Couch to 5K

Help - ow do I increase my effort levels?

My wife and I are building up slowly to start w1r1 next monday. We have been doing a reduced amount of jogging but more walking for a week or so to build up to it.

One thing that is really clear is that I walk and jog whole lot faster than my wife for the same amount of effort. I want to walk alongside my wife as we do this together, but even with reducing my stride and increasing my step frequency I can't get my heart rate up during the walking periods. Jogging isn't so bad - mini steps do raise my heart rate nicely, but walking really doesn't and I end up having to kind of walk fast in circles around her which looks odd and isn't so good for the ankles I think.

Does anyone know of a way I can handicap myself or help me increase the effort I am making so that walking at my wife's brisk speed actually gives me some decent exercise? I'm thinking of holding weights maybe or something but I don't want to injure myself carrying something inappropriate for the jogging stages.

It should only be needed for a few weeks - my wife is slim while I am pretty big - so once we start reaching a reasonable level of fitness I know the situation will be reversed as her superior power-to-weight ratio will kick in!

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I'm not sure how you are detemining your effort? However, I do know this:

You wont be losing anything by going slower. At this stage it is all about buidling your endurance to go for longer distances - and for that, slow is good.

Don't think you will be getting less of a workout if you go slower. As the saying goes: "A mile is a mile no matter how fast you run it".

If it is your heart rate you are monitoring then I suggest you give that a miss for the time being. Plenty of time to amuse yourself with gadgets once you are a graduate.

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Hi, thanks! my watch does tell me my HR but that isn't really how I am measuring it. The instructions say should be able to talk not sing and it should be brisk - well I would be quite able to belt out an aria walking at my wife's brisk pace it really isn't stretching me at all - it is slower than my normal relaxed walking pace and is quite frustrating if nothing else! All exercise is good I appreciate that, but given 2/3 of the exercise is walking at the beginning I fear I wouldn't be building myself up if those walks are just very leisurely strolls...

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As far as I am aware, the guidelines state you should be able to hold a conversation during the running stage. No such advice is given for the walk - other than that it is brisk.

However, remembering back, my walks weren't that brisk either, just as long as you keep constantly moving it will all come together.

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I read another comment on here once where people working out together who go at different paces would run in opposite directions to each other but in a loop so they would still pass each other and see each other for support. There is also the 'lampost' technique which is similar, but running between two sets of landmarks

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Thanks - its a good suggestion but and would be great for the jogging bit, particularly as we are both too out of breath to speak anyway ..however we can jog together fine - I can limit my pace taking smaller steps and that seems to work ok (I am no where near fit enough for this to be 'easy')...it is the walking segments when we can actually speak to each other and encourage each other but are the ones I have real difficulty with!

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Hi! Well done for taking your first steps from C25K. You shouldn't worry about your heart rate dropping during the walking breaks, it is good to allow your circulation to recover between runs. I appreciate that you are not doing the specified "brisk walk" by your standards, but I can see you care a lot about doing the programme together. Would your wife mind if you perhaps carried on afterwards and had a brisk walking session to finish - or before you start? In any case, the jogging parts of C25K do get more challenging as you go along, even at a slower pace, so if you stick with it you will start to feel the benefits.

I agree, it is probably safest not to try carrying weights.

I hope you both enjoy C25K!

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Thanks - that is a good suggestion, at least it gets me the 10mins brisk walk specified only slightly delayed by the 5m strolls each side of the jogging portion of the course. I'll have to find something interesting to listen to I guess.

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When I have run with my daughter ( who is faster than me😳), we do the walk together, then set off at our own speed. If she grts far ahead she turns and runs back towards me.... high five opportunity ✋🏼 and an exchange of words of encouragement. If you use a loop route where you can see each other all the time it works well. Do the finish walk together and post run stretches.

Good luck!

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Hi, thanks for the advice. I think we probably will take up the loop idea if we have a different pace running, at the moment I can keep my pace down without causing her issues and by the time we are doing a majority actually jogging I'm sure she will be faster than me - she has a lot less to carry.

I think I may have to bite the bullet and just walk more before and after although it does mean another 30 mins of exercise a week on my own T_T !

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My husband and I set off together but he always gets ahead during the runs. So he simply turns round and walks back towards me turning again when he meets me and off we go again. This means we both run at our natural pace. It’s worked well so far and means we are never very far apart and we start and finish together. Not sure if it will carry on working as well when our runs get longer but we’re still on week 2 at the moment.

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Thanks for the comment. Its a bit like we do from time to time at the moment with the walks when my Poirot like mini-mincing doesn't slow me enough! It is a pain though I cant wait til either we do more jogging...those bits aren't a problem!

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Welcome and well done for planning your start.

You've already had lots of good advice in your previous replies so I won't repeat it.

But, just to say ... Mr W is faster than me and always has been. We deal with it by him starting after me (we've worked out a time difference that works for us). I like this arrangement because I know he's following behind me and he likes it because being more competitive he's always trying to catch me up. We then finish together (roughly) and do our cool down walk together. It works for us!

Good luck and happy running!

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Thanks for the comment. A lot of ideas to try out!

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I think you are overthinking the significance of the walk sections. There is no need to do extra walking to fulfil the requirements of the programme. It doesn't matter at all how fast or slow you are walking in the walk sections or even running in the run sectionsm and there is no requirement to raise your HR by any specified amount.

just follow the instructions, and walk and run at whatever pace suits. You don't get any extra health benefits for speed at this point nor will it help you finish the programme any quicker or better.

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Hi, thanks for the comment. I appreciate that speed isn't the point, but presumably walking briskly has some benefit or they wouldn't ask us to do it?

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I really think you should both go at your own pace (and make your own progress through the programme). Set out together by all means but then do your own thing.

Have a read of this:

theguardian.com/lifeandstyl...

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An interesting read! I can see us ending up in that position when we get into it but we really need to push each other to start with, it would be all to easy for us to give up!

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Hi kmh1. You just need to warm up by walking for 5 minutes, this doesn't have to be super brisk, just a bit more energised than your normal walking pace. The first jog section is for 60 seconds, then you walk to recover, this is just keeping moving forward whilst you get your breath back, then another 60 second jog etc... The warm down is just you recovering again and getting your heart rate back to normal. This should then be followed by some gentle leg stretches while your muscles are still warm.

I agree its possible to keep each other in sight when doing the program together, and you can meet up for the warm up and down and stretches. Best to go at your own pace for the jogging.

Slow and steady...Good luck😊x

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Thanks for the reply! Walking at her pace normally though laterally doesn't warm me up at all in this weather...warm down is worse...as when i jog I get really hot the warm down walk is pretty damn chilly as it is fast enough to give me evaporation but not fast enough to provide warmth!

Everyone has given me things to try out. Clearly I am aiming for the impossible! It is going to be a matter of compromise and working out what keeps us motivated and mutually supporting the best. Thanks.: )

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