My 5k journey – Finding rhythm

Female legs jogging on a trailMy last two training runs of 20 mins and 30 mins respectively, have gone really well. I have found that my breathing is getting much better and that my legs are not groaning quite so much. Moreover, I am starting to get a little bit faster as I am running further in 30 mins than I was previously. Part of the improvement is undoubtedly down to keeping at it but I am sure that part of it is due to finding my rhythm.

At the beginning of a run I feel dreadful. Everything hurts (despite warming up), I am puffing and panting and mentally I cannot imagine running for even five minutes, then, after a short while things start to settle down which is what I have now come to recognise as my rhythm. My legs start to work in tandem rather than against each other, my breathing settles into a pattern and my arms pump at an even pace that I am able to sustain.

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Running uphill is not fun! This is not part of my route but does depict a typical English country road.

When I get to this point the actual running part doesn’t feel so bad – the only downside is that whenever I hit an uphill climb, the rhythm is affected. I have been told that the best way to run up hills is to use smaller steps and I find that this works, however it means that my stride is shortened and I have yet to manage to switch comfortably from my ‘normal’ rhythm to an ‘up hill’ rhythm and back again. Still, to have two decent runs under my belt without too much drama feels light years away from where I started!

I haven’t measured my distance yet although I plan to do that on my next 30 minute + run. I don’t think I am too far away from 5k so, with less than five weeks to go until race day, I feel more confident than I previously have, that I will be able to do this.

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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 – has stalled…

Female legs jogging on a trailThis time last week I woke up to find the right side of my neck and shoulder seriously swollen and very painful. After blaming my husband for thumping me in the night (well, why not?), I began to treat it with ice, heat, very strong painkillers and Reiki/massage.

Today is the first day that I have not found myself in complete agony and the swelling appears to be finally receding. Needless to say that I have not been out training for well over a week now, thus my 5k journey is in a holding pattern.

All being well and if recovery continues as it is, then I plan to try a gentle run again on Monday. I will keep you posted!

Who ever said that running and exercise was good for your health…?

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My 5k journey : Breathing

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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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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.

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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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