Well I appear have reached the end of Couch to 5k. I ran for 30 minutes twice earlier this week and this morning I pushed myself and did 5k. Even though it took me 35 minutes I feel pretty damned chuffed with myself.
If you are considering it, here is my run down (see what I did there):
- When you start you may feel as if your legs don’t work properly. They don’t. It will feel like this for several weeks.
- I tried a couple of routes including running repeatedly round a field in the early weeks. I wouldn’t advise this. It’s very dull and, honestly, only you care what you look like – no-one else does. Plus you have enough to concentrate on – it’s a lot easier to avoid dog poo on a pavement than a grassy knoll. I also ran how from work once which was genuinely horrendous. I found it best to stick to the same not very uphill route where possible so there were no surprises.
- You spend the first five weeks alternating running with walking. This can be ok some days, and on other occasions pretty depressing. You wonder “how did I get to this state?” This soon shall pass.
- After a couple of weeks I’d advise you change playlist. I was bizarrely trying to always listen to the same thing on each run, which included “Waka Waka” by Shakira. Seemed like a good idea at the time but doesn’t sustain regular listening (sorry Shakira). The soundtrack for the Greatest Showman was an interesting direction but I sadly became immune to the stirring ‘This is Me’ and started to feel like it probably wasn’t me at all. I possibly need to do more research into songs with the right beat to run to.
- Half way through week five you leap from 2 times 8 minutes of running (with a five minute walking break) to a full 20 minutes of running. This seems like a massive jump (which it is) but it’s actually possible. Presumably it’s a ‘make you believe you can do it so you actually can’ thing.
- It may take you longer than 9 weeks. I started on 22nd April and finished today, Friday 6th July, which is nearer 11 weeks, but to be fair I was on holiday for a bit of it. It doesn’t actually matter. Having massive gaps isn’t advisable though as I attest to after five days drinking Estrella in Barcelona.
- Spotify may not be the answer, especially if you, like me, have an Alexa in your kitchen. My husband kept stealing my Spotify to listen to the Fu-Schnickins. It’s not easy to get the music back when you are frantically trying to avoid stopping and your phone is strapped to your arm in a plastic wallet.
- Try to avoid doing Couch 2 5k in June. It’s flipping boiling.
- If you accidentally join a race around a park just nod and smile at the stewards and style it out. They may wonder why you didn’t manage the second lap as you veer off out of the park but it’ll just make you seem mysterious.
- The actual plan may not get you to 5k in 30 minutes. It’s more like 4k in 30 minutes unless you have legs like a gazelle. It doesn’t matter.
I only bloody well went and did it. Go me.
So what next? Sustainability I suppose. I need to keep running 30 minutes three times a week for a few weeks so I really believe I’ve cracked it. I’m going to change up my route because much as I love Millhouses park I’ve leapt over enough dogs for the time being. Plus it would be nice to run somewhere there aren’t any roads to cross and hopefully something circular so I don’t pass the same pedestrians twice within ten minutes. This looks useful if you are Sheffield based http://theoutdoorcity.co.uk/run/
I’m also going to buy new trainers. Maybe the added cushioning will give me enough pace to get to 5k in 30 minutes instead of 35. Do gazelles wear trainers? Then I might, maybe, possibly consider going a bit further.
For now though I’m going to have an ice lolly and a nice sit down safe in the knowledge that I’m a little bit fitter than I was three months ago.