Week 5! NHS Couch to 5K

Wow! This week really steps it up! Week 5 is split into three podcasts, each run is different!

Every session starts and finishes with a 5 minute warm-up and cool-down walk.

Run 1: 5 minute run. 3 minute walk. 5 minutes run. 3 minute walk. 5 minute run.

Run 2: 8 minutes run. 5 minute walk. 8 minute run.

Run 3: 20 minutes run.

Gosh! Having just completed Run 3, doing 5 minute runs in Run 1 feels so long ago! It felt like such an achievement. Each session I started off with a little bit of dread, then finished with a great feeling of elation and achievement! It sounds and feels like crazy progress but it really works. The big one is run 3, running for 20 minutes! I started off sure that I wouldn’t be able to do it, but quickly pushed that thought away and kept telling myself I could. Laura said I could do it too and I believed her!

It’s all about pacing yourself. Which is easy by now! Plus I find breathing nice and easy too! For the first few weeks I was panting away sucking in and out breath. During week 4 and 5 I’ve been able to concentrate on slow breathing, in through the nose and out through the mouth. I still breath in through my mouth sometimes and get a little out of breath but that’s fine.

I couldn’t believe it when I ran for 20 minutes tonight! The most I had done was 8 minutes and suddenly I’d done 20 minutes! The feeling is awesome. And it’s doo-able! Almost easy! When Laura told me there was 2 minutes left I started pushing faster and getting less tired, almost as if I’d hit a runners high! (If there is such a thing). I actually struggled less on my 20 minutes run than on my 8 minute runs. Wow. To think only 5 weeks ago I couldn’t really run for more than 2 minutes, and some people can’t even do that when they start this. Running with my dog outside in the fresh air is so beneficial as well, and it’s great for my dog! Although he finds it far easy than me being a Border Collie.

This plan really really works! And feels sooo good. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done so far.

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Week 4! NHS Couch to 5K

Week 4 now complete!

5 minutes warm up walk. 3 minutes running. 90 seconds walk. 5 minutes running. 2.5 minutes walk. 3 minutes running. 90 seconds walk. 5 minutes running. 5 minutes cool down walk.

I feel like I am saying this every week now, but oh my god that was tough. But good. But tough.

It’s very difficult to explain how I really feel. Each run I set off, I struggle, I do it, I felt better!

Before I put you off, I have felt the best during this week! The hardest work produces the best feeling! Also the noticeable progress throughout this week has been better than ever. During my last run of the week yesterday I felt really good and fit.

Yes my legs ache at the end and yes as I’m running for 5 minutes my legs start to feel like lead. But it’s all worth it. Let’s keep it up!

Week 3! NHS Couch to 5K

Well this week was interesting.

Usual 5 minute warm up walk while Laura explains this weeks program.

90 seconds jogging. 90 second walk. 3 minutes jogging! 3 minutes walk.
90 sec jog. 90 sec walk. 3 min jog. 3 min walk cool-down.

Ouch! 3 minutes jogging?! Bit of a step up. But it’s not bad at all! Not easy, but not bad. It’s really important to keep a nice pace. If you find your pace then you can keep running without getting tired. The 3 minute walk feels quite long so you are more than recovered.

My legs were certainly feeling it at the end. In a nice way. I benefit a lot from taking a bottle of water with me and my running bottle with a handle is lovely.

My second run of the week didn’t really go to plan; turned down a public footpath thinking it was a nice shortcut to the tracks but no.. Up and down hills, through long grass and cow pat! Not the best training route.

I am feeling a bit fitter so far. Let’s see what Week 4 is going to bring!

[FYI: It is not me in the photograph, unfortunately, I cannot stride that long. That is my boyfriend & my dog.]

Week 2! NHS Couch to 5K

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Now finished Week 2!

90 seconds running and 2 minutes walking. Repeat for 20 minutes.

2 minutes sounds like a long time walking, however it’s enough rest time after 90 seconds running which feels long enough. 90 seconds is a good time of running, it’s doo-able, but you feel it.
Remember this is designed for people who can’t run very well.

After my first 90 seconds I had a stitch, but I walked it off after 2 minutes and it didn’t come back again.

As long as you keep a steady pace it is quite enjoyable. My muscles felt it afterwards in a good ache way. After last week I wasn’t sure I’d be able to step it up but I really surprised myself.

I feel great! Bring on Week 3.

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/get-running-with-couch-to-5k.aspx

NHS Couch to 5K! [Week 1]

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.

Week 1
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!

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/get-running-with-couch-to-5k.aspx