C25K – W1D7

The C25K program consists of three workouts per week for nine weeks. I’m off schedule, but this is the results of the workout for week one, day seven. No, there is not supposed to be a day seven. Technically, this is the week one day one, repeated for the third time.

Program: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute cool-down walk.

Results: I completed the workout as intended. I ran all eight of the sixty second run segments. As is usual with just starting a program, it wasn’t easy. I finally feel that I am actually at the week one day one level. I did 1.64 miles in 29:41 for an average speed of 3.31 mph. My heart rate averaged 137 bpm and peaked at 161 bpm. These numbers include the warm-up and cool-down periods.

My right calf was still feeling tight and I considered not doing the workout. But, I was afraid that if I didn’t get started again, I wouldn’t start again. I decided to try to do the workout and see what happened. I did my stretching and the warm-up walk. After the first run segment, I was feeling beat, my achilles and calves were starting to feel tight again, and I was ready to call it a day. But, I didn’t. During the walk segment, I stopped for a few seconds and did a quick stretch of the calves. That helped a little, just enough to do another run segment and then another and another. Before long, I had made it through run segment six and only had two more to go. It was a push to make it through the next two. The runs had been getting slower and so were the walks. I felt about ready to fall over, but managed to keep going. Unlike the earlier workouts, there was not a lot of pain. I just felt worn out.

I guess this is what we are supposed to be learning, how to continue when we would rather not. Though I didn’t feel up to it, I successfully made it through the workout. Maybe this will be the week I finally complete week one.

C25K – W1D6.5

This was an odd one. In my prior workout, I successfully completed a workout at the week one level with sixty second runs and ninety second walks. I found out this morning that I am not yet ready for the week two level. It was supposed to be very hot today, with temperatures in the mid-nineties. As I type this, it is still 91F. With the predicted temperatures, I decided to do my first week two level workout in the morning instead of the evening. This was bad on several levels.

I had only completed one week level workout, not the normal three. I was moving up too quickly. Having a morning workout instead of an evening workout reduced my rest between workouts by twelve hours. The temperature may have be lower in the morning, but not by much and the humidity was much higher. When I got back to the car this morning, the temperature was 85F and humidity was 80%, not a comfortable combination.

The combination of factors resulted in me almost completing one week two level ninety second run and starting a couple more. At that point, I realized it wasn’t a good idea and started the cool-down walk on the way back to the car. I still wanted to have a full workout for the day just to keep up regular exercise, but doing it outside wouldn’t work today.

On the way home, I stopped at another community recreation center. They have a gym with some treadmills and another track. This track has a slightly different design than the other one. The corners have a diagonal and are less cambered. Though it this one is also above the courts, the railing is solid instead of open. And, with the air conditioner vents staggered around the perimeter, the cool air coming in doesn’t immediately fall to the courts. It was much more comfortable. Best of all, the track was free.

After work, I went and tried the track and got a little bit more of a week one level workout in. As I had only been using my VFFs for my workouts and the last workout on a track had hard landings, I decided to try the New Balance 991s that I use to wear. It wasn’t a good idea. I know that heel striking is very bad on knees. I tried to avoid it and use a posture more like I did with the VFFs. It did not work as well as I would have liked. As expected, there was a more cushioned landing, but the heel got in the way. After half a dozen laps, my right calf was tightening up and I was on the way to a limp. I aborted before it got that far.

I need to take some time before my next workout to let my calf recover. I also need to try out a good treadmill before I spend the money to upgrade mine. I think the next workout should be week one level on a treadmill in my VFFs. With all of the variety of surfaces, shoes, VFFS without and with socks, I need to get some consistency into my workouts. Perhaps I can do that on the treadmill, or not.

C25K – W1D6

The C25K program consists of three workouts per week for nine weeks. I’m off schedule, but this is the results of the workout for week one, day six. No, there is not supposed to be a day six. But, I repeated the level for this week until it was completed successfully.

Program: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute cool-down walk.

Results: I completed the workout. Finally, I completed it as intended. I managed to run all eight of the sixty second run segments.

Compared with the prior run attempts, I concentrated on keeping a slow steady speed and not letting myself run too quickly. My distance was just slightly less than the last workout at 1.60 miles. Overall average was 3.20 mph. My runs were just a little faster than my walks. My heart rate stayed in a good range, moving between zones three and four out of five. I wore my VFFs and Injinji socks on the asphalt path again. Though it was 88F, the humidity was only 58%. It was warm, but manageable. My achilles and calves burned again, but not as much as before. During the walks between the later run segments, I did some quick mini-lunges to stretch the calves a little. I think that helped with the subsequent runs. I had to push it some, but I finally made it through the week one level.

C25K – W1D5

The C25K program consists of three workouts per week for nine weeks. I’m off schedule, but this is the results of the workout for week one, day five. No, there is not supposed to be a day five. But, I will be repeating the level for this week until it is completed successfully.

Program: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute cool-down walk.

Results: I completed the workout, again not as intended. I completed the first sixty second run, did not complete the next three, and walked the last four. Mileage is still increasing, up to 1.6 for this workout.

Some severe thunderstorms went through the area all day and are supposed last well into the night. So, to keep my workout on schedule, I decided to run inside again. I started my warmup on the old, inexpensive treadmill in my basement. Half way through the warmup, I stopped. I was wearing my VFFs and Injinji socks. Perhaps the rubber soles had more traction than my bare feet. I was experiencing a slipping feeling, and a not too subtle one. Perhaps that explains the speed variations I’ve noticed in the past. But, with the belt suddenly slipping and then acting normal again in rapid fashion, it was not safe to continue. So, I aborted the treadmill workout. To keep to my Monday, Wednesday, Friday workout schedule, I still needed to workout today and not postpone it.

I called the community RecPlex in the next suburb over. They have an indoor track and had a daily rate. So, I decided to drive through the rain and do my workout on their 1/10 mile Mondo Sportplex Track.

The track is on the upper level surrounding the basketball courts. Has anyone said hot air rises? Though in an air conditioned building, it was hot and muggy on the track. The cool air coming in the door dropped right to the courts below. But, that isn’t what made it difficult. With a slight cushion built into the track surface, I was expecting softer landings than I had previously. Maybe that is why I was instead landing harder. Worse still, if you’re not going fast enough, crossing slopes on the cambered corners makes it harder. The shadow lines paralleling the tracklines, cast by the court lights, made tracking difficult also.

I finished the first sixty second run and mostly completed the next several. But, I had to walk the remainder. Actually, I should say I limped the remainder. My right calf tightened up and I favored it for a while. Then, the left tightened up more and I limped favoring it instead. I was also unable to maintain a straight course and meandered around the track. I still completed the workout time and had slightly more distance than before. That was a good thing. Still, I hope the next workout is better and that I can get back out on the asphalt path again.

C25K – W1D4

The C25K program consists of three workouts per week for nine weeks. I’m off schedule, but this is the results of the workout for week one, day four. No, there is not supposed to be a day four. But, I will be repeating the level for this week until it is completed successfully.

Program: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute cool-down walk.

Results: I completed the workout. It was still not quite as prescribed, though it is improving. RunKeeper Free showed the statistics as 1.55 miles with an overall average speed of 3.28 mph. This is slightly faster than the prior workouts average of 3.11, though only 0.01 miles further. The difference is a slightly shorter cool down time. The overall time for this workout was 28:23 compared with the prior 29:34. So, I had a little faster speed, but it lasted a minute less.

Overall, the workout is improving. I completed a couple of the sixty second run segments and almost completed three others, ten seconds short twice and five seconds short once. But, if you’re counting, this is three short of the total. I ended up having to skip these. After the third interval, my heart rate had climbed above my max. The Garmin Connect web site calculated my max heart rate (100%) at 185. Near the end of the third run segment, my heart rate had climbed to 191, time to slow down. It took the walk segments and skipped run segments before it calmed down to where I felt comfortable running again. After that, I completed two run segements at a slower pace than the first three.

I still did the workout in my Vibram Five Fingers on an asphalt path, this time using the KSOs and some Injinji Performance Crew socks. This helped protect the blisters from the prior workout and prevent new ones.

The achilles burn was less this time also. After some posts on the Minimalist Footwear Google Group, I re-reviewed the HOW TO section of the Running Barefoot web site. Between the group feedback and the review, I adjusted my technique. For the run segments, I took much shorter strides, but at a faster cadence and tried to keep my knees bent. I also visualized landing with with more of a flat foot directly under me. This resulted in less achilles burn and more muscle burn. The bent knees got my quads into the act also. Landing with bent knee used the muscles as the spring and made the landings easier and more comfortable.

I think I’m on the right track now. Hopefully, after repeating the week one level, I will be ready to move on to week two.