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I am using the C25K app and have just completed week 3. I head out in the morning before work and have chosen a really lovely route with terrific scenery. I've downloaded some great tunes everything from Maria Callas to the Rolling Stones, which has definitely taken my mind off all the pains (real and imaginery ) that I am feeling, but I am struggling!!!! I seem to have one day when I feel, Oh yes, this is finally getting easier, and then I'm puffing and panting, (not in a nice way) come the next session. I'm looking at the programme for week 4 and think its a huge leap. I do feel energised when I finally finish each session, but I need to hear from others who have come from my level of fitness (zero) and kept going. Help please!!
Im 44, 5ft 6" and weigh 10stone.
All I can tell you is that perseverence and tenacity will yield great results. When I started running 4 years ago I couldn't run a quarter mile without gasping for breath. I was so embarassed about my lack of running ability that whenever I saw a car or another person coming towards me I'd pull out my phone and pretend to be doing email. 2 years later I ran my first marathon.
I didn't follow a plan such as the C25K (I didn't even know that it existed) so my run-walk plan was to just try to run a little bit further every day. I would pick a spot, a lamp post or something, and make sure that I would run to that mark, then next day run 10 feet past it, and so on. Slowly I got so that I was finally able to run a full mile without walking (I don't remember how long it took me but it seems like forever), and then eventually 3 miles. I always give myself a little sly smile everytime I do something a little bit better or run a little bit further... I am sure that you know what I mean.
Keep cranking... the feeling of being more fit is tremendous. You won't regret the effort that you are putting into it. I don't !
- On the bad days, chances are you're running a little faster/harder. (Maybe you're coming off one of those easy days and feeling good.) Try slowing down a little.
- There will always be bad days! No matter how accomplished you get at running, some days it just doesn't work.
If you didn't see a doctor before beginning your fitness program, schedule a check-up just to be safe; then follow your doctor's advice.
Be patient. Remember everyone progresses at their own pace; customize the plan your're using to your own fitness level. For example, repeat Week 3 if you don't feel ready to move on to Week 4, etc. Be sure you know the basics of how to stay properly hydrated, what proper pre- and post- run snacks/meal are, and when you should eat them. Check the weather, air quality and heat index where you live and plan accordingly.
Move at a pace that is just right for you. Listening to music makes a run less boring, but people have a tendency to adjust their pace to the beat of the music. Choose music that suits the pace you need to fit your fitness level. You can use web-based resources to get music customized to fit the pace/tempo you need.
I agree there are days I go out and feel really goodand others that I'm just not feeling it. I remember morethan one day where I stopped (sat down) and had a cry because I was doingso poorly. Then I got up and tried again. Therewill be good days and bad. On a bad one: SLOW DOWN! I can't say this oftenenough. Don't assume a bad day means that you aren'tready for that step or the next one. A bad dayis just that one off day. The next run you brush yourself (esteem) off and try again. It will get better. You will get stronger.
As for making it throughthose longer runs I don’t focus on the long term goal. I focus on the short ones. Make it to that tree 200’ up the road. Then to that mailbox 150’ further. The fence post 225’ away. The crack in the road 75’ ahead. I’ll make it there and when I get there I pick a new goal that I know Ican make it to if I just push a little. Yesterday I was having a bad day. My goal was a 25 minute jog. Iwas angry when I started because my husband picked a fight with me. I was tired because I’d only slept 5 hours 2nights in a row. I started jogging and Iwasn’t feeling it at all. There is astop sign that’s about 7 tenths of a mile from my house. My warm up walk was so slow I didn’t evenmake it my usual ¼ mile. Less than a ¼ milefurther and I was wondering how I was even going to make it to the stopsign. I usually start looking for marksclose to the 1 mile mark but I was already picking them just hoping to make itthat far. When I got there I fullyintended to quit and try another day. Only when I got there I decided that I could make it to one more spot soI picked the next one. 25 minutes laterI was still picking a new goal and I ended up adding 5 extra minutes to my runso that I could get to the 1.5 miles jogging and 2 miles total spot that I’ddone the run before. I was slow even forme but I pushed on. I did have to stopand take a quick stretch and walk (less than a minute) when my leg cramps weregetting too bad, but having wanted to stop after 200’ it was a greatsuccess. It reaffirmed that even a badday doesn’t mean you have to give up or that you can’t have a decent run.
I'm in the last week of C25k. I got stuck at the 7 week mark so I re-did week 6. First day of week 7 sucked again. So I changed up week 7 a bit to what I knew for sure I could do, ie I knew I could run 12 mintues, so I kept the total minutes the same, the total minutes of walk the same but changed the runs. My program called for 3 12 minute runs. I was struggling with the second 12 mintue run. So I changed it to extend the first 12 to 15 minutes, second run I reduced to 6 minutes since that's where I struggled and pulled up the third 12 minutes to 15. I must also throw out there which I think is probably more of the succes is I slowed it way down. Because of my schedule I had to start running on the treadmill which I put at what I thought was a comfortable pace which ends up being way slower than what I was running on my own. It also forced me to run at that consistent pace.
The other thing I tell myself is I know I can run XXX minutes because I've improved that much.
And finally I ditto what the others have said, "it's a bad run" so what, there's always another run!! I have also learned that running is hard, even for the experienced runner. They make it look easy but from what I read on the blogs I follow of experienced marathon runners, its HARD!
Keep going and you will reach your goal!
Len makes some very good points. I have been running for over 30 years (but only started running half marathons and marathons in the last 4 years). You probably are starting too fast on days you are struggling. I run turtle slow for about the first mile or so, then my body is warm and ready to go. Maybe you are running too often. Make sure you take some days off to let your legs recover - that is how you get stronger. And, yes, you will have bad running days - it is inevitable. Some days you feel like a world beater - some days the world is beating on you. Even experienced runners feel like this sometime. That is the nature of the beast. KEEP IT UP!! You will be rewarded by your hard work!
I used to really, REALLY struggle with my running. Distractions helped (like singing along to a great song), but there are three things that helped me the most.
1) Exercises to strengthen the glutes. Yes, from multiple professionals, I have heard that a strong butt is a crucial key to running. I used to be crippled by the 2K mark due to IT Band Syndrome before I started glute targeted exercises.
2) Light foot falls, light shoes. Everytime I run, I concentrate on two things - the first is landing as lightly as possible, and lighter shoes help.
3) Breathing pattern. This is the second thing I concentrate on. There is a great book by Budd Coates called Running On Air. It explains how to breathe properly while running to increase endurance, speed, and reduce risk of injury - and it WORKS!
I am now up to running 7K and feel great. If I feel I'm having an "off" day, I know I've overtrained and take a rest day the next day. Works wonders! BTW - I'm 45, 5'8" and 13 stone. A stone cold couch tater with a desk job for 25+ yrs. If I can do it, you can do it!
When doing C25k, I focused on two primary goals:
1) If I didn't think I was going to be able to complete the run, I would slow down. A couple of times in my first attempt I paused part of the run and then resumed when I could, then repeated the workout the next time. You can get it eventually.
2) While I was trying to figure out my breathing, I tried to hyperventilate. Turns out that I couldn't while I was running; I was using all the air I was pulling in. It did make the running easier, however. If you find yourself getting dizzy, slow it down.
I didn't make all the workouts on the schedule I wanted, but by not letting myself get discouraged and redoing the workouts later, I did manage to finish. I am 45 years old and started out at 282 lbs, and was a couch potato in July. I've recently completed my third 5k this fall.
I am also doing C25K. I'm just finishing up week 5, but with weather and illness, haven't done it in almost 2 weeks, so I'll likely have to start week 5 over again. My husband and I run together. Having a running buddy helps because we try to motivate each other. I have found, not that I'm into the weeks where the runs are longer, I find a point ahead of me (a tree or a mailbox) and I make that my goal. Then when I reach that goal, I pick a new one ahead of me. I've found that making these smaller goals helps me and it also takes my mind off the run a little bit. I have also made a point to concentrate on my breathing. I inhale for 3 steps and exhale for 2 steps. At first, it was harder than it sounds! But now it is just second nature and has really helped me. I find that when I get to my walks, it takes no time at all for me to "catch my breath". Just keep at it, you will get there! If you have to repeat a day or even a week of the program, that's OK! It is better to repeat a run than to quit, that's the way I see it! Good luck!
I remember losing my breath constantly too - it was the biggest challenge to me as I began running!
Sticking with it made a huge difference - remember that every workout is a step in the right direction, even if it doesn't go as planned, the effort you put in will make it easier in the future.
I definitely agree with Lenzlaw that running too fast can mess with your breathing on any workout. Pacing is something we always struggle with as runners... I am still working on running slow enough for my long runs that I don't need to stop, and running fast enough on my short runs for my pace to improve and for me to get a workout.
Tons of great advice here - I LOVED reading what justamaniac said about pretending to be on the phone - I used to feel so sheepish when other runners would see me running, I remember blurting out to a neighbor that "I am not really running I just started this program called couch to five k and I'm giving it a try so don't judge me!!!". Guess what? she started couch 2 5k the next week, and over a year later, she and I are both still running four days a week and I'm running my second half marathon in two days.
Good luck - best wishes - keep it slow - repeat workouts if you need to - don't feel like taking a walking break is giving up - every step is a chance to try again.
I write a running blog geared towards other new runners at http://www.iamrunningthis.com!
Couch to 5K graduate, September 2012
First 10K, June 2nd, 2013
First Half Marathon, September 2013