Week Six of Couch to 5K…

…and day two is in the bag!

Week Six is here already and as you’d expect from an eight week programme, it’s kicking my behind. There have been moments where I’ve sounded like a set of spectacularly discordant bagpipes as I’ve wheezed towards the end of my running sections. But I’m still here, my lungs are still intact and my legs still work.

So far, warm up has been followed by two 10 minute runs (the runs on day one were separated by a five minute walk and on day two, a three minute walk). As I’ve been finding so far, the first day of each new week seems to take me by surprise a little bit. This week is no exception. Ten minutes of non-stop running is easily the longest I’ve managed for MANY years. Seeing that section pop up on my screen for the first time caused a thought process along the lines of “WHAT? OH NO I’M GONNA DIE! ……….But hold on, you can totally do this. Come on, DO IT!” And I did. It’s the second run of each week’s first day that gets me! After five minutes of walking, it was time for another 10 minute run. I’d already done it, right? So I could do it again, right? With only 30 seconds to go, my legs did that old trick of just stopping all by themselves, regardless of what my brain was telling them to do. It’s quite the phenomenon! I repeated my mantra of No Blame, No Shame – I’d pushed myself further than I’d been before and I kept going and going. Next time 10 minutes, next time.

Back home and post run, I thought about why those 30 seconds had eluded me. I decided that it would be worth trying a little mind trick – a distraction. Something to make me think about anything other than how long I’d been running for. I realised that looking down at the screen and seeing what my app had in store wasn’t helpful. The first thought that pops into my head is “OH NO” and no matter how much I tell myself to keep going, my brain is still counting down and making me check the app as I run, telling me things like “There’s still six minutes to go – but you’ve been running for AGES! AGH!”

I needed to stop looking at my app as I ran, I needed to stop clock watching. I needed to think about something other than how out of breath I was or how tired my legs were. The solution was simple. I created my own running playlist and invested in Bluetooth headphones to listen to it on. Worth a go, right? I spent a couple of hours ploughing through my iTunes and picking out all of those songs that I knew would power me along, get me pumping, make me think about dancing and jumping around rather than running.

Day Two saw me hitting my route, playlist on shuffle, with a spring in my step. You know what? It only worked. Instead of thinking “Agh! Ten minutes of running non-stop!” I was thinking “that’s only two and a half songs – I wonder what they’ll be….” The distraction technique totally worked. I found myself listening to songs that fired me up, and like any true RuPaul’s Drag Race fan, I started imagining lip syncing to them. Whole routines with high kicks and hair whips and perfect lyrical renditions. Suddenly, the Nice American Lady’s voice was be telling me to slow down and walk again. I managed to complete BOTH ten minute runs and I didn’t even think about it, really. The highlight of today’s playlist was Deap Vally’s Gonna Make My Own Money. An absolute anthem and if that doesn’t get your blood pumping, nothing will! You can listen to it here:

wk6d2

Above is the Map My Run analysis of Week 6 Day 2’s run. Strangely, I’m back under 4km, even though I ran non-stop for 20 minutes in total. I’m guessing that as the walking interval was shorter (at three minutes instead of five) less distance was covered overall. I’m beginning to see an improvement in my split times though! I know they are still a snail’s pace for most people – especially experienced runners – but as long as I see those times getting faster, albeit slowly, that’s progress. My progress is my own and I don’t compare it to anyone else’s.

So I continue to learn and discover new techniques and ways of handling things that I would have considered an obstacle previously:

  • No Blame, No Shame! Yep, still this! It’s my mantra – I know that I’m pushing myself, that I’ve taken on a challenge, and each time I do it I’m doing it better. If I don’t nail it first time – that’s okay. There will be another chance to, and another. If I have to have an extra 30 seconds of walking, that’s fine – I’m still out there doing The Thing and improving every time I do. It’s all progress and it’s all onwards and upwards.
  • Distractify yourself!! Yes, I know that’s not actually a word. I like the way it jingles in my mind. If you’re an over-thinker like me, if you fixate on potential hurdles or difficulties before they even look like they might be a possibility, find a way to get out of that habit. Find a way to take yourself off that train of thought by replacing it with something much more productive and enjoyable. For me that’s music. For you it could be an audio-book, a podcast, anything. Just don’t clock watch or constantly check your app.
  • Once I master running, I’m going to take dance lessons. Fun street dance style ones. Specifically so that I can actually put my lip syncing fantasies into action. Strictly within the comfort and privacy of my own home, obvs. ; )

Happy running! x

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5 thoughts on “Week Six of Couch to 5K…

  1. You have a great attitude! Comparing your splits to anyone else is just painful (for at least one of you!). Some days you have good runs and some days you don’t, even those of use who can run ten miles at a time. I have my running playlists too, I fill them full of all sorts of sh*t! If I ever lost my iPod I would NEVER claim it back!! Keep doing what you’re doing, I started with Couch to 5k, it’s a great program to build your stamina up.

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    • Thank you so much! I’m always on the look out for tips from experienced runners so it’s great to get feedback like this. Day 3 on Saturday – let’s see how it goes! 😉

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