In my previous post, I talked about my return to running. It felt pretty damn good. Overall, though, I felt like I wasn’t progressing much. My pace chart looked like the EKG of someone in cardiac distress. Up and down, up and down, up and down. Especially in the last mile. And it’s been like that for years. I remember when I was newer to running, it would often take me a mile or two to “get into the zone,” and really enjoy it. More recently, I felt like a needed a walk break every five minutes at best, and I never really got to that zone. It was too much stop and start, stop and start. Like the difference between driving on the highway versus the city with traffic lights and stop signs. I’m still a fan of a walk break, but I want to get back to where I felt like I was on cruise control.
For my fourth week of running, I followed the actual c25k plan for W4D1 to try to force myself to do longer intervals for both walking and running. Especially at the end of a run. I added an extra set of intervals to the end to get me to a full 5k. And doing it this way, I ended up going progressively faster through the run, rather than slower.
Derp. I guess the plan is good for a reason.
Same as Sunday’s run, following C25k W4 (run 3 minutes, walk 1.5, run 5, walk 2.5, repeat) with an extra set of intervals to get me to 5k. And a few seconds faster per mile. Love the negative splits! And I was happy to be under a 12 minute mile average again.
Woohoo! W4D3 done and got all the miles under 12 minutes! Bring on week 5!
We had a few rainy days and I’m not quite masochistic enough to run in steady rain yet, so it took a few days for me to start Week 5. W5D1 with extra intervals to get me to 3.1 miles. 5 minutes running, three minutes walking. I’m surprised my final five minutes was my fastest!
W5D2. I changed it a little, from 8 minutes running, 5 minutes walking to 8 and 4. I just don’t think I need that long of a walk break. And I repeated until I got to 5k, and then cut my last walk interval short because I only had about .3 miles left and I’d rather run that last bit than walk it.
I can’t remember the last time I ran 8 minutes without a walk break.I’m pretty sure it’s been years. I usually walk at least every 5 minutes, so I’m proud of myself for doing this today. I shifted my arse into low gear so I didn’t go too fast and burn myself out like I usually do.
That means the dreaded 20 minute run is next. *gulp*
The big jumps, going from 8 minute intervals to 20 minutes, intimidate the hell out of me. I mentally think of myself as Harry Potter in the Prisoner of Azkaban. Just like Harry was able to defeat the dementors with the use of the time turner because he already knew he did, I have to remember that I’ve already run 20 minutes. Just not back to back in a long time. But I tell myself I can do this, because I already did it.
And I did! I cannot remember the last time I ran 20 straight minutes. Last time I tried was over 2 years ago, and I didn’t make it then. I was debating holding off until the next day, since it’d been rainy all day, but kept checking the radar and when it seemed mostly passed us, I went. Or at least I thought it was mostly passed.
A green sports bra and white t-shirt are not the best choice on a rainy day. Just FYI.
After 20 minutes running, 4 minutes walking, then another ~12 minutes off random run/walk intervals and I took about 11 seconds per mile off my best average pace this year.
Which brings us to Week 6. I was trying to psyche myself up to run W6D1, thinking it was 10 minute run intervals, when it was just five and eight minute intervals. I guess that’s the point of W5D3’s 20 minute run. Eight seems easy after that, but it seemed hard a week ago.
W6D2 was a bit of a bummer. It was much warmer than I’m used to – already 80° by 9am – and I’m a total wuss about running in the heat. I’d rather run in the cold. Anything above 60 and I get grumpy. I like to think it’s because my heart belongs in Scotland. But anyway, The first ten minute interval was fine, but about 7 minutes into the second one, I had to pause a little. Then the final interval was a mix of running and walking.
W6D3 was another bummer. I hate to end this post on a low note, but … it happens. Not every run is a good run. One of these days I’m going to listen to my body when it dreads a workout. You know that meme that goes “I really regret that workout, said no one ever?” That’s bullshit. I’ve regretted.
I was raring to go yesterday morning. Woke up bright eyed and bushy-tailed, thrilled that our mini-heatwave had passed. Then I heard the raindrops. I checked the radar online and there was a decent sized storm settled right over the region. So I waited for it to clear. Then it did, right before lunchtime, and I went for my brisk warm-up walk. And was just NOT feeling it. I just made a loop around the block and realized I had to pee. Again. That’s another thing that I still need to learn. The proper balance between hydrated and having a full bladder.
At that point, I thought, “Maybe I should just wait until tomorrow?” But instead, I decided to have a little lunch and try again later. After all, I was already dressed for it. By then, the sun had come out and it looked lovely. Fine. I’ll run.
But … I just couldn’t get in the rhythm. It was supposed to be a 25 minute run and after just 5 minutes, I was ready for a walk break. Honestly, I was ready for one by a quarter of a mile, but I waited until the five minute timer. I should have taken a rest day. My legs were made of lead from squats the day before.
But as the saying goes, “Nevertheless, she persisted.” And I kept going. Maybe my shirt was prophetic. “Run. Rest. Repeat.” Over and over and over again. Around the three mile mark, I did feel a second wind coming on, though, so instead of turning to home, I made a detour, and ended up running 4.2 miles instead of 3.1. And even though my “steady” intervals weren’t a steady, non-stop run, at least my overall pace was pretty damn consistent!
The next three workouts in C25k are repeats of this one, so maybe at some point during the next three runs, I’ll actually do the full 25 minutes. Or maybe I’ll go back to the W6D2 workout with the 10 minute runs. This is the part of the C25k plan that I don’t like, when it goes from structured intervals to “just run.”
I did notice, when snapping my post run selfie (Yeah, I like taking selfies. I’m the world’s oldest millennial.) that I’m starting to see some definition in my arms and shoulders. My clavicles are coming back! I’ll take any victory I can find!
Stay tuned next week, where I’ll hopefully actually manage a 25 minute run!