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Week seven Couch to 5 K

For the first time the programme for this week had no intervals of Walking and Running and it was all running.  I think mixed fortunes is the best way to describe how week seven went.  I decided to do the first run of the week by walking down the steep track to the river in the valley and treating the walk down as my warm up.  I did not get this quite right.  I tried to time it so that I didn't start the five minute count down until I was far enough down the hill to begin running near the bottom.  The change from walking to running actually happened just a little too soon as I got to a house on the right of the track and here the track was very deeply rutted and muddy so the first few minutes of running were not pleasant.  When I got to my usual running place all was well and I managed the twenty five minutes of running without a hitch.  I walked back up the track, treating that as my cool down, feeling pretty smug.  Too smug, too soon.  When I reached the gate of the big field near home I was astonished to find that in the twenty five minutes since I had passed through on  my way down the field had filled up with young steers.  I know our neighbour keeps young cattle but the last time I looked they were on the other side of the farm. Now I don't mind cows but young males are cheeky and curious and hyper and unpredictable so I decided I was not going to walk through the middle of them to get to our stile.   I had to take a long and curious detour and slog up a steep field in order to end up coming back into our land on a cowfree path.  It added a good twenty minutes to the time I had expected to be out and knocked the smugness smartly out of me.  But the run was OK.

The second run of the week took us back to Lady Bagot's Drive where the track runs beside a bigger river than our little one.  Last week I had wimped out of running up the track and stayed on the long flat stretches, going backward and forward to do my running, but this time I wanted to see if I could run in one direction until the bell sounded for halfway and then turn back.  The first few minutes of running were terrible.  My legs felt heavy and lumbering and I couldn't seem to find my stride at all.  I pushed on anyway up the gently rising track and after ten minutes or so I began to feel better.  The last five minutes of my twenty five were fine but the whole thing felt like hard work.  Still, it did eventually settle down and I felt the usual elation at having done it when I finished.

And run number three was in another new place: down by the sea.  I had been looking forward to this one because I wanted to have a go at running on the coastal path.  And this was another hard one.  The sky was blue and the tide was out and there was a breeze blowing my hair in my face.  The first stretch of running was on a section of duckboarded path which was great to run on but that was over in a couple of minutes and then I was trying to run on sand.  We had walked this way a couple of weeks ago and when walking the sand had seemed quite firm enough to run on.  It felt quite different trying to run and again my legs felt like lead and my lungs could not seem to get enough air.  For ten minutes or so I slogged along and thought at one point that I would have to give up.  Then gradually it began to ease and I decided I would at least make the halfway point.  When the bell on my phone sounded for halfway I turned round into the breeze to run back and somehow found that I could keep on.  It didn't get easy but it did get doable and I tried to focus on the skylarks singing above the dunes and the sea shining in the sun.  A man was throwing a ball for his dog on the beach.  It was hard work but I could see the duckboard coming up again and I knew that when I got there I would be nearly finished.  And then to my surprise Jo Whiley on my phone was telling me I had done it and I felt that flush of elation as I slowed to a walk.

I walked down to the hard sand and made it back to the car expecting to see Ian walking towards me.  We were walking and running for the same amount of time that day.  We had run off in different directions, me taking the coastal path and Ian running on the prom, but we should have arrived back at the car at the same time.  There was no sign of him.  After a couple of minutes I saw him running towards me and he kept on running for another couple of minutes.  It turned out that his app had played tricks on him and he ended up running for more than half an hour instead of the planned twenty five minutes.  He is fitter than I am so this did not seem to phase him as much as it would have phased me!

So now I have the first run of week eight to do tomorrow.  I think I am learning a bit more about how my body works and about how to run.  I think I need longer than five minutes as a warm up so I am intending to run tomorrow after my pilates class which has previously seemed to work well.  I also I think need to recognise that the challenge of running in different conditions as well as for longer periods of time increases the demands of a run.  Tomorrow I am hoping that the long drawn out warm up of a Pilates class together with running on my usual flat path by the river will make it easier to cope with a slightly longer running time.  I feel I need a run where the first half feels just a tiny bit easier after two very hard slogs.  Will it work?  We will see!

This post first appeared on Welsh Hills Again, please read the originial post: here

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Week seven Couch to 5 K


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