Monday, 11 April 2016

Couch to 5k: Weeks 5 and 6

Week 5 is where things start to change a bit. The first two runs of week 5 follow the usual format - short-ish runs interspersed with walks - and all seemed fine and dandy. No complaints about the runs and although the two 8-minute runs in run 2 seemed long I managed to complete them without any problems. And then came run 3. At this point in the program I hadn't read ahead to see what each run would entail, thinking that I might freak myself out knowing what I had to do. So when she said that after my 5-minute warm-up walk I would be running for 20 minutes I nearly screamed. It felt like it came completely out of the blue and seemed a massively difficult proposition. I even double-checked that I was listening to the right week as it seemed such a jump from where I had got to previously.

Now, this isn't one of those accounts that reads 'it was hard but I pushed through and I actually found it was easier than I thought!'. This was hard. I did complete it, but every minute that passed I was counting down to how many I had left. For the last minute I was literally counting down each second. Although I managed to complete it I felt completely demoralised about it all - I had almost stopped at so many points throughout the run that it didn't feel like a victory at all, and on top of that I am still at the stage where I'm moving so slowly I'm not even sure I can even count this at a run - my pace is still around the 5mph mark and I've not been able to increase my speed at all as the program has gone on. The only saving grace of this run was the fact that I timed it to a super dramatic episode of Eastenders, so that helped pass the time a little bit (by about 0.009%).

After this point I looked ahead - I had to do my first run of week 6 in the morning before work and wasn't sure I wanted to do a long run before trekking into the office - and was relieved to see that for the first two runs it reverted back to shorter runs and walking. I honestly don't know if I would have been able to continue into week 6 if it carried on with a long run.

From a psychological point - the first two runs of week 6 were easier purely because I knew I had banked a 20-minute run. However, I don't think that physically they were all that much easier than the other runs I have done. The longest runs come in run 2, which are 10 minutes long. They were completely doable, but pretty boring. The third run however, was a 25-minute run. Knowing I had managed, just about, to do the 20-minute run definitely helped with the motivation to start it - but unfortunately that motivation disappeared about 3 minutes in. To be fair, I had a bit of an annoying start - I moved treadmills twice because the TV sound wasn't working with my headphones (and running for 25 minutes listening to the music on the podcast would have been awful) though I kept the momentum going and didn't slow my pace down when jumping from one to the other. The run was hard, though. I wanted to stop continually, and I did walk for about a minute half-way through before getting a grip and getting back on with it. The last three minutes were probably the easiest - knowing I had a really manageable amount of time left really helped push through at the end. 

I am now planning to do the first run of week 7 tonight, which is another 25-minute run. I'm completely dreading it. I think this whole thing has shown me that I am never going to be a long-distance runner. I still find running completely boring, and I'm not even running very far yet. I'm definitely going to persevere with the program but I can't see myself as even a 5k runner in the future! I'm not saying that there have been no benefits at all - I could barely run for a minute before and now even the 10-minute run wasn't a huge deal - but I think running is going to be a sort of warm-up part of my cardio in the future rather than my sole work-out activity.

Stats: all over the place. I'm pretty sure I'm nowhere near 5k yet as my pace is so slow, and at this stage I'm not even sure that once I get to week 9 I will be there!

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