ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
[personal profile] ladyofastolat
So we finished Couch to 5K last night. Since the last week, like most other weeks, consists of repeating the same run three times, the final day was no different from the 2 runs that preceded it, which reduced the sense of Yay! Achievement! Nevertheless, it felt good to complete.



Week 8

Week 8 consisted of 28 minute runs.

Run 1 (Friday) was wet. Although the rain was fairly light for most of the run, there were big puddles around, most of them cunningly lurking just around dark corners. Running shoes are annoyingly non-waterproof, it seems. Our existing route had become too short, requiring us to do several back-and-forth runs up and down our estate to make up the time, so we tried a new route: out of Cowes on one of the two main roads, crossing the road just after the two routes merge, and returning back along the other. Length wise, it worked well, although since there was usually pavement on only one side of the road, several road crossings were involved, with little flexibility about where they took place. More annoyingly, the direction we took involved a slow but noticeable climb throughout the first 10 minutes. Since it's a circular route, logically this should have been balanced by an equal amount of Down, but no Down was in evidence, apart from The Dark Path, which is quite a bit steeper but very short. I've discovered that I always find the 4 to 10 minute section of each run the most challenging, regardless of terrain, so I don't want to have a hill to contend with, too.

On Saturday, Pellinor went to the running shop and had his gait analysed. The very nice lady there was positively gushing about how wonderful his gait was and what an elegant runner he was, rolling neither in nor out, and bounding naturally on his toes like a stylish cheetah. He was very smug.

Run 2 (Sunday). We did the same route as on Friday, but reversed the direction, so the long slight hill turned into a lovely welcome Down that came along shortly after the half way mark. Due to some unfortunate (though nice at the time) over-indulgence the night before, I really didn't feel like doing this run, but it was okay in the end. Harder than Friday, but nowhere near as bad as I'd feared.

Run 3 (Tuesday.) The same route as Friday, although we started our warm-up walk by walking in the "wrong" direction, before heading back to start the run fairly near our house. This produced a slightly better finish line, with less walking back. Nothing else stands out about this run.

Time wise, throughout week 8 we were managing around 6 and a half minutes per kilometre. (Run 1: 6:33, Run 2: 6:36, Run 3: 6:28)

Week 9

30-minute runs. Although the programme is called "Couch to 5K" it's really "Couch to 30 minutes," since everything is measured by time. Most beginners doing the programme take rather more than 30 minutes to do the full 5K (3.1 miles).

Run 1 (Friday.) The same route once again. We'd suggested running for 30 minutes for the first two runs before upping it to 5K for the last one, but when the 30 minute call came when we had around half a km to go, we decided to carry on. That last half km seemed to take forever, and I was struggling by the end, and getting noticeably slower. It didn't help that the soundtrack in my ear was all about "yay! you've finished!" while I was slogging on without knowing when the end would be called. The audio gives us a 60 second warning, but since my phone lives in a pocket, we don't know how we're going until the voice from my pocket pipes up to call each kilometre mark.

When we - finally! - finished at around 34 minutes, I was dispirited to see our average time reduced to 6:45 minutes per km. However, once we got home and looked at the mapping, it was clear that the GPS had failed for a couple of minutes. Instead of showing us take a twisty path around the edge of a playing field, it showed us cutting the corner and going straight through the middle. Our final km was therefore more like 1.1km. Most of our lack of speed - some genuine, some false - was in that last km, and our average for the previous 4 was similar to normal.

Run 2 (Sunday.) We'd planned to run during the day, rather than late(ish) evening, but felt that our new regular route wouldn't work so well when with day-time traffic levels, because of all the road crossings. On Saturday, walking, we checked out a 5km route on the seafront, although it was noticeably windier down there, which will definitely be a factor to consider. As it turned out, it was rainy during the day, and I was very tired (another late Saturday night) so we just more or less the usual run at the usual time - although we changed the route of the final km to avoid the Dark Path, since I was finding it quite draining to have to contend with a hill - even such a short one - when we had only a few minutes to go. It makes the route less pleasingly circular, since the final km is now retracing the route of the first km, but it's a nicer run. Just over 32 minutes to do the km, at 6:25 minute average per km.

Run 3 (Sunday.) One of the main roads out of Cowes is now closed for a month, resulting in heavier traffic on the other one. I was worried about the effect on our road crossings - and also worried whether there would be pedestrian access past the closed segment - but we gave it a go, and it was okay. I found the final kilometre really quite hard, and was panting hard. However, when we finished - after 30 minutes 50 seconds, over a minute faster than last time - we learnt that we'd managed a 6:09 minute average.

So that's that. I can't say that I actively ENJOY running, but it's tolerable, and I like the sense of achievement of finishing, and I like being able to get some good exercise without having to commit too much time. I don't want to mentally mark this as "done" and just stop, so I think I need to keep on with the structure of 3 times a week on set days. I'd decided that my next goals were to run 5K in 30 minutes or less, and to work up to 10K. The first goal shouldn't take that long to achieve, since we're already at 30:50. The second will take a lot longer, of course. Actually, rather than 10K, my aim is to be able to run to work, which is probably more like 8 or 9km. I won't actually run TO work, since there are no showers, but want to be able to run to my work place on a day I'm not working, just to show myself that I can do it.

We don't want our weekday runs to take up any longer than they currently do, so the current plan is something like this:

Tuesday: Under 5km, but concentrating on gradually getting faster. Pellinor and I might do this separately, since he wants to go faster than I do, since he wants to be able to run down monsters while wearing armour, and I do not have this need.

Friday: 5km, taking as long as it takes and not fussing overmuch about timing

Sunday: Gradually upping the distance

We'll see how it goes...
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