WELCOME TO THE OCTOBER 2021 CONSOLIDATION CLUB - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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WELCOME TO THE OCTOBER 2021 CONSOLIDATION CLUB

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator

Congratulations to you new Graduates!!!

If you have not got your GRADUATION badge yet, then head off here healthunlocked.com/couchto5...*-get-yours-here-* and claim it.

The season of mellow fruitfulness and misty morning runs is now upon us and this is the place for those who have just graduated to talk about plans, problems, terrors and triumphs and work out where your running will take you in the rest of 2021 and beyond.

This period, post graduation, can be tough, without either a programme to follow or the regular satisfaction of achieving a new aim each week. So we bring you the Consolidation Club as your go-to monthly post for all your post-graduation questions and answers!

What do we mean by CONSOLIDATION?

As at any stage in running, when you have increased your running distance or duration over a few weeks, it is good practice to consolidate (work on feeling stronger running for 5k or 30 minutes) for a short period, bedding in all that effort.

Having just finished C25k, it is a good idea to:

★ Continue to run for 5k or 30 minutes (whichever you achieved during the plan) for a few weeks

★ Try out different routes

★ Just enjoy your new found ability!

Without having to increase duration week on week, you can take the pressure off, have fun, run somewhere beautiful and new, forget about pace. While you are consolidating you are also helping to establish the habit of running in your life. It is said to take twelve weeks of changed behaviour to create a new habit, so a three-week consolidation will get you there!

We encourage you to check in here straight after graduation, tell us how you're doing and feeling. Give us your run reports, swap ideas, ask questions and get help formulating plans and targets, knowing that at least one member of the admin team is keeping an eye out, with all the usual advice to offer. There is no need to sign up, just drop in and have your say.

★★ And check out our full GUIDE to post-C25k running: ★★

healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

Consolidation is not compulsory, but is considered good practice for all runners, at any stage, who have increased duration and distance over the preceding weeks and is particularly appropriate for new runners, to reduce risk of burnout and injury. How many runs this takes will be very individual, but it is so much better for you if you feel strong and confident about your 5k or 30 minute runs before starting work on faster times and longer distances.

Most runners discover the importance of having better general fitness and strength than running alone can give you, which is why CBDB has produced this twelve week consolidation and strength training plan that will see you maximising your running ability in just a few weeks. healthunlocked.com/strength...

So, over to you new graduates! Who wants to tell us how it is going/feeling in Autumn 2021? How can we help support you at this stage? Know that we've all been there, and we're HERE, with and for you!

35 Replies

Hi all,

It's been a long-running battle for me; three and a half years since I took my first steps with Couch to 5k and with amazing support from this (or the then) group and, of course, Tim, who is a legend.

I've never played any sport, nor have I ever run. I mean ever, not until I started at age 57.

It took me forever to finish C25K because I chose to progress the weeks at my pace (despite the audio encouragement!), repeating the previous week, sometimes multiple times, until I was confident and physically fit enough to move on, listening to my body along the way. But I did it, and eventually completed my first 5k charity run, later going on to complete a 10k run.

My story is here, if anyone's interested: clivewilson.com/running-can...

Time, circumstances, COVID, the pandemic and illness all conspired to keep me from running, and only in the past couple of weeks have I started again.

Tim is right; the season of mellow fruitfulness and misty morning runs is now upon us, but I love running in the cooler weather, even cold weather, and I completed 3k a couple of days ago in the pouring rain. It's not for everyone, but if you haven't tried it, do it while it's still mild. It's not so much fun when it's -2C! There's something incredibly liberating about running in the pouring rain, probably because we spend our entire lives avoiding it at all cost.

My return to running will not be without its challenges. Each time I begin again (this is my fourth time restarting after a break) I find it physically very hard. I suffer cramps, knee pain, headaches, and I have a nagging piriformis syndrome condition (pain in the buttock that creates sciatica) that won't go away, despite treatment. The problem with piriformis is that it feels great whilst you're running - no pain whatsoever. It's only afterwards it comes back to bite you in the bum. Literally.

So why do I keep doing it? I do it because I have never found anything that lifts my mood to the point of sheer elation, like completing a run does. Starting out is another thing altogether as it takes willpower and commitment to get up and out, but finishing a run of any length is a joy. I can feel quite emotional at the end of a longer, hard run, but it's good emotion and it keeps me coming back for more. Often I will literally stop, look behind me and say out loud, "I just did that." You may laugh, but positive reinforcement is very powerful. And it wasn't you, or anyone else that did it, it was me.

Winter is a tough time for new runners. It takes grit and determination to stay motivated at the best of times. Those little distractions and excuses are always chipping away to stop you from going out, and crappy weather is the easiest distraction of all. Please don't let it beat you into submission.

Within reason, the distance you run isn't anywhere near as important as how often you do it. Try to commit to two or three runs each and every week, even once you've completed C25k. That way, when an unavoidable distraction comes along, you'll still have one or two in the bag for that week.

As for how you manage your own C25k challenge, don't focus on the end goal of running 5k or even for 30 minutes. For me it was a complete head f.. sorry, it screwed with my brain and dulled my motivation because in the early days I truly believed I would never be able to do that. But that's precisely why I focused on a week at a time - even a run at a time - and repeated it until my confidence and physical ability grew. The same may be true for you.

Despite finding it a struggle, some days more than others, I'm comfortable with 3k-4k two to three times a week now. For some of my running friends, that's laughable, but for me, it's a massive achievement each and every time I go out and complete another one. They don't actually laugh at me, of course, because runners don't. Every runner I've met completely appreciates how tough running can be and is/was for most people at the beginning. The running community is incredibly supportive and encouraging.

Keep it up, keep going, stay connected to this group for support, defy the crappy weather and be proud every day you complete another run.

Clive

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to clavicus

I am sure your reply will be motivational for many who are struggling either physically or mentally with the challenges of starting to run. While it will be seen here primarily by those who have completed C25k, your story would make a great inspirational post in the general C25k forum, where its readership would probably be higher. This forum is a wonderful corner of the interweb.

Running needs to be personal and if you are going to persist then it needs to be more than target oriented. It doesn't matter at all if you only run two or three times a week or if the distances don't match up to other runners achievements. There is research that would indicate that your regime is in fact giving you the greater longevity over both those who do not run and those who run further and faster. Just have fun!

We like to think that we have independence of thought and action, but we are all slaves to those tiny chemical secretions that rule our lives........we are run junkies.

It is the fault of my somewhat obscure forum name and nom de web, but I have never actually been an Ian, a Ianno nor even Iannoda..............Best wishes with your future running, on your own terms. Tim.

Hi Tim,

Apologies for the name change, I've edited the original now.

Thanks for your response. Would you prefer I move the post (or can you, as Admin)?

Clive

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to clavicus

No problem, Clive.

Leave your reply here. It is very valid in this thread, but perhaps you could copy and paste the bulk of it and adjust slightly as a new post, which I think many will find helpful.

Learning to run is not plain sailing for a lot of our members and your experience will spur on many who feel it is beyond them at times.

MaCherie112 profile image
MaCherie112Graduate in reply to clavicus

This is so incredibly helpful & relatable!!! Thank you for posting! You’ve definitely motivated me to stay consistent! Best of luck on your continuing running journey and you’re so right how focusing on time and distance can screw with your motivation! Now I’m on my consolidation runs I slow my speed right down and without the pressure of reaching any goal I’m enjoying it so much more!!!

clavicus profile image
clavicus in reply to MaCherie112

Glad you found it helpful.

I have always struggled with speed as I always want to run faster despite not having the level of fitness to back it up!

I don't mean I'm trying to sprint, but I'm 6ft 1in with long legs, so it feels natural for me to run at a pace of about 6:30, but sustaining that over 3k-4k kills me.

I asked a professional runner why I felt so knackered for a couple of days after my runs and he made it very simple, "You're running too fast. Just slow down and focus on completing runs, not the time it takes you."

It's great advice, and now I feel a bit sore the following day, but in a nice way.

I also find it very helpful to run to music that matches my cadence. It's not for everyone, but for me it's exactly what I need and it works brilliantly to keep me going. I run at 140 spm and download tracks from Spotify at 140 bpm. If you enjoy the music, putting one foot after another in time with the beat is great motivation.

Good luck with your running, especially through the colder months.

MaCherie112 profile image
MaCherie112Graduate in reply to clavicus

Aaaw thank you!!! Exactly this during the programme I was always tempted to increase my speed so would be increasing then having to put it back down again after running out of breath! But now at consolidation with the pressure off I find I’m much more inclined to keep a slow steady pace and then if I feel like a sprint I leave that for the last few minute of the run. You’re so right music definitely helps! I hadn’t thought of matching cadence! That’s a brilliant idea thank you! Best of luck! 🍀

R2Bears profile image
R2BearsGraduate in reply to clavicus

Thank you Clive for sharing this. Now I found joy in running, I'm hoping my husband to know it too. He suffers from lots of different pains and he's been moving less and less especially during the lock down. I have to find a way for him to read your story and hope for the best. Your story helped me too of course me being fresh to running. Thanks again 👏

clavicus profile image
clavicus in reply to R2Bears

Hi R2Bears,

Sometimes it's good to run through pain, sometimes it's not, but it's always good to get professional advice and also to listen to your own body.

During my C25K journey my knees, shins and achillies were painful for months, but I learned how to use KT tape and I wore elasticated knee support 'tubes'. Together they changed everything for me.

Pain is both debilitating and demotivating, so if your husband really wants to run, he needs to find his own solutions, not just put up with it.

After a few months of using the KT tape and knee tubes I read that you have to learn to run without them or you become dependent, so I stopped using the tape first and later stopped using the knee tubes. I've not used either since and still have no pain.

I'm just highlighting the value of good advice and listening to your body.

Very best wishes and good luck with your running.

R2Bears profile image
R2BearsGraduate in reply to clavicus

Thank you Clive, I made('asking' didn't work😤) him to read this comment and your story. Hopefully he gives c25k a go and hopefully it works for him. 🤞🤞

MaCherie112 profile image
MaCherie112Graduate

Completed consolidation run 2 yesterday I’m still aiming to get outside- I had aimed to get my gait checked and new running shoes yesterday but it didn’t stop pouring with rain!!! Once I’m able to do those I want to try running outside!!! Yesterday’s run was fun because there’s no pressure to attain any goal as you say so I can just finally enjoy it! Plus it’s really building my confidence as I’m just now beginning to believe I can run for 30 mins where as before I had doubts of being able to complete a run just before starting! Having a rest today and will do more consolidation next week! Best of luck everyone!!!

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to MaCherie112

Good to see you here, fellow graduate.

You have the right approach and seem to be getting the desired results.........ie. Confidence.

With confidence on your side, along with sensible training plans to constrain you, there is no limitation on where you can go with your running. Just have fun and when you are ready, try the outdoors. It really is so rewarding.

I have run along clifftops, over Dartmoor ridges and tors, alongside lakes and rivers and on windswept beaches, even at WOMAD festival and each of those experiences will stick as individual runs in my memory to the end of my days...............can you say that about the treadmill?

In our climate a treadmill is a boon to many and has many advantages , but I have never met a treadmill runner who would claim that the treadmill provided a more fulfilling experience than getting outdoors.

You really seem to have taken to running and once you sniff the fresh air, there will be no stopping you.........but you can always come back to your treadmill when the weather conspires against you.

Have fun.

MaCherie112 profile image
MaCherie112Graduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

🤣😂 that’s completely true about the treadmill!!! Not the greatest place to make scenic memories but I don’t think I’ll ever be brave enough to run along a cliff edge! One false footing and yikes! But those other runs sound epic!!! I will get out there once it’s not so rainy and you’re right once I do get out there and over the initial jitters I’ll probably wonder what took me so long!!! Thanks for this!!!

Over60sRunner profile image
Over60sRunnerGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

I'm still waiting for the roads around here to get flatter (which ain't going to happen!) before I venture outdoors. It is VERY hilly here in the Brecon Beacons and I know I just don't have it in my legs to do it right now - just walking the dogs at a brisk pace for an hour makes me breathless and achy, so there's no way I am going to be able to jog it!

I suppose my biggest fear is I will fail miserably (which I know I will!) and then it will give me the perfect excuse to give up (which I REALLY don't want to!) so, for now, I will continue on my 'mill journey......TBH I really don't mind it as I'm usually so away with my playlist, singing along, that I really don't notice the lack of visual stimulation!

One of these days I will go outside, but maybe when I have a good deal more mileage on my legs and in my heart/lungs. My long-term plan is to drive to Brecon where there is a lovely canal with a narrow towpath and run there - it's pretty much flat all the way and now most of the grockles have gone back over the border into England for 2021 it will be less busy and much more doable. My husband has even kindly offered to hire a little boat and sail along yelling "encouragement" at me from the canal - he's pushing his ruddy luck I can tell you!!!😂😂😂

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to Over60sRunner

If the treadmill works for you then that is just fine. It will continue to build your stamina and strength.

If you do venture outside just keep expectations low. If you manage 5 minutes first time out then you have set a target to try to exceed. Always set off much slower than you think you should until you learn to pace yourself.

I think I suggested running by the river or canal in Brecon some time ago. It is a beautiful place to run and will be glorious with the autumn colours

Over60sRunner profile image
Over60sRunnerGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

The river passes through much private land where the local farmers are less than accomodating to folk being on their land, so I would stick to the public towpath of the canal.

Brecon is 22 miles from me mind, so I would have to be ready to rock n roll before I take a 44 mile round trip to run a few minutes 😶

TBH, I am in no hurry and am just enjoying (well maybe that's too strong a word yet!) the cruising. So much so that we are off dancing again at the end of the month in Paignton and I've already been in touch with the holiday park to check if I can use the gym and pool..........my husband has accused me of becoming "obsessed" - he just doesn't get it!

MaCherie112 profile image
MaCherie112Graduate in reply to Over60sRunner

Your hubby yelling encouragement from the sidelines is such a sweet and heartwarming picture!!! Go at your own pace and if you’re really feeling resistance don’t make it into a chore! Remember we are supposed to be enjoying this too! ☺️ The greatest advice I’ve received on here is when trying a run outside is not to concentrate on any set time or speed but just the fact that you are running outside because it sounds like outside on indoor running are two very different experiences and disciplines - so allow for that!!! I’ve planned a route for when I’m ready for outside running too! But also allow flex into the plan so that you don’t feel like you’ve “failed”. No runs a failure when you’ve showed up for yourself! 🍀🍀🍀

Over60sRunner profile image
Over60sRunnerGraduate in reply to MaCherie112

I suspect when I do get out there it will involve a lot of jeffing, which I'm just starting to experiment with ........got to 4.4k in 45 minutes last week 😲 but then utterly ran out of steam 🤯

MaCherie112 profile image
MaCherie112Graduate in reply to Over60sRunner

But you got to the 45min mark!!! 🥇 I’m enjoying running at 4.2, for now. It takes the pressure off and I can finally just enjoy the feel of running! I’ll probably Jeff too when I get outside and wheeze, and splutter ☺️😅 important thing is to keep going!

Over60sRunner profile image
Over60sRunnerGraduate in reply to MaCherie112

I'm now running at between 6 & 6.2 kph as I can't run any slower any more. My warm up and cool down walks are 4.5 and with a little bit of jeffing I got up to 6.7 for around a minute last week........ I felt like the bionic woman for all of 60 seconds 😂😂😂😂🏃🏃🏃🏃

R2Bears profile image
R2BearsGraduate

Just done 3rd run of week 9 and I'm feeling great. I had a bit if hiccup at week 7 and I was so discouraged and I left a post here. That's when I learn much more about how to run. I hadn't read any advice until then except some posts of newbies similar to my week progress. That was my turning point and my fear of failure reduced massively since. I can always slow down instead of stopping it all together. I'm glad I had such a bad run I posted about it. Without it I wouldn't have gotten all the help I needed. My plan now is to do the 30 min run for a couple of weeks then try the consolidation podcast. Then I want to increase my distance to 5k. (Currently 4k, which I'm very proud of🥳) Will think about what to do next after I achieve this. Thank you all for your support! You're helping transform another human being for better! 🏃‍♀️

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to R2Bears

Welcome and congratulations.

The FAQ Posts are designed to give background information on a whole range of issues that it will benefit any runner to be familiar with. There is so much more to this running thing than attempting to cover ground as fast as possible. The essential ones at your stage are the What next healthunlocked.com/couchto5... and how to get faster post healthunlocked.com/couchto5... although they all offer useful background information

Your plan sounds fine and just remember that you are totally in control of how hard your runs are simply by controlling pace, but also that the most effective pace to develop your stamina and endurance is an easy conversational pace.

MaCherie112 profile image
MaCherie112Graduate in reply to R2Bears

Love this!! You bounced back superbly and you’re right it’s always better to slow down than quit! There’s a consolidation podcast? I did not know this! I’ll have a hunt for it! Best of luck on your next runs! I’m one run behind you and enjoying it so much better now that I’ve slowed down!

R2Bears profile image
R2BearsGraduate in reply to MaCherie112

Hi MaCherie12, thank you for your comment. I was referring to 5k+ and Strength and Flex podcast here;

healthunlocked.com/strength...

MaCherie112 profile image
MaCherie112Graduate in reply to R2Bears

Oh wow! Thank you so much!!!

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to MaCherie112

There is not actually a Consolidation podcast.

There are the three C25k+ podcasts referred and linked to in the What Next post in the main body of this post and there is the Strength and Flex consolidation plan produced by CBDB again linked to above.

MaCherie112 profile image
MaCherie112Graduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

Oh ok brilliant! Thanks for the clarification! I got so excited then! 😆

Over60sRunner profile image
Over60sRunnerGraduate in reply to MaCherie112

MaCherie112 , the 12 week S&F consolidation plan that CBDB so kindly put together is one I am following. It's fab - do try and give it a go 😀👍😀

MaCherie112 profile image
MaCherie112Graduate in reply to Over60sRunner

I need to take an in-depth look at it but I am incorporating the basic ideas of trying to have a flex and stretch on rest days. Went Pilates for my F&S and now core is suitably sore!!! 🤣

Over60sRunner profile image
Over60sRunnerGraduate in reply to MaCherie112

😮😮😮😮

Sallyeliza profile image
SallyelizaGraduate

I have just completed my 9 weeks so from reading this it seems best to carry on with the 3 runs a week for the next three weeks. Some runs I do are faster than others- probably just how I feel on the day. Is it best just to go with where I am on the day now and not necessarily try and get faster do I can do 5 k?

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to Sallyeliza

Congratulations on your graduation fellow runner.

Have you read the guide to post C25K running yet? healthunlocked.com/couchto5... it is full of tips about how to move forward.

You might find browsing through the FAQ Posts useful too, as they give info on lots of aspects of running healthunlocked.com/couchto5... Read the post about getting faster in particular, which is an eye opener for many.

Consolidation is about becoming totally comfortable with 30mins/5k (whichever you achieved during the plan) BEFORE increasing duration or working on speed.

Sallyeliza profile image
SallyelizaGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

Great thank you. I’ve read the guide and will focus on getting comfortable with my runs for 30 minutes and then maybe will focus on getting to 5 k. 😀

Poppdog profile image
PoppdogGraduate

So I'm here newly gradated on a high and ready to join the consolidation club I really really really want to keep going and reach 5K so I'm looking to everyone to keep up your support and advice to me. Thanks

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to Poppdog

Yay, welcome aboard fellow runner and fellow graduate.

I have just read your graduation post and it sounds as if you are reaping all those extra benefits from running that certainly came as a surprise to me.

We have evolved to be physically active and our bodies repay us when we become so.

This guide to post C25k running may be helpful healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

Once you have read it feel free to come back and ask any questions, but your prime aim right now is to maintain the habit, which inevitably becomes more challenging as days shorten and temperatures drop.

Consolidation should be fun, relaxed and unchallenging, while you ponder where you might like to be with your running in a year's time, as that will clarify how to approach your future training.

Keep in touch.

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