I mentioned in the last post that I had just completed the 9th workout in the C25K program. For those doing the math, that's the end of week three. Today I did the first workout in week 5 ... and yet more than a week has passed, right?
I don't know if it's that I'm older, heavier, and less flexible than last time I did this, but I had a major setback when I started week four. Week four contains two 5-minute runs and two 3-minute runs, with walks in between. As I closed out my final 5-minute run on W4D1, my leg cramped up so bad I had to get off the treadmill. I couldn't stand. I tried to walk it off and get back on the mill, but I just couldn't. It wasn't just pain, it was incredible cramping and tightness. My leg didn't feel right for a full day.
I tried that workout three times. I failed each time, with the same problem, at varying times in the workout. It was depressing, but watching my wife's continued progress on the program kept me looking for a way to get better.
I tried a couple things to change it up, primarily involving slowing down and adding some stretching mid-workout. I did that a couple times, until the cramping had turned into "mild discomfort". Then I went back to week three, and did the whole of week three 10% slower than I had run it the last time.
With that under my belt, I kept the new slower pace and advanced to and completed week four. And now the first workout of week five is complete.
It's mentally very hard to slow down this much, but even this speed is infinitely faster than sitting on the couch. And as my lovely wife points out, you can always speed up. The right endurance, though, is the necessary foundation. Get the endurance down first, and then worry about your speed.
And your ego.