Consolidation...: I've come here to write this... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Benben21 profile image

I've come here to write this because I fear my FB friends have heard enough about my running exploits. But I do need to tell someone who will know why this matters!

I graduated about three weeks ago, and did a Park Run at the weekend. It was slow and it was a slog but I did it.

I gave myself an extra day off to recover, so my first post 5K run was this morning - a "normal" 30' consolidation run in the misty damp after overnight rain. I did nothing new, not even the route: just a regular jog listening to Dalziel and Pascoe on my phone.

So imagine my delight at both not hating every moment of it - it has often felt like a something I needed to do because it's "good for me" (which it most certainly is) - but on checking my Fitbit stats to discover that I knocked at least well over 1'30" per km off my previous best for the whole run and that my heart rate has come down by a significant average for the run as well - so much so that Fitbit is starting to record some of my run as being in "cardio" rather than "peak".

The lesson, for me anyway, is that just by expecting nothing special but just doing it, I am improving my overall fitness and continue to do so. So fellow C25Kers, keep going and start believing.

12 Replies
Instructor57 profile image

Well done on your progress !'Just keep doing it' works .

Which is why of course we would always advocate the consolidation period after graduating then that 30mins/5k become the new norn and your base level strength and stamina has become higher .

Well done with your parkrun and enjoy your future running 👍

Mrsrun profile image

We never tire of hearing about people's running journeys . For me hearing about the success and sometimes slight setbacks of others is really interesting (maybe I need to get out more). I think you have hit that spot that many want to be at........ Just running and enjoying. Keep going and have as much fun as possible..

UnfitNoMore profile image

This is great to read… fitness rising, that run is getting easier, which is exactly what consolidation is all about. That’s a huge chunk of time off a km too! Very well done.

Benben21 profile image
Benben21Graduate in reply to UnfitNoMore

It's a big chunk but I was very very slow when I started on the 30' runs (as in well over 10' per km) and I'm now doing about 8'40" per km so not exactly Olympic standard quite yet! As much as anything it was the ease of it which pleased me, which is reflected in my cardio stats I think - I was honestly amazed when I checked once I'd got home. I'm very mindful that at my age and with my fitness record just doing it at all is a win!

UnfitNoMore profile image
UnfitNoMoreGraduate in reply to Benben21

You’re ok… it’s about 30 months to Olympic selection!

Perceived effort and heart rate are very closely related… I loved bringing the runs down from 15/10 effort to 5/10 over the first months… of course OldFloss and co got me to 9/10 in one set of replies 🤣

Lots of wins every run… mostly I run at a happy pace, occasionally I push and don’t like it so much.

This little plan we followed is absolutely amazing when it comes to rate of fitness increase, but we tend not to notice this while the runs keep getting longer… all is revealed when that goes, and your results are very very positive. My daughter stopped running for a bit and when she restarted I went with her… in HR zones 1 and 2… I was gobsmacked!

Benben21 profile image
Benben21Graduate in reply to UnfitNoMore

I live in a town built on a ridge of the south downs, so I have a ready measure of fitness just getting up to the high street. I confess that not so long ago I used to drive to the top of town because going up the very steep hills was such a struggle; today I marched up there with the dog (because I know that a bit of cardio is a good idea at the end of the day) in about ten minutes. That's amazing, honestly.

Actually I do recommend getting a dog for improving fitness - she got me started on this. Ironically I now leave her at home when I go out running: she's a totally hopeless running companion...

UnfitNoMore profile image
UnfitNoMoreGraduate in reply to Benben21

I have 2 tiny dogs… they like gentle runs of up to an hour… but our female has changed during lockdown, and is less good with other dogs now… this means my gentle 30 minutes has some bursts of speed to get past dogs while shouting her until she follows. This is good, apart from the one time she decided to get chased by a greyhound… that one hurt 🤣. Our male has the right idea… he runs right behind me and about three feet back while she sprints ahead, jogs back, lags behind and then sprints past again. I think she covers almost twice the ground that I do!

Hilly here too, it’s amazing how much of a difference the running makes to everything else.

Benben21 profile image
Benben21Graduate in reply to UnfitNoMore

Ironically, my dog (8 y/o labradoodle) has arthritis so while she probably would happily run for 30 mins it wouldn't be a good idea. But the main problem is that she's inclined to steal tennis balls and inveigle distant passers-by into throwing them, which is catastrophic for her joints. So most of my time was spent retrieving the dog from the other end of the park where she'd taken her stolen ball and was getting strangers to throw it for her! (She ain't stupid: she knows perfectly well she's not allowed so she goes as far away as she she can). So just as you've settled into a nice jogging rhythm you're having to seize the dog and confiscate the ball (and explain to the bemused stranger why it's a problem!)

So now it's a run, breakfast and then a more sedate walk with the dog...

Tzushka profile image
TzushkaGraduate in reply to Benben21

I should imitate you (run first and dog walk later), but when I put on the running gear, my dog turns into a mad wild horse and I don’t have the heart to leave him behind, although it would make things sooooo much easier!

skysue16 profile image
skysue16Graduate in reply to Tzushka


Well done 👏👏

What a great post. So thrilled for you! I'm in week 4 and feeling like a super-star. My knees are much less tender on my rest days now, which makes me feel cautiously optimistic that my legs are slowly adjusting to the new routine. It's exciting! And as you suggest .... I'll keep turning up and continue to believe! 🙏

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