Couch to 5K
60,399 members93,056 posts

Observations of running to time versus running to distance

Whilst heaving my unfit mass around W4R2 I came to a realisation. Having previously run decent distances and times I have no problem (even now in my post injury recovery state) with being told to run from A to B at a distance of say 3 miles. Why then do I start to struggle when Laura pops into my ear to tell me I have 1 minute left of a 5 minute run?

I've come to the conclusion that it must be psychological. The fact that I'm told I'm nearly there by Laura means I mentally start to think "just 60 seconds to go" whereas I only get the same sensation in distance terms when I can physically see the end of my objective.

Does anyone else have a similar experience?

In terms of injury update, I've started to suffer with lower back stiffness the next day after my run. It isn't the same pain (certainly not in scale) to my facet joint and is really hard to replicate. I could be bending over to put something in the dishwasher and suddenly the back twinges. If I then attempt the same move to see if I can "replicate" the problem nothing happens.

Usually after a run I do a series of core strengthening exercises (as approved by my physio) but after W4R2 I haven't done any (aside from some back stretches). It will be interesting to see if the pain is lessened tomorrow morning. I have my monthly physio led Pilates on Monday so am looking forward to discussing the problem then.

Still feels slightly strange that in four runs time I will be back to the dizzying distance of 20 minutes. One foot in front of the other. One run at a time and all that.

1 Reply

I know kind of what you mean about the time/distance. I usually run to the podcasts, but on the first day in week 9 the battery on my player just died and I forgot to charge it, so instead mapped out a 5k route beforehand and ran it. I didn't time myself, but checked my watch afterwards and it had been (just!) less than 30 minutes. But with the 30 min podcasts for the next two runs, I didn't make the 5k.

I'm putting it down to, when I run to time there's no reason to run fast, and there's psychological things about being 'nearly done'. When I run to distance, the faster I go the faster I can stop running, so that probably speeds me up :P. Plus, listening to music is sometimes more interesting than my route, so maybe I run slower if I'm listening.


You may also like...