Begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 3 minutes of running, 90 seconds of walking, 5 minutes of running, 2½ minutes of walking, 3 minutes of running, 90 seconds of walking, 5 minutes of running.
The first day of week 4 is completely horrible. We're at my mother-in-law's place in the country, and the road near her house is hills! hills! hills!
For the first time, I can't make it through my run. I struggle through the first 3 minutes, puffing and panting up a slope. I have to stop half-way through the 5 minute run: there's not enough breath left.
The final 3 minutes is a little easier - downhill, and I've found my pace - but I finish with the conviction that this is it for me. It's going to be 3 minute runs for the rest of my life. Which I guess is better than no running at all.
Jane and I share our sorrows:
Jane: So the first run of Level 4 was a bit of a step up!
Jean: Oh yes. Nearly died. Good to hear I'm not the only one.. My friend who goes to the gym says longer times / distances are always much harder. Hmmm... Didn't help that there were hills where I was staying.
Taking a few days off and might restart at last step of level 3... Telling myself any level is better than none.
We could write a blog post about this!
Jane: Yes, I nearly died too. I do agree with you - any level is better than none. I'm telling myself if I just do Level 3, 3 times per week for the year, I'll still be doing awesome exercise!
The hills make it tricky. I do the same circuit every day (strangely comforting) but there's a pretty big hill right in the middle of the last 5 minute run right now!
Jess tells me via text that we'll be surprised that we can do it if we just keep going ...!
Am imagining what a blog about this might say... "Can't believe we're able to write this post because we thought Couch to 5K had killed us..." xxx
Jean: PS still a bit dubious about what Jess said. And as for keeping going... *puff, puff*
Jane: Yes, I had a little worried chuckle when she said that too! At least for the time being I will try to keep going. Time will tell!The next time I run - and yes, I do push on - it's a little easier.
By the third time, it's all starting to fall into place. The adrenaline rush returns. I feel capable and grounded and strong. Who knew that inside this bookish, library-ish person there was a jogger?
Jane: Just did the level 4 run for the second time - once again it nearly killed me, but it was a tad easier...
Jean: I did it for the 3rd time yesterday and FINALLY felt like I'd gotten the point. It was hard but, remarkably, FUN! And the first two of week 4 were so horrible, and I didn't enjoy level 3 much either...
First time I've felt energised by all this jogging stuff for a while. Pretty sore last night. But I'm feeling so much stronger and fitter: walking, climbing stairs (no puffing!), even standing are easier. A lot firmer around the middle. Better posture. More energy. Stronger.
All that "inner core" stuff is true after all! And it's good for the mind too: I feel happier, more confident, and less anxious.
I sound like an evangelist! I feel like writing a (very boring) post about the benefits of exercise...
No doubt I'll hate it again next week.And I realise:
- the first day of the week might feel completely impossible, but it will get easier
- exercise is packed full of unlikely benefits, and I'm starting to see them
- my body is capable of so much more than I thought it was.
It's the end of week 4, and, after a few tough weeks, I'm enjoying running again
How did you find week 4 of Couch to 5K?