Couch to 5K
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Week 10 Run 1 or Step into Danger!

Feeling the graduation Buzz i happily uploaded the new c25k+ Stepping stone podcast. The description said it was good for those who have graduated and are ready to move on. Having completed every run first time and since I seem to have been quite quick over my 30 minute runs I thought it would be a good next step. Oh so wrong.

I should have known when I woke up this morning without any run fear and whistled my way through the 5 minute walk without really worrying about it.

Stepping Stone has a beat to which you are meant to walk and then run to. I run at a fraction below 5k in 30 mins normally but the slowest first pace on stepping stone was faster than this. After 5 minutes I was gasping and not just puffing. It definitely felt wrong and uncomfortable but I persevered. At about 9 minutes and a few seconds my running programme chirpped up that I had done a mile and gave me my mph pace. My normal pace is just under 10 minutes per mile so I was running much more quickly. I wanted to keep going and beat my personal best though.

At 15 minutes I knew I had made a huge mistake. This wasn't a stepping stone, it was wading across a fast flowing river. My legs had gone through stiff, relaxed, bit numb and now were burning in a few minutes. I was going faster than my body could cope with, I had to slow down and walk, it felt like a disaster, the first time I didn't manage a run.

I decided I would walk for a minute then run the rest. Incredibly I would still beat my usual time doing this as the second half of stepping stone is even faster! It seemed crazy but Laura knows best.

I marshalled myself to run again and just 2 steps in my left calf immediately said no. It didn't hurt but it was just a smidge below painful, it felt tight, strained and definitely not right. I gently tried a couple of steps to see if it was just stiff and needed run off but it was definitely not happy. I slowed to a gentle walk and decided to wait for it to calm down.

I continued to walk my route gingerly (I was doing my 5k even if I walked the last half) and realised that I wasn't running again today. The walk home in the sleet was pretty miserable and I had to turn off Laura and put on some music to cheer myself up.

Lesson was learned, do not try stepping stone straight from W9R3 unless you are very fast! It was way too much, felt like a few steps up. Next run will be a very gentle jog for 30 minutes if my calf has recovered. I am going to make myself a play list and run a week or two of 5ks until I can do them comfortably.

A stepping stone to stepping stone if you will :)

5 Replies

This is strange, since some of us found the beat on Stepping Stones too slow. I think you maybe have a slow cadence, but a long stride therefore are going fast. Are these Kilt legs, long legs? ;-)

I used the Stepping Stones podcast once and found it was not helpful to me. I was running 5K in about 32 mins when I finished C25K, ie about 6:30mins/km and I found Stepping Stones was too slow for me. I only used it once. I found it helpful to run following a beat of about 160 bpm. The Stamina podcast was much more to my liking and I used this this once a week for several weeks for my tempo runs.

The figures in this table here fits fairly closely with my experience:

I'm now following podcasts from Podrunner at 165 bpm to try to run consistently at 5:40 mins/km for 30-40 minutes.


That is somewhat odd, I am running at 6:05/min per km or so and it felt way too fast. I don't feel like my legs are particuarly long, perhaps I have a springy gait and cover more ground in one step than the norm?

I think I will just stick to running at my own comfortable pace and just keep plodding on happily. We are all different but we are all runners :)


Fascinating stuff! I downloaded the stepping stones, but then, before I'd tried it, decided I preferred running without music anyway, so have just done my own thing. I did try counting my paces out of curiosity - it came out at about 160 steps per minute on my usual slow running.

Today I ran faster than I do usually, but didn't have my watch on, so I don't know whether they were just longer steps or whether I was taking quicker steps (though my gut feeling is that if anything, they were slower but longer). I shall have to count next time! Though I don't think I'll be trying to step at a particular rate, for now I'd rather just do what feels right. But it's all very interesting.

Hope your calf feels ok again tomorrow, kiltlegs. :)


Firstly, I hope your calf is doing ok now. And I'm sure being out in the sleet just made matters worse.

Secondly, I started to tell you about my experience with the Stepping Stones podcast but it was getting really wordy so I moved it to a new blog. If you or anybody else it interested it can be found here:


I found stepping stone *really* hard the first time or two I tried it after graduation, but kept on trying and can manage it comfortably now. Admittedly, I repeated the W9 run for a few weeks after graduating, trying to convince myself that it wasn't just a one-off, and I *really* could do it. Maybe the repetitions of the 30-mins had helped to build me up a bit, I don't know. I'd definitely recommend carrying on with 30 mins, then coming back to SS in a few weeks.


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