So I have now completed week four.
Physically, I feel in far better trim than I did when I started. When I begin my initial five minute warm-up walks, I find myself walking with a straight back, shoulders back, head high, and at a mini-gallop. I also feel lighter on my feet. Add to that the fact that I am undoubtedly losing weight and my legs feel stronger. This is reflected in the removal of some of my previous physical complaints. No longer do my bones feel so "clackety" as I run - they are like a stronger, tighter unit.
There does seem to have been a crossover with the cardio, however. As the runs have become more challenging I do find myself conscious of managing my lung power. I do wonder whether I am going slower than I need to when running, but I figure that if I get to 30 minutes of unbroken running (even if it's just trotting) I can then focus on working at speed. Just getting the runs done is the priority for me.
I've looked at week five and feel very confident about the first couple of runs. Doing five minutes was a huge barrier. I'm terribly, terribly unsure about the 20-minuter at the end of the week, but we'll see how I'm doing. I'm progressing, and that's all that matters.
Onwards and upwards!
Happy to report that this one went swimmingly.
My instinct was that it would be so (perhaps belief made it easier?) because it didn't feel like a huge step up from W4R3 - 2 x 3 & 2 x 5 v 3 x 5. I think that when you hit the five minute level there is a bit of psychological adjustment to be done, because it seems like you really have 'time to kill' for the first time in the regime. On the one hand you're happy that you're running for longer, on the other hand you're a bit antsy about waiting for the walking break.
The other adjustment is the pace. It really does feel like being in a manual car - sometimes you know towards the end of the run that you've got plenty in reserve and so have been undercooking it, so you move into fourth gear. But as I say, I'm trying not to concern myself too much with that. If I can get up to 30 minutes even at a trot, I can work on the speed.
I do have some fears. I realise that this is the last 'stabliser' run, really. I'm one run away from the 20-minuter, and after that it gets quite hefty. Keeping the faith that my mind and body will be ready...
I found the week after the 20 minute run difficult, as you had to run intervals again, which might sound weird, but I heard it also from other people.
The last couple of weeks have been tough; I only have a small window to get in my jogging each day, and have found four or five days to be rained out. Getting out yesterday I was faced with a choice - do I repeat W5R2 after five days out of action, or do I finally take the plunge and go for the 20 minute run? I decided to go for the 20 minuter. Worst case scenario would be that it was incomplete, but would provide a good foundation for the next time I attempt it.
To my pleasant surprise, I was able to complete it somewhat comfortably. That is not to say it was without a price to pay - I worked up the biggest sweat to date and my lungs were feeling pretty tight at the end - but I wasn't at death's door by the time it had finished.
Another poster said that that when you do an uninterrupted run you feel a "click" where everything becomes autopilot and your limbs just carry you. After that 20 minute experience I could not agree more. It truly felt like a rhythm, as though whatever suffering I was feeling was completely being carried by an automated movement of the arms and legs. I was quite interested to note that many runners find the intervals tougher because they eliminate the "click" factor - I guess I'll find that out soon enough.
I've been doing this for around eight or nine weeks now, and I am much slimmer, my cheekbones are re-emerging after a long period of hibernation, the legs are like iron, and my endurance has probably increased tenfold. If anyone reading this is on the fence about doing the app or continuing with their runs, all I can say is stick with it. It's worth it.
Onwards and upwards!
After having to kick my heels for another few days because of the rain, I finally got around to W6R1. I am very pleased to report that it went absolutely fine. I had been somewhat nervous about the prospect, reading how others had struggled with the intervals after the 20 minute run. I'll admit it was a little tougher than previous interval runs, but I was able to overcome it comfortably enough.
Physically, I'm feeling in good shape at this point. I've noticed that I no longer have knee pain, either when running or when simply kneeling down. I'm not feeling so much 'wobbling' on my upper body either, and my lungs feel so much more effective at handling the breathing cycle.
I am quite excited now, because that really marked the last of the interval runs. There is one, maybe two more I think, but with only one interval, and after that it is straight, long runs. I expect it to be quite a punishing couple of weeks ahead of me, but there's no doubt in my mind that I am on my way towards being a runner now!
Onwards and upwards!
Wow. I've really found it tough to get out for my runs lately. I have so few windows in the week when I can get them done, and I seem to have been cursed by a predatory rain cloud! But I finally got in W6R2.
It was tough. Really tough. Probably the toughest run to date.
I had heard horror stories about how hard the interval runs could be after the 20 minutes, but this one exceeded my expectations. I found the first 10 minutes very heavy-going, which was a bad omen, and was constantly clock-watching to see when the run would end. As I recovered my breath in the three minute break, I really questioned whether I'd be able to manage another 10 minutes in poorer condition.
I think at about two minutes into the second 10 mins, I really gave a little thought to chucking it in for the first time in the entire course. But I decided to carry on and have faith that my limbs would carry me. And they did. One leg in front of the other. The final story was a body that was sweatier than it had been since the first week.
I'm not sure why it was so tough, but I'm very glad I managed to complete it. And I really do see this as a landmark moment, because it was the LAST of the interval runs. From now on, it is all straight runs. That means I am a proper runner now, just working on time, distance and speed. What a great source of pride for anyone, such as me, who struggled to move for just one minute a couple of months ago. Woop woop!