There are a few reasons behind today’s post. As well as telling you what Couch to 5K is and sharing my experience, I REALLY hope to inspire at least one person to give it a go. I wonder if that person might be YOU!
So, what is Couch to 5K?
In a nutshell, it’s a running program designed to take the complete beginner to being able to run 5K in around 9 weeks. Now, when I say ‘beginner’, you may think that people still need to be able to jog but it really is designed for those who haven’t put on a pair of trainers since their school days or get puffed out just walking around the shopping mall. When I started it, I couldn’t walk 150 metres without being in immense pain and needing to stop to catch my breath.
In each of the 9 weeks, there are 3 runs to do with a rest day in between. So, you could do set days (like Monday, Wednesday and Friday) or do literally every other day if you don’t have to run on certain days. All runs start with a 5 minute walk to warm up and then a walk for 5 minutes to cool down. The very first run involves alternating between running for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds. Over the course of the program, you start to run for longer until you’re actually running more than you’re walking and each work out session will last for 30-40 minutes including the warm up/cool down. But there are apps you can download so you don’t need to worry about whether to run or walk. You just follow the voice telling you what to do. The important thing to tell you though is that the aim is actually to be able to run for 5K OR run for 30 minutes….and most people can’t do 5K in 30 minutes at the end of week 9. That’s okay. Focus on your stamina to run for longer than your pace which can develop over time.
My experience of doing Couch to 5K
So, 25 of the 27 runs were done whilst still morbidly obese! Yes, you don’t have to super slim or fit to do this. I took it on as a personal challenge although I thought I may get half way through before my body gave up on me and I was shocked that I did the whole program. In week 8, I pushed myself beyond the official 28 minutes until reached 5K and I can’t tell you the incredible feeling of accomplishment when you graduate. I did some runs around my village but also some around my home and garden. I even wore leggings for the first time ever! I found that I could manage my breathing very easily but there were times when I could feel my shins hurting. Thankfully, I didn’t develop shin splints but this is why rest days are important. Your muscles will develop tiny tears when being pushed physically and the rest days are needed for them to repair. Of course, don’t run if you think you’re doing yourself serious injury but it’s quite normal for the body to ache so grit your teeth and push through it.
I even found a website called http://www.virtualracing.co.uk in the UK where you can sign up for the medal and then it’s sent to you when you submit your evidence. I’m now in the process of doing other fitness challenges: a 1,000 mile challenge between now and the end of the year; the August challenge when I’ll be emailed daily fitness activities to do and one that spans October to December. Yes, I’m a grown up but the thought of receiving medals is hugely motivating!
So, are YOU going to give it a go?
Couch to 5K has been on the news in the UK as record numbers of people downloaded the BBC app during lockdown, especially with the gyms closed. I found that there are amazing communities on Facebook where people really encourage you to complete the program, share tips (like apparently chewing gum can help breathing) and you feel like you’re on this personal journey. I can’t urge you enough to think about giving it a go. I struggled to run for 60 seconds in that first week but it’s designed to be followed to the letter and, if you do, you may find yourself say “I love running”. I now do!!
I’d love to hear if you’ve done Couch to 5K or you’re thinking about it ❤
Okay folks, I’ll be back on Monday with my weigh-in and telling you how the first couple of ‘August fitness challenge’ days have gone so have a great weekend everyone
Love Erika xx