I have always been a terrible runner! Always. I’m quite fit. I’m quite active and healthy. But I cannot run more than a few hundred metres without stopping, hand clutching a killer stitch, gasping for air.
I’ve tried to motivate myself, to go out and push myself on a run. I’ve managed to commit to a weekly run of 1 mile which I can do in about 11 minutes with a couple of walking breaks.
Recently I grabbed myself some books about running from my library and in one of them it mentions the NHS website for advice to start running.
Here is where I discovered Couch to 5K!
Couch to 5K
Couch to 5K is a program created by the NHS that aims to get any beginner to be able to run 5K in 9 weeks.
It consists of free podcasts which you download to your iPod or other MP3 device. There is one podcast for each week of training. You have to complete three runs for each week with at least one day break in between.
The podcasts are about 30 minutes long and you have Laura, a lovely lady, talking to you, explaining what you are going to do and giving you instructions of when to run and when to stop and walk, accompanied by some background music.
I found Laura’s voice so friendly and encouraging without being judgemental. (Yes I got all of that from a voice). Which is extremely important. I find it difficult to work with a person such as a coach or even a friend because I feel embarrassed and defeated. However Laura’s voice is brilliant, she makes you feel good about yourself and she’s not actually there to see you struggle.
However you must not cheat as it’s easy to stop running before the time as no one will ever know.
So far I have completed 2/3 runs of Week 1. Week 1 consists of a 5 minutes brisk walk warm up. 60 seconds jogging and 90 seconds brisk walking, repeated for 20 minutes. 5 minutes brisk walk cool down.
My first time I found it tough but do-able. When I got to my 4th lot of 60 seconds running I was feeling pretty tired and sweaty but I kept pushing. The second to last run is probably the hardest point but knowing you’ve only got two more left is very motivational and it’s very easy to finish.
I run in the evening about an hour after my tea. On my second run I went out before my tea and found myself much weaker.
I didn’t ache or hurt for my rest day and don’t notice any difference so far which is expected as this is a slow period. I’m not looking forward to my first run of Week 2 as I feel like I’m not ready for the increase but I’m sure I’ll push hard and hopefully surprise myself. Looking forward to the progress.
The music of the podcasts is ok but it’s not as good as having my own choice. However it is motivational music with a tempo that I found myself matching to my stride. Ideally I’d have one earphone for my podcast and one earphone for my music!