So yesterday I did my first run as a couch 2 5k graduate and was excited to try the NHS 5k+ podcast. There are three podcasts for graduates and they are in partnership with AudioFuel who specialise in providing beats to run to.
I started with the ‘stepping stone’ podcast, popped my headphones in and was out the door.
So the beat for the 5 minute warm up was immediately quicker than I was used to. As I walked ‘Laura’ explained how the podcast worked, that I needed to run to the beat to improve my speed. As I walked to the 5 minute warm up ‘Laura’ counted with the beat one, two, three, four, to indicate when the hit the ground with my feet, very straight forward. The beat was quicker than a usual warm up so assumed I was going faster than usual, but the run started at the same place I always reached at 5 minutes.
This is where things got really odd. The very first beat you run to isn’t straight forward. While at the start ‘Laura’ counts one, two, three four, to show you when to strike the ground to me the beat felt like one, two, three, three, four. My first two steps were fine and then for the second two it became three as an extra beat was between three and four. This caused me to flop around as I tried to hit the right beat.
I also came to realise I had been running too quickly, well in comparison to this 5k+ podcast. To hit the four beats I had to have hang time before hitting the ground. This made my run very bouncy as I waited for the beats, and no where near natural. The beats speed up throughout the podcast, so perhaps I need to practice running slower to improve my speed at the end but I think I’d rather run consistently than hold myself back.
My final issue with this podcast was the time breaks. I was told at the start 10 minutes at 150beats/pm, 15 minutes at 155 beats/pm and the final amount I missed, but maths tells me it must’ve been 5 minutes at 160/pm. I started my run, and while I felt I was running slower as I tried to match the beats I didn’t realise how slow. I was shocked when ‘Laura’ told me I was half way through the first track, 5 minutes. Well I was miles back from where I would usually be at 5 minutes! So I ignored the beats and sped up. It wasn’t until I was on the next road and ‘Laura’ told me that was 5 minutes up that I realised she meant I had been half way through the first track of 5 minutes, why remind me I was 2.5 minutes in? The boost of speed I did in my second 2.5 minutes really threw me off track. Hitting the beats was well out the window.
Then I was told I’d done 10 minutes and now we would start 15 minutes at 155 beats/pm. Okay, let’s see if I can hit these beats. Unfortunately I was running uphill and it became difficult to match. My strides were short so it was close. When I hit my usual 20 minute mark ‘Laura’ told me I’d done over half way. I’d done all that in 15 minutes? I was proud of myself. But no, compared to where I was at the end of those 15 minutes at 155 beats/pm I must’ve been halfway through the 15 minute portion.
The final part also confused me – I had done 20 minutes, had 2 minutes left of this track and another 5 minutes to go. Well that makes 27 minutes, but at the end I’d done 30. I was really lost, I have no idea if it was a good run or not and could not compare it to anything previous.
What I did like about the podcast was the extra tips on running stance, elbows at 90 degrees, head up, shoulders back – if you’re slouched take a deep breathe to naturally place them back. It was a shame about the rest. Perhaps on a second run it may make more sense, and I won’t know until I try. As ‘Laura’ says – any run is better than no run.