Couch 2 5K – Part 1 of 3

I’m not sporty. Not even slightly.

Growing up, I kind of liked netball. Until the other girls started throwing balls at my head. Then I was sort of good at badminton. But the badminton club clashed with the chess club and I preferred the sitting down sort of extra activity.

I do like to swim, and was in a swimming club when I was younger, but these days things are different. I have already documented my requirements for that.

Since then, I’ve tried all kinds of things. I joined a gym but I left because the guilt factor was starting to weigh me down. I tried workout DVDs, I tried going for walks, all the things you do when you don’t really have a plan.

Well, guess what? Now I have a plan!

Browsing around the iTunes store, I discovered the C25K app. Couch 2 5K is a plan that was devised over on CoolRunning.com, but many people have taken it up and tweaked it, podcasted it, made it accessible for newbies like me. The app is brilliant.

The basic premise of C25K is that you start with little bite size chunks of running and walking, for half hour sessions, three times a week. For example, the first week is 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking, repeated. Then you’ll move up in increments, increasing the jogging, decreasing the walking, until you are a fully fledged 5k runner.

That’s the idea, anyways.

The app has audio alerts, with a voice saying: “walk” and “run” and “cool down” etc. You can select songs from your playlist to play in the background, and at the end of the session, you can make some notes about how the run went.

It’s a nine week plan, and I’ve just finished week three. Somehow I have got out of sync with the actual weeks, but I don’t suppose that matters. To celebrate my progress, I thought I would share my journal entries so far. They say that sharing your exercise plans with someone is helpful. I’m not so sure about that, but I do like to digitally scrapbook everything, so here goes!

  • Week 1, Day 1
    Now I remember why I said I don’t run. This is ridiculous. And yet also kinda cool.
  • Week 1, Day 2
    Wow. That’s weird. I was really eager to do the first day, and it was awful. I didn’t want to go out today – it looked like it was going to rain, I was tired, busy. But I went, and it was easy. Before I knew what was happening it was time to head back.
  • Week 1, Day 3
    This was a bit harder as I found myself going over some stupid terrain. I also had to navigate some dogs. Even so, it was okay and I didn’t have to pause at all. I can’t wait to see what the next week has to offer. … … what is wrong with me?
  • Week 2, Day 1
    Was I really looking forward to this? It was tough. I wonder if each transition to the next week is going to be tricky. The previous three runs were all the same. Hmm. Still, it got better and I was with it towards the end, even if I did get slobbered on by a Dalmatian. That never helps.
  • Week 2, Day 2
    Much better run, although I wasn’t feeling that well towards the end. I wonder if that was more to do with the copious amounts of beer consumed the night before.
  • Week 2, Day 3
    As expected, it was much better. I was able to complete all with decent breathing. Did feel a bit achy towards the end though. Perhaps it’s time to invest in decent shoes.
  • Week 3, Day 1
    This time round, I was really jonesing for a run. Unheard of. Three minutes of running at a time sounds pitiful, but it was tough. I am so rubbish. Still, I put my mind to it and got through. I have new jogging trousers but no new shoes yet.
  • Week 3, Day 2
    Not a bad run as it goes. I had put it off and put it off because of the hot weather, but eventually I gave in and went out. I did have to pause the walking to navigate some slow moving people, but I think that’s okay. I really MUST get new shoes. My shins feel like they’re going to fall off.
  • Week 3, Day 3
    My new trainers are so bouncy! This workout was bizarre. The first 90 second and three minute runs were dire. I thought I was going to die and that my new trainers were wasted. The second lot were so much better though, I almost felt I could do the whole thing over again. Weird. Shins are much better, feet ache a bit but presumably from actually having supportive shoes. I suspect they’ll get used to it.

That’s it so far. Feel free to judge me for how horribly unfit I am. I judge myself. After the first run I said “Quite clearly I am more couch than they expect.”

But at the same time, I am secretly impressed that I’ve stuck at this for three weeks and am even keen to continue. This almost never happens.

I’m trying not to look too far ahead but it’s impossible to ignore that in just six runs time, I’m supposed to go for twenty minutes without stopping. That’s crazy talk.

18 thoughts on “Couch 2 5K – Part 1 of 3

  1. you’re doing a lot better than me, I have tried this three times and never made it past week 2 session 2. They say you have to push past the ‘I HATE RUNNING’ thing but I can’t. I really really hate running.

  2. I have to agree with Amy. Running is horrible, but i really admire what you are doing.

    Even when I was doing marathons I hated running. I hated it even in a world duathlon championship. What’s the rush? Why can’t I walk?

  3. I hate running too. Or at least, I did.

    I don’t know why I bought the app or why I’ve stuck at it for three weeks. I don’t run.

    Except… now I kinda do. Very strange.

    I have to admit that calling it running would be a stretch. I am constantly passed by much fitter people. Perhaps calling it “putting one foot in front of the other just a tiny bit quicker than walking” would be more accurate.

  4. WOW, now I feel unfit. I’m really impressed that you stuck with it, I’m rubbish with things like this, I did manage to do 5 minutes running, 2 minutes walking for about 40ish minutes a few months ago, but felt rather rubbish afterwards.

    What makes this all a bit worse for me is that I even started a blog about running; I really do hate running but may just give it another go….again.

    Keep it up, you’ll be doing one of these before you know it!

  5. Keep it up, you’ll be doing one of these before you know it!

    I did suggest to my mother that I would soon be doing a marathon. She said I might be getting a bit ahead of myself. Humph.

  6. I did suggest to my mother that I would soon be doing a marathon. She said I might be getting a bit ahead of myself. Humph.

    Rubbish! You should do a marathon and then do an Ironman!

  7. Christine, this is fantastic!

    It’s weird, because I had a lot of the same thoughts as you have had. I used to hate running and it was my friend who basically told me I was going to run as part of his 5km relay team.

    I told him I would try, and strangely enough, I really enjoyed it. It’s tough, and it hurts, and you need the right equipment, but you know what, I miss it when I don’t run. I’m not very quick but there’s something about pushing yourself that gives you a real sense of satisfaction 🙂

  8. Go Christine! I think the most important thing with exercise is to find something that works for you. I hadn’t exercised before 18 months ago and now I love it!

    I recently got into running with a group of friends. We ran a few 10k and then suddenly doubled it to 20k. It was actually quite easy. Now I am in the crazy talk territory of mentioning a marathon in September.

    I know you like yor gadgets, I’m absolutely loving my latest running toy.

  9. Keep going. The first few weeks are the hardest.

    Copious amounts of beer before running is certainly not going to help.

    If your shins are hurting that is almost certainly from the walking part. Are you trying to walk really quickly like they do in the Olympics? That can really hurt your shins but runnning shouldn’t.

  10. some bright spark thought it would be good to run the 2011 great north run. all 13 miles from newcastle to south shields. im brilliant over 100-200m, but any further and im slow and rubbish. i think an app like this would be fantastic to help start things rolling. shame for my dislike of apple.

    sounds like its going brilliantly for you so keep the running up! pop up for the gnr before a marathon perhaps 😉

  11. Well done!

    All I know about exercise is golf, when you carry the bag instead of pull the trolley for the 3 or 4 mile duration and it is a hot day, clearly an ice cold beer is the only refreshment. I can only assume a long run is the same. I like to think it restores the equilibrium.
    It is quite a bit harder if beer was consumed the night before though.

    Are you getting faster?

  12. Hi Christine,

    I think it’s wonderful that you have started running! Thanks for sharing your notes. When I was doing the C25K plan I found that my best runs were the ones that I did when I had one rest day between the runs. It’s still a rollercoster ride – some days it feels great and some days I wonder why I am still doing it. But some how I stuck with it for mo then I year now (the longest I have stayed with any exercise regimen) and I’m about to do a 1/2 marathon this September. You can definitely do it and it’s great that you are thinking of longer distances as well.

  13. Are you getting faster?

    After today’s efforts, I would say I am definitely not getting faster. Slower if anything. I think the idea is to build up distance, then work on speed and stuff like that.

  14. Are you getting faster?

    After today’s efforts, I would say I am definitely not getting faster. Slower if anything. I think the idea is to build up distance, then work on speed and stuff like that.

    Exactly. It’s not about speed, it’s about going the distance. You will get a bit quicker after a while, but sometimes you will want to just jog, other times push it. It doesn’t matter in the end as long as you do it 🙂

  15. Excellent work! I fully agree in that consistency is the key. Each time I try to go back to running I end up doing one or two runs and then nothing, back to square one again (I *should* get back, I’m becoming a couch potato faster than I’d like to admit… 😉 )

    When I used to run I had my rollercoaster of feelings at each stage of the same run:
    – the first 10 min you are the king of the world
    – from 10 to 20 min. you curse the idea of running
    – from 20 to 30 min. you’re flying like the wind
    – after 30 min. you’re just cruising, the mind goes blank and it feels like you can keep that pace forever

    Disclaimer: I never ran more than 50 min. at a time, so ‘forever’ can be a little bit optimistic… 😛

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