My 5k journey : After three weeks off..

Compound_chocolate…and too much chocolate.

Getting back into running training was something I was dreading. I’ve not exercised for over three weeks now what with work, holidays and other commitments, so I was not looking forward to the day when I ran out of excuses. That day was yesterday.

In deference to my lack of exercise I opted for a ‘short’ run which under normal circumstances, I can complete. It totals at around 3.5km so a little over halfway towards the end goal.

I am pleased to report that actually, it wasn’t as bad as I feared although I didn’t run the whole distance. I did intervals as and when my body dictated – or rather my breathing dictated. When I could breathe, running was fine. When I couldn’t breathe, not so much.

Sura Nualpradid

Sura Nualpradid via freedigitalphotos.net

I have asthma and I have discovered that I can’t take in as much breath as I would like to when I am running, which I think is where the difficulty with breathing comes from. I have decided that I am going to do alternate days running and yoga in the hope that I can gradually improve my breathing and get to that all important goal.

So, all things considered, not too bad a return but I am not going to lie – this is really, really HARD!

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My 5k Journey : My top tips!

Female legs jogging on a trail

Don’t get too excited, I’m not there yet. I’m currently at about 4k (give or take the odd walk uphill!), but I have learned quite a lot so far, so I thought I would share my top tips:

 

  • Always take water with you – if you are dehydrated then it is much tougher to breathe  steadily.
  • Magnetic knee and ankle supports are worth their weight in gold.
  • It’s okay to walk during your run. It’s better to walk some and get there slowly than push yourself and get injured.
  • Improvements come in really small increments.
  • The first session back after a break is the toughest – it feels like the training has gone backwards.
  • Getting out three times a week is about right to improve at a reasonable pace.
  • Slow and steady is fine.
  • Don’t get bogged down with timings – eventually times will get faster but if they don’t, it’s not important. Achieving the distance is what matters.
  • Running with your body upright really helps. If you are leaning forwards then you are putting additional load onto yourself and it makes it much tougher.
  • Keep focused on the horizon and try not to drop your head.
  • An additional form of exercise (eg. pilates or yoga) can help massively with strength and conditioning.
  • Don’t beat yourself up because you are going slowly –  congratulate yourself on getting out there instead.

Helpful tips and advice on a yellow office noteAs I said I am not there yet and the journey is tough. Some days it’s like I am right back where I began but then others, it’s an easy ride. Hopefully if I persevere then it will even out and eventually I’ll be running the distance at a consistent pace.

Does anyone else have any top tips?

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My 5k journey : Breathing

Every day plus

every-day-plus via freedigitalphotos.net

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.

nenetus

nenetus via freedigitalphotos.net

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.

holohololand

holohololand via freedigitalphotos.net

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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My 5k journey

I mentioned, in my first post back, that I was training to do a 5k run. This resulted in a few new followers to my blog (thank you) and so I thought it might be good to catalogue my 5k journey.

Every day plus

Image courtesy of everyday plus via freedigitalphotos.net

Having signed up for the 5k version of the Great South Run, I took advantage of the training tool on their website and generated a personalised training plan. Although the run does not take place until October, I didn’t specify a date for completion of the plan as I am hoping to be ready sooner than that. I would like, ideally, to have at least one or two 5k runs under my belt before then and be well on my way to 10k (ha ha!). Anyhow, this means that my current training plan finishes at the end of June.

The first week consisted of run/walk sessions ranging from ten to fifteen minutes. Although everything creaked and groaned, the fact that I have previously trained – albeit in the dim and distant past – stood me in good stead and I was able to increase the running sections relatively quickly.

I am now into week three and have just completed my second ‘full’ running session. The first was for ten minutes and the second for fifteen. I would like to say that I enjoyed them but I have yet to get to that point, however, I did manage to complete them both. From hereon in there is no more walking and the sessions will continue to increase until I reach thirty minutes maximum. Credit to the plan though, the long sessions are interspersed with shorter ones so I am hopeful that I will be able to complete it without too much difficulty.

imagerymajestic via freedigitalphotos.net

I might be needing one of these soon! (Image courtesy of imagery majestic via freedigitalphotos.net)

Next session is fifteen minutes running, the one after that ten minutes and the one after that, twenty minutes. Twenty minutes sounds kind of serious to me so I’ll report back after that one!

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