As that graduation dates draws closer, and you put more and more miles upon your feet, you start to wonder...
"Where am I going to go from here?"
You have endless possibilities...here are a few of them:
1. Continue on to B210K.
This continues where C25K leaves off. Many will look at the schedule and think, "Wait...I just ran 30 minutes. Why is it making me walk again?" The simple answer, is that walking is another training tool for runners. It is a beginner's mentality that you should run, run, run. Many fail to see one of the biggest reasons you walked in C25K. While part of it was to help you recover, and give you short little breaks of walks, another reason for those walks was to get time on your feet. Take this article from running coach Jeff Galloway:
By using muscles in different ways from the beginning, your legs keep their bounce as they conserve resources. When a muscle group, such as your calf, is used continuously step by step, it fatigues relatively soon. The weak areas get overused and force you to slow down later or scream at you in pain afterward. By shifting back and forth between walking and running muscles, you distribute the workload among a variety of muscles, increasing your overall performance capacity. For veteran marathoners, this is often the difference between achieving a time goal or not.
Walk breaks will significantly speed up recovery because there is less damage to repair. The early walk breaks erase fatigue, and the later walk breaks will reduce or eliminate overuse muscle breakdown.
2. Build your weekly mileage base.
By the end of Week 9, most people are averaging 7-9 miles a week. By building on to that base you are incorporating the beginning runners ultimate speed increase strategy....adding more miles. Did you happen to notice that by the end of C25K you could possibly run slightly faster on the longer running sets than from the beginning (by longer I mean 8 minutes and up). This is because for beginner runners, the longer you run the faster you will end up running.
The website above provides a basic mileage building program that some can easily shift to from C25K.
The two programs above are only a sample of the possibilities that you can do. Remember, don't stop pushing yourself at the end. Strive for more and you will find yourself accomplishing feats you never thought possible.
Enjoy, and happy running!