Originally this was in answer to a question - but then I realised it was something I wished I had read when I was new so posting it in a more 'public' venue.
What follows is just my opinion based on my own experience as a 5 and 10K Graduate, and as someone who is starting the entire programme from scratch again. I really hope it encourages someone who feels like they 'can't do it' to continue if Graduation is their goal. And while Graduation may be the goal - help them enjoy the journey to it also, I did not do the enjoying bit as well as I could first time around, but I sure am now : )...................................................
If you are happy with how you are doing the programme that's a HUGE bonus! However - if you are 'avoiding' the next part of the programme because of some insidious Gremlin whispering in your ear that you 'will never succeed'...we all went through that and thankfully we realised it was BS and continued to sweat, gasp, pant and run to Graduation and beyond
The programme really should be called 'Couch to running continuously for thirty minutes - slow and steady!"
EVERY increase in running time scared me when I did the programme ...and for weeks I never really believed - various health and physical problems - I could graduate anyway.
If you manage Day One in any kind of shape - and in my case I literally had a blue tinge around my eyes and lips and had to stop a nice passerby from calling the Paramedics - and as long as you don't have a disqualifying medical condition - I promise you, once you do the hardest part of this programme - you can Graduate...
The hardest part being - just gear up and go out the door each time. The run will then take care of itself - be it a 'practice' run or a 'success' run
For the first few weeks, my genuinely heartfelt dream was that 'maybe someday' - I could run without stopping to the furthest pathmarker I could see from the 'Start' one at the local park.
All of 3/10ths of a mile away....
Seriously - THAT is how little I had going for me.
Having never ran more than a hundred paces in my life because of Asthma, screwed foot bones and then add a lifelong belief that 'you are born either able to run or not, no in between' inculcated by well meaning but idiotic adults from a very early age warning me that my asthma and feet made it '"mpossible and actually dangerous" for me to 'run too hard'- that was me.
However,before my injury three months ago, I was running 'workmanlike' 5ks every week, gradually increasing my distance on my 'Long Run' days and tackling ever more gruesome Hills My new 'heartfelt' dream was - still is - to reach the ten mile mark this year, half marathon next year and full marathon for my 60th the year after. Most importantly though - I was having a ball with my new ambition, not the gloomy 'wouldn't it be great if' of that first 3/10ths goal! : )
Now I am doing the entire C210K programme again and certainly not putting as much pressure on myself to "succeed' in anything like the 44 runs or whatever it takes. I am taking it slow and steady and not worrying about what number of 'weeks' I am on - I have my goal, 10K, but this time I will reach it in "sensible for me" time instead of 'programme' time and enjoy the journey all the more.
Because - I always wished that that on my journey to 5K graduation, I had repeated the runs I 'barely ticked off' first time around - a firmer stamina foundation would have made my further progress smoother and more enjoyable.
"Slow...and slower still" when you are running sounds totally illogical - but its the guaranteed way to build up stamina and confidence and the necessary foundation for future 'speed and distance' if Graduation and beyond is your goal :
'Does it get easier?" - I dunno how to answer that except to say 'It gets different - and for me and so many that different then becomes enjoyable and we keep running even if we (me at least) still gasp, pant and sweat our heart out before the finish line..but with a smile on our face "
If you did not need the programme, you would have been runners long ago : ) Every single Graduate here went out on Week one, Day one. Please do not quit the programme if you are enjoying it on any level whatsoever - it is NOT about 'no pain - no gain" absolutely not!!, It is about 'slow and steady builds up your stamina - and your Running self that was always wanting to emerge : ) "
You can do it. I promise you - there is a LOT of competition here if we ever ran a 'Most Unlikeliest Graduate Runner' contest
Wishing you all the many happy miles that await you - one foot in front of the other, one day at a time