This blog is in part a response to CouchtoKiltLegs' blog:
To start off with, in case you don't already know, I'm a very slow runner. By the end of the program my fastest 5K was 47:12 minutes (30 min running, the rest walking). For my first run after graduation I did the week 9 podcast again. But this afternoon when I was getting ready for my second run I decided I needed to move on, so I chose to do Stepping Stones from the C25K+ podcastsj.
It was actually a decent day for a run, so I had that in my favor; lower 70s, overcast, and not too windy. I don't know if the beat to the warmup walk is faster than previous warmups, but it felt that way to me. Laura doesn't mention the BPM for the walking, I'm curious to know what it is. Anyway, 5 minute walk done and on to the running.
10 minutes at 150 BPM - Didn't have any problems with this section. I was trying out a new breathing technique which I was finding very helpful.
15 minutes at 155 BPM - Harder, but still doable. I have a naturally short stride, but my feet were coming down in step with the beat. It wasn't long before I began breathing harder but, thanks to breathing in a new pattern, I didn't have any lung discomfort as I normally do within 10-15 minutes of running. However I did start to flag a bit (but still kept the beat) as the 15 minutes went on and on.
5 minutes at 160 BPM - I couldn't believe I was still going. Somehow I got my feet moving faster to match the higher BPM, but I don't think I gained much because I had to shorten my already short stride to be able to keep up with the beat. My breathing escalated to just short of panting. Still no lung discomfort though, so I kept going. At the end of the 5 minutes Laura said to slow down gradually to a walking pace. I gladly went into walk mode, but there was nothing gradual about it. My walking felt slow and stiff for the next minute or two until my breathing and heart rate calmed down.
I finished the cooldown and continued walking until I'd completed 5K. Here are some stats comparing my previous best 5K time with today's Stepping Stones run. Both times include the warmup walk, 30 minutes running, cooldown walk, and extra walking since I can't yet run a full 5K.
W9R2 - 5K in 47:42 minutes, averaged 15:21/minute mile
Splits: 1st mile/15:21, 2nd mile/14:40, 3rd mile/15:51, last .2 miles/17:14
W10R2 - 5K in 45:44 minues, averaged 14.43/minute mile
Splits: 1st mile/15:12, 2nd mile/13:45, 3rd mile/15:11, last .2 miles/15:56
As you can see today's run was 2 minutes faster than my previous best. I am, of course, very happy about that now that the run's over with. Maybe Stepping Stones is not for everyone as some find the BPM is too fast, while others find it too slow. I don't know why it worked for me, but I found it beneficial and I plan to do it again after I try out the other two C25K+ podcasts.