I did it. I ran 5k.
After 11 weeks doing the Couch to 5k podcast I have succeeded. I did my first 5K run in the most beautiful of settings with an initiative called Parkrun. The one nearest us is based at Delemere Forest every Saturday at 9 am. There were about 200 of us and it was a glorious day.
There were people of all shapes and sizes. People with dogs, families with kids, professional running club people, middle age super fit couples, and there was us. Adam and me plus our friends, another married couple who had never done it before. The atmosphere was exciting. All the stewards are volunteers and did an amazing job at cheering people on and explaining the guidelines.
It’s very simple. Before you go to the run you sign up on the website and enter your info. You then get a unique reference number and print out a barcode with the reference on. You run with your barcode (in your pocket) and then get it scanned at the end so you know your time. This then goes on the website and if you really love it you can try and improve week on week or try Parkruns all over the country. It didn’t feel like an horrendous super competitive race. It was explained that every goes at their own pace and even though there a finish line, it’s more about beating your own records. We first-timers even got a special round of applause from the other runners.
The difference of being surrounded by runners and other joggers of all levels was encouraging. Training on my own has been a bit of a slog recently. But being among others was exactly what I needed to provide me with motivation for it all again. I started off slow, aware this was my first attempt at a full 5k. I had done 4.5k quite a few time but this course was actually 5.2k. I have always struggled to know exactly what my pace is or what I should be aiming for. The Couch to 5k podcast doesn’t track your pace, so I have now switched to Nike Running which provides a lot more analysis.
I was five minutes in and feeling good. I was following a lady for while, and in my head she had become my pacemaker. However, hubby was out of sight already and I needed to speed up a lot more to catch him. The course was a little tricky as there were no markers to tell you how far through you were. I’m terrible at estimating distance. I sped up and kept at a steady pace. This happneed to be the pace of young couple. He was checking his hi-tech watch and telling her what pace they needed to go at. I felt like this was also a great pace for me. So that’s how I did it. I didn’t stop. I jogged my little socks off the entire way.
I was very proud. My final time was 33 mins. Nothing to shout about in professional terms but I couldn’t been happier. Hubby, who had not trained, eats what he likes and only bought trainers the day before to do it in, got 28 mins. Damn him, being a natural athlete, academic, cook and musician.
Anyway, this was two weeks ago now. I have run four times since but not done a full 5k. However, I have been working on my pace. My friends joked that the next thing would be a half marathon in May. This seems like a step too far but there is a part of me that’s tempted to look into 10k runs in the area.
Has anyone else had experience of going from 5k to 10? Is there anything I should be working on in particular? How gradually should I be in increasing my distance?
Any advice would be much appreciated. Let me know in the comments!