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so, um, how fast are you supposed to run?

First of all, I want to apologize for the fact that I haven't really been posting here very much. It's hard enough for me to find time to work out, let alone post about it! But I read this community with great interest, and get a lot of inspiration from all of you.

So my question is ... back in July 07 I started the Couch to 5K program and pretty much stuck with it, except for a lapse in January/February when I was traveling a lot for job interviews. So now I'm running for 30 minutes 3-4 times a week and have started to track my runs on the Google pedometer to see how fast/how far I run. It seems I am getting faster (albeit very very slowly), but I have to admit I was a little disappointed to realize that the 10-minute mile is definitely quite far off for me, and that 30 minutes does not equal a 5K. I'd like to do something to keep progressing -- either start gradually adding time to my run, or start trying to run faster (but I'm not sure I can do that, I think I push myself as hard as I can without hating it when I run ... and the "without hating" it part is pretty critical, you know? Because I know that I won't do it if I don't enjoy it).

So I guess my questions are ...
1) Does my inability to run a 10-minute mile make me hopelessly out of shape?
2) What do people who have completed the Couch to 5K do to keep going?


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 15th, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC)
I started to run with the couch to 5k. At the end of the program, I was still pretty far from a 5k in 30 minutes, too!

A couple of things to think about:
1. You know how they have distance intervals in addition to the time ones? Using whatever mapping program you are using, go for distance over time. Maybe going back a few weeks in the program to build up.
2. Set a date for a 5k, and gradually increase your time until you are going the distance. But then, deadlines work for me :)

For a point of reference, my best 5k race time is only just barely under 30 minutes for a 5k. My 10k training time is at almost an 11:40 mile, and my gym warm-up single mile time is about 9:20.

I LOVE racing! I am only competing against myself, and the atmosphere is so awesome and supportive! I get cheered across the finish line by strangers with as much enthusiasm and the first person who crossed, which is really an awesome feeling - like, even if I'm not the most fit person out there, people I don't even know recognize the effort and are happy for me. I've also been really lucky to find people to run races with (as in, people to start with and meet at the end) so it really gives me a sense of community (does that sound cheesy?) in what for me is really an individual and almost personal thing.
Apr. 15th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm ... here's a question about races then. I did sign up (super optimistically, to make myself do it) for the Bay to Breakers 12K in SF this May. I signed up for it in part because the race includes a pretty healthy mix of people who are seriously running the course and people who are walking the course in outlandish costumes while sipping beer. Now, there is *no* way I could run the entire distance of this race -- I have run 5K before (in more than 30 minutes) but never 10K, and May is fast approaching. So I'm trying to figure out how I should approach this race. I know I'll have to walk probably for most of it. Do I go anyway? To tell myself I've done a race? And if so, how do I think about planning my running/walking so I'm still working towards a goal? Or do I scrap this and try to find a 5K?

One thing to think about is that Bay to Breakers has a pretty steep uphill at the beginning but is nowhere near as hilly as my home neighborhood in the city, so the course itself will be a lot less challenging than what I'm used to. My neighborhood has some pretty major hills.
Apr. 15th, 2008 11:22 pm (UTC)
Hills are hard!! I don't hate them as much as wind, but they don't bring me much joy :)

I think that if you look at Bay to Breakers as a good time and you won't get frustrated with walking a lot, go for it! My theory is that is if you start and finish a race, you DID it, no matter when you cross the finish line. But in terms of setting goals in terms of running, I would probably look for another race sometime soon. active.com used to have a pretty good list of races by locality, and if you do a search for running clubs in your area, they should have a race calendar, too.

Also, thanks! This post reminds me that we need to find a race here for May! We are doing one a month until the rains start/I move back to the States.
Apr. 15th, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
don't worry about speed! my_small_space is right. and when I finished couch-to-5K I wasn't running a 30 min. 5K either. it took me a while longer to get down to the pace I run at now. and actually, I am not sure I have EVER run under a 30 min. 5K. my best times are generally just over 30 min., even when I'm in top form.

and you know? you're supposed to run as fast as you want to. don't worry about speed. I run in the morning before work, usually, so it works for me to work out by running a couple of times on a time basis (I'll run out for 15 min. and then run home for 15 min) and then one long distance run where I leave myself lots of time to run so I don't feel stressed about how fast I need to finish.

it is SO AWESOME that you have been sticking with the couch-to-5K! go on and sign up for some races - I find that race-day excitement makes me push myself harder than I would when I'm running on my own. and then, because I know that I'm capable of doing, so I can translate that into my regular workouts too.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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