Life After Couch to 5K... Tackling that 10K Target

Hello everyone! I hope you're all staying safe and well in these strange times. And welcome to all of our new challengers! It has been so great to see so many people earning their medals in this time. Also a massive thank you to the MedalMad staff for continuing to post out the medals for us at this time! 

Since completing Couch to 5K around a month ago I thought I'd share with you life after Couch to 5K and my journey to 10K.

Following Couch to 5K my next target was 10K, and what I've found so far is that going beyond 5K isn't as difficult as getting to 5K in the first place. I think in this post Couch to 5K journey I've also found myself getting stronger and becoming a stronger runner, where generally each run I'm getting quicker and obtaining new PBs.

So how do you build up from 5 to 10K? I wrote myself out a training plan to follow, which includes 3 runs a week. Run 1 is a shorter run, 2 is a middle length and 3 is a longer run. Finding a training plan for 10K was actually a bit of a challenge for me. I found a lot of them overly complicated, describing running at different paces for different amounts of time. Instead I settled on more of a distance based plan. However from what I've read it is important to push yourself on some of the runs otherwise you start to get stuck in a comfortable "dead mans land". However that is personal preference. I've generally been pushing myself in the first and last kilometres to try to get myself stronger and quicker. I've also been working on doing some core exercises (such as plank, dead bugs and scissor kicks) to help with strength and stability, which I think has really helped!

The distance-based plan is good for me as I am able to easily track my distance through my running watch. However time-based plans are equally as OK, you simply need a watch and you're good to go. Pick a plan that is good for you – there are plenty out there online :)

In the last few weeks I've been steadily increasing my long run from 5K to now being on 8K. As I said, actually that increase from 5K hasn't been as difficult as I feared. For me it has been more of a mental challenge to push on rather than a physical. But once you've beaten that mental challenge of actually hitting 5K, increasing from there so far hasn't been all that bad.

Another thing I have noticed though with increasing distance is that I do sometimes struggle a bit more with kilometres 2-4. But that's OK… again I've heard from a few people this can be a common problem and once you push through that barrier it gets easier.

Running in lockdown hasn't been that easy either but it has certainly provided me with some much needed time to think, get some time away from the house by myself and also appreciate nature and all that is going on around me. When I hit those difficult kilometres I just think "I'm so lucky to be able to do this" and I've almost started running those more challenging moments for those who can't right now. Running etiquette is also more important now than ever right now. I've started running along the roads which is great as I can just jump off the pavement if I see a pedestrian coming. I always give right of way to the pedestrians on the pavements, if that means I have to stop or move into the road I will.

I might have also signed up to more challenges in this past month. In fact I think in May I've signed up for 5 challenges. Including "The Flower that Blooms" which I'm saving for when I complete my first 10K in a couple of weeks. Virtual challenges are fantastic at the moment. I was feeling pretty demotivated that I'd lost my 10K event in a few weeks time, but the virtual challenges still mean I can feel like I'm completing my event and earning myself a nice shiny medal at the end!

If anyone would like any advice on jumping up from 5K to 10K please give me a shout :) Stay safe and well out there! 

Taking on Virtual Challenges on a Treadmill
Red Hot Chillie Stepper