Finally! I graduated the Couch-to-5K programme about six weeks ago. As I got into the last three weeks, I started timing my runs -- as so many of us do -- and found that I was consistently averaging 8.6 - 8.7 km per hour. Consequently, on graduation, I could not actually run 5km; a more accurate name for what I did would be the "Couch-to-4.35K plan".
About a fortnight after graduating, I took the very common step of mapping out a 5km course and running it. That "second graduation" of actually running 5K took me 34:27. Again, this works out to be 8.7 km/hour. More distance; same speed.
Tonight is four weeks, to the day, since that first 5km run. In that time, I have continued running three times a week. I have done my first two ParkRuns. I have enlisted further aid from Laura, in the form of the "Stepping Stone" and "Speed" podcast. And I have received a most welcome boost from investing in a proper pair of running shoes.
Tonight, all that work finally paid off! Tonight, for the very first time... I RAN 5K IN ***LESS** THAN THIRTY MINUTES!!!
(Okay, I'll stop shouting now. Sorry -- I get excited!)
That's right, my dear fellow runners! I've been creeping towards the magic mark for awhile now. When last Sunday's run clocked me in at 30:17, I decided to go for it. I mean, c'mon, that's soooooo close! Getting from there to under thirty minutes just requires and extra 1% push -- shaving a mere 3.5 seconds off of each kilometer.
In preparation for tonight, I used the "Speed" podcast for my next run. Then the big day arrived and I went out tonight with the goal of finally completing my "third graduation" -- 5km in under 30 minutes. I used the Week 9 podcast to get Laura's time checks every five minutes. Such a strange change of situation -- when I was finishing up Couch-to-5K, I was eager for each time Laura touched base with me. Every time she spoke up, I knew I was five minutes closer to my goal. I wanted the time to pass as quickly as possible! Tonight, I welcomed every moment that passed without an update from Laura -- now I wanted the time to pass slowly, allowing me to cover as much ground as I possibly could before the next five minute mark.
Right from the start, I gave that extra little push all the way through my run. When Laura announced that there were only five minutes left, I started to speed up even more. I had started when Laura said "Off you go" at 05:48 into the Week 9 podcast; I crossed my finish line as she said "Push on through the pain" at 34:59 minutes in.
Crunching the numbers, that gives me a total 5K run time of 29 minutes and 11 seconds! SUCCESS!!!
Oh, I am sooooooo very chuffed right now! (Can you tell?) Not only did I come under the thirty minute mark, but it wasn't even close!!
Looking at the figures, this means that I had an average speed of 10.3 km per hour (or, for those who prefer Imperial units, 6.4 mph). That's an increase of over 18% from when I started running 25+ minutes at a time. Wahoo!
I'm keeping fingers crossed that my local ParkRun isn't flooded out this weekend. I would dearly love to have a more "official" record of this milestone. Meanwhile, I should try to get some sleep... but it's going to be difficult when I'm this excited!
Thanks for listening, all, as I share this oh-so-excellent milestone in my running!