Journey to 5k: Weeks 8 & 9

Journey to 5k (3)Welcome Back to my Journey to 5k! I know I missed a post last week because I was out of town for work, so this post will include my progress from the past two weeks. If this is your first time here, welcome to Somewhere Struggling! Feel free to check out my previous Journey to 5k posts:

Journey to 5k: Weeks 1 – 4

Journey to 5k: Week 5

Journey to 5k: Week 6

Journey to 5K: Week 7

Here are the stats :

week 8 and 9

These are all times and distances that do not include my warm up (except for 5/21)

Week 8

I was only able to fit in two runs this week due to my trip. For both runs, I ran 6 minutes, walked 2, 3 times through. I did struggle a bit on my second run. I found that I always tend to struggle the most during the same part of my runs – that second interval of the three. During the first interval, I tend to start off strong while maintaining a slow pace, and I usually still have energy to go longer once my walking rest starts. When the second intervals begins, I fatigue easily and by the middle of the interval I’m literally giving it everything I have just to make it to my next walking rest. Sometimes I am able to make it all the way, recover during my 2 minute rest, and run my last interval. Other times, I make it all the way, but have to extend my rest period a bit longer to be ready for that final interval. There has only been two runs during my entire training where I didn’t finish that middle interval. I do however, always finish my last interval strong. I believe that has everything to do with knowing the finish line is near.

I have two theories for why that second interval may give me so much drama:

1) My co-worker suggested that the first 15 or so minutes of a run are usually the hardest, but once we push past that, our bodies go into something like an autopilot. I am unsure how true this statement is, but it is a probable theory for my struggle. I wonder if I’d fare better if I just kept running rather than taking that two minute walking rest. I haven’t tried this yet because I do not want to burn myself out too early on in my run and not be able to finish later. Additionally, even though I usually have energy to go a bit further at the end of my first interval, my body is still asking for a break at this point.

2) On my typical route, there is a bit of incline towards middle of my second interval. It would make sense that while I’m making my way up that slant, I’m using more energy in addition to already having run 6 or so minutes previously. Also, now that I know my body tends to fatigue here, my mind probably goes into panic mode and I psyche myself out.

Week 9

For week 9, I ran 7 minutes on the first day and 8 minutes the other two, still with 2 minute rests, 3 times through. I am extremely proud of myself for making it to this point, but I’m honestly a bit discouraged this week. I made it through each of my runs. They were all hard, but I made it. The 7 minute run was one of the two where I gave up before my timer during that second interval. My timer actually went off about 40 seconds later. I was disappointed in myself for not sticking it out and I was so close. Nonetheless, when I ran my 8 minutes runs, I put forth an extra effort to not give in early! My holy spirit was speaking to me during one of those runs saying “just keep going..you’re almost there”. (The spiritual revelations I’ve been getting from running have been amazing, but that’s an entirely different post that I plan to write towards the end of this journey).

On my last run of this week, my sister actually joined me. She insisted that 8 minutes would be cake for her, and I was excited to have a partner. Well, the truth was revealed – I’m weaker than I thought. I’m always interested in how some people can jump out of bed and run a mile with no effort, no previous experience, and no training — and then there’s me. I knew she could run a mile, but she left me in the dust! She finished at least 6 minutes before me and that was her trying to go slow and wait for me. She told me my pace felt like taking big steps to her, so I encouraged her to go on at her own pace. Even while she was running in front of me, she was worried about me because she could see my struggle to finish these intervals. While I do know that everyone is made differently, I don’t understand why my endurance is so low.

I did finish my run without cheating, but seeing her do it so effortlessly left me thinking – I must be doing something wrong. I do want to thank another WordPress blogger, cat h. bradley, for tips on breathing. For the past two weeks, I have been breathing in and out through my nose for as much of my run as I can. When I start to become tired, I’ll begin breathing in through the nose, out through the mouth. Getting my breathing under control has helped tremendously. I think it is a part of the reason I’ve been able to run longer these two weeks. But maybe my breathing rhythm is off. Or maybe I need to spend more time cross training. Perhaps I haven’t done enough speed training (I haven’t done any actually) or strength training.

I don’t know what exactly I need to do, but I plan to spend this next week doing more research. I need to build my endurance. I want to be able to enjoy my runs rather than hurt trying to finish. I want to complete my runs and still have more left in me. I’m not even concerned with speed at this point. I just want to feel good. I’m disappointed that I’m entering week 10 and it still takes so much effort for me to run. Time to get (more) serious!

Conclusion

As I was looking at my post from week 7, I’m so amazed at how much progress I’ve made in just two weeks. I was running 4 minute intervals, and as of this week I’m running 8 minute intervals!!! To some, this may not seem like much, and others may think it’s all in my head, but you all might not understand just how difficult all of this has been for me. People often look at me and say “you’re so in shape”, but I don’t feel like I am. I’m winded walking up steps, short bike rides are challenging for me, and running a 5k is something I never saw myself doing until I made this decision.

I took a V02 max test a few months back before I started training (or even knew I would be training) and I was told mine is lower than average. I took the test because I was a subject in a research study, so the results did not mean much to me. Now here I am, 10 weeks in, feeling like my oxygen capacity is problematic. I know that I can build my endurance and increase my capacity, but it will just require more work.

I am still just as motivated and determined to run this 5k as I was at the start. I knew it was going to require a ton of effort when I first made up in my mind that I was going to do it. Nothing has changed except my awareness. I should be able to run and feel good. I have to do more to build up to it. I’ve been lazy the past month, not strength training consistently or eating the best. I’m committed to working on this!

P.s, I even went to the gym and for a bike ride today! I look forward to updating you all in the next week or two!

4 thoughts on “Journey to 5k: Weeks 8 & 9

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