My C25K journey has been completed.  It is amazing to be able to go from not running at all to being able to run for 3 miles non-stop.  Here is a recap of the journey.

It started on June 10, 2009.  The first week of the program needed to be repeated two additional times before I could complete it successfully.  This was due primarily to two factors.  The first was my current physical condition, being so out of shape and overweight.  The second was my recent conversion to minimal footwear (Vibram FiveFingers/VFF) that made this journey even possible.  I used to walk with a cane.  Wearing shoes with heels, including running shoes with heels, allows the calf muscles and achilles tendons to shrink.  When the heel of the shoe is removed, these need to be stretched and that stretching takes time.  For that first workout, I managed to cover a whole 0.95 miles in the half hour of walking and running.

One July 3, 2009, I finally completed the week one level successfully.  It took three weeks, but I was now ready to continue with the remainder of the program.  For this workout, I was up to 1.67 miles.

Week four is difficult for many.  Compared with the prior weeks, it has a big jump in the running times.  I discussed that in my Interval Run Totals post.

The program progressed well and steadily until week seven, day two.  I got sick this week and it took three tries to get through this particular workout.

On August 31, 2009, I begin week nine and the thirty minute runs.  Though I have been wearing minimal shoes throughout the program with occasional runs and walks barefoot, for the week nine, day one run, I ran the 2.2 miles entirely barefoot.  I am pleased with how it came out and intend to do more of this.

My speed is quite slow.  Even in later workouts, I normally averaged in the 4.0 to 4.3 mph range.  With this slow speed, there is no way I can complete the 5K/3 miles in only thirty minutes.  A common recommendation is to increase workouts by ten percent per week.  For my graduation run, I would need to substantially exceed this recommendation.

On September 5, 2009, I completed my graduation run, week nine, day three.  I mapped out a flat route and ran 3.15 miles in just under 48 minutes.  It was slow, but I completed a full 5K run.  I had finally graduated C25K!

This C25K journey is over.  My journey of running is just beginning.  I like that I am losing weight with the exercise I now get.  While running is not yet easy, I do enjoy being in motion, even if it is currently a slow motion.  My running goals for the future are to keep running and to increase both my duration and my speed.  To do this, I will need to find a way to work on my heart rate and further expand my aerobic capabilities.  With the C25K program, I have built a good foundation on which to continue.

For the full account, start with my Beginning C25K post.


The C25K program consists of three workouts per week for nine weeks. This is the results of the workout for week nine, day three.

Program: run for 3 miles or 30 minutes.

Result: I completed the workout as planned. My heart rate averaged 155 bpm and peaked at 166 bpm. I did 3.15 miles in 47:58 for an average speed of 3.9 mph (15:12 minute/mile).

Graduation run.  I didn’t want to delay it, not the final run.  I had to do it.  I am still not over this sinus infection.  But, the worst is over.  That peaked Thursday.  It figures.  By the time I get to the E.N.T. doc on Tuesday, it should be about all gone.  Back to this run.

For my graduation run, I wanted to go for distance instead of time.  My distances have been far short of the alternate distance program.  Of course, trying to go for the distance at this stage feels like another week four level increase.  It is a substantial percentage increase.  I played around on the http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/ site to plot a route.  I made sure to add a little extra distance to the route to make up for my running on the sidewalks instead of in the center of the street.  It plotted out to about 3.23 miles, a bit longer than my actual run.

I had done most of this route on prior workouts.  This route was a combination with an extension to a leg of one route and a reduction to a leg of another.  Using another trick, the last three quarters of a mile are the same route that I have been running for the last month.  If needed, I can run this part on auto-pilot.

I tried not to check my watch too often.  I probably did most of the checking when I first started.  I was trying to keep my speed down so I wouldn’t burn out too soon.  Once my speed stabilized, I only checked it occasionally to keep an eye on my heart rate.

As expected, I ran slow.  Here are my mile splits:  Mile 1 – 14:38 (4.1 mph), Mile 2 – 15:06 (4.0 mph), Mile 3 – 15:44 (3.7 mph).  Even starting slow, I gradually slowed even more.

I tried to monitor my feet.  For a while, I was successful in maintaining my form.  Near the end of the first mile, I noticed a swish, swish happening.  Time to correct.  Swish is slide.  Slide is bad.  Place and then lift.  Periodically, over the next mile, I checked and corrected this again.  After the second mile, this became more difficult and more frequent.

Once into the final three quarter mile, I let auto-pilot take over  a little.  I didn’t worry about foot placement as much; just keep moving.  I also begin using small milestones.  Make it to the corner.  Make it to the parking lot driveway.  Make it to the next corner.  This is where I used to take off my VFFs and do a cool-down walk through the grass.  Not this time; I have to keep plugging away.  Make it to the street intersection.  Make it to the end of the next block.  Cross the street to add just a touch to the distance; I’ll cross back later.  Eventually, it is cross the street and go up my driveway.  At the front porch, stop the watch.  The run is over.  Right now, I neither know nor care about the distance or time.  I hope it is close to what I had planned.  I’ll find out when I cool down and review the data.

The graduation run is over.  Now, I can rest and ponder over what I have accomplished in the last three months.  It is amazing!  But, I will summarize the journey in another post.

Here is the Garmin log of this run: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/12663372


The C25K program consists of three workouts per week for nine weeks. This is the results of the workout for week nine, day two.

Program: 30 minute run.

Result: I completed the workout as planned. My heart rate averaged 152 bpm and peaked at 161 bpm. I did 2.29 miles in 33:18 for an average speed of 4.1 mph (14:33 minute/mile).

I was still fighting a cold/sinus infection that was just starting on the last workout.  But, I wanted to complete the program this week and needed to keep on schedule.  So, I ran.  It was just a little slower than before.  I was hoping to add a little to the distance in hopes of getting a little closer to a true 5K for a graduation run.  Running down the boat ramp and up the path beside the lake probably wasn’t the best addition to my normal route.

As I approached the one mile point, I did get a slight break.  I heard the exhaust rumble of a large engine and needed to stop for several seconds to let a Dodge Viper back out of a driveway.  Then, back to running.  As I neared the end point of the block to turn around, I crossed behind a minivan about to pull out of another driveway.  If I timed it right, I could stop again on the way back.  Nope; just a little too slow.  By the time I reached the end, turned around, and got back, they had already backed out past the sidewalk.  Oh, well.  Keep running.

On the way back up the block, I was thinking of how I could extend the route a little more for my graduation run.  One way would be to keep my normal route and  add a down and back along the lake.  Though it would cut off the corner of the block, I decided to try it today and ran down the boat ramp and along the lake.  I had forgotten about there being more bugs near the water.  Yech!  It’s a good thing I was trying to practice my nose breathing.  Part of the way down along the lake, the path raises back up to street level.  My watch had already passed the two mile point and, back up at street level, the path splits.  One part continued along the lake.  Another cut across the street.  I took the latter and headed for home.  Only one more workout in the C25K.  I’m still not sure yet what route I’ll take for the graduation run.  I only know that I’ll run and run and run some more for at least half an hour.


The C25K program consists of three workouts per week for nine weeks. This is the results of the workout for week nine, day one.

Program: 30 minute run.

Result: I completed the workout as planned. My heart rate averaged 157 bpm and peaked at 163 bpm. I did 2.2 miles in 31:03 for an average speed of 4.3 mph (14:05 minute/mile).

I now know how far it is to the end of block on the far side of the lake near my house.  I stopped at the end of block, touched the end cap of the fence post on the corner, and turned around.  It was right at 1.1 miles.  If I decide to try for a 5K for my graduation run, I’ll need to add an extension to my route.  Or, I could go back to the asphalt path that I used during my week one repeats.  I have a few more days to decide.  But, back to this workout…

My splits for this workout were just slightly different than for the last.  The first mile was done in 13:24 (4.5 mph), 0.1 mph faster.  The second mile was done in 14:39 (4.1 mph), 0.1 mph slower.  This was a little surprising to me.  The reason it was surprising is that I did this entire workout barefoot.

I had been afraid to try this.  Earlier in the C25K, I had removed my VFFs for some of the run intervals.  I could use the walks intervals to put on or take off the VFFs and not interrupt the run intervals.  I was afraid to try this for the later workouts as there were no walk intervals I could use to switch.  I would have to interrupt the run to do it and I didn’t want to have to do that.  Today, I decided to go ahead and try it and see what happened.  I carried the VFFs with me just in case I needed to stop and switch in order to finish the run.  They were easy to carry.  I carried them both together in my left hand, with my thumb stuck in one of the toe pockets.

So, what happened with my bare feet?  Not much, actually.  For the most part, the run went well.  It was interesting feeling the textures of the various surfaces I ran on.  Some of the sidewalk was smooth cement.  Other sections were more pitted.  I also crossed over and ran on the asphalt of the streets.  I even ran a little on the grass of the park.  It was a good mix of textures, none of which were difficult to run on barefoot.  Instead of checking too many of the other focuses of ChiRunning, for this run, I mostly did the BodySensing to better monitor what was happening with my feet and my form.  About half a mile in, I lifted my right foot a little higher and brushed off a small pebble that stuck to the skin of the arch.  Some time after the turn around point, I noticed a slight stinging feeling in the pad of the third toe of my right foot.  It wasn’t too bad and I kept going.  It was slightly sensitive for the rest of the run.  After I got home at the end of the run and cooled down a little, I washed my feet and found the cause.  A layer of skin was off of that toe in about a one quarter inch diameter circle.  I’m not sure if I got a blister and it broke or if I slid that toe slightly and abraded it on the cement.  In any case, the blister I had early on in the C25K was worse.  Overall, my feet are a little tingly, like they have had a good massage.  Time will tell if there are any other issues that will appear.

I’m amazed I can run two miles straight.  I’m more amazed I can run two miles straight while barefoot.  Only two more workouts remain in my C25K program.


The C25K program consists of three workouts per week for nine weeks. This is the results of the workout for week eight, day three.

Program: 28 minute run.

Result: I completed the workout as planned. My heart rate averaged 156 bpm and peaked at 167 bpm. I did 2.05 miles in 28:39 for an average speed of 4.3 mph (13:59 minute/mile).

Supposedly, the 180 step/90 stride cadence numbers I have been hearing about is the natural spring rate of the muscles and tendons in our legs and feet.  Since I have a metronome now, I decided to play a little with cadence during the workout today.  I had roughly measured my prior cadence at 82 strides/minute.  I know the ChiRunning recommendation is to get used to your natural stride first and then gradually increase the stride rate by +1 per week.  Today, I skipped that good advice and decided to see what 90 strides/minute felt like.  It went fairly well for the first one third of a mile.  Then, I reached the end of the block and turned the corner.  I’m not sure if it was the corner or the 90 stride rate but, just after the corner, my legs tensed up and I needed to drop my cadence a little closer to my natural speed.  I worked on relaxing my legs for a while and that helped.  On and off through the rest of the run, I turned the metronome on for a little while to check my cadence.  One thing I found difficult was trying to count the right, two, three, left, two, three while also counting my breathing, two in, three out.

I did my turn around a little past the mile beep of my watch, but before the half way point in time.  After the leg tensing I had at the corner, I knew I would be a little slower on the return trip.  I was right.  I did 13:32 in the first mile and 14:26 in the second.  One more workout down.  One more week to go.