Wednesday, 29 June 2011

C25k Week 9 Day 3 – I graduated :-)

Well I finally completed the journey. It's taken me well over 20 weeks to complete this program due in part to injuries and illness.

Writing my journey through this blog has been a great decision. I can look back at those first few entries and remember vividly some of those early runs where I barely went a Kilometer without puffing and hurting and then limping back home dejected and beaten.

I've learned much on this journey about pace, mental strength, nutrition, running technique amongst other things. Most of all I've learned a lot about myself. It is easy for me to get passionate about things, but rarely do I stay passionate about them. Running has got a hold on me for sure. If my body allows, I know it will become a lifetime love.

The thrill for me is that there is an ever moving target. "Just get through these 60 seconds" to "Just make is to 5k". I want to keep going... get that 5k under 30 minutes and then under 25 minutes. Run a race, train for a 10k and then maybe beyond.

Running has given me that. The sense of belief in myself and my abilities. Why shouldn't I dream of achieving. If I can come this far in something that was at first so alien to me, I can achieve anything I set my mind to.

I feel a brighter future ahead and I will continue to blog my progress. Already I'm planning next steps.


My last run was difficult but I felt free from the structure of C25k. I experimented a bit with Chi-running which saw me log a 5:13 first kilometer (big mistake). I was forced into making this an interval workout which itself was eye opening.

You'll see that in my latest run (second table) that I walked for nearly a quarter of the time, yet my overall pace was better! There is something to be said for interval running!

Nonstop Jogging









0.00 km





3.85 km





0.72 km





4.58 km













0.74 km





0.66 km





3.61 km





5.01 km




My Run:

Monday, 27 June 2011

The Long Walk + YOGA

Well, Sunday was BLISTERING hot (I've got very burnt shoulders to prove it. There was a local funfair/carnival on in our town and my (stupid) suggestion was that we walk it. It's about 3.5km each way which is not bad except...
Two young kids fighting over who was going to sit in the pram, who couldn't hold onto the buggy board and who didn't want to walk/was hungry/was thirsty. The situation was compounded because my wife had a problem with her footwear that was making it painful to walk (after we'd walk there of course!).
The day itself was nice, but too hot. I had to walk (and run) back to get the car to come pick everyone up in the end. My legs were shot from the previous day's running so yes it hurt.

YOGA for beginners...

Well, I must be an idiot.
Firstly, one of the first thing she says is "come down off of your brick". WTF? What brick? Yes apparently they were are sitting on a brick (cue impromptu rush to find something to get my bum off the floor).
Second problem, you have to close your eyes. Great, except you have absolutely no idea what any of the poses look like from how she is describing, so you have to open your eyes and reposition the ipad to see etc.
Third problem. I'm sorry, but I cannot do the "Tree Pose" with out falling on my arse. Either that or my foot slips with sweat etc.
I don't think this video IS particularly good for beginners. But now I've done it once, maybe next time I will know a bit more what she is talking about. Overall it felt quite good to havee a bit of a stretch which is good because my posture is the absolute worst.

Tonight, weights.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

C25k Week 9 Day 2 + Shred

First 5k done. Why? I ran to my parents house today which is a 5.35k journey at it's shortest. I took a short walking breather after 16 minutes and then pressed on for a full 5k. I'm really very pleased with this. It confirms that I can incorporate this run into my routine and I'm certainly ready to finish C25k, improve my 5k time and start working towards 8k.

Shred went ok, but it was too much doing it on one day. My legs suffer a lot of pain whilst jumping. My wife joined in which was really nice for my motivation and her fitness.

Weigh in day - 158.6lbs 18.2% fat.
My run:

Friday, 24 June 2011

C25k Week 9 Day 1

My first 30 minute run!

I set my Garmin's Virtual Race Partner to 30:00 @6.45 min/km which would have been a great time for me. I killed it, managing a pace of 6.34 and a distance on 4.58km!

I'll be honest with you that several times I almost quit (or at least stopped for a walking break) and the whole last 10 minutes were a rough deal for me.

In the 2nd KM particularly, I felt I was going to fast but my body was willing to continue (bar lots of leg pains still). My heart rate throughout only peaked at 177 during the hardest climb. It went higher right at the end but that's because I sprinted the last 2 minutes.

I do feel like I am starting to see some gains in my heart strength which is immensely gratifying.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

HGM (2.2)

Finished off Week 2 strongly, upping weights to 37.5k for Bench Press (10, 8, 6) and putting an extra 1k on each of the dumbbells for the exercises that use them. I'm still just looking to make steady strength gains here.

I've adjusted my schedule already to incorporate new items and to switch run days so that on Sunday's I can part-run the way to my parent's house

Some new items I am incorporating into my schedule:

30 day shred - Why? I put it on the other day and it wiped me out. Even though I am scheduling for 1 day per week, it will hopefully help me with fat burn an strength.

Yoga - I'm going to give this a try starting on Sunday. Why? My flexibility is very very bad. I think it hampers my running and general wellbeing. I understand that Yoga can help with balance and flexibility as well as getting blood to areas it doesn't usually get to making you feel refreshed. A good way to end the week hopefully!!

So my Schedule is now..

Monday: Weights - HomeGrown Muscle Plan
Tuesday: Running - C25k and onward
Wednesday: Weights - HomeGrown Muscle Plan
Thursday: Running - C25k and onward
Friday: Kettlebell - 15-20 minute quick burn
Saturday: Shred
Sunday: Running (AM), Yoga (PM)

It's worth noting that I'm on holiday in 10 days time so the plan WILL go to pot. I plan to at least maintain my 3 runs whilst I am away.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

C25k Week 8 Day 3

Yay, week 8 complete.
Every run feels so hard, but yet when I look back at my progress, I am amazed by it. I remember dreading 3 minutes, then 5, then 20 and now it's only a 20 that I begin to struggle a bit!
I'm looking to finish this program very strongly. All Week 8 runs are supposed to be 28 minutes long, but I've been doing over that, culminating yesterday in a 29 minute run.

Trust me, I was glad when it finished and I was severely labouring at the end. Mentally the whole run seemed tough. It was a lovely sunny evening, but very windy. My legs felt fairly good but did deteriorate as I went on.

One milestone - I passed someone who was slower than me :-) Ok, so I probably had 10-12 years on the poor sod, but it's nice to be THAT person who breezes past.

I find my new route challenging but good. It starts of basically flat for about the first couple of km, then there is a series of ups and down that come in quick succession (you can say to yourself, "Just get to that lampost and you can go downhill then" etc). The final bit is a very steady incline.

I'm only going to weigh in once a week now at the weekend so no stats to share. I've posted yesterdays run, my back catalog of runs and all future runs on dailymile as I transition from runkeeper.

I managed to run 4.4km in my 29 minutes at 6:34/km!

This run on Dailymile

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

So, you want to start C25k? Here is my guide

As I come to the end of the program, I thought I would share some advice on where to start for those that, like me have no prior running experience and are pretty daunted by the whole prospect of jogging and running.

What is C25k
Couch to 5k is a program designed for the absolute beginner that aims to turn that person into primarily a much fitter person. The end goal of the program means that after 9 weeks, you should be able to run either 5k (just over 3 miles) OR 30 minutes straight without stopping.

It is important to make the emphasis that most true beginners should not expect to run 5k within 30 minutes at the end of the 9 weeks, it really is a matter of picking which goal suits you the most.

Which plan should I use?
The most widely recognised plan is available at
This plan gives you the choice of running to distance or time. My personal recommendation is that you use the time based plan rather than the distance based plan. Why? Because time is much easier to measure than distance with a simple stopwatch, podcast or such like.

What equipment do I need?

  • Suitable Running clothes. Depending on temperature, any t-shirt with shorts or jogging bottoms (pants) will do. I've heard a sports bra is a necessity for the ladies!
  • Running shoes. At first, you can probably go out in a pair of average trainers (sneakers) but as soon as you can, you must move to a properly pair of running shoes - see below
  • Something to time your run - a watch will do, preferably with a stopwatch counter
  • Courage and strong will.

  • Running tops / shorts and socks that can help wick away the sweat
  • ipod/MP3 player for training podcasts or running music
  • GPS device / footpod
  • Heart Rate Monitor
  • Treadmill / Gym membership if you don't want to run outside.
Why the big deal over running shoes?
There are different foot types. Those that roll inward when you walk or run, those that roll outward. Some people are flat footed, others have high arches.
When you begin to run, you put a lot of stress on your feet and depending on what type of foot you have, this can cause a great deal of pain and injury including shin splints and stress fractures.
There are a variety of different running shoes (and prices) that deal with different foot types. Some have more cushioning whereas others have motion stabilizers. The most ideal solution is to go to a running shop where they can assess how your foot falls and is shaped. Some have GAIT Analysis software that watches you on a treadmill.
All of this can sound scary for some and too much hard work. If you want to try to work it out yourself, Google for "Wet Test" to try and figure out your foot-type at home and then have a look at trainers that fit your profile.
The most accurate way to test your foot type and prevent injury is to go to a running shop and ask.

I've got all I need, where do I start?
  • Decide if you will run the plan to time or distance and stick to it.
  • If you like, download podcasts or iphone apps that help you to know when to run and when to walk.
  • Decide if you are going to run outside (I really recommend it) or start off on a treadmill.
  • GO
It's important that you warm up. All podcasts will incorporate this in the form of a 5 minute brisk walk. Stretching beforehand is not usually necessary, but may become so if you develop particular muscle weaknesses.

That first 60 second run

Most people will over-estimate their fitness and run too fast. For most, the correct pace is a jog barely faster than a walk (some in fact end up jogging slower than they walk). In terms of exertion, you should be able to hold a conversation when running. If at first this means you have to walk the "running" sections then so be it. Keep going with Week 1 until you can complete it 3 times in a row!
It really doesn't matter how slow you go at this point as long as you finish all the intervals per the plan, so eight times 60 seconds jogging.
For someone who has never run or is plain unfit, you might struggle to complete this first day's run, but don't be discouraged - most start here.

The program is scary. In 5 weeks time I am expected to run for 20 minutes straight!

Take one run at a time. When you are asked to do 3 minute runs, you will find the prospect scary. The next week when you run 5 minute intervals, you will be grateful when you "Only have to run 3 minutes on this interval". Your body adapts and can achieve what seems impossible.
The 20 minute run at the end of week 5 (in fact weeks 4-5 in general) can literally stop people from starting or continuing the program in pure dread. You can do it - it will take strong will - you will feel on top of the world once you have completed it.

How can I stay motivated?
  • If you are a people person, try to find a running buddy who can start the program with you. Maybe someone recommended this program to you? Get them to run with you and coach
  • If you are competitive, you will find a GPS watch and HRM invaluable for recording your progress.
  • Join up to dailymile, runkeeper or such like. Post your progress on facebook or blog your runs for encouragement.
  • Realise that when these 9 weeks are over you will be in vastly better physical condition
  • Set an an achievable goal such as "I want to run a 5k race by the end of the year" or "I want to lose 10lbs in 6 weeks".
  • Give yourself credit where it is due.
What other advice can you offer?
  • Don't run on an injury. Your body has to adapt to running so you will be sore. If you get pains, talk to a doctor. You should make sure that if you are in any doubt about your health prior to running, you get the all clear from a GP to begin.
  • Slow down. Pace is not important for C25k
  • Try to get outside. Other people don't care what you look like when you are running and anyway - you are not running for their benefit anyway!
  • Make sure you diet correctly. Your body needs fuel to facilitate burn. Keep well hydrated at all times.
  • Stretch after your run.
  • Set short, medium and long term targets. Write them down and track how you are doing.
  • Don't give up. If you cannot complete a week, repeat it. Try not to go BACK a week unless you've had a long term injury.

Remember that you can do it. Be brave.

Diet... Destroyed

It's all very well exercising and busting your arse to see improvements, but it has to be part of a total package. My Fat% as of the 19th June was an all-time low of 18.3% which is awesome. But.

On Sundays we usually go round my parents for a roast dinner (of huge proportions), but this time they served cheesecake and gave me a portion that is equivalent to 3 servings. You can imagine the calories in that.

Slightly more forgiveable, was the trip we had to Chessington yesterday and we ate out. I picked a good choice in the grilled chicken breast with barbecue dip and a jacket potato.

I was then goaded into getting a desert (@530 calories) by my wife. Yesterday was my run day but we didn't get home until 9:30 and after putting the kids into bed, there was no chance for any kind of workout - so I'll go today.

I feel pretty deflated about the below record from livestrong and I'm hopeful I can make u pfor it this week!

Date Calorie Goal Calories Consumed Calories Burned Net Calories Defecit
June 14th, 2011 1601.029 1810.3 180 1630.3 -29
June 15th, 2011 1601.029 1689 294 1395 206
June 16th, 2011 1592.048 1657.5 360 1297.5 295
June 17th, 2011 1592.048 1715.2 200 1515.2 77
June 18th, 2011 1592.048 1205.05 187 1018.05 574
June 19th, 2011 1592.048 2487.6 0 2487.6 -896
June 20th, 2011 1592.048 2146 0 2146 -554

Thursday, 16 June 2011

C25k Week 8 Day 2 + HGM (2.1)

Again there is not much to add to the weight lifting front. I'm still adding weight and sweating like hell.

My run went really well. I moved to the longer >5k route and I ran my first continuous 28 minutes. The pace was absolutely spot on as well. In fact its the best run I have had in a calendar month.

My Stats:
4.25 km @6:43/km

My Vitals:
161.1lbs, Body Fat 19.7, BMI: 23.1

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Monday, 13 June 2011

C25k Week 8 Day 1 + New milestone

Forget the run.... 19.8% body fat - NORMAL

Throughout this process, the body fat has been a big milestone for me to hit - more than the body weight. I want to drive down the weight a bit further but I do expect to build some muscle mass. Body fat is key in all of this. I want to be healthy for my family!

Ok, so on todays run, again I set off too fast and it was HOT and horrid. 20 minutes in I did take a 2 minute timeout walk before completing the 28 minutes. I did see some marked improvement in recovery HR going from 174 down to 138 in those 2 minutes which is excellent coming from where I have.

My legs are still painful, both calves and shins. I'm still just hoping that these will improve over time - I just don't know.

My Stats:
3.93 km @7:11/km

My Vitals:
162.2lbs, Body Fat 19.8, BMI: 23.3

Sunday, 12 June 2011

HomeGrown Muscle Phase I (Week 1.2)

I'm not going to post stats on this every time, simply because its a lot of work to get the data out of excel!

Nothing much to say other than I still find weights really boring, even with a great comedy podcast "The Bugle" on to keep me amused!

I upped the reps by a sensible amount as I am just not confident with Weights. I'm determined to keep going with this and look forward to a stonger body.

C25k Week 7 Day 3 and Kettlebells

I set off just too damned fast again and 16 minutes in on the tough uphill part of the route, I took a walking break for 2 minutes. I did recover quickly and managed to push through to 28 minutes! Next run, I will have to repeat that feat without the walk and that IS pretty scary.

I am making some improvements with the kettlebell (20lbs) but I'll be honest with you, I was still beat after just over 10 minutes or so. The weight is probably too heavy for this kind of aerobic activity for me and it is painful on my (very weak) lower back, but my goal is to do a full 20 minutes at this weight.

My Stats:
3.88 km @7:14/km

My Vitals:
162.6lbs, Body Fat 21.4, BMI: 23.3

Friday, 10 June 2011

New Schedule and Calorie counting woe!

First things first. What an idiot I am!!
I started using livestrong many months ago and found it really eye opening as to what I actually eat. I enjoy seeing my calorie "allowance" raise when I plug in my exercise details as well :-)

I stopped using it out of complacency but have decided to pick it up again to see why my weight loss (and fat loss more importantly) is stalling. Reviewing my profile, I realised that I made a HUGE, HUGE mistake!

When I started out with Livestrong, I put in my weight, height, age, gender etc into the program and when invited to choose my lifestyle, I pick "lightly active" - after all, I'm a runner now (!) and I try to do a bit of exercise. Wrong with a capital W! Livestrong calculated that I would need to have a calorific intake/burn equal to 2000 calories (give or take) to lose 1lb a week. Most days I found I would come comfortably under this target and my weight came down a bit then stopped. Have you spotted my error yet?

The problem is that I happily put my calorific burns into Livestrong ON TOP of marking myself as active. Actually, I am "Sedentary" in that I work all day in an office and drive everywhere. Take away the 500kcals a day needed to lose 1lb and I am left with 1600kcals, not 2000 :-(

Bloody Hell.

Anyway, expectations reset I will move on. Today at work was continental breakfast day. One mini baguette with no butter or filling is 330kcals. WOW. Needless to say I downsized my usual portion size and swapped for some fruit.

Anyhow, the (gruelling?) schedule is now set as follows. How long can I maintain it?!

MON: Running
TUE: Kettlebell
WED: Weights
THU: Running
FRI: Day off (possible lunchtime walk)
SAT: Running
SUN: Weights

HomeGrown Muscle Phase I (Week 1.1)

I'm pretty wimpy looking and I'm pretty weak. I've had on and off sessions with home gym equipment, firstly with a basic York Machine before moving to free weights and a bench. The thing is that I go at it for a couple of weeks then give up. Weight lifting is tedious and BORING!

Anyway, I need to do something about my complete lack of strength. Ultimately, fat loss and running is great, but not at the expense of losing the muscle that I don't have in the first place.

I am hoping that my new found love of exercise will translate into the Home Gym so I am starting a new program.

Weeks 1-8 are identical compound exercises. I'm hoping to build up the reps in Weeks 1-4 and then increase the weights with lower reps for Weeks 5-8.

Below are my first workout stats for Yesterday. Today, I have no exercise scheduled, but I had a 40 minute brisk walk at lunch time where I work.

All my Weights are in KG, so x2.2 for lbs.

IC Bench Press Set 1 35 10
Set 2 35 8
Set 3 35 8
DB Deadlift Set 1 22 10
Set 2 22 8
Set 3 22 8
DB Pullover Set 1 11 10
Set 2 11 8
Set 3 11 8
Set 1
35 4
Set 2 35 4
Set 3 0 0
DB Lying Row Set 1 22 6
Set 2 22 7
Set 3 0 0
DB Lunge Set 1 11 6
Set 2 11 5
Set 3 0 0
Cuban Press
Set 1
Set 2 10
Set 3 0
Std Calf Raise Set 1 11 10
Set 2 11 10
Set 3 0 0
Crunch Set 1 20
Set 2 15
Set 3 0

The squats were the only disappointing aspect of this workout. I can't believe I can only squat 35kg x 4. I admit that I get really nervous about doing myself harm with the squats by falling Arse over tit, but they have to be done!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

C25k Week 7 Day 2

I seem to have been suffering for what seems like weeks with sore throat, sniffles etc and it is really beginning to drag me down. I've decided today to start taking some multivitamins/multiminerals as well as some cod liver oil (I have very "clicky" joints".
I'm hoping that these will help me out somewhat in this regard.
As for the runs... Well like I say I've not been feeling too good but decided last week to try out a new and ambitious route because my current route is getting to the point where it's not going to be long enough for much longer. The new route is over 5k long which meant a long walk home when I packed up half way round. Several things were wrong with this run. Firstly, I went too fast - particularly when a better runner breezed past me @1k. Although I didn't know it at the time, my stats clearly show that I sped up. It killed me. With the cold and all that (bad enough that I was off work the previous day), my heart couldn't cope. I did a bit of recovery walk and ran a bit more, but I was sunk. As it was, I wasn't aiming for any particular target.

I completed W7D2 a couple of days ago with another 25 minute run. It WAS very tough and I had no thoughts whatsoever of carrying on for a PR distance or time, in fact I was most glad when it was over :) The run overall felt pretty slow, but the stats show otherwise at 6:47/km!

I'm going to try and get back to the weights and food tracking as I've slipped in this regard and my weight/fat loss has hovered flatly because of it.

Onwards and upwards.

My Stats:
3.59 km @7:08/km
3.72 km @6:47/km

My Vitals:
165.3lbs, Body Fat 21.5, BMI: 23.7