Graduation one year ago

One year ago tomorrow I completed run 3 of week 9 and graduated. It was an early morning run, we had snow on the ground and consequently I was very slow, which made the run very enjoyable. My first post-graduate run went back to intervals because I didn't really enjoy non-stop running. It is only really now that I'm confident I can run 5k non-stop if I want to. And what have I learnt in this year?

First of all - and this is the most important thing for all those struggling on the programme - graduation is not the end. It is the beginning. If you see it as the end it might turn out to be just that! So many people reach graduation and then after a couple of weeks just stop. My running buddies of a year ago vanished really quickly. For 6 weeks we cheered each other on, shared our runs, our ups and downs, encouraged each other and ultimately graduated pretty much together. And I'm pretty sure they're not running now. So if you're coming up to graduation get yourself a plan, make sure you stick to 3 runs a week (as far as possible), make running a part of your life, add variety. Try not to let things slide, but don't overdo it either, or you might get injured.

Then don't expect the same kind of progress as when doing the programme. From zero to 5k in nine weeks is pretty fantastic. Every week there is some kind of improvement, longer, further, faster. It can be demotivating after graduation to find out that suddenly you're getting slower, that 30 minutes is sometimes not possible, that you have to walk a couple of times during a 5k. But don't give up, just carry on, it's all mileage "banked" in your legs. And a few weeks later you might start improving again. Or not!

Running is a pain - but I always feel good after a run. Even if it was crap, some aspect of it will have been good (in retrospect). I was still out there at the crack of dawn while my colleagues were still in bed. I have already done my 5/4/3 k, what have they done? It may have been the slowest time ever, but I was outside in the fresh air getting some exercise.

I wonder what I will discover in the next year? There is still a lot to learn.

Happy running!

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14 Replies

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  • Great post, and you are so very right about the motivation and the feeling good. You've come a long way and done very well.

    Happy runniversary

  • Wise words. Congratulations.

  • Love this post! A bouquet of Snowdrops pour vouz Belle! :)

  • Merci bien, monsieur Irish!

  • This is exactly what I need to read on the eve - almost! - of graduation! Thank you... :-)

  • So true & a great post.

    One of the best parts of C25K are the weekly goals, and it is easy to miss these after graduation. Now that you've been running for a year, it must now just be part of your life and you'll be much healthier for it. Well done NHS (again!).

  • A year is a long time, but a part of me is still very worried that I could stop and slip back into my old ways. Because a year is also nothing and I have stopped exercising in the past aswell.

  • What good advice. I agree, setting a goal of three runs a week is good because it sets up a routine. I find the Couch to 5k plus podcasts excellent, especially when I am missing Laura! This forum is brilliant for keeping up incentive, reading about other people's highs and lows really helps. Thanks everyone!

  • Happy Runniverary. It feels like you've been around much longer.

  • Thank you, that is really a very nice compliment! Quite moved now👍

  • When I joined this forum last year in April, to me you were one of the experienced graduates who cheered me on and shared advice. Thank you for that.

    I agree with everything you said in this post, except - for me - running isn't a pain 😀 I have seriously never considered skipping a run because I didn't feel like getting out there. I simply love it. I'm mad, I know.

  • And now you're doing half marathons, achieving speeds I can only dream of and zooming off into the distance. I am so glad I could help you find something which means so much to you and which you are so good at! I am not a natural and don't think I will ever be a particularly fast runner. I love running, but I also hate it and many runs are a struggle. Some are good though and I love what it does for my fitness and general health. I'm not going to stop - voluntarily anyway - and I will keep plugging away at time, distance, stamina etc. One day I might do a half marathon - until then I will follow your progress with awe!

  • Thank you for seeing me like that ❤ I guess speed is relative. I am much faster than a year ago but still haven't run 5k in 30 minutes. I will fight to reach that goal before my graduation anniversary in May though💪🏃

  • Thanks for posting that, I'll keep it in mind through my first year as "a runner".

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