20-Minute Run and Race Preps

Two more entries from the running archive.

May 13, 2011 – The 20-minute Run
Over the past few days, every
time I thought about today’s run I felt nervous butterflies in my
stomach. Prior to this week, my longest run intervals had been 5
minutes. Wednesday my Couch to 5K training called for 8 minutes, and
then – are you kidding me? – today called for 20 minutes. How was I
supposed to magically go from 5-minute run segments to a 20-minute run
in one week?

In reality I guess it wasn’t that drastic. My
overall workouts have had me running 20 minutes, but with walking breaks
in between. This run just eliminated those walking breaks. But
mentally, this seemed like a big leap. Could I really run that long
without walking?

Last night, I laid out my favorite running
clothes and planned my route through the neighborhood. When my alarm
went off this morning I couldn’t decide if I was excited or dreading the
run, and the truth is, probably both.

Instead of listening to
music, I opted for a podcast which was a good choice. I tried to hone in
on the conversation and ignore that nagging doubt in my head that said,
“You totally cannot do this.”

That negative voice pipes in just a
few minutes into my run most days. But I find that if I keep going, I
usually settle into a rhythm and the running gets easier. That voice
grows quiet, and today I was happily surprised when my training app
announced I’d reached the halfway point of my run. I’d made it that far
without checking my phone in desperation to see how much time was left
on the run. The run was difficult, but I made it all 20 minutes without

Maybe there is hope for me?

June 24, 2011
is a big day – my first race. It has been over a month since I wrote
about running, but not because I quit running. Although the week after
my last post was my most challenging week of training so far.

7 of Couch to 5K has you running 25 minutes each of the three days with
no walking breaks. I hadn’t realized how much I needed those walking
breaks. The first 20 minutes of those runs were tough, but the last 5
were brutal (I still feel a little embarrassed saying that – all you
endurance runners can stop laughing now). Even running early in the
morning, I’d have sweat dripping off my face, my arms, running down my
legs. I’d feel like throwing up. I’d want to walk, but I was terrified
that if I let myself walk I’d let myself down. So I kept running.

survived week 7, and to my own surprise, I survived week 8 and week 9,
finally finishing the Couch to 5K program on June 8. That was a really
great day, and I felt an awful lot of pride in myself for completing
three sets of 30-minute runs.

I was, however, disappointed to
find out that although I’d completed the program, I wasn’t yet running a
5K distance. The program is assuming I’m running a 10-minute mile, able
to complete a 5K distance during that 30 minute run. But I’m at around
12-minute miles, or about 2.5 miles during those 30 minutes. Even though
my training app was finished, I knew I needed to change my focus from
how many minutes I was running to how many miles.

Once, since
finishing the Couch to 5K app, I made myself run 3 miles with no breaks.
It was super tough but I did it, although I haven’t repeated it again. I
started adding walking breaks back into my runs and I have really mixed
feelings about this. Probably a topic for another post.

So …
tomorrow. My goal from day one was to run a 5K without walking. I’m
hoping the race-day adrenaline provides the extra boost I know I’ll

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