Three months ago, after nearly killing myself by trying to keep up with the jogging club at work, I started Zombies Run! 5k Training — a couch-to-5k training scheme for newbie runners that includes a gripping story about surviving the zombie apocalypse. It’s a stepping stone to its big-brother-app, Zombies, Run! for runners with a bit of experience.
I’ve been keeping a record of all my runs and taking photos as I go, but I’ve hesitated about posting too much of it here — I don’t feel like a “real” runner yet. Maybe I never will feel like a real runner, but I’m out there, and I’m running, and that’s what matters.
Getting to run from zombies is jut the icing on the cake.
5 min walk
5 min free-form run
30 sec walk
1 min run
6 heel lifts
10 min free-form run
5 min stretching
10 min free-form run
Day 1 (25th March): The AWESOME run. Flat trail, at night, ran the 5 min free-form straight and both ten minute runs straight through without stopping. At the time of writing this (end of Week 7) this remains one of my best runs, but it also marked a point where I got to grips with my own pace and started taking leaps forward.
Day 2 (27th March): Pride comes before the fall, right? This run was terrible. My calves didn’t stop hurting until twenty minutes in.
Day 3 (29th March): A decent run where I extended the warm-up by ten minutes until the calf pains went away and managed a lot of running (but it was very stop-start).
Both of those not-so-good runs were on an uneven trail during the day which I think affected things. Even after this run, my legs still ached even though I was taking rest days and eating plenty of protein. It would take a while (right up to Week 8) before I realized this never-ending calf muscle ache was probably a deeper injury…
The Big Ominous Gap
For all of April and most of May, I went backwards. I tried to start Week Six Day 1 on April 1st, but couldn’t manage it.
So I back-tracked — Week 5 Day 1 again on 14th April, W5D2 on the 16th.
But I wasn’t enjoying repeating old missions, because after that there’s nothing. 18th — 21st was the Satellite 4 writing convention.
By the time the convention was over, I felt miles behind. Fellow ZR!5k runners assured me cardio fitness doesn’t magically disappear when you stop running for a few weeks, but I still didn’t know if I could do it.
But my partner, Dave, kept reminding me to get back out there, as did my colleagues at work and the runners online.
So, I started off lightly with free-form run/walk runs on the main app’s missions…
14th May: Season 1, Mission 2
15th May: Season 1, Mission 3
20th May: Season 1, Mission 4
Not all of these runs were good runs, but any run is better than not getting out at all. I tried to keep that in mind.
I started getting faster each time, again. Getting stronger each time, again. Getting back on track.
Day 1 (21st May): The audio glitched badly on this run, leaving me with no music for the last 2/3rds. It wasn’t my strongest run (second day in a row running/very little sleep/blisters/my knee was hurting for some reason) but I got through it. I was quite proud of myself for managing two days in a row of running.
I was even confident enough to take a photo of myself post-run! Times have changed if I’m confident enough to take a photograph of myself, hah.
(I have no idea what my hair is doing in that shot. The next update will have a much more normal picture of Runner Emma.)
After this run, my knee remained sore and I realized I’d developed the infamous ‘runner’s knee’ (a vague catch-all for the many and varied knee injuries runners get). So I took a break from running to rest up and get better.
Day 2 (27th May): Finished Week 6 Day 2 (hooray, no audio glitches today!), with my knee mostly behaving as normal again after I gave it time to heal.
I’m looking forward to moving onto week 7. IT HAS SKIPPING DRILLS! I’M GOOD AT SKIPPING! :D
Day 3 (29th May): Finished Week 6 Day 3! THE WEEK 7 SKIPPING DRILLS ARE CALLING MY NAME.
(I bet I end up hating the skipping. Stay tuned!)