Monday, 26 April 2021

COUCH TO 5K

If you've been with me for a while, you may recall my brief attempt at running. I tried Couch to 5k way back in 2012, managed five weeks of it (and pretty much hated every moment), and I just didn't have the motivation to keep going. 

Then fast-forward a couple of years, and Cancer Research got in touch, asking me to take part in their Race for Life event and help encourage others to do the same (I was a proper blogger then!). This time I still didn't actually enjoy running, but I was extremely motivated to not let a charity down, so I managed to train and complete a 10k race without dying! I felt good for it, but as soon as that goal was complete, I again lost all interest in it.

But now look at me! I'm now on week five of Couch to 5k and I feel great for it, but more importantly, I'm actually enjoying it? I've been using the official Couch to 5k app with Michael Johnson as my coach (his soothing tones are so encouraging!), and it's been great. I can't quite believe it, but honestly - great!

Race for Life shoes still going strong. Probably time to buy new trainers!

Here's what I think has made a difference:

Pals!

Every time I've tried running before it's been a strictly solo experience, but this time, even though I'm still running alone, my best pal (who lives in London) is also doing Couch to 5k at the same time. It's so nice to have someone going through the same challenges - we send daft running selfies to each other, I don't want to skip a running day because I don't want to let her down (even though I know she wouldn't mind!), and it's just nice to know we're doing something together!

I'm (a tiny bit) fitter

I'm pretty sure the success of Couch to 5k is because it's engineered to help anyone start running, regardless of starting fitness level, but I am definitely finding it much easier now that I'm not such a couch potato! 

Over the last year I've started to take my health a bit more seriously, and when gyms were open I got really into it! I think it's finally dawned on me that I'm not in my 20s anymore (lol), so I want to be more active, and I've been doing a lot of online yoga and cycling over the last few months. Learning to run is still super tiring, but it's not as sore as I remember from before. Doing yoga 1 or 2 times a week is also really helping my achey legs, which then makes it easier to go on the next run!

Flexible working

I think this is the biggest one for me. Since the pandemic I've been working from home, and I've been surprised by how much I love it. I know it's not for everyone, but I feel so much more focused and productive, and I love that I can manage my day based on what I need to achieve, rather than being locked to a desk 9-5. 

These days I try and go on lunchtime runs, and it's so good - it lets me stretch my legs and clear my head, I've got energy, and it's a nice excuse to get outside. When I worked in the office my only choices were running in the morning before work, which I HATED, or running after work, which I also hated/found hard to find time for! It's so much easier to run during the week, which means I can keep my weekends for chilling out, or going for a cycle instead.

It is just nice to be outside

I've spent lockdown in my wee flat which has no garden, so I am loving any reason to be outside. I discovered pretty quickly that I'm not a huge fan of going for a walk if I'm not actually going anywhere, but going for a run feels like it has a purpose. 

In the past I was only motivated by post-running endorphins, but the actual run was always a slog, so it is definitely a big improvement to feel like the whole thing is quite fun! 

I think the pace of Couch to 5k is definitely going to step up from now on (I looked ahead and somehow I am expected to run 20 minutes in one go this week? Excuse me?), but I'm just going to take it a day at a time, and not feel stressed if I want to repeat a run - keeping it slow, steady and manageable is definitely my approach this time round! I'll let you know how I get on in a few more weeks!

2 comments :

  1. This is great to read, I have often started C25K but never finished. Maybe its time to give it another go.

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    Replies
    1. Honestly, I am so surprised by how much the mental challenge of doing it has changed! Definitely worth trying again, even just to see if it feels a bit better for you now.

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