To be frank: the past week (Week Five) of C25K was the absolute worst. I don't know if I've hit a sort of "running plateau" or if I'm progressing faster than my body can manage. Every day the times increased, which was without question a challenge. The first two days I completed the regimens (barely) and while I felt mentally happy to "finish" them, I felt physically awful and so sore that I've given up biking, walking the dogs, etc. because on running days I am too exhausted to do either and on rest days I am too sore to want to exert myself, knowing that I'll have a brutal run the following day and I want to be as ready/rested as possible.
I know part of my inability to finish the 20 minute run last weekend was because I didn't have enough fore-warning to use my inhaler in time, I felt rushed and didn't take the time to stretch beforehand, and it was MUCH colder than I'd anticipated. I ran the first ten agonizing minutes, then stopped to stretch for 3 minutes, walk for 1 minute, then run for another 6 before I started feeling dizzy and asthmatic.
Truthfully, I do hope that last week was just an exceptionally hard week (I was getting over a cold, at the time) and that this week I finally feel "good" running again. If not... I'm not sure that I want to risk injury but stubbornly pushing myself to finish the program (or at least finish it on time... stretching it out and using it as a guideline doesn't sound too awful). I know that if I choose to run less often and increase my times more slowly that R. will be deeply disappointed. I love running with her and I am so proud that we've come this far together, but at some point I have to balance the physical toll on my body with letting down one of my dearest friends.
I really, really hope that this week is a better one.
Today is only 8 min./5 min./8 min. with 3 min. rests in between. After Sunday's disappointing run, this sounds a lot more pleasant... I hope I'm right!