5k Sub 30, Week 3 – Not the worst by a long way

Again, I didn’t manage to run over the weekend which has put me rather behind schedule. Also, for this first one, I was slightly hampered by new-shoe-related injuries. Thing about taking some time off work is you forget how to wear posh shoes. Anyway, on with the running.

Week 3, Day 15

Tricky run. My feet weren’t actually that much of a problem in the end, but I did find myself struggling in the final few running stints. That pesky thigh ache returned, along with a stitch, both on the right-hand side, so I suspect I might have been leaning over like the Hunchback of ND, or something. Because I wasn’t on top form, it took forever to cover the distance. I started to get my head around the conversion between miles and kilometres, which will definitely help in the future. I started to lose energy and motivation towards the end though. Could have done with one of those gels! (Not.)

Week 3, Day 17

I don’t really remember this run. I’ve been pretty distracted recently and I had a lot to think about as I headed out and about. I know that my feet hurt a bit, but I think I tied my shoes too tight. The pace wasn’t great but it was mostly comfortable. That’s all I can say about it!

Week 3, Day 19

No five minute warm up this time, and thank goodness. It was freakishly warm outside, not hot in a sun-bearing-down-on-you kind of way, but even the breeze was an oppressive warm gust. Yuck. The good news is I felt a lot better about this run, there were no shoe or leg issues, and that thigh niggle has gone away again, except for the excessive heat. I wasn’t particularly fast, which is disappointing, but not the worst by a long way.

To Work On

I’ve noticed a couple of things this week that I can try and do better at, and it’s always good to have mini goals. (I’ve totally stolen this from Richard’s Sourdough project.)

  • I know walking intervals are rest intervals but I need to still walk with purpose instead of dragging my feet like I’m on a stroll.
  • Have to replace missing TuneBelt armband so I can free up a hand to carry water again.
  • Try to find a celebratory 5k route for when I’m done, somewhere nice.

5k Sub 30, Week 2 – Splits, I think they’re called

Had to delay the long run until after the weekend, as I wasn’t feeling too good. That might also explain why it was a tricky one!

Week 2, Day 8

Felt good to start with, but gradually got more and more tired. It’s quite weird having to run to a programme set in miles when I’m so used to working in kilometres, but it doesn’t make a difference either way really. I was a bit disappointed with the pace, really, but did feel pretty worn out by the end.

Week 2, Day 10

Today was all about the time. 4 minutes steady running with one minute walking. I didn’t go as far as I would have liked, but I must say my calves were really protesting today. At first my legs just felt heavy, but by the end of each running stint my calves were not happy.

It wasn’t a bad run overall though. My favourite thing is the, er, splits, I think they’re called. The running stints had paces – 8:04, 8:26, 8:10, 8:31 and 8:09. So clearly I run faster then need a whole other interval to recover!

Week 2, Day 12

This workout always seems to start with a five minute warmup, which is fine, but during that and the first fast interval, my calves were hurting again and my shins felt a bit odd. I was worried about it, and I’m starting to wonder if my shoes need replacing. Either way, by the second running stint, it was feeling okay and I continued onwards.

I wish the Runkeeper app could tell you which interval you’re on, or how many are left. I felt like I’d been running for ages, and the penultimate running stint took me surprise, and then there was a whole other one after that! Feeling pretty tired after these workouts, but it’s a good tired, like I am achieving something.

5k Sub 30, Week 1 – Break into the first week gently

Here we go then, the first week of a new Runkeeper Class, and all fingers crossed that it’s going to be more successful than the last one. Just two runs to break into the first week gently.

Week 1, Day 3

First workout was four minutes running, one walk, and repeat x3. You can see the bumps that are the walks, but overall it was a lot faster than any other runs I’ve attempted. Not quite my fastest average pace ever, I think, but a good start. It was pretty comfortable, but I’d expect so being that short. Mmm, twenty minute run.

Week 1, Day 5

I haven’t seen such an up and down graph for ages… fun! This programme included a five minute slow run warmup, then proper fast runs punctuated with walking. The walking intervals felt quite long, but then when I tried to run fast, I was definitely wishing I was walking again. The last fast run was rubbish but I blame what turned out to be a not-so-gentle slope.

The next week begins with a “long run” although it’s run/walk/run.

More effort on the groundwork for a faster 5k

Here’s a revelation. Trying to come up with your own running schedule, and more importantly sticking to it, is pretty darn tough. Today I said to Mr C: “I’ve been thinking about signing up for another Runkeeper Class, because it’s not working so well doing it by myself.” He replied: “I don’t remember the last time you went out!”

Well, it was a few days ago, and the time before that was a few more days ago. I had set up my own workout in the Runkeeper app, a simple 5k and just ran until I reached the deadline, or felt particularly dead. That’s not exactly fun, fun, fun. That’s just… pounding the pavements and hoping for the best.

So, I’ve gone the Runkeeper Class route again, and this time, I’ve gone back to basics. A 5k in 30 minutes. Every justification I have for this sounds like an excuse, so here goes, a list of brilliant excuses:

  • A timetable. Having something to stick to is far easy than waking up and thinking “should I go out today?” because the answer to that turns out to be no far more often than it is yes.
  • Fun workouts. This is back to basics, I’ll admit that. I completed the first run of the programme which was four minutes running, one minute walking. I graduated that a long time ago. But, this time, I’m pushing it more when I run. This isn’t about getting the distance, this is about seeing what I can do.
  • 3 runs a week. The last one, which I really did enjoy, despite failing at it miserably, was four runs a week with a back-to-back crossover Sunday and Monday. The timetable didn’t really fit my schedule, and I was always conscious of there not being much room to manouevre. As someone who is about as opposite to hardcore about running as you could get, three runs a week is much more appealing.
  • The coach. The guy who has set out what we’re supposed to be running seems to have set up a gentler workout, which helps, and if I enjoy it, he has other Fitness Classes that I could progress to – those also seem far more approachable than the other one.
  • Confidence. Ultimately, I’m coming at this class with more confidence than I did the last one. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do everything in the last one, I just wanted to do my best and see how far I could get. I wasn’t comfortable with getting behind, and I didn’t really know what to expect. This time, I know I can run a 5k (I’m not sold on the 30 minutes thing), I’m confident I can complete every workout in the class (give or take a bad day), and even more than that – I’m looking forward to them. I’ve tried to do a bit more research this time, and look at what I’m signing up to, and there aren’t any runs that I’m dreading. That is a good sign.

I thought I’d feel guilty about taking what could be considered as a step backwards, but I don’t. Left to my own devices, I am sure the gaps between runs would get longer and eventually I would lapse into a coach potato again. If it takes going back to 5k interval style basics to keep me going out there, I’m happy with that. Going outside, looking forward to runs, even having fun while I’m out there is the whole point, after all.

Not so much of a 10k after all… yet

I ran this final run of the 10K class before finally admitting defeat.

Week 5. Day 29.

The long run of the week, and I felt good going out there. I’d lost my TuneBelt armband and was all ready to use that as an excuse not to go. But then I changed my mind and went anyway, and I’m glad I did.

I thought I might be able to get past 5k, and I decided to lower my average pace threshold to the 9:25 it was before the break a couple of weeks ago. I ran and I ran, and suddenly I was at 7k. I did go up to 9:26 for a moment, but I was determined to get the longest distance I’ve done to date. And I did!

Perhaps I should go out without my TuneBelt more often.

What next?

So, after that run, I buried myself in writing and didn’t look up. I didn’t run for about a week, and thus keeping up with the Fitness Class is beyond even my determination skills.

It occurs to me that what this class, and what most general running schedules try to teach is one long run with smaller ones for general fitness. So, I figured I could just do that. Run 5k when I can, figuring out what I am aiming for as I go, and run a longer distance once a week, or as the mood takes me.

I tried to start yesterday, but it was far too hot, so I didn’t even manage 5k. I remembered reading many blog posts saying just to go out anyway, because going out is better than not doing so, even if you don’t do very much.

I think I am back on the wagon again now, although I said that last time and still took a week off. We’ll see.

10k Sub 60, Week 4 – At least I can still do a 5k!

So, after my mini breakdown at the end of Week 3, I wasn’t really sure what to do. I knew I wasn’t about to give up, and I sort of knew that Gavin was right when he said that I shouldn’t force myself to stick to this Runkeeper schedule when I clearly can’t do it.

Remember we are all different shapes and sizes and you will get to 10k – but maybe you might have to go your own way rather than rigidly follow a course without a personal trainer or buddy who knows you well enough to give you the correct advice.
Wise Gavin (RubberGoat) 

Yes, exactly. However, I’m not really in the mood to make up my own plan at the moment. So, I decided to continue with the Runkeeper one, but just doing what I can, rather than getting annoyed if I can’t do it. I knew I was never going to be able to complete the long distances, anyway, it’s just happened earlier than I might have wanted.

Week 4. Day 22.

This was an 8km workout, but I knew I wouldn’t be doing that. I went out and figured I’d run until I either had to stop, or my average pace fell to 9:30.

It felt really good for the first 3k and then it started to get tough. My thigh was hurting again, and I had to deal with a bit of a stitch. However, I have finally figured out a way to get audio onto my phone, and so I was listening to some good inspirational music as I went around. I don’t want to listen to music all the time, but if I’m just going out there to run and see what happens, it’s nice to have that background to listen to.

Not a great run in terms of reaching the target that I was meant to, but slightly better as a step in the right direction towards being comfortable running again.

Week 4. Day 24.

This was much better. It felt comfortable, although when I hit the 4.8k mark, I really didn’t have the stomach for the intervals. I went a bit longer, but not particularly faster. At least I can still do a 5k!

Also, my thigh didn’t hurt at all, which is a real bonus. It was a bit niggly walking around the house afterwards, but compared to the last run, it was almost as if the initial injury had never happened.

Week 4. Day 26.

A relatively comfortable run, my thigh wasn’t painful but I could still feel the problem with it is still there. I’m slightly annoyed that I stopped because the average pace got to 9:30+ but when I got back it was a wonky GPS situation again. I’m not sure what I’m going to do to solve the problem, but I know that I need to pay more attention to where I finish so I can at least edit it properly when I get back.

I edited this one and it made me feel a bit better because I wasn’t as slow as I thought and I went further than I thought. Phew. Still don’t feel as good as I did before my strop, but I think we’re on the way back up again.

Week 4. Day 28.

Not too much to say about this one. It was a bit more of a struggle than the last two, but I hadn’t been out for four days, so it was probably more of a mental thing. I should have gone out over the weekend, but I was so tired I don’t think it would have helped.

I was also a bit of an idiot and forgot my water, and it was pretty hot out there, so by the time I got back I was absolutely gasping for a drink.

My time off must have got me all confused with when I’m supposed to publish this as well. I’ve already completed the first run of the next week. Apologies for the delay!

10k Sub 60, Week 3 – I forgot what kind of effect the sun has

Just in case there’s any confusion, the subtitles here are obviously the week of the schedule and then the day of the schedule as well. There’s no day 15 in a seven day week. But it’s day 15 overall.

Week 3. Day 15.

Argh! And indeed, I repeat ARGH! Today’s workout was a daunting one – taking on 8km when my best so far has been not quite 6.5km. It was tipping it down with rain too, but I felt pretty good when I headed out.

About halfway through the average pace seemed to go all weird, dropping massively. I figured that it would shake itself out, but it didn’t. Turns out the GPS had got completely lost. Maybe it was because of the rain? I don’t know. I kept on going, because it felt like the distance was in the right vicinity, but afterwards I discovered it was not.

When I got back home, I went into the activity on Runkeeper and edited the map to reflect reality – so that it didn’t think I had been running through the middle of people’s gardens and across streams.

I was severely disappointed to find that I’d run an entire kilometre less than I was meant to. I really felt like I could have gone on further and hit that target, but I had no way of knowing how far I’d gone. The corrected average pace here may not be entirely accurate, but is certainly more believable than the 8:02 it was telling me halfway through.

I hope this is just a blip and not something that’s going to be repeated. Else I’ll have to look into replacing the Android.

Week 3. Day 17.

Some more intervals this time out, but they took me by surprise. I thought I’d got to the end of the run then bam: 20 seconds fast. Oh, alright then.

Not a great run overall. I can’t blame it on anything, it wasn’t going particularly well from the start. Although I did have to pass some more annoying little boys with big mouths, which was quite distracting. It may have spurred me on to run a bit faster, although it was at the uphill bit which didn’t exactly help.

Roll on the next one.

Week 3. Day 19.

Wow. This could be the worst run ever.

It was hot. What with all this rain and wind we’ve had, I forgot what kind of effect the sun has on the out of doors. If I’d thought about it, I wouldn’t have gone out till later. Since I was going slow anyway, I figured I could try out a new route for the longer distances that are coming up. Got a bit lost.

That massive spike you see? That’s where I pressed the pause button so I could cross a busy road but it didn’t actually pause. Damn it. My average time was ruined from being stationary for so long, but it makes no odds. It was never going to be a good one.

I also developed a real pain in my thigh in the last couple of kilometres. It felt more like a trapped nerve than a muscle kind of pain – the way it was shooting down into my leg – but not as excruciating as trapped nerves can be.

When I first got in, I was really disheartened, but after a shower and a rest, it’s not so bad. The only tough thing with doing a class like this is there’s no real time for a do-over. I spend most of the time a day behind anyway, because I haven’t been able to run on Sundays.

So, assuming my leg is okay, tomorrow is a short run with an interval extension on the end. I’ll probably take it easy.

Week 3. Day 21.

I had to take a couple of days off to rest up my leg. I’m sure it is muscle-related, and the way I was limping around the house, Mr C wouldn’t have let me out even if I wanted to. So, I took a couple of days, and as I did so, developed a wicked sore throat and cold. I’m loathe to complain about colds because they’re nothing like what I had in January, but still, it kept me inside for even longer.

It seems fitting, considering I had just written that there is no time to get behind on this programme, that I suddenly found myself a week behind. Finally, seven days after my last run, I managed to get back out of the house.

Not particularly good. That spike in the middle is where I had to pause to walk up a hill. I was out of energy, even though I’ve run that hill many times before. Towards the end of the run my thigh was starting to ache again, despite the fact that it’s been fine all week, so I had to pause for a second time.

I got to the end of the run but it wasn’t fun. The past fortnight has really knocked the stuffing out of me. I’ve been left thinking, why am I doing this? Is it even fun? (Having blogged it all really helps with this one!) My body shape seems to stop me running fast, but running slow makes little dent on my body shape. I’ve taken a massive step in the wrong direction, and now I don’t know if I have the motivation to bounce back again.