As someone who would never describe herself as “sporty” (or particularly interested in team sports or hitting the gym for that matter) the idea that I could take up running was a bit out there.
Could I run to catch a bus? Sure. Though I’d likely be out of breath for minutes afterward.
The only time running made any kind of sense to me was in some of my dreams (which I have touched upon in this post).
In my dreams I could run like a gazelle, effortless and graceful. The pavement and my surroundings a blur as I raced up hills and down long, deserted country roads.
At some point I came across the Couch to 5K (C25K) program and thought it looked doable for me. Or at least it was worth trying out.
The one I decided on is offered at NHS Choices where you can download the weekly programs and get a description of how each week is set up.
It’s a nine week program that’s specifically geared towards beginner runners and while it is made for those of us who aren’t already hitting the pavement it’s always advisable to check with your doctor before starting.
With Couch to 5K the goal is to run three times a week, gradually building up your endurance so that eventually you’ll be able to run for 30 minutes without stopping, or run a 5K.
And, having completed the program, can I run for 30 minutes without stopping? Yes I can and more.
Can I run a 5K? Yup, though it takes me a bit longer than 30 minutes to do so.
Is it easy? God no. At least it wasn’t for me. There were times I was huffing and puffing and wondering if my legs would just give out. (They did not). But I think the most difficult bit is more mental than physical. So often we tell ourselves we “can’t” before we’ve even tried. Luckily I have my husband to be my cheerleader when I doubt myself and slowly I got over thinking I couldn’t and started to think “but what if I can?“.
Day One of Week One for me was on August 10th of 2016.
Since then I’ve had over 75 runs with a short break over Christmas and into New Years and it has gotten easier to an extent. I no longer doubt I can finish a run before I’ve even started and I run for longer and at a faster pace. I’ve varied the routes I take depending on how long I want to run for, the weather and how I’m feeling that particular day.
Now I even enjoy running in the rain. Which is just…. bizarre…..
So yeah, the program did work though I did go off piste a bit near the end. More on that in Part Two coming up soon.
Please drop me a comment if you’re doing C25K now or have graduated, would love to hear how it was for you and where you are now in your running journey.