Preparing for my first 5 k runs

I Want To Be Completing 5 k Runs

It has been a while since I’ve blogged on here. In fact it is virtually 2 months since I’ve completed The MAD Challenge. However I just keep on running! Yes, I’ve kept going and am now motivated with my new running plan and want to complete 5 k runs!

Completing The MAD Challenge quickly helped me realise how incredibly unfit I was. I guess I still am.

When I first started out I could barely run a few yards without having to slow to a walking pace. It wasn’t until the final day of The MAD Challenge that I actually ran a full mile and in a great time too!

I’ve come a fair way since then.

I’ve been comfortably able to run a mile and more. In fact I can’t remember ever walking mid-run since August, only in the post run warm down.

My fitness is improving and I’ve recently been able to complete 2.5 miles as a full run. Timings haven’t been too bad either.

It is often said that you have to walk before you can run so it is little wonder that I’m building my endurance gradually.

Whilst I was actively fundraising someone challenged me to complete a 5 k run by the end of September. This was quite an exciting challenge and at that stage I didn’t even have a 5km training plan. However a series of injuries, particularly between weeks 3 and 4 of The MAD Challenge really ended any hope of me hitting that deadline.

However I’ve stuck with running as a form of fitness. I have also kept my fundraising open (if you want to sponsor me) although I never quite reached my £500 target.

Running at dusk in training for a 5 k run

Preparing to complete my first of many 5 k runs

Running a mile a day, every day for a month was a pretty straight forward criteria to understand, although physically challenging for someone as unfit as myself.

However planning for a 5 k was always going to be a different kettle of fish. I needed to build myself up gradually, increase my stamina, endurance.

In fact I needed to increase my overall fitness. I couldn’t go straight into trying to run 5 kilometres. I needed a 5k training plan.

Whilst I could follow the couch to 5k (C25k) training app this felt unnecessary. I’d already spent a fair amount of money on a GPS running watch which to be fair includes some running plans to select in the software.

There are also numerous free running plans for a 5k run online. I had a look at a few and this is the 5 km training plan that I chose:

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 1 mile 1 mile 1.5 miles 20-30 min run
or cross train (XT)
2 1.5 miles 1.5 miles 1.75 miles 20-30 min run
or cross train (XT)
3 2 miles 1.5 miles 2 miles 20-30 min run
or cross train (XT)
4 2.25 miles 1.5 miles 2.25 miles 25-35 min run
or cross train (XT)
5 2.5 miles 2 miles 2.5 miles 25-35 min run
or cross train (XT)
6 2.75 miles 2 miles 2.75 miles 35-40 min run
or cross train (XT)
7 3 miles 2 miles 3 miles 35-40 min run
or cross train (XT)
8 3 miles XT or rest 2 miles Run a 5k

It is spread over 8 weeks which seemed to be a reasonable and steady pace for me.

It requires running 3 times a week plus rest days and a day to do some cross training (XT) or light running. (Admittedly I wasn’t very good at completing some cross training.)

To do this plan it is advised that you have some basic level of fitness and are able to at least run a mile; of course I can do that now 🙂

However, just like with The MAD Challenge I’ve been blighted with running injuries. On 19th September I ended my run by feeling a big strain on the Achilles on my left foot. Learning from my prior injuries I thought it best to rest up for a while and let things improved.

I picked up again in October and have kept going ever since.

My runs after finishing The MAD Challenge
My runs after finishing The MAD Challenge

I have been travelling during this time which is a little bit disruptive. This is in the sense that I’ve come to the US and they are not very keen on pavements (or sidewalks as they call them). As a result my locations have not always been safe or conducive to running without driving off somewhere first, like finding a park for instance.

Since outdoor running was not a good option I continued my 5 km training runs inside on hotel treadmills.

This is okay although a little weird. It raises the old argument as to whether it is better to go running outside or on a treadmill?

For me, if the weather is mild then outside should win every-time.

With the treadmill the running technique is not entirely natural since the floor underneath you is moving rather than your feet are naturally covering of the ground.

Treadmills can be in air-conditioned rooms which are an unnatural atmosphere. Mind you a shared exercise room can see the climate control at a level you are not keen on.

Also, treadmill running is boring, at least compared to outside running. I did watch some of the built-in TVs but it was all trashy TV anyway.

I’ve also not spent a lot of time learning to play with the settings on the treadmill. I just entered an estimate of my weight in lbs, the length of time to run and starting speed, normally begin at 6 mph. I then slowly tinkered with the speed setting during my run depending upon how I felt. Typically increasing the speed further into the run.

So my training is as good as back on track even though I’ve yet to clock up some 5k run times.

Finding some local 5k running events

Fortunately, through talking about my running and The MAD Challenge I’ve had quite a few people help me in finding some 5k running events. These seem to be quite widespread around the UK and indeed further afield.

People running through a park for 5 k runs

There is a Park Run website where you can find free 5 k run events being held throughout the UK and many places around the world. I’ve registered (which is also free) and I hope to be able to complete my first of many local 5k races soon.

I am only back in the UK for a week before heading abroad again so am a little concerned about being able to complete an official 5 k run event before the weather turns nasty. When the weather does then I might have to find an alternative fitness regime to get me through the winter. I do have an idea in mind of what I can do!

For now though my 5 km training runs are going pretty well and I hope to be completing 5 k runs very soon!

Thanks for reading. Please support me with comments or sponsoring me for Cancer Research.

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