Couch to 5K: Week 2

Happy Monday! Another week down, another week of Couch to 5K successfully completed! *fist pump*

I also learned this week that Jon Stewart is a fan of the Couch to 5K program/app. It’s nice to be in such great company!

Let’s crack on, shall we?

Week 2, Day 1

Julie and I met up in the city again for another run by the river. It wasn’t *quite* as humid and sticky as it was last week, and this time we stuck to our Week 1/Day 3 plan of making sure we took it slow and ran easy.

I love this view!

I love this view!

Both of us felt much better during the run, and felt like rock stars when we were done! We celebrated with a patella-rific photo op:

photo(8)wk2day1

Week 2, Day 2

In another repeat of last week, Drew and I returned to the track on Wednesday. I stupidly forgot my knee brace at home, so I made sure to take it super easy for my first few jogs. The knee felt good, so I decided to experiment… remember my gait retraining clinic I was visiting a few months back? They were trying to help my with my running form, and I thought I’d give their proper form a try, thinking it might help keep my knee aligned properly.

Haven't seen my right knee sans brace or KT tape in a long time!

Haven’t seen my right knee sans brace or KT tape in a long time!

Well, one thing I had forgotten about the “proper” running technique they taught me is that it makes me run faster. It’s really hard to run slowly if I run the way they showed me (Julie has found the same thing; she’s the one who introduced me to the gait retraining guru at the clinic!)

As I tried to make my legs follow proper form (driving forward with the quads/hamstrings, shorter stride, shorter contact time with the ground, and lifting the foot higher in the back) I felt like I was going a bit faster than my gentle, take-it-easy slow gait. I checked Simon and holy cow, I was down around a 9:15, but not feeling like I was going that fast! By the last jog of the workout I was down to an 8:40(!).

photoIt’s amazing how much easier it is for me to run fast when I’m running the way I’m “supposed” to… maybe there’s something to having proper mechanics after all 😉

Simon went a bit awry... I didn't run erratically at a 1:-- pace at the start!

Simon went a bit awry… I didn’t run erratically at a 1:– pace at the start!

Week 2, Day 3

Day 3 was another solo run for me. There had been talk of meeting Julie for another river run, but the weekend had different plans for both of us. After suffering from some serious lazyitis, I finally got my butt out the door and down to one of the Shammies’ usual routes by the pond. It was lovely and cool(ish), and I returned to the lagoon trail for some added shade and pleasant scenery:

photo(7)(One non-running thing I’ve been noticing during my recent runs around the lagoon is how much lower the water is this year… I’ve heard that our water levels are low despite all the snow we had this winter, but now I’m actually seeing proof. The pictures below show the difference… they were taken in more-or-less the same spot but the first one is from August last year, and the second is from this past Saturday):

photo(1)photo(8)Okay, back to the running. I tried to replicate my speedy mid-week run by trying to keep proper form again, and I definitely was speedy; there were a few spots where I was dipping below an 8:00 pace! It was a little harder keeping the right form – and the faster pace – as I ran along stoney paths in the woods, as opposed to the track, but I was still pretty pleased that I was able to manage what I did.

wk2day3Week 2 in Review

Overall this week felt much better than Week 1. I’m sure it helped that the heat and humidity weren’t as bad! It was also heartening to know that I could run pain-free without my knee brace… though the cautious side of me wants to keep wearing it for a while just in case.

I was really impressed with the speed I was getting when I adjusted my gait, but it doesn’t feel entirely comfortable for long; my form is usually breaking down before the Couch to 5K app signals a walk break. Now that I’m not so gimpy, I think I need to restart the drills and exercises the gait retraining guru gave me, and maybe even go back to finish the program I abandoned in the middle a few months ago.

I’m a little torn now though… do I tone it down and just continue with C25K purely to ease myself back into running in general, or do I try to use it as a way to also ease me into running faster for longer periods of time – my own speed training? The cautious side of me wants to keep it gentle, but my competitive side really likes seeing those speedy paces on Simon. Hmm…

What would you do if you were in my shoes – push yourself for the speed or hold your horses and just concentrate on being able to run again?

Have you ever tried adjusting your running gait?

How was your weekend?

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10 thoughts on “Couch to 5K: Week 2

  1. I guess the healthier option would be to ease back into running with the slower rubbing abdominal couch to 5K program. Even though that kind of sucks. But I would keep focusing on the improved gait form. Even if it makes you run faster, I don’t think it necessarily means that you need to slow down. Just run at an easy effort pace for awhile to make sure you don’t reinjure yourself while getting back into running. Get rid of that KT tape forever!

    • That sounds like a smart compromise… and if getting my form right while still taking it easy makes me faster, then that’s just a bonus! 🙂 Being KT tape and/or brace-free sounds lovely! ~Goals~

  2. HOLD YOUR HORSES GIRL! I know it’s hard, and believe me, I wouldn’t want to hold back either, but it sounds like the structure of C25K is working for you, so I’d stick with it. Also, I too find that it’s easier to run faster when I use correct form. If only I could maintain it longer!

    • You’re the voice of wisdom, Rae! 🙂 I think my cautious side is going to win out over my competitive side… which is probably for the best.

  3. I need to have my gait adjusted too. It’s probably the reason I struggle with injury. I know my right foot turns in so much I can visibly see it. We have a running coach here where I live who does gait adjustment. But at $150 an hour it is a bit exy for my budget. But if it helps maybe it will be worth it

  4. I am in the same situation! It is very frustrating, but I am choosing to hold my horses! I want to speed it up, as I hate seeing how much speed I have lost. On the other hand, I don’t want to rush into it and not be able to run at all. I’d say, stay slow and steady, our bodies will let us know when it is time to speed it up!

  5. I’ve noticed a similar thing. When my form is on point, my pace increases. It also feel less labored. I am trying to correct my form but it’s hard since I am going by feel. My next post is about my form issues actually. I need someone to follow me with a camera- ha! Great week of training! Taking it easy and easing back in might be the best choice but I totally get why that is so hard to do. We just want to run fast! Good luck!

    • Thanks! It is hard to correct form when you’re going on feel… that’s what I’m trying to do at the moment too. The clinic gave me some drills to do (which I’ve been terrible about doing, surprise surprise) which I’m sure would help, but in the meantime it’s been interesting to see what I can do.

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