Couch to 5K
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Thoughts on "Stamina" (opinions welcome)

Had my second attempt at running with the "Stamina" podcast this afternoon. I ran in daylight wearing appropriate clothing along a route both familiar and flat, so it couldn't help but go much better than last week's attempt. If curious, you can ready about that in my post titled "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Part One (The Bad)", but the short version is that I don't run so well when it is cold and dark and icy and I am wearing too many layers and running an unfamiliar route that involves going up the largest hill in town. Really, who would have known?!

The good news from today is that MapMyRun says I ran 5.6 km, which is a new distance record for me. The bad news is that it took me the full 34:30 extent of "Stamina" to cover this distance... which means that I was only averaging about 9.7 km/hour. In last week's ParkRun, I covered 5km in 28:36, which is an average speed of 10.5 km/hour.

In other words, I was going 8% slower during "Stamina" than I was free running during my ParkRun. I'm curious why that might be, especially since I didn't feel that I was "taking it easy" during today's run. Could it be the ten minutes at 158 bpm that dragged my average down? Perhaps. When I try "Stamina" next week, maybe I should find markers when Laura & I change from 158 bpm to 160 bpm, and again when we transition to 165 bpm. Evaluating averages for each section might make more sense on a run like this.

Still, I can't help but wonder: If I'm running faster on my own than when using the 5K+ podcasts, is there still a benefit to using them? Perhaps this means it's time to consider this series done & dusted ("Stepping Stone" certainly is, though I've continued using "Speed" & "Stamina") and move on to the Bridge-to-10K.

Being far from an expert in this, I would be very curious to hear what other people think! Thanks, in advance, for sharing your opinions with my slightly clueless self! :-D

3 Replies

My hairdresser, who is an expert runner, explained speed to me yesterday as he cut my hair.

It is supposed to stretch and lengthen the leg muscles on the faster sprints. Also, the alternation is supposed to build up resistance by opening up the rib cage and improve breathing. In the long run c25k+ should improve all round performance. Who knows!

Like you I seem to run further and possibly faster without SS/Speed/Stamina. :-D


Hi Matt,

Personally I like Stamina (well I like it now, having had success on it). However, I think that everyone's so different that the "one pace fits all" approach is something that will suit some better than others, and is best used for guidance.

What I'm finding very useful with 5k+ is the pacing. When I did week 9 I started too fast and had problems finishing. I basically had no idea of how fast I should be running. Stepping Stones gave me a lot of confidence in running 30 mins by telling me to slow down!

Stamina is much closer to my "natural" pace (previously unfit now 50 year old female, 5 foot 4 ish) and using it I got to 5K in 34 minutes. You are probably taller (ie longer strides) which is why you do 5.6K in the same time.

Personally my goal is to improve my 5k time before I think about longer distances (being basically lazy at heart). I'm going to continue with 2x Stamina and 1x speed for a few more weeks, really until I can get the hang of the bpm function on iTunes (I did download a tool to find bpm so I could make a playlist but it didn't work...). Then I may up the pace a little but base runs on the Stamina format.

I'm getting more interested in trying a ParkRun. Unfortunately we don't have one on the doorstep here - it would be a 20 minute drive to a place notorious for parking problems. How do you pace yourself there? I'd be scared of going out too fast and wimping out at the end. Would it be ok to have Stamina playing in one ear to keep me on track?

Anyway - those are my thoughts. Sorry for the essay. Right now the rain is hammering down here so I'm glad it's an aerobics class day not a run day!

Good luck and tell us what you decide to do!


Thank you for your post Matt-I'm still out with the knee, but it is much less painful now so will be resuming soon. I absolutely hated stamina! I think even if I hadn't wricked my knee it would have taken wild horses to get me doing that again! Maybe I was running too fast-who knows, but i was totally exhausted, which is why I left my knee behind when I avoided the dog!

I will be watching for your future posts in this matter, and will follow whatever it is you do-I think that's the best thing for now.

Keep on Running :-)

Colette x


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