner podcasts which I also like :D

    Happy Running Iben :D

  • If you really miss Laura, you can use the 5K+ podcasts.

    Anyway, my personal opinion is that you should try to do it by yourself. The more you push yourself through the hard bits - as opposed to relying on Laura's encouragement - the better you'll become in keeping the gremlins at bay.

    Do you remember as we always say that running is a mental activity as much as a physical one? Well, now that you graduated the real mental training begins.

  • secan, you never choose the easy way out, do you? I think you have nailed it. I need to take responsibility for my own running and progress. Set my own goals and plan how to get there. But it is just SO much harder than doing what I'm told...

  • A bit of both...why make it too hard?

  • Quite the opposite; I always try to keep things as easy and effortless as possible... and that's why I'm suggesting you learn to manage without Laura now; the longer you wait, the harder it will be. ;)

  • Hmmm, don't know... You might be right. But if structured programmes work for me, then perhaps structured programmes are my way...

  • Decisions..decisions..☺

    I am just heading out into the sunshine and the glorious countryside...just me...no music...and the only decisions for me today? Left or right and will my bike-fall battered legs hold out?

    I will take you with me...give you some space and time on your, figure it out,task☺x

  • Thank you. Floss. I'm going out too later today (or perhaps tonight, the heat here is quite harsh these days). Will aim for 4.5 k if my legs are up to it. Enjoy.

  • Sure, nothing wrong in moving from programme to programme.

    The only issue is that programmes are limited in number and time and, soon or later, you'll have to do without.

    You can move from C25K to a 10km programme then to a half-marathon training plan and finally to a marathon one (I've never heard of a plan beyond marathon). Let's say it will take you another two years (probably a bit less), then what?

    I don't think there are "maintenance" programmes in the style of C25K so, soon or later, you'll have to face the "what now?" dilemma.

  • Talking a lot of sense secan ...it is important to do without..I just had a 'naked' run..in the countryside..checking out my bike fall legs..just me..no nothing except my watch...26 mins...4.84 K...no pressure..it was sheer delight...but then, I am not planning on half marathons or anything like that...just keep plodding and enjoying☺

  • I hear you, and you are right of course that I will have to make choices along the way... no need to worry about me getting beyond a marathon though :-)

  • I agree; if you ever decide to train for a marathon there will be nothing to worry about because you'll simply do it just like you did the C25K programme. ;)

    There is nothing you cannot achieve if you have enough time and drive.

  • You could redo the whole programme but running very slowly on the walk bits and then push yourself and run faster on the run bits. That way, it's a kind of interval run but you still get to listen to Laura! I believe quite a few graduates have done this.

  • Another thing I tried recently is playing multiple different Laura sessions back to back when I was building up again to 10k. Usually I just make one run a week longer, but this time I wanted to extend the distance quicker with running and walking. Her interval weeks are great.

  • Others have suggested the same. Definitely worth a try.

  • I wholeheartedly agree with secan. I have struggled quite a bit in recent weeks to find the motivation to go out there and run - I even took a 10 day break from all exercise because of work, whereas during the programme running was non-negotiable, no matter how much work I had or whatever personal problems I was going through. You no longer have a goal, so here's where the mental training comes into play.

    I'd suggest run on your own, and every once in a while when you really miss Laura run to W9 again...but as the exception, not the rule.

  • I think these replies are excellent. The only thing I would add is to describe what happened to me.

    I have a great ability to forget how hard things were and overestimate the progress made. The eternal optimist I guess. This translates into me thinking on week N that the runs from week N-1 were trivially easy and amazed at the enormous amount of progress made. Thus, when I run on week N I underestimate the effort required and expect to make much more progress than is realistic.

    In other words, I am far too impatient and expect everything to happen NOW :-).

    Post graduation, I too felt a little lost and immediately started looking at all those extra plans. For me, madness and disappointment were lurking just around the corner because the truth is, yes, I could have run 30 minutes, but only very slowly. Even increasing my speed or cadence a little bit was enough to sap my strength and leave me gasping.

    For me, I decided that whilst I was enormously proud of my achievements, given where I had started I still needed to work on my base level of fitness, so rather than try and 'improve' anything I would only work on my base, which for me turned into a 5K every other day.

    In summary, I needed to be realistic with myself and realise that I wasn't at the state of fitness/didn't have a sufficient base that the various plans assumed. The '5K every other day' plan :-) is designed to reign in my expectations, build up my base and improve my fitness. After month or two of that I will consider a 'real' training plan, or not - I might just keep doing it for another month.

    That is my journey and probably completely irrelevant for anybody else. I just wanted to make the point you don't HAVE to immediately jump onto another plan, just glory in the fact you are running 30 minutes every other day :-).

    (and you are already seeing the benefits in the increased distance - awesome!)

  • That sounds a very sensible plan yatesco and one that, in the end, will make you a stronger runner. I did exactly that and after graduation ran 5K three times a week for several months just relishing in the fact I could! I found it hard going for ages but eventually it got easier and at that point I started to increase the distance. Build the base and the rest follows.

  • Thanks Yatesco - I think it's quite similar to what I am doing. Still building basic fitness and trying to reach 5k, and after that - who knows? I'll be setting new goals.

    And I'm not giving up. I love it.

  • I cannot really relate as I ditched Laura somewhere around week 3 of c25k and just relied on my Garmin for timings/transitions.

    With that said, I do wonder whether it is Laura you actually miss or whether it is, as you mention, the structure of the plan and having a specific goal to work towards.

    Others have mentioned the c25k+ podcasts which may be for you but how about signing up for a race (a nice 10K) and following a structured training plan (MyAsics are very popular)?

  • It's definitely the structured progress and absence of choices that I miss! And I know there are many programmes that would guide me in the direction of 10k. But I'm not ready for that yet. I'm still snailrunning, and I need to improve my basic fitness and get to a comfortable 5 k before I go beyond that.

  • I wanted to keep running the route i had for week 9 as it fitted in before work very nicely, so i kept running with week 9 run 3 playing each time for a few weeks until i felt able to go it alone. (well not alone - I use map my run and the american lady on that tells me every time I pass a kilometre!)

  • Post "laura" can be a difficult time but doesn't have to be, as Bazza1234 says you can redo the program as he says with more effort , there are the +podcasts stamina etc you could stick with week 9 for a few weeks to consolidate while you decide what to do next

    The other option is to try different things and see what you like and what works for you and what direction you want to take your running

  • Yes... I think what's bugging me is all the options I have now. Endless combinations... But I will figure it out and take charge of my own progress!

  • I feel similarly bereft. I stuck rigidly to Laura and as the others have said, I was locked into that program of running. I have only just reached 5k, after graduating a couple of months ago, but feel a bit rudderless, wafting this way and that as the mood takes me, but not in a satisfying way. I have tended to stick to the stamina podcast (5K+) because it is 35 minutes non stop. I tried stepping stones but it really didn't do it for me at all; it is exasperating, frustrating and deeply annoying on every level.

  • We will have to figure this out! And we will. My love for running has totally outgrown my frustration. I seriously think I'm in so deep, I'll never consider stopping.

  • I've had some issues sustaining my running with confidence but without the app. (I am allergic to listening to music I don't like, so I don't much fancy the C25k+ podcasts.)

    Yesterday I decided I wanted to 33 minutes, tracking my timing rather than distance. To achieve this I used the same normal C25K app to track my run but began running when there were still 3 minutes left on the warmup. I had still done 5 minutes warm up, but only started the app after 2 minutes warmup, if that makes sense. I probably will try and wean myself off it, but for now I don't see what the harm really is - it's nice to have a congratulatory voice encouraging me when I am so prone to anxiety and getting flustered while running. Whatever gets you moving! :)

  • The key is probably in your last sentence "whatever gets you moving"... Your model could work for me as well...

  • It works for me because when Laura says 'you've run X minutes' I know I've run X+3 minutes and hence feel smug!

    I'd thought about doing the extra time at the end of the run - so doing 30 minutes as normal then carrying on during the cool-down - but I find it hard to carry on when a voice is telling me to stop... I'm quite an anxious person overall so I have to do all sorts of things to get myself motivated and running! :)

  • It's been said several times already, but why not stick with lovely Laura for a while yet. I ran the week 9 podcasts for several weeks when I first graduated, to consolidate running 5k. After breaking my ankle I redid the whole programme and finished faster and stronger second time around. Then I used w1 regularly for interval practice and later redid parts of the programme again after several months of on and off illness, finishing faster and stronger again. My point is, the programme is so well designed that you can continue to dip into it after graduation to build strength and experience. The c25k plus podcasts are another great resource waiting to help you on your running journey. Good luck :)

  • I think consolidation is a good idea, I just know I also want to see progress like I did during c25k... Either in terms of speed or distance, or ease (getting comfortable) . And I am, actually, seeing a lot of progress. It is just not as self evident as with the programme and seems haphazard.

  • Hi IbenCopenhagen . I carried on with Laura until at least week 11. No harm in doing that yourself.

  • I have also missed Laura since graduation but often look on this site for inspiration and motivation. I have started to use the Zombie run app which is very entertaining whilst running and also helping me do interval training by making me run faster when the zombies are chasing me! I highly recommend it.

  • I love a The a Walking Dead, so I'll definitely have to try Run Zombie!

  • Hi Iben ! I can understand exactly where you're coming from , I think a lot of us found ourselves in the same position . I used Week 9 Run 3 for a long time after , just to get used to running for 30 minutes non stop . I then did the C25k podcasts for a while . I also entered some 10k races so I had some goals to work towards even though they were months away !

    I have the Zombies Run app too . I love it !

    I know it can all seem very overwhelming at first knowing which path to take , but just keep on running and I am sure you will find something that suits you best .

    Good Luck ! xxx

  • Thank you PP. I will. And I have you in here to help me find my way. ❤️🏃

  • Big hugs ((( ))) xxx

  • Nearly two years on I still listen to Laura - I'm lucky - I rather like the Week 9 music, especially the last five minutes. Once that's over I carry on running till I've finished 4K - it's only another couple of minutes and I can tell myself "that's nuthin". Occasionally I do 5K with exactly the same mental self-con-trick. One day, I'll find some other music I like to run to, but I'll need some spare time for that.

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