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Couch to 5K
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Negative progress or just a blip?

I have just got back from W9R2 and I'm disappointed because it was difficult and my newly-installed Strava tells me I was slower than Sunday for most of the run (although average speed was the same - 8'17"/ km) , and that I covered 3.5 km compared to 3.7 last time. I followed pretty much the same route, although I just ran round a field when I was coming to the end, so it should have been quicker, I'd have thought. I have never compared myself to others on here or out in the streets but I did expect to be getting better by now.

Do you have any tips for me to help me stay motivated and keep improving, and should I change routes for graduation on Saturday? There's a river valley park nearby where lots of people run (that's a downside!) and which is flat and almost all grassy. On the other hand, I don't want to jeopardise my chances of graduating by choosing somewhere I don't know and fndng out it's too hard.

Apologies if this post appears twice - it vanished just as I was about to post it.

Thanks

Love Lizz xx

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You won't run faster each time you run the same route..... If you did I would be flying now!

There will be a reason why you were slower and consequently covered less ground, it will be useful to you if you can begin to work out what that might be.

Everything in your life can affect your running, from hydration, last night's sleep, recent diet, weather, ground conditions, time of month, time of life.........the list is endless, but if you can work out which factors might have changed, you can avoid those circumstances, or at least tell yourself that today is a day for a very gentle run rather than a hard push.

As for your graduation run, set it up to be memorable. Mine was on a Friday evening after a hard week at work, because I was too impatient to wait until the Saturday. After a glorious W9R2, the final run, on the same route, was a painful slog, illustrating my point about all the variables.

Just relax and enjoy it. You are doing great.

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Thank you for making me laugh! There are plenty of variables, of course, so I'll just stop worrying. After all, we chose to do this, and mostly it's a pleasure.

Love Lizz xxx

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In a years time these runs will seem like very early days. Some days they can be good, others not as great. You should get used to that as it's totally normal. You could worry over how much fluid intake you'd had before, or how many carbs you have had, or what other stuff you have done.. the variables are endless. Sometimes they simply don't feel as quick or as good. But then sometimes you get an amazing run where a new gear opens up and you feel like Nike. That's all part of the joy of it I guess. On the C25k, I always found run 2 in a week the hard one. Go smash the final run and climb onto that podium :)

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Thank you - I'm gonna make that podium!

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Firstly we can all have good runs, bad runs (even me lol) and we look for reasons but don't always find them.

Secondly you say you thought you would have been getting better by now whoooa hold on there and just think back nine short weeks to ago to your first run, remember possibly thinking you might actually collapse trying to run for a minute and counting down those seconds to get to the end of that minute (that's how it was for me anyway)

So have you improved, oh my goodness yes because now you can run for 30 minutes yes that's 30 minutes.

Will you continue to improve, well I have as have thousands of others so the answer is yes you will as long as you keep going and keep putting the effort in

So go you and what you've achieved so far is marvellous

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Of course you're right - how easy it is to forget, but for me I couldn't complete W1R1 at my first attempt and was willing Michael to let me stop throughout the first couple of weeks. In fact today when he said 1 minute to go and you'll have run 30 minutes I misunderstood and thought he meant 30 seconds. I can run for half an hour without stopping. That's amazing. Thanks for the support.

Love Lizz xxx

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A blip. Some runs are just like that, and the more experienced a runner you become, the less it will bother you! A run is a run...

And great advice from previous responders too.

Be super proud of how far you have come! And don’t focus on speed or distance in these early days of becoming a runner.🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️

Sadie-runs xxx

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Thank you x

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Switch off Strava for a start. I would say the biggest cause of problems among C25kers and recent graduates is getting a Garmin or other tracking device and looking at their stats. Suddenly the focus changes from 'how long can I run for' to 'how fats am I going?' or 'how far am I going?', and that becomes the yardstick by which they measure progress.

Here's the thing: it makes no difference how far or fast you are going at the moment. If you ran 200m further today than yesterday it does not make you a better runner or a healthier person. It might matter to Mo Farah how fast he is going in practise, but that os because he is a professional athlete and his goal is being the fastest. Having said that, he won't be stressing speed on his conditioning runs either.

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Great advice, thanks. X

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A lot of posts on here from those still on the programme worried about speed. In many ways the problem is the 'couch to 5k' title; and then a programme that says you will run for 30mins, leads to the impression that an off-the-shelf programme can get peoples of all ages, sizes and abilities running 5k in 30 minutes

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I realised on Week 7 that 5km was a long way off, I just didn't expect to be getting slower nor to be finding it more difficult. IannodaTruffe made me see sense about the many variables, so I'm feeling more positive now.

I haven't been exactly outstanding at work, today, I guess tomorrow is another day...

Thanks for the support

Love Lizz x

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Lizz you are doing great. You are running further then you ever have. If there was anything I could change about this programme it wouldn't be anything else but the title

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Woohoo 🙌 only one run away from that final graduation run. You must be feeling wonderful. Everyone keeps saying don’t worry about the speed and slow down. So I would say the same. Don’t worry you’re doing great 👍

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Thank you. You, too. See you on the podium. Xxx

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3.5 k in the bag! I would be very happy with that, a lot further than being on the couch.

I run hills everywhere where I live. So for my graduation run I treated myself to a flat run, by the river. There is a path, but there is lots of grass too.....It’s not compulsory to say on paths everywhere you go......National Trust gardens etc yes, but usually not on public land.

So suss it out, would it be a lovely run to remember? Or are you happier sticking to your known route? It’s entirely up to you Runner. Enjoy!

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Thanks. I really appreciate all the support on here - think I’ll wait till Saturday morning and decide then where to take my ‘victory lap’. Xxx

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Like Millsie-J says - 3.5k in the bag! Every run does something for you, the only way you could have negative progress is if you didn't run at all. (Except if you are injured, when running might mean negative progess of a different kind!)

Looking forward to your graduation post! x

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Thanks icklegui. Xxx

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Not much left for me to say after all the great posts ! Just don't think about speed and distance: enjoy yourself for this last run, no past, no future projection, just run and be with the moment. It'll be your graduation run (it won't happen again)!! Glide, light, steady, at your own pace to the podium :-)

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None of those verbs and adjectives really apply to me ;) I stamp or plod, heavily and unsteadily, and largely uncontrollably. Still I'll imagine myself as a gazelle or a snow leopard even if I am closer to a warthog.

Thanks for the support, I really appreciate it.

Love Lizz xxx

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No, no, no - I refuse to let you be a warthog (with apologies to Flanders & Swan) - I see no tusks!! A snow leopard coat is perfect for now, it will keep you warm. You can be a gazelle in the summer! 😄

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I've never heard that before but you sent me off to YouTube and what a hoot! Not sure if we're allowed to post links but here it is:

I'll choose my 'dress' and make-up with care, and make sure I clean my teeth, before I set off for the graduation ball.

Love Lizz xxx

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This is fantastic! Trust Elfe5 for great tunes! I'm adding it to the C25K compilation. You could run to that even if you're not a warthog... Nice and relaxed!

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Imagination can do wonders by changing your self-representation! And don't kick the ground as in the end, you will still run for 30 mns: relax and I'm pretty sure the gazelle in you will come out ;-)

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I think it could be down to any number of small things as IannondaTruffe puts it so well. I managed to run my first ever 10k on Saturday, went out for a 5k at lunchtime feeling great and staggered around it in my slowest time ever. 😁 But I ran and that's what counts. I often question why I'm not getting any faster (or getting slower as I did today!), but have to keep reminding myself that what I'm doing now compared to a few months ago is already unbelievable. Your next run is graduation, that's amazing!! Take it easy and enjoy it, and I look forward to reading your graduation post!

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Thank you x

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