I was pretty excited to get to the gym today to start week 4 of Couch to 5k. Week 4 is a big leap from week 3. Week 1 has 8 minutes of running. Weeks 2 and 3 each have 9 minutes of running. Then week 4 jumps to 16 minutes! W-h-o-a! Approaching the treadmill, I did not feel that calm, confident feeling from last week. Instead of “Christine, you can do this!” I was saying “Look, don’t push yourself too hard. Do what you can…”
I wasn’t able to do the week 4 routine. There you have it. But it had nothing to do with my (lack of) positive thinking and everything to do with my heart rate. I’m just not physically ready to run five minutes at a time. After about three minutes of running, my heart rate hits 180, and I have to slow down to a walking pace to bring it back down.
I think Couch to 5k just isn’t the program for me. See, it’s based on time. It is designed in intervals of walking and running, based on time. Three minutes running, two minutes walking, five minutes running, etc. The program takes for granted that I will be able to do that!
Since my heart rate is the culprit here, I have decided to design a new program called “Merf to 5k”, whose routines are designed around heart rate instead of time. On the Merf to 5k program, I will walk/run a 5k during each workout. I will warm up for five minutes, then run (fast or slow, doesn’t matter!). Once my heart rate gets too high (>175) I’ll walk until it comes down to the 150’s. Run to 175, walk to 150’s, and so on and so on until I get to 3.1 miles.
I’m no fitness expert, but this seems to make more sense to me, considering my own personal situation and my own personal limitations. I’ll be able to track my average speed, average heart rate, and time, and hopefully watch all those numbers improve. And at all times, I’ll know just where I am in terms of completing a 5k.
I’d love some feedback/input on my new program. Do you think it makes sense? Do you think it will help me reach my goal of running a 5k this summer?