Couch to 5K
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The big run

So, completed W5R3 without any particular problem. That was much harder than any of the previous runs, I even had to stop after each flight of stairs on my way back home (I'm currently in France, living in a studio at 6th floor). My average pace for this run looks like 8:30 minutes per kilometer, that's faster than usual, no wonder I was exhausted and talking to God for the last six minutes.

I should be happy, but somehow I was quite annoyed during the run... Maybe concentrating too much on finishing rather than on the process. Maybe bored for some reason. For the previous three runs I had been in some kind of a meditative state which I miss now.

So, a question for the graduates - do you always run, and want to run, without walking breaks at all?

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Most people tend to find the starting running harder than the continuing running. So less stoppage is actually better. Sure if you are running too fast then you will be on a path of declining condition where your heart rate increases but your performance decreases. Of course all runs are like that to a certain degree otherwise we could go on forever, but getting the speed right means you can hit the distance without the stops.

Over time and through the act of continuing to run regularly that performance curve will reduce in inclination so you can either go quicker or go longer, without the need to recharge while walking. When you walk, your body is still supplying extra oxygen and your heart is still running at a high rate, so it feels good to stop, but when you start again you face the reverse curve. This is why many experience the 'toxic ten' during the first part of a run, as your lungs and hear haven't adjusted to the demands you are requesting from them.

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Thank you for the explanation, now it makes sense! Didn't know the effects of body adaptation were wearing off so quickly.

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I graduated in the summer 2017, and have kept up running regularly since. I find that if I am wanting to walk it is a good indicator that I am going to fast and slow down.

Your body gets into a good state when you have been running for around ten minutes or so, and so stopping and reverting to walking would make starting running again much more challenging. As your body would need to re-adapt.

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Well done.

You are working through a training plan, which is asking you to slowly reduce your walking intervals, presumably because the target of running non stop for thirty minutes was something you wanted to achieve. You are doing brilliantly, but forget about pace, don't even check it for now, because with each step up in duration over the next few weeks, you may have to slow down to pace yourself.

On graduation you can check on your pace and you can walk as much as you like. Many marathon runners use a run/walk interval method to cover the distance. I often stop to enjoy the view of take a photo, or if a hill is too much for me, but most of the time I run without walking intervals. Once graduated you can do what you please.

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Thank you. In fact, your reply has made me think of what did I want to achieve and it definitely couldn't have been 30 minutes of running as something purely hypothetical at that time. The programme is actually progressing very fast, it's incredible how our body adapts.

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I've just finished week 7, so not really qualified to answer, but what I've found doing the longer runs is:

- for the first minute or so my legs are really, really heavy, and just don't want to move. It can be a real effort to keep plodding.

- up until minute 20 it's a real drag, and very difficult. I keep wanting to stop as it's too hard, but I keep going anyway

- from then on it gets easier, to the point where, although I'm only supposed to be running for 25 minutes I've done 30 for the last two runs! On the other hand my pace is very slow, so I'm vaguely aiming for 40 mins for the end of week 9 which should see me having run the 5k. But I'm not going to stress if I don't make it. I would far rather keep the pace down, run for a bit longer and keep my asthmatic breath under control.

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Well done whoiam, but be careful, just do as the program suggests and build gently up to that 30 mins...no need to do more than required... save that until after graduating😊xx

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Don't worry, I'm not forcing myself to go further, and will definitely not do the extra on any run when it's a struggle.

TBH, though, I've "cheated" a lot on this, generally on the R3, adding a minute or so extra to the last run of the session to make the next step up less daunting. So I am. and always have been, building up slowly, just at a slightly faster pace than the programme suggests. (And to, hopefully, stop you worrying even more, although I've never been a runner I've always been a fast and far walker, at one point I'd walk 8 miles a day and more at the weekend. So my body's used to keeping going.)

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Walking, however far, does not create the same stresses on your muscle and bone that running does, hence the need for rest days. I came to the programme with, what I now realise, was a considerably higher level of basic fitness than the average for this forum, but I still stuck to the plan, acknowledging that the devisors of the plan knew more about running than me.

Please be careful exceeding the requirements of the plan. What is the hurry?

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I suppose once it gets easier, it's only natural to want to proceed and see how it goes from there! I probably just didn't run to that point yet...

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I don't know if I've been indoctrinated by the programme but now I very much want to keep going until I stop.

It just seems more straightforward that way and I'd rather pace the running so I can keep going than go too fast and then need to recover. My "gentle jog" is barely faster than the "brisk walk" anyway.

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I'm pretty sure my gentle jog is slower than my brisk walk! And still, it's not a "conversational pace" which I suppose is non-existent at the moment. So looking forward to this not-wanting-to-stop state everyone here is talking about.

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Running at a slower pace can be hard to get used to but t definitely pays off long term. Those stairs are great training too. And they're free!

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Hi, well done you! I did my w5r3 yesterday, and I was dreading it. I had stupidly, for me anyway, read beforehand on here that it was going to be 20 min non-stop. I was freaking out a bit! I had never run before January and would never have thought I'd be able to do this, but I did. However, I have not reached this not wanting to stop phase either! Keep going. Good luck!

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Hello, congratulations for passing such an important step! I suppose we all are different and some of us will achieve this phase a bit later. Or maybe find some other running mode that suits us better. I'm sure there's no shame in this either way.

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