Having at last found a way that I could both achieve the challenge of ‘Couch 2 5Km’ and do so in a manner that would encourage me to maintain the level of exercise, I enjoyed the final week.
First run of the week was along a ‘traffic-free’ country road and was as usual a mixture of trotting/running/brisk walks. I covered 6.4 Km in 53.3 minutes. Hardly giving Paula Radcliffe any exercise but really delighted me.
Then for Run 2 I was back in the gym – this time solely on the Static Bike and only for 35 minutes.
This included both warm up and cool down periods, I set the bike to the ‘Hills’ mode so there was effort required and challenged myself to have cycled 5 Km before Roger Federer took the first set. He was playing Kevin Anderson in the Wimbledon quarter finals and I know that he can complete a set in 16 minutes, so the race was on. And I won (thanks to Mr Anderson being a tough opponent, if truth be told). I covered 5 Km in 24.9 minutes – the first set lasted 26 minutes. Phew!
In total I did 6.95Km in 35 minutes.
Whilst cycling I had a chance to think how I have increased my stamina and general fitness in the last 11 weeks. I now recognise that my ‘gym sessions’ previously were more to promote my mental health, that I ran on the treadmill to de-stress rather than to gain fitness. Not that there was anything wrong with that – just I had thought I was doing both until now.
To maintain what I have gained physically I will need to keep up the level of exertion and surprisingly I know I will – I think I have more energy and feel less tired. I also know that as people age it is harder to regain lost muscle strength than when young and after all this hard work I am not going backwards. (Plus, without any effort I have lost 1.5Kg of weight)
Now to the final effort:
The hot weather meant that the final spurt would have to be completed indoors, even gentle trotting is exhausting in the humidity we were experiencing in July of 2018.
I started on the Treadmill – brisk walk and run for 1.5Km, then moved to a Static Bike and cycled 4Km in the next 25 minutes then slowly pedalled for the remaining 5 minutes – so in the 40 minutes I moved my legs over 6Km (I forgot to re-set the machine for the final 5 minutes so no info!)
Although I did not run non-stop for 5Km, and I never will, I think that I have achieved the essence of the challenge. I now intend to increase the distance I cover over 60 minutes of fast walking time – I wonder if 5 miles (8Km) is doable?