Couch to 5K
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Bridge-to-10K: Week 3 Run 1

Just finished Week 3 Run 1!

This was my second attempt, which has never happened to me before. I first set out to do this run yesterday evening, after work and bell ringing practice. I began earlier than is usual for me these days -- I started out the door around 9:30pm, rather than the all-too-typical 1am. Even so, I could feel the wet pavement starting to freeze beneath my feet as I ran. About eight or nine minutes in, I had my first slip experience -- I didn't fall (or come close, really), but I did feel my foot swing out behind me, rather than get proper traction. I slowed down, yet it kept happening. More and more frequently, in fact! By about twelve minutes in, I decided to abort the run. It was disappointing, of course, but it seemed wiser to reschedule the run for today, during daylight hours, when the pavement would be wet but not icy. If I had pressed on, I risked a fall and injury... but, even if I avoided this, the best case scenario would have been a marred run, with me moving too slowly and deliberately. Better to try again the next day.

And that is precisely what I did!

My second attempt at Week 3 Run 1 was _much_ better. During Week 2, my three 45 minutes runs covered 7.64 km, 7.66 km, and 7.12 km. Week 3, for those who are not familiar, consists of three 51 minute runs, where each is broken into three intervals of 17 minutes running with 1 minute walking between them. Extrapolating my _fastest_ Week 2 run (7.66km) from 45 minutes to 51 minutes gave me a maximum distance that I could reasonably expect: 8.68 km. However, I resolved to focus on endurance and NOT speed. As such, I decided that a more reasonable expectation would come from extrapolating my _slowest_ Week 2 run (7.12 km) from 45 minutes to 51 minutes. That gave an expectation of 8.07 km. Fine, thought I. If I can break 8km for the first time, I will be happy.

And off I went!

During the run, there were moments where I was tempted to speed up. I would hit a groove of comfortable running and feel a desire to go faster. After all, if I was comfortable, then I was moving too slowly, right? Here and there, I sped up for a few moments but, for the vast majority of the run, I fought off temptation and ran at a comfortable speed. Go me, right?

Returning home, I sat down to map my run with MapMyRun. I was rather shocked when I entered the start and end points for the first 17 minute interval. 2.99 km? Could that possibly be right?? It appears to be, because here are the total stats for today's run:

Interval 1: 2.99 km in 17 mins (ave speed 10.6 km/hour, or 5:41 per km)

Interval 2: 3.08 km in 17 mins (ave speed 10.9 km/hour, or 5:31 per km)

Interval 3: 2.99 km in 17 mins (ave speed 10.6 km/hour, or 5:41 per km)

Strangely enough, despite my attempts to NOT focus on speed, this ended up being my fastest run yet! Recall that my goal was to cover 8 km in 51 minutes of running. Instead, I covered 9.06 km during that time! Wowza!

My best 5K time, measured at a ParkRun last month, was 28:36, which works out to an average speed of 10.5 km/hour. In contrast, even during the slowest segments of today's run, I was moving at 10.6 km/hour... and considering all three gives me an average speed of 10.7 km/hour.

Um, wow.

It's only 1.6% faster than my best 5K speed, to be sure... but to be getting faster whilst running further? Not at all what I had expected! Believe me, tis a very pleasant surprise!

Perhaps this is some weird fluke? After all, Laura always told us that some runs would be better than others. Or perhaps this shows that not pushing for speed is best -- you don't wear yourself out and can actually maintain a higher average speed for the whole of the run. I'm really not sure and will need to play around a bit more to find out. But that is a task for future runs. For now, I'm just going to sit here being chuffed at having passed the 9K mark for the first time!

As far as Bridge-to-10K progress is coming along, that's seven runs down now, and eleven more to go!

Happy Running, everyone!!

6 Replies

Fascinating stuff. I bet it is the focus on a good even pace that does it. While I am way behind you (way, way, way!) I've been reading quite a bit, and the Jeff Galloway run/walk approach apparently tends to get marathon runners producing faster overall times than when they just run - I guess because they are pacing themselves more effectively instead of overdoing things in the rush to get there.

A few weeks ago, none of this would have interested me in the least, but now I'm completely hooked. Even though the furthest I've run was 1.95km today (annoyingly not quite 2!)


:-) :-) YOU ROCK, MATT!! :-) :-) You seem to be flying through these weeks! :-) I will be starting WK2 tomorrow. :-) Gayle


Wowsers! Yet another fab run! You're unstoppable! Also good call to abort yesterday, you don't want to risk putting yourself out for the rest of the winter.

I totally agree that a good stable pace tends to result in a faster average overall even if it doesn't feel fast at the time. Once you take the pressure off, voila! Results! The same surprise has happened to me before, (though not to your speedy extent!). As Gayle says you're really flying through this! Marathon by the end of the year? ;)


Well done you I to have started my goal to a 10K for a race for Life in May you are ahead my furthest distance today was 4 Miles. Had to take it quite slow with all the ice. So time to work on with a long run and the speed podcast. Hey I am also a bell ringer good exercise all :)



Hey Matthew. Way to go. You are catching me up in more ways than one. Blogged about my W3R1 already but did Speed tonight (twice actually) so aiming for W3R2 on Thurs and completing on Sunday. Sensible move to avoid the ice and stay clear of injury. Good luck and keep running. James


Another great run, great speed and great distance Matthew!!

I think i am going to have to save this sentance and just keep copying it as a reply to your blogs the way things are going!!! :D :D Glad you were sensible with the ice, ice baby......! ;)

I am on week 2 this week and all going well.

Sue :)


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