The last 4 weeks have been about gradually finding your own natural rhythm as you work through your easy talking-pace efforts and brisk efforts. While the workload is increasing, you are ready now to think more about your technique.
This week think about “turnover” – a quicker cadence – and remember it’s that nice quick swing of the arms that will set your pace and rhythm. Try to be light on your feet with less time on the ground. Listen to your steps and see if you can be “quieter” with a softer landing. When we get tired, we tend to over-stride with a strain, which is why we need to keep that stride shorter, quicker and lighter. And remember, all these things take time to develop.
We are now really building focus and concentration with brisk 3-minute intervals as you learn more about pacing and what you can handle. It’s not easy!
Imagine yourself running solidly for a 5K race. Your perceived effort over a 5K (hypothetically between 20 minutes and 30 minutes of running) would be what you are trying to hold for these 3-minute brisk intervals. Hold a pace that is neither too fast, nor too slow for yourself. You are definitely above a talking pace and you should feel like you need that recovery afterwards, but you are not huffin’ and puffin’ like you’ve run a sprint. It’s a solid effort that you feel you have control over, and you could run longer if you “had” to.
As always, you should finish the final 5th interval feeling like you could do another one if you “had” to. Good luck!
Pay attention to any aches or discomforts in your body that do not seem to be going away. Imagine a scale of 1-10, with 1 being very little discomfort and 10 being extreme discomfort. Be aware of that scale whenever you run, and rate any discomfort you experience.
A "1 or 2" is probably ok and simply your body adjusting to these new physical demands. If it increases to a "4 or 5", start paying closer attention. If that awareness continues to increase to a "5 or 6 or higher", then it may be time to re-adjust your program.
Perhaps you've missed a few days, or you need a new pair of shoes for better support, or you need to run on a softer surface. It's also possible the program is simply too much for you at present and you need to do some cross training to remove the impact of running and allow your body to heal.
Spinning on a bike, swimming and deep water running in a pool are great ways to relieve your body from the impact of running, augment your training, and help you stay fit while your body heals. My Learn to Run program is also a great way to return carefully to running after injury.