I’ve started the Couch to 5k program — again.
The first time (the last time, the only time) I started the Couch to 5k was in July. I got all the way through to week 7 (although not in 7 weeks), did a week 8 level run (27 minutes non-stop) and then I stopped. I know why I stopped: it became much easier to stop than to continue.
When I started the program, my days were largely unscheduled, unhurried, and the weather was warm and sunny. It was easy to fit a run in, even if I put it off until late in the day. When I stopped, we were on the move, travelling every few days, and the weather had turned rainy. I did my last run when we were in Hamburg, about a week after the one before. Then, in mostly good ways, my days got busier. K now has a full time job in an actual office. We’re in England, and it has been raining. Staying in has been very, very easy.
The thing about stopping is that there’s no point at which that’s news. But to give an honest assessment of the program, I have to include the fact I stopped. I gave up. I did not complete the Couch to 5k program. At this point, I’m not sure if I will, if the podcasts and schedule still have meaning, if I’ll try to run 5km in my own time or set a different goal entirely.
The news, and the reason I’m typing, is that I’ve gone for a run again. I had another go. I didn’t follow the Couch to 5k podcast or a particular week of the program, but I did get out there and run. I ran along the river Thames near Oxford, at a place where it’s very pretty and quiet and a lot like Cambridge. I probably wouldn’t have walked there. The major advantage of running, so far as I can see, is that I see more places. Honestly, the only reason I went for a run yesterday was because K pointed out that we could go in Ireland, when we’re there, and that would be another country, making eight in total.
Partly, I stopped running because I got bored, so I need to find a way to make it more interesting or I’ll stop again. Running for 60 seconds was scary and challenging. Running for 25 minutes non-stop is not, it turns out, intrinsically interesting, and leveling up from 25 to 27 minutes wasn’t exciting. The interval training at the beginning was more interesting but not thrilling. I doubt I’ll ever be a marathon runner, unless I figure out a way to read a book while I run. Maybe audio books would help, or a podcast – any suggestions?
Actually, now I think of it, I once interviewed a woman who runs marathons while knitting. Susie Hewer was an impressive person to talk to, although she has a deceptively ordinary appearance, even on her blog, Extreme Knitting Redhead. Personally, I think knitting uses the same part of my brain as running, so they won’t stack well. That said, I can knit and walk and I haven’t fallen over while running yet, even when thinking quite hard, so maybe I’ll try it. I might have to buy some more yarn first though…
Failure is good enough
I’m quite pleased with my Couch to 5k progress. Heck, even putting on running shoes was a Big Scary Deal for this PE dropout. I’ve got to the stage where I can go for a run, and it’s not a big deal. I now believe I can run. When I started this, I didn’t believe I could run for so many minutes, even when I’d just done it. I thought it was a fluke, beginner’s luck, impossible to repeat. Now, I firmly believe that I can run for 27 minutes again – perhaps not right now, perhaps not tomorrow or this week, but one day soon – and that I can run for 30 minutes or 5km. I believe that, if I try and train, I can run for 10km or whatever goal I set. I’m not sure I want to – at my current pace, that would take, oh, roughly forever – but it’s a possible goal, and that’s rather exciting.