Thursday, January 9, 2014

Couch to Jogging for 25 Minutes Straight

About eleven weeks ago, I started the nine week Couch to 5K running program. Here's how it works...
 

Week Workout 1 Workout 2 Workout 3
1 Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
2 Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
3 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
4 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
5 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog two miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking.
6 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2-1/4 miles (or 22 minutes) with no walking.
7 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).
8 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).
9 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes). The final workout! Congratulations! Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).

I stayed on track for the first few weeks, but then encountered a few obstacles...

Obstacles I've Encountered While Doing C25K

1. Minor Injury
As I progressed through the program, I got over confident and stopped repeating workouts. Instead of doing the same workout two or three times in a row like I did during the first few weeks, I tried to set a new personal record each time by jumping to the next level. My ankle started hurting so I had to go over a week between workouts a couple of times.

2. Weather
Once my ankle was feeling better we had an "ice storm." I couldn't jog until there were enough dry patches of street and sidewalk to safely jog without slipping. I jumped the gun a little and jogged around icy patches like I was on an obstacle course. You do things like that when you aren't a member of a gym and don't own a treadmill. I didn't fall though, and after a nine day break, I was glad I could still jog for over 20 minutes straight--even in 32-33 degree temperatures.

3. Busy With Other Things
During Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, I only jogged about once a week due to the demands of the holiday season. I read somewhere that "de-training" does not occur unless you go two weeks without running. That may be true, but I am wondering if the workouts would be easier if I was still consistently doing them three times a week.

How I feel While Running

Now here's the good news, I can now jog for over 25 minutes straight without any walking breaks in between! Some days are way easier than others. I definitely need a distraction to keep me going. My body can do it, but my mind wants me to quit a few minutes into most runs.

Usually, I just force myself to keep going and wonder why I do this. On the best days, I "break through." What I mean by breaking through is that sometimes after a mile or so, it will feel easier and more natural. At that point, I start to feel that runner's high you hear about and speed up to the tempo of the music I'm listening to. Those are the times that make it all worthwhile.

I am trying to figure out what makes some days better than others. Was it the tablespoon of peanut butter that I ate just before the run? Was it because I was well rested after a total rest day of not exercising the day before? Was it my selection of podcasts and music for that day? Was it the timing of a distracting phone call that helped me get my second wind? Yes, I do chat on the phone while running. Relax! I am usually on the sidewalk in my quiet subdivision and wearing a reflective vest. 

Cross Training

I recently got a bike for cross training on days that I don't run. The bike riding is much easier and something I'm more likely to do spur of the moment and be consistent with. Another runner told me that riding in a low gear with lots of peddling is beneficial to runners.

Time or Distance?

The C25K program is supposed to get you running either a 5K which is 3.1 miles or just running for 30 minutes. In the beginning, I thought those two goals were synonymous; however, that is not necessarily the case. My "running" pace when I pace myself for a long distance is a very slow jog. At an average pace of 14 minutes per mile, it would take me well over 40 minutes to run a 5K. So now I have two goals. I would like to run a 5K, but I want it to only take 30 minutes.

A more experienced runner recommended that I do two different types of workouts to accomplish my goal:

Two Complementary Training Methods

Distance Runs
On some days, I need to jog for as long as I can at an easy pace. For example, next time I will be shooting for 28 minutes straight instead of 26:40 which is my current personal record. I was supposed to jog for that long back on Week 8, but I'm just not there yet. After 11 weeks, I'm still doing a Week 7 workout. Perhaps eventually I will be jogging at a slow pace for OVER 30 minutes which would get me a little closer to the goal distance of 3.1 miles. Maybe on those long runs, I could take a walking break and then jog again until I reach the 3.1 mile total.

Faster Runs
I occasionally run around the block once which is under half a mile. Although it's not that fast, I call it a sprint, and I like to see how much my pace has increased since my last sprint. I also need to do some faster medium distance runs where I try to beat my usual time on one of my typical routes which is just under 2 miles. I usually walk for 3 minutes and then jog for a little over 25 minutes. I do five laps around my block which totals just over two miles. I say I run two miles, but technically that includes a warm up walk at the beginning. I really need to add another lap, but it takes discipline to pass my house yet another time after that much jogging.

To be continued...


Also, see my post about walking for exercise.