Couch to 5K
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Bridge-to-10K: Week 3 Run 2

During the early weeks of Couch-to-5K, I liked to add some variety to my runs by picking a different route each week. For simplicity, I usually run straight from my home in East Oxford -- not needing to drive anywhere reduced the inertial overhead and makes me more likely to get out the door and running!

For Week 1, I left home and headed South; for Week 2, I went East; for Week 3, I went North; and for Week 4, I went West.

Later on, when I had reached 5K, I combined bits from three of these routes (North, East, and South) to make one contiguous 5km run for myself. These days, as my runs have crept up past 9km, I am combining all four routes _and_ extending them a bit... but I'm still running out of places to run! Truth be told, Oxford does have quite a bit more runnable space. However, to reach it, I must pass the dreaded Headington Hill. I don't feel ready for a serious hill run right now, which leaves me confined to the Eastern part of the city if I am starting from home.

That said, one does like a little variety every now and then. So, after doing the first seven runs of Bridge-to-10K in Oxford, I decided to do today's run in Japan.

Okay, okay. Taking in some different running scenery might not be the only reason that I am on this side of the world. Nonetheless, it certainly does shake things up a little! I landed in Tokyo this morning and made my way to a village called Tokai, where I will be staying until the 28th. After settling into my room, I put on my running gear and headed out for Week 3 Run 2 -- the first of six runs that will be done from here.

This isn't completely unfamiliar territory, actually. Back in September, I did Weeks 5 and 6 of Couch-to-5K here as well. In a way, that really highlights my progress -- when I last arrived here, my first run was three intervals of 5 minutes each; now my first run was three intervals of 17 minutes each. More running by a factor of about 3.5 -- not bad!

Being much less familiar with the local roads, I didn't have a pre-planned route. I just got out there and ran until Samantha told me to stop. As such, I can't really find my stats for today's run. In a way, that is a good thing, though -- it meant that I just ran at a comfortable pace, without the pressure to always speed up! Even so, I may want to get a good GPS app going on my phone to track future runs. Otherwise, I will have no stats at all until I get back to Oxford on the 31st.

Meanwhile, I am still in shock at having run over 9km in my first Week 3 run! Yes, it was in three segments, with a one minute walk between each. Even so, it makes a continuous 10km run seem like an achievable goal! Huzzah!

Next run -- the last of Week 3 -- is scheduled for Saturday. Happy running, everyone!!

(P.S. Apologies for being lax about replying to comments recently. As you may gather, I've been a tad busy. Will try to get to them soon, 'cuz you guys is da best! ;-) )

6 Replies

Only a fool would take on Headington Hill! The problem with Headington is that it is all hill! In every direction, so it's really hard to avoid. You should live in the flatlands of Kidlington ;) It does get harder to find more variety when the runs get longer though. I'm the same, I head out from home, it's all about which direction I take as I leave my front door!

Japan! OOH! That made me laugh. The lengths us runners go to.. hehe! Work I presume? I'm off to Hong Kong next month for work and I can't wait to go for a run out there, hopefully along the harbour! Also while you cannot really track the run, how great to be able to compare it with last time. What a mental boost!


Thanks, RT! I'm so glad to have another Oxonian chatting here. This way I know at least one other person understands my rather extreme reluctance to run up Headington Hill! :-)

Also, you are absolutely right about it being hill in all directions. Thus, when running West, I'm limited in how far down the London/Headington Road I can go. When running North (say, on Headley Way), I hit the same problem in a different direction. And so on. With my general philosophy of keeping it simple and running from home -- no driving or cycling -- I'm basically boxed in and running between Headington Hill and the Oxford ring road. It was no problem for the shorter runs... but now that I'm at about 9km, I'm starting to feel the squeeze.

I can think of two solutions that don't involve driving or cycling elsewhere: One is to zig-zag a lot more, covering the same ground but going back and forth on parallel streets so that I never repeat the same bit of road. The other is to do a bit of daylight exploration to find foot trails and figure out how far out of my current range I can go. I'll look into it when I get back from my travels.

Speaking of travels -- sounds like you have quite an adventure coming up! Hong Kong? Awesome! I've not been since it went back to the Chinese in 1997, so I am rather envious! I would love to see what it is like there now! Tis a gorgeous place, as I recall, with the mountain, city, and water all together!


I'm a handful of miles further east of Oxford, but face the same hilly problem. I keep telling myself that at some point I'll tackle them, if only so I can run more interesting routes. First it was 'when I've finished C25K', then 'when I can do 5k in 30 mins', and now that I'm nearly at that target it's moving to 'maybe if I decide to go to 10k'...! Living at the top of a hill makes it so tempting to keep putting it off, and just keep running short out & back routes around the village, but I'll have to brave it some time, I know. Just... not quite yet! ;)

And as for Japan and Hong Kong - I'm so envious! North Wales is the most exotic place I've run so far :)


Japan?! Sounds amazing Matthew and how lovely to be running somewhere so so different from the UK! Now, if you had a Garmin you would be able to track your runs and then blind us all with the stats and %ages....!!! :D :D

I too have the problem of knowing where to run now they are getting longer. I end up zig zaging the roads and streets just to give variety - I'm sure I sometimes see the same people when I'm out but just on another backroad or two..... :O If I dont do this though I too have hills that for now remain unchallenged and will remain that way for a while!

Enjoy the rest of your exotic runs!

Sue :)


So awesome Matt! Enjoy the business trip as much as you can and have a blast finishing out the program in such an exotic location! Looking forward to reading more of your blogs and wishing you a successful run 3!!! Gayle


I remember you running in Japan in weeks 5/6 Matthew. Good that you got out there on arrival-got your body in good shape after the flight.

As Gayle says have a blast finishing the programme out there. Enjoy the last of week 3 run.

Colette x


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