Well after nearly three days of being snowed in the village, I finally broke free to get to the gym this morning and completed my graduation run. I would say it was the easiest of week 9, but it's still hard! My aim is to get to a stage where I can easily complete, and also get to 5km (on about 4.5 right now).
To help get me through it, I had a long think about all the things I've learned on the C25K program, and thought about all the things I'm yet to find out. So I've got a list of each for you, whether you are new to this forum or one of our trust mentors!
1. Treadmill running
I am a treadmill runner. Even without all the snow and ice this week, it has never been safe to run around where I live. Some people are in the same boat as me, while others don't have the confidence to run outside. Let me assure you that this programme is 100% doable on the treadmill. For anyone thinking about doing it on the treadmill, there is loads of advice on here about the settings, but most of all, I would just say do it! This has been my favourite thing I've done in years.
I'm sure it is different from running outside, but I'd say each have their own benefits and disadvantages. Personally, I like not having to worry about the weather, and being a number control freak with the dashboard. I used to run outside, and find them equally meditative experiences. When the weather gets warmer and the evenings get lighter in the Spring, I'll certainly return to the great outdoors, but until then, I'm happy on my little hamster wheel.
Some people can run with music, others find the tempos distracting and can't. Personally I need it, but I found early on, it wasn't upbeat music I needed, just music I had an emotional connection with to get me through. One of my favourite moments in this programme was when the gym decided to play Labi Siffre's 'Something Inside So Strong', and nearly everyone took off their headphones in disbelief, had a powerful sing song, then plugged back in and we all sort of pretended it didn't happen. Nina Simone's Sinnerman also got me through a challenging run of week 5. Music is there for your motivation, not for a beat for your feet.
While at times this has been a little physically challenging, mostly, it's been mental for me. I used to always set distance or calorie targets when I exercised, so it was easier to work really hard and make them go by quicker. I'm inpatient. But this programme has taught me staying power. You can't run down a clock. You just have to work through it. I recently learnt how useful mantras are. And I'm sure as I go forward, I'll find more and more ways to keep my mind busy.
This forum is a god send. Listen to the mentors and admin on here. They have been running for years. Advice changes all the time, and things are often different for different people, but the people on here know their stuff.
Share your good and bad days on here, and everyone will be there to give you a clap on the back, or a nudge up the bottom.
The right gear matters. I only just learnt how important sports bras are, even if you aren't um, blessed. To do with jigglage, not size, it seems.
The right shoes will not only aid your running, they can prevent all manner of injuries.
For me, sleeveless tops in the gym are a must, as, without all that fresh air, it can get very warm, even if it is a 'cool' band tee. 😎
6. Weight loss
So, I know it's been said that this is not a weight loss programme. That doesn't mean you wont lose weight (I lost nearly half a stone). But, I wouldn't count on losing weight if you starting out, that's all. Saying that, it will give you the tools (legs and lungs) to form a really good spring board!
Which leads me to...
Things I'm yet to learn
1. Weight loss
What cardio can I do on rest days? I'm not 'overweight' according to my BMI, but I'd like to be more comfortably in the normal bracket, maybe lose 15-20 pounds. Can I use the cross trainer on rest days to support some more weight loss?
2. Running frequency
I know I am only just a graduate, but will there come a point where I'm able to run on consecutive days?
I know everyone is different... but on average how long does it take people to bridge the gap between 5 and 10km? I plan to consolidate a lot first, making one run a week a push-as-hard-as-I-can run, and the other two at a pace I'm comfortable at. But once I get to a time I'm happy with for 5km, from then, how many weeks training do people advise to get to 10km?
I'm sure I will have more questions going forward, but for now, that's all, from a very happy recent graduate.