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Do the Couch-to-5k running plan at half speed


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or as Stephen Fry says, “Oh, Arse!” I completed this by mistake, and 43T no longer gives me the option to do it again. 4 years ago

Cloudberryset up and kitted out

I have never gotten on with podcasts, but what I did do today was download an iPhone app called Interval Timer that does exactly what it says, allowing you to set up the running and walk times, in 8 sets (totally 20 min), with different noises in between, and of course it can be tweaked each week.

Then I did my first ‘workout’ of 8 sets; not too bad! Putting it in my diary again for Monday and Thursday. Maybe I can even add some strength training or yoga for the off days, and perhaps a long walk with A for Sunday. 4 years ago

Cloudberryset up and kitted out

I have never gotten on with podcasts, but what I did do today was download an iPhone app called Interval Timer that does exactly what it says, allowing you to set up the running and walk times, in 8 sets (totally 20 min), with different noises in between, and of course it can be tweaked each week.

Then I did my first ‘workout’ of 8 sets; not too bad! Putting it in my diary again for Monday and Thursday. Maybe I can even add some strength training or yoga for the off days, and perhaps a long walk with A for Sunday. 4 years ago


Worth a shot! Just read Zanna’s heroic chronology and figure I have no excuses left. I’ve tried running before and, frankly, hated it, though I was able to increase my endurance, but maybe I just didn’t do it slowly enough. 4 years ago

EvieWeek 1 down!

I decided not to post until I’d finished week 1, cos of all the times I’ve started before and not got any further than that, but today was my third week 1 run and it’s going well. Seems my body remembers what to do even though it’s been so long, and it’s felt easier than previous efforts. I’m enjoying the fresh air, getting out of the house, and the sense of accomplishment. 4 years ago

AbsnasmGiving up again.

I’m still suffering from my foot problem, and running is hors de question, as someone pretentious might say. Plus it’s getting to winter and it’s fucking freezing. I miss running and hope to get back to it, but in the meantime I shall endeavour to find another method of exercise. The trampoline thing didn’t work out – it’s too noisy and a pain in the arse to assemble, but there’s an underused exercise bike in our bedroom, so perhaps I can combine some reading for uni (or, er, watching Buffy on the laptop) with some indoor cycling. 5 years ago

redbanditaReprise: week 3, run 1.

After a holiday in France and a brief visit to Ireland, I’m back on the horse. Not that I’ve fallen off it, I’ve gotten off it, gently, just to get back on it today.
The run was fine, felt good, and though I didn’t cover much ground, I did the times and ran comfortably. I was proudly wearing my super yellow safety vest, which I had originally bought to have in the car in France (it’s the law!), but now that we are here, I might as well wear it at dusk and not get run over by a bike. Yay, me! 5 years ago

redbanditaWed., 02-09-2009, week 3 run 2.

I’m doing great following the routine and running through Vondelpark like a gazelle. Not. Today, a girl in front of me was doing a brisk walk right ahead of me. She never broke into a proper run. I still couldn’t catch up with her… But I’m OK and at least I am having fun.
The 3-minute runs are good and fI can focus on my form and feel like I am getting more into the whole sporty thing. Let’s see how we can keep this up during our holidays, though… 5 years ago

redbanditaWed. 25-08-2009 week 2 run 2.

Still running. I love it once I’m out there, but getting ready to leave the house is the hard part. I am using the Ullrey podcast and even I normally despise housemusic, I think for running, it’s OK. A bit boring, maybe. But the dude has a nice voice, so I’ll go on with this podcast.
Running is fun now and my personal motivational character is helping me to focus when I’m running out of breath or slow down. She kicks ass and so will I, eventually. 5 years ago

redbanditaWed., 18-08-2009, week 1 run 3.

I strangely did not feel any strain doing this run. At all. I enjoyed it through and through, running around 9:30 p.m., when the day’s heat had finally subsided and a great many people were having barbeques in the park. Apart from the smoke, I was having the best time. 5 years ago

redbanditaMon., 17-08-2009, week 1 run 2.

This one went even better than the first. I liked being by myself and do my thing after a long day in the office and picking up the baby afterwards.
I also have a “secret” motivation. It’s the body image of a fictional character and I am using her in my head to make me run with more control and ‘tude. If it works in the longrun (haha), I’ll let you know who it is. For now, she is “mine”. 5 years ago

AbsnasmI haven't been able to run for a few weeks now.

For some reason, lately my heels have been incredibly painful and inflamed, in particular in the morning when I get out of bed and when I first walk on them having sat down for any length of time.

I’ve done a spot of research, and I think what I have is plantar fasciitis, tearing and inflammation in the pad of fibrous tissue and fat that runs from the heel to the ball of each foot. It could have been caused by any number of things – running itself, wearing high heels, wearing flat shoes, wearing shoes of a height different to what you’re used to, being a bit lardy. I’ve always had tight ankles, too (that’s what put the kibosh on me being a famous tap dancer), and that doesn’t help, apparently.

I desperately miss running. Without it, I am starting to feel lethargic, flabby in the leg, and a wee bit depressed. But there’s no way I can run at the moment, so I need to get it sorted. I’m going to call the NHS physiotherapy line tomorrow and see what they think, maybe make an appointment to see the physio. I’ve also found some exercises (linking so I can find them again) to try. In the meantime, perhaps I’ll haul out my mini-trampoline and see if a softer, bouncier surface will make exercising agony-free. 5 years ago

redbanditaSat., 15-08-2009: Week 1, run 1.

‘nuff said. 5 years ago

AbsnasmEntry number 100... and it's all decimal, all the time!

I upped my runs to two ten-minute intervals today. I did have an abortive attempt at this on Friday, but before I started the second run I was overcome with nausea and exhaustion, probably because it was midday and I was running on an empty stomach.

Today, though, it was pretty damn doable. Up hill and down dale through the park in a light refreshing rain, with a toilet stop in the middle of my intra-run walking interval and two ten-second breaks to say hi to a cat and a baby in the second run. It was a bit of a stretch at the end, and I had to push myself, but doing my gratitudes and affirmations really gives me the edge – I was cackling with happiness for a lot of this run. Ace. 5 years ago

AbsnasmStiiiiill on week five day two!

I took a couple of weeks’ break for health issues, then restarted back at week five day one a week or so ago. That was easy, so now I’ve done a couple of day two runs – the eight minuters. Are you confused yet? Eight minutes is now a fairly easy run for me, especially if I keep it slow, but I just don’t feel ready to move onto the long 20-minute run of week five day three, especially while it’s hot and humid like it is at the moment.

I’ve added new components to my running though, and I’m finding that they make it even more enjoyable and uplifting. Inspired by a Tony Robbins CD HA and I got from Freecycle, I’ve taken to spending the warmup walk doing an energising breath pattern and some EFT-style tapping (on the finger points). Then for the first run I think of all the things I grateful for – amazing what plops into your head once you start. Then for the second run I incant (in my head or out loud, depending on who’s around) affirmations, affirming my increased confidence, health, happiness, fitness, all-round awesomeness and so on until I feel really really really really ace. This routine seems to make the runs go by quicker, and definitely helps improve my mood even more than running on its own.

Feeling pretty good at the moment. Yay! 5 years ago

AbsnasmStill on week five.

I’ve done maybe six week five second week runs – that’s two intervals of eight minutes, with a five-minute walk in between them. I seem to be a bit stuck. If I was doing the programme straight through I should have moved on to a long 20-minute run ages ago, but my last two runs I’ve had to abort early – one when I got a stitch after just eight minutes, and today when I started to feel sick and tearful five minutes into interval two and had to sit down on a bench by the lake for a bit of a cry.

Meh. I suppose I am doing this at my own pace, but I’m a bit miffed that my own pace turns out to be about one millionth of the pace the original Couch to 5k sets for the lardiest, most unfit newbie runners. 5 years ago

AbsnasmOh holy fuck. It's *way* too hot to run today.

I went out with best intentions but after my first five-minute interval I just wanted a lie down under a shady tree and a big glass of Robinson’s barley water. How on earth people do marathons in weather like this is beyond me.

But nil desperandum, it was a great opportunity to do some other kind of exercise. I went home (slowly, via a ten-minute stroke for a lovely little grey and white cat I met in the street) and dug out the Wii for a game of tennis. I’ve always found Wii tennis a bit low on the heart-pumping impact, but today I had the radio on and accidentally discovered that dancing around to disco and Motown while playing ups both the fun and the impact level. 15 minuts of that, and ten minutes of boxing later, sweat was dripping off my chin and I cooled it down with ten minutes of Pilates.

I can’t get over how much I’m enjoying moving my body at the moment. It makes me feel really happy. 5 years ago

AbsnasmI did my first week five run today.

That’s three chunks of five minutes each, interspersed with three-minute walks. Though I’m suffering the old sore knee problem all over again, it’s otherwise only getting easier and more enjoyable. Today’s runs were slow and steady, but uphill and down dale, which shows how much my aerobic capacity has increased. I’ve realised how essentially important exercise is to my mental health. There are other factors too, obviously, but I feel so much happier and more balanced when I’m moving regularly. My legs are starting to feel strong and firmer – now I’m thinking of that line, “Lord, her legs are sturdy” from “Living for the city” by Stevie Wonder.

I’ve added in a 20-minute Pilates routine every couple of days too. It’s bloody hard and I hurt the next day, but it’s strangely enjoyable. 5 years ago

AbsnasmI have the most disjointed relationship with my body.

..particularly when it’s in what I shall refer to as a waxing phase. Yeah, I mean big and growing bigger. Still.

Most of the time I ignore it. I try not to look at it. I don’t like it being looked at. I don’t like to touch it except when I have to. I’ve only recently started to understand the importance of being aware of feelings and sensations in different parts of it. I accept that it does its job – it keeps my organs in and functioning, and stops my head from falling onto the floor – but mostly I consider it a let-down, a disappointment, an ugly travesty that’s not really part of me.

But sometimes when I run, something weird happens. I feel myself connect to my body. There’s a flow to it, the way the rhythm of my arms and legs pumps blood around my body, the way the movement creates floods of serotonin in my brain. I feel like a well-oiled machine, functioning perfectly, and self-conciousness ebbs away. Yesterday as I was running, my T-shirt rode up my tummy, exposing quite a lot of flesh (and lord knows there’s plenty to expose). Ordinarily I would rather stab myself in the leg than have anyone glimpse my belly, let alone see it shaking and undulating with each heavy step. And I did once stab myself in the leg, so I know what I’m talking about. But for some reason yesterday I didn’t really care. I ran along, a-flapping in the wind, grateful for the cool breeze, for the ability to move, and not really caring about much else. Weird. If only I could cultivate that attitude towards my body the rest of the time. 5 years ago

redbanditaMaking plans...

I know I will start this again, soon… So here is a route I want to try (there and back again = 3km) 5 years ago

EvieWeek 1, run 6

Woke up this morning feeling like going for an unscheduled run, so I did. Discovered that if I lengthen my stride a bit, it takes some of the pressure off my calves and works my thighs and butt more, which is excellent. 5 years ago

EvieWheeeeee! Week 1, run 5.

I did go out after all, and it didn’t rain on me, and the new runners are a dream, and even my calves aren’t as sore as usual. Happy me! 5 years ago


I haven’t run for a week now and I’m missing it. I hoped to go today, but the weather is crap and forecast to get worse. Maybe I’ll brave the rain if it’s not too bad. I bought myself a really good pair of runners the other day, and I’m dying to try them out – I walked around in them all day yesterday and they’re wonderfully light and comfortable, so should be brilliant to run in. 5 years ago

EvieWeek 1, run 4

Not too bad, apart from the by-now-predictable calf trouble. I read up about runners’ calf muscles (I’m a runner, wheee :o) ) online and it seems the only remedy is stretching and patience. Also, I discovered today that if I leave the running track and hit the path home during the last interval, I get to spend the last few seconds of my run bounding exhilaratingly down a hill, which made me happy. :o) 5 years ago

EvieWeek 1, run 3 - urgh, isn't it supposed to get easier instead of harder?!

Bit of a struggle today. I went out all eager, but had tight calves by the end of the warm-up and a twinge-y back after the first interval, and halfway through I flopped down on the grass and lay still until my calves stopped screaming. I did get up and finish the set, although I spent the last interval muttering “I hate you” to dear Robert’s little voice in my ear. :-p Think I’ll do at least one more week 1 before tackling week 2. 5 years ago

EvieI remember why I like this :o)

I ended up doing a full Week 1 run the other day, and I’m just back from another one. The first one wasn’t too bad, especially considering how long it’s been, and this morning was actually enjoyable – helped by its being an absolutely glorious day here today. Only thing was that my calf muscles knotted up very quickly, in spite of stretching them before and during. I’ve a vague idea that there’s some mineral deficiency that makes your muscles stiffen faster than they otherwise would – must look into that. Anyway, I’m trying not to get too excited yet because I’ve started this so many times and never got very far, but I’m pardonably pleased with myself just for starting. 5 years ago

EvieSo, I've been told I'm to go for a run today.

Yeah, I know I should be doing it for myself, but being ordered out is the only way it’s going to happen at the moment. I said I’d go, but almost three hours later I still haven’t. There’s holes in my runners, my sports bra is in the wash, and I didn’t have the podcast on my new mp3 player. Having slowly and reluctantly dealt with all of those, I found it was starting to rain, and there’s no way my already tepid motivation would survive that. It’s brightened up now though – there’s actual blue sky out there – so I’ve run out of excuses. I’m sitting on my bed in my running gear, trying to ignore the temptation to grab a book and crawl back under the duvet. 5 years ago

AbsnasmWent for a stressbusting run this afternoon.

It was awesome. The sun was shining, a cool wind was blowing, the mum and kids were out in force with buggies and duck-feeding accoutrements. I got clapped by a bunch of charvers (rather than getting the clap from them), cheered on by an old man walking a dog (I stopped to chat and he told me he was quite the athlete in his day) and drew the attention of a small boy to a squirrel hiding in the bushes. He asked me “Why are you running?” I answered “For fun!”, and I really really really meant it.

A few minutes later I experienced a moment of spontaneous joy so pure and intense that I burst into tears. It was one of the strongest manifestations I have ever had of what I call the “bubbling feeling” – in Finding Your Own North Star terms, my body compass’s right-life signal.

Amazing. Remove (at least temporarily) the source of my stress and my stressbusting measures become so effective that I am not merely brought back up to a level of barely-tolerable misery, but blasted into stratospheres of bliss that I barely recognise.

In other news, week three is, I think, over and done with. 5 years ago

AbsnasmI am falling back in love with running.

The new relaxed attitude seems to be working wonders. No need to write about it or log it on a map, no fretting about calories burned or muscles toned. I am simply running for the joy of being able to move my body.

I’m being good to myself. If I don’t feel like going out, I don’t force myself. I’ll stop partway through a run if I’m not feeling it. Yesterday I went out early evening, but within a few minutes I had bumped into HA getting off the bus, needed a wee, and didn’t like the look of the stormclouds on the horizon, so I turned around and went home. Instead of beating myself up for not sticking to my schedule, I congratulated myself on following my instincts. My body rewarded me this morning with boundless energy that saw me easily through my first week-three run with joy and a spring in my boingy step. I even ran uphill for three minutes, smiling all the way. It’s quite amazing. 5 years ago

AbsnasmWeek one down.

Since the brighter mornings and evenings have lifted my mood, made the streets feel safer and (dare I say it) raised my energy levels slightly, I’ve quietly started this goal again. I’ve decided that contrary to the last few attempts I’m going to go about it with the minimum of fanfare and fuss. I’ve always been pretty structured about the goal, careful to log every run not only here on 43T but on where it’s gratifying to see the miles clock up and the calories burned. I’ve been approaching it with a level of grit and determination – but that seems to falter the further into it I get.

I suspect that there is a degree of self-sabotage in this. When it comes to improving my body shape and fitness I have a tremendous amount of internal resistance. Some of it I am conscious of, some of it I’m not, but it all adds up to my body and mind wanting desperately to keep me the way I am (or enlarging me further) and conspiring to stop me taking part in activities which go against their wishes. Some may pooh-pooh that idea, but I know my own mind well enough to know that there’s a reason I mindlessly ate a whole box of Ritz crackers in the last 24 hours, and it isn’t hunger. Likewise, I’m not lazy and I enjoy quite a few forms of exercise, but for some reason when I try to exercise to lose weight, I can always find something more important to do.

The concept of an end-goal also seems to stop me dead in my tracks. What will I do once that goal is reached? The last time I got to the end of the programme, I ran my 5k charity race, and within weeks my desire to run tailed right off. My subconscious brain considered the goal done, finished, over, and I acted accordingly.

So this time around, I’ve decided to take a more relaxed attitude to it, and I’m running for the sake of mental peace, not calories burned or glory garnered. As so many of my 43T friends have pointed out, I don’t leave much space for fun or me-ness in my schedule, and it’s about time I carved some out. So I’ll be doing this as and when it suits me, and I may or may not write about it. The end-goal of 5k isn’t important to me, and neither is the effect it might have on my health. I just want to be kind to myself. Surely there’s no reason my subconscious can object to that. 5 years ago

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