I completed couch to 5k before I started blogging, but I wanted to share with you what I got from it, and some thoughts I had during the program.
Firstly, I cannot recommend this set of podcasts highly enough. I’ve never been a good runner, and four months after giving birth I couldn’t have run to the kitchen, I’d gained nearly four stone and wasn’t very happy with myself. I’ve struggled with eating disorders in the past, and even though I’d say now that it’s well behind me, I don’t like gaining weight and am very conscious of old habits creeping back in. But as a new mother it wasn’t just about losing weight or gaining fitness, it was something for me. Three times a week I’d leave my daughter with her dad, put my trainers on and go for a run around our local park, I hated it to start with, but I needed it, and in time I began to love it, even missed it on my rest days. It’s been great for my mind as well as my body.
There are many apps available for it, some which let you listen to your own music. I used the NHS podcasts, they’re voiced by a lady called Laura. I went through stages of loving Laura, hating her, and thinking she was an absolute crazy person. The program works following walk/run/walk intervals, with the runs slowly getting longer, until you can run for 30minutes. Now I should say, 30 minutes of running at this stage probably won’t be 5km. I think the theory is if you can run for 30minutes you will be able to carry on for 5km if you’d want to. My best to date is 5km in 34 minutes though, I am a very slow runner.
Week one run one very nearly killed me. It’s walking for 2 minutes running for 1 minute, 8 times, and my legs have never known a pain like it, the day after my whole body hurt, my arms absolutely killed. None of the runs that followed hurt half as much as that one. The four weeks that follow gradually increase your running times and decrease the walking times, to the point that you start running more than you walk. Then out of nowhere, after only having run for 5minute intervals in week four, in week five, that crazy cow wants you to run for 20minutes. Continuously. In a row. Without dying. I was unbelievably worried about this run, there was no way I was going to be able to do it, my legs just wouldn’t cope. During the run I kept expecting it to get hard, having Laura’s encouragement was incredible, and I did it. It wasn’t even that bad, I was so proud of myself, you’d think I’d won all of the Olympics.
From there you have what seems to be an easy week running two 10 minute intervals, before climbing from 20, to 25, 28 and then 30, and I never looked back.
I now consider myself a runner, I love it. I wouldn’t have believed that 6 months ago.