My 5k journey : is complete!!

This time a week ago (Saturday), I completed my 5k run in the beautiful seafront setting of Southsea, Portsmouth, UK. The sun was shining and the scenery couldn’t have been more perfect.

I achieved my goal – which was to run the entire distance – and I finished in a reasonably respectable time of 39mins 52 secs. I would have liked to have been closer to 35mins but considering the hit and miss nature of my training over the last month, I was thrilled just to have finished.

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Having a laugh pre-race

Having completed the race I thought that would be me done, but oddly, it’s not. I like the feeling of being fitter – even if I have not lost any weight as yet – and so I have decided to continue running with an aim of getting a faster 5k time in the future. I am also going to try to increase my distance and am looking at getting a 10k plan which I would like to try to run in Spring next year.

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The all important ‘finishers’ medal

I wouldn’t say that I have enjoyed this journey – the training has been challenging and the race was much harder than I thought it would be – but I do feel proud of myself for sticking with it and knowing that I can achieve something like this has pushed me onwards. I am never going to be the most natural or fastest runner in the world, but if I can keep going and benefit from the fitness then I reckon that can only be good not just physically but, perhaps more importantly, mentally.

Thanks for following the journey with me!

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My 5k journey – acceptance, progress and mental strength

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Courtesy of nenetus via freedigitalphotos.net

I have been training for a number of weeks now and I think that my body has finally accepted that we are doing this. After missing three training sessions last week I was concerned that I would have gone backwards but in actual fact, I was able to run a fairly respectable 30 mins without too much difficulty on the next run. I am hopeful this means my body and me have turned a corner.

Today I decided to try for my longest run yet and managed 35 mins, again without too much difficulty. I had more in the tank although I am not sure how much, but that is major progress for me. I feel like once I get into the swing of it I can keep going a while longer, which helps me to get through mentally  – talking of which…

Mental strength is still an issue for me. I no longer find myself wanting to give up after 5 mins and by and large, with the runs that I am doing, I no longer get to the ‘giving up’ stage, but I still have to do a lot of talking to myself. Sometimes I motivate myself using landmarks e.g. running to the next lamppost and then the next car etc… Sometimes I keep myself going by thinking how annoyed I’ll be later if I don’t complete the run. The one thing that I have found with my mental strength is that as the physical running becomes more comfortable, so the mental side is less tough. Runners out there, is that what happens?

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As it stands I cannot see me having the mental capacity to manage longer than a 5k run but I am enjoying feeling fitter, thus a 10k is not out of the question in the future. Will my mental strength continue to improve along with my physical strength?

Thoughts and advice all much appreciated.

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My 5k journey : Hampered again…

Every day plus

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Training has been going really well. I have been following the plan to the letter and yesterday I did another 30-minute run. It’s not a fast run, nor is it elegant, but I found it a little easier than the last time which is good enough for me.

Last night, however, someone up there decided to throw a spanner in the works. I don’t know if the weather has changed or the atmosphere has shifted, but my asthma flared up and my chest became tight. As a result I have to increase my medication and monitor the output from my lungs which means no running today – and I was scheduled to do 20 minutes.

I am hopeful that the meds will sort me out and I’ll be back on track in the next day or so but grrrrr……..! And grrrrr…… again!

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My 5k journey : Back on track

Female legs jogging on a trailAfter my break and subsequent backward slide, I have finally managed to get my 5k journey back on track. Well, just about.

I downloaded a training schedule from the Great South Run website which is designed specifically to get me ready for the actual race and so far I have been following that. On Sunday I had to do my longest run to date – 30 mins – and it was a case of jogging and plodding but, the important thing is, I managed it! I began to find it really tough at about 23 mins in but I just kept telling myself I could do it – and I did.

At this point I know that I  couldn’t have gone much further but, when I think about where I started, I know that I am making consistent progress. The next few training sessions are shorter distances designed to increase speed – yeah, right. I’ll report back how those go next week!

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My 5k journey : Apps and Music

Female legs jogging on a trailAs a complete novice runner, I don’t really have any running tech and I had been using only the stopwatch on my phone as a guide for running times. My friend, however, introduced me the Map My Run app and I have to say that it has revolutionised my training.

When I trained for a 5k run a few years ago I signed up to Map My Run but purely so that I could plot my routes and work out how far I had gone. I never put it on my phone or used it as a running aid. That, though, has all changed.

The app is really simple to navigate and providing that you allow your phone to know your location, it will use GPS to track your route, thereby giving you accurate data at the end of your workout. Distances can be measured in both miles and kilometres and you can change any number of settings to have split times and feedback during your run – or not.

I had been happily using this app for a couple of weeks when I suddenly discovered that it had another feature. Music. Map My Run cleverly links to your phone’s playlist so, after downloading my updated music from iTunes, I was able to press the ‘music’ button on the app and hey presto – my training tunes were there.

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digital art via freedigitalphotos.net

Last week I used the app for the first time with headphones and music in combination. Having set the music to begin automatically (and shuffle) I just started my run and let the app do the rest. Every kilometre my sound was interrupted (although it still played in the background) as I was given timing and data feedbacks and at the end of the run, I saved the workout. This gave me split times in addition to total distance as well as countless other useful pieces of information. What an app!

For me it does everything that I need it to and knowing that I can simply take my phone with me and nothing else, has made training just that little bit easier.

Anyone else have any great running technology tips?

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My 5k journey : Breathing

Every day plus

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It has become apparent that, after only a couple of minutes, my breathing is a little all over the place. Having spoken to a few fellow runners, I have been told that it is entirely possible to maintain a steady breathing routine, regardless of the distance that you run. Hmmm… okay…

One set of advice I was given was to breathe in through the nose and then out through the mouth, making sure that the out-breath is longer than the in-breath. I was also advised to make sure that I was breathing from my diaphragm (the bit that makes your tummy go up and down) rather than just the chest.

Practising these tips is easy when you are not actually running – doing them whilst on the move however, was infinitely more challenging. In the end I opted for a kind of mixture of both and inhaled, exhaled and puffed my way to my longest continuous run to date – 27 minutes.

I’d like to say that I enjoyed it but I am still a long way from that goal. I did however find that with my attempts at breathing, my recovery period at the end of the run was faster. I also felt that if my legs had been willing, I may have been able to puff and pant my way to 30 minutes – so I figure I am on the right track.

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In terms of distance I have now reached 4.1 km (I had to take a couple of breathers to get that far) so the 5k is in sight. All I need to do now is build up my stamina so that when race day comes, I don’t look like a bright red, wheezing, puffing monster as I cross the line.

Any tips on breathing anyone?

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5k = tough but rewarding!

So yesterday – a few days later than planned – I tackled the dreaded 20 minute run which I mentioned in my first 5k journey post. Having previously bought and used one magnetic knee support, I have now invested in a second and yesterday was the first time I went out with both on. No longer did my knees hurt but running for the entire 20 minutes was really tough going.

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I downloaded an HIIT timer onto my iPhone along with the Map My Run app and I had these operating in tandem. The timer told me when I had got to half way (10 minutes) so that I could turn around and the Map My Run app gave me completed distance.

At the end of the 20 minutes I had run 1.6 miles which means I am looking at double that to get to 5k. Although elated at completing 20 minutes, the thought of doing double that fills me with dread! I had just about enough puff to do one lot of 20 minutes so I am hoping that as I continue to train, my lungs will become more compliant.

Next run is on Friday which is 15 minutes, and then another 20 minutes on Sunday.

More in the next post!

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