Week 3 of Couch to 5K was a good one, full of lovely scenery, good times with the Shammies, and some inadvertent speediness. As I write this recap I am super tired and sitting in a hotel room while people yell about pantyhose in the hallway outside, so please forgive any rambling or moments of not making sense. Without further ado:
Week 3, Day 1
Continuing a tradition I’m quite enjoying, Julie and I met up in the city once again to tackle a new week of C25K. It was about 80* but not too humid, and there was a nice breeze, so it was a very pleasant evening for a run.
Week 3 saw a significant jump from jogs of 1:30 to 3:00 (mentally that’s pretty big!) but we handled it like champs. We managed just over an 11:00 pace for our jogs, and were able to chat comfortably as we ran, which was an improvement from past weeks that included some huffing and puffing during conversation. Coupled with the lovely scenery and pleasant weather, that improvement made our run pretty darn awesome!
Unlike the past two weeks, Drew and I abandoned our own weekly track session to join the Shammies for theirs. While they worked on 10 x 500 at 5K pace, I settled into Lane 6 for my Couch to 5K workout. Not before, however, the skies opened up!
I ran to the car to stow my phone, then joined about half of the Shammies who were huddling under the bleachers. The rain let up, so I grabbed my phone out of the car, only to have the skies open up again. So, again, I scampered back to the car. With the phone inside and dry and me outside and getting rained on, I tried to memorize Day 2’s workout so that I could do it without my phone – 1:30 jog, 1:30 walk, 2x 3:00 walk/3:00 jog, then back to 1:30, with a 5:00 walk for warm-up and cool-down. I also threw in my own dynamic stretches before starting in earnest.
After my pondering last week about whether to go slow and steady or try to blaze new speedy records, I decided to use this workout to try to maintain proper running form, but without speeding around and hurting myself. I would be slow and steady, but also proper – the best of both worlds!
The first 1:30 jog was great. My form felt good, and that was reinforced when Steve ran past me and yelled “Your form looks so much better, Dana! Keep doing that!” I didn’t feel like I was pushing myself for speed, but I had Simon set to overall time and not pace, so I couldn’t tell how fast I was going… I was just trying to run by feel. I also didn’t have my C25K app to tell me what my average running pace was, but looking back at Garmin Connect I was between an 8:35 and a 10:30.
By the time I hit the first 3:00 jog I was all cocky about my proper form, and tried to replicate the same feel. I lasted about 2 minutes before my form started breaking down… I was pushing myself to go faster after all – between 8:15 and 8:20 pace. (It doesn’t help when I try to go slow during Shammies speed workouts!! I always end up subconsciously trying to go faster… I can’t help it!)
Whenever I’m running free of C25K and feel my form breaking down, I take a walk break to shake out and reset. Knowing that I was in the middle of a structured 3-minute jog, I didn’t want to stop to reset so I forced myself to just make it to the end of the 3 minutes. I tried to focus on form but I was getting all wobbly and felt like I was veering all over the place (I wasn’t, but that’s how it felt). It probably wasn’t the best idea to keep pushing myself despite the breakdown of form, because I ended the evening with a few niggles, but luckily they didn’t stick around too long.
Workout #3 this week saw me back at the track. And it was freaking hot. Drew and I wanted to squeeze a run in before I had to travel for work, and with my doing C25K the track seemed the easiest option for places to run. Except we didn’t get going until 10:30am and it was already 85*. And, unlike our evening runs at the track when only part of the track is in the sun, this was literally the only shade:
It was rough. But, I kept telling myself it would be good training for the midday summer races that happen around here all too often, and I powered through. Much like Day 2, I tried to keep proper form without pushing for speed. Unlike Day 2, I had Simon set to pace (since I had my phone and C25K app with me this time), so I could see roughly where I was speed-wise.
Despite trying to not push myself, I was consistently hitting a sub-9:00 pace… and consistently being gobsmacked every time I glanced at Simon! I did better with my form not falling apart this time – I think because I wasn’t pushing myself to be faster around the Shammies – and yet my pace was still significantly faster than my usual. By the last 3:00 jog I was feeling the fact that I was running in the nearly-midday sun and heat, but otherwise I felt great. The moment my workout was done and I could take a picture of me leaning dramatically on my knee was a glorious one:
As I said earlier in the post, Week 3 was a big mental jump, going from 1:30 jogs to 3:00 jogs. Even though I’ve run for quite a bit longer than that in the past, it was still a leap coming at it as part of this program. Days 1 and 3 it didn’t seem too bad – being proud that Julie and I were able to chat comfortably while banging out 3:00 jogs, and then managing to keep my form mostly together in the final day – with the one struggle bus day sandwiched in the middle. Not bad at all.
I want to keep the proper form thing going, especially after talking to a new-to-me Shammie at the track on Tuesday about it. He overheard Steve and me discussing my form, and shared his gait retraining story with me. He was a competitive runner in college and kept getting injured, until his coach started zeroing in on his dodgy form. He said it was quite the struggle to finally make the jump and run the new way, but – as he put it – “once you break through that door, it’s like a whole other world is opened to you.” Hearing directly from someone who’s managed to retrain their gait so successfully really motivated me to keep working at it! It was heartening to hear about his struggles, too; knowing that other people have found the transition hard makes me feel better about my own experience.
Week 4 should be interesting as I’m out of town for a conference, but hey, new places to run, right? 🙂 Onwards!
How was your week? Did anyone race this weekend?
Do you finagle ways to run when you travel?
Usually I chicken out and don’t run in new locales, but I really want to give it a go this time!
Do you get as loopy as I do when you’re tired??
I should really avoid blogging when I’m this out of it!