After the last run of week five (the 20 minutes of continuous running), I was completely elated that I'd managed to finish it, and I was sure that I'd be able to run for as long as I wanted to if I kept with the program. When I got to the 25 minute run though (week 6 run 3), I remembered that running for 20 minutes had been really hard! About as much as I could manage, and frankly, not all that much fun at the time! Thinking like that put me off because I started wondering if I was ever going to be able to actually _enjoy_ running for as much as half an hour at a time. I'm not sure about you, but I only have very limited will power, and I can't keep doing something just because it's good for me! I need to also enjoy it. At the time, I just couldn't tell if I was ever going to enjoy running.
Does that sound about like what you're feeling?
If you're feeling something like that, let me reassure you… Last night, I went out and had a run with a neighbour. His two kids are about the same age as mine, so we've become pretty good friends. A year ago he was a keen runner, but hasn't done any exercise at all in that year. He's decided to get himself back in to shape though, so we've started to run together.
We went out and ran for 25 minutes in total. We started out with a fifteen minute run, then had a walk for about five minutes, and then ran for another 10. It was a lovely run. The weather wasn't as cold as it's been; it was wet and drizzly, but that kept us cool. We started at 8pm, so it was pretty dark, and there weren't too many people about, and we just talked about our kids, and work, and … lots of rubbish I tried to do most of the talking because I know the running is difficult for him at the moment.
That kind of run, I suppose, is exactly the kind of thing that I hoped for when I started to run. I never dreamed of running a marathon or being really fast – what I wanted was to be able to go out and do something for about thirty minutes to an hour that would be really good exercise, would get my body moving and energised, and that I would _enjoy_.
When you start with the c25k plan, I think it's quite easy to live and see the dream. You are going out and doing something healthy, and though hard, you can enjoy it and see how it can grow in to something bigger. At the point you've got to though, I think it's quite easy to loose touch with your motivation because you're finding that even with this investment you've made of six weeks of regular exercise, it's still quite hard work!
I've got the following advice…
First: trust me – it gets easier. Any runner, at any level, can push themselves right to the edge, and if they do that, it will feel hard! You're pushing yourself on each run at the moment, because you want to stretch yourself. But when you're able to run a good long distance, you'll be able to run a good distance and enjoy it. You'll feel great because you're working your body, and you'll manage your exercise without feeling that it's any kind of slog.
Second: have some fun! What I suggest is leave the 25 minute run for a while. Re run Week 6 Run 2 a few times – it's two lots of ten minutes with a walk between. Take it easy, and maybe try to make the run different in some way: try a different route, perhaps, or take a photo during your walk and link it here, or send it to twitter. Make the walk longer if you like, or do three eight minute runs. It doesn't really matter. You're not slipping back or cheating at all! You're just reminding your body and your brain why you're doing this, and you'll still be getting good exercise.
I really hope this will reassure you, because once you've got it, it's such a great way to relax and exercise. Even now in the winter it's wonderful. I'm looking forward to being able to get out early on spring mornings when the sun's just starting to make the pavement warm and dry out the dew… Anyway, sorry for all the poetry
Let everyone know how it goes – and remember: have some fun, and trust me that it will get easier.
All the best,
I did it! After I read your post I went out and ran and took your advise by running in a different route and I actually ran 25 minutes with no walking. Granted I ran at a 13 min per mile pace, I still think that I did pretty well doing so for the first time. Today's run gave me a more positive outlook on the coming week runs which also have no walks.
Thank you for the motivating tips, I am still in that phase whether I will actually start enjoying running and when it starts to feel natural to me but I think at least I think I'm getting near that . I have a question though, there are some walk to running plans out there but seems to require to run everyday, is this more recommended? How often should an individual run in a week?
If you ever do feel that a run is too much, remember not to let yourself be demotivated by it. A friend of mine, who's been running a lot longer than me, says she still gets some days when she doesn't want to do it. Her approach is to go out and run anyway, and then once she's given it 15 minutes, decide if she's had enough, or if she wants to continue. A few bad runs don't stop you being a runner – in fact, they probably prove you are a runner! Even if you take a day off or a week off (or like my neighbour, nearly a year off), don't think that's it – you can always start up again, perhaps with something a little easier to get you back in to the swing of it.
Definitely don't worry about your pace at all at the moment. You can work on increasing your speed once you've got the endurance up and you're feeling good about running regularly. When you're building up your speed you'll be doing shorter faster runs anyway, not these longer runs that make up the last few weeks of c25k.
Get Running uses the Couch to 5K plan. I chose it for Get Running because when I started running with C25K, I really enjoyed it, and found it manageable. I'm not an expert on run training, so I can't tell you the reasoning behind those other plans, and I'm sure they're equally valid. Having three runs a week makes sense to me though: it leaves plenty of time for your body to heal and grow between exercise. It also means the exercise commitment is more likely to fit in to people's busy lives!
All the best,
I listen to the SAME album each and every run -- it's that motivating. Dropkick Murphy's Blackout -- it has the right mix of highs and lows -- and the right songs come on at the right times in my runs to keep me moving -- and just before the end.
Find something blissfully fun to listen to -- don't multitask with books or running music. Guilty pleasures. Treat yourself.
My other thought was, even if i were to only get to 10 mins, as long as I keep doing it, what I am doing makes me feel better than before I started and I am sure eventually I will get better.