This last attempt at CP25k, I did the first seven weeks faithfully doing three runs a week with the GetRunning App on my iPhone5 in a running belt and with a 12 ounce bottle of water in hand. I believed in "claire" and was able to do the runs exactly as instructed.
After the W7 Run 3 I was so drained that I had to take a nap in the afternoon, and was feeling like I was so worn down that I felt I could easily fall sick. At this point I decided to diverge from the GetRunning app suggested schedule and only run when I felt both I was strong enough to run, and that the after-run weakness would not interfere with my responsibilities. I ended up recovering for 12 days before W8R1, and then running only once or twice a week for the rest of the program.
As far as time and pace, I run slow - at 30-40th percentile of my age group of 5k results posted on the Internet, and also according to the "age rated" running web calculator.
To do a 5k instead of the 30 minute run for the W9 Run 3, I created a custom workout in iSmoothRun of 3 minutes warm up and a 5k steady interval at my 30 minute pace. Just like in the 30 minute runs, the first minutes seemed to drag by, but near the middle I seemed to stop thinking about the time and just focused on running with good "Chi Running" form. In what seemed no longer than the previous 30 minute runs, the app announced that I had 800 meters left, and soon it said 400 meters left.
While I imagined I was a runner with reserve energy to pick up my pace to the end, my legs were imagining something different. Soon the app announced my 5k time and average pace and I slowed to a very, very slow walk. I wanted to jump from the excitement of completing my first 5k, but my legs were focused on the walk back to the apartment.
I have done a second 5k (in 38:08 for 7:38 average pace) plus another 0.5k interval after a few minutes recovery. I probably should not have done the extra as one of my calf muscles was painfully stiff a few hours later and continues the next day. Getting up and walking seems to quiet the pain.
So what do I consider the secrets to my success this time where not before? First and foremost having Claire along for the runs, and having an application to time the intervals. Second, I feel that running on the sidewalk (and having to avoid dog doo), instead of running on the treadmill, provided more diversion for my mind. I knew that success depended on changing my thinking from "how long till I can stop", to not thinking about how hard or how long or even how slow I was running. I am sure that a real runner would be more focused on form or pace, and I did sometimes manage to comply when the iSmoothRun announced "Speed up" or "Slow down". Also, when I would feel a little twinge of pain, I would try to analyze my form to see if adjusting my lean or allowing my hips to move more would eliminate the feeling, but within seconds I returned to watching for dog doo and would forget all about feelings or the time.
(I'm not sure if switching from Nike Air Monarch to the much lighter weight Nike FlexRun 2013 shoe made any difference, but knowing the shoes were lighter gave me the impression I did not have to work as hard to run.)
It has been great fun to read about others' progress here on the forum. I wish you the success you desire and that you will soon feel the contentment I feel to have achieved this goal that I set out to accomplish so many years ago.
Kiryat Yam, Israel