2023 Couch-to-10k Run Training
On 15th August 2023, after training for three-and-half months, I finally ran a 10 km race.
Back in the days before the pandemic stopped the world, I used to do 10k runs frequently. But the pandemic brought my running life to a standstill. Last year, I managed to successfully do a couch-to-5k training program. Then my wife and I had a child, and my running stopped again for many long months. After the baby became somewhat independent, I decided to do another couch-to-x training.
This time, I decided to train for a 10k race. Luckily, there was one happening near by: the HSR freedom run. Even though I was starting from the couch, because of my previous experience of running 10ks, I knew I could do it. I had ample time left, so I set up a Garmin coach plan for it and got started.
This was in early May. After 3½ months, I ran the race in 1 hour and 21 minutes and 30 seconds.
The training was difficult, so I made some charts to keep myself motivated, which are what the rest of the post is about.
The first one shows what Garmin predicted to be my race time:
The prediction improved over the training, and ended at 01:10:45 hour, which—in hindsight—was too optimistic of Garmin.
The next chart tries to present an overall picture of the training:
The bubble chart shows the practice run distances over time. The bubble size is run speed, and the color is the average heart rate zone (HRZ). The distances gradually increased over the training, going from 2km at the start to 8km just before the race. The speed improved as well, but is not noticeable in this chart. One interesting thing is how the HRZ went between moderate and tempo back-and-forth. I suspect this is because of how the training was designed: interleaved periods of intense and relaxed workouts.
The next one shows the cumulative distance I ran over time: over 180km in total.
The next chart shows the fitness and fatigue metrics over time. This data comes from Strava.
We can see that fitness increased gradually and fatigue stayed within tolerable limits. Honestly, I never felt too tired over the entire training period. The sharp jump at the end is because of the actual race.
The next chart shows the distances of my runs over time.
This one shows how my pace improved over time: by about 1½ minutes per km overall.
My cadence also improved but marginally. This is because I already run at quite a good cadence.
The next one shows my running power, as measured by my Garmin watch, over time. The appearance of the S curve is unexpected.
I went overboard with the data and made too many charts. Click on their names below to see them:
Ground Contact Time over time
Vertical Oscillation Ratio over time
Relative Effort per km over time
Cadence vs Pace
Heart Rate vs Pace
Power vs Pace
Relative Effort per km vs Pace
The second-to-last chart I have shows the histogram of the perceived effort that I notes after each run. All of them were somewhere in the middle, except the actual race where I gave it my all.
And here’s the last chart, and perhaps the most important one: when did I do all this? This chart shows the histogram of the start times of my runs:
It’s hard to be a early waker when you have a small baby. But thanks to the amazing weather here in Bangalore, I somehow managed to go for runs later in the mornings, 7:30 AM and 8:00 AM being my two most frequent times.
So, that’s all for my charts. I hope that someday I make similar ones for a half-marathon training or longer. Till then, I’ll keep running my occasional 10ks and spend way too much time going over all the data in Strava and Garmin dashboard. Meanwhile, you can like, share or comment on this post on Mastodon.