NHS Couch to 5K: Journal

I need to change something. My diet just isn’t shifting the weight and I’m struggling to keep motivated to diet properly. I’ve started swimming, but only once a week at the most. I need to get my body doing something different – change my behaviour in order to change the results. I can cycle 100 miles comfortably. I can swim a mile… but when it comes to running I’m a couch potato. I couldn’t run for the bus.

The NHS ‘Couch to 5K’ training programme offers a nine week schedule to get me running… I thought I would keep a journal of the experience.

Week One:

Walk briskly for 5 minutes
Run for 60 seconds
Walk briskly for 90 seconds
Repeat eight times total
Walk briskly for 5 minutes
30 minute total exercise.

Day One (05/Mar/18)

I downloaded the podcast, put on some running shoes and set off. The podcast music is surprisingly encouraging, but the verbal coaching is excellent. I guess this is interval training: made easy. I really enjoyed the 30 minute session, I didn’t know what to expect and I ended up running in circle around where I live. I was surprised how far I covered walking/running.

32:00 / 4.50km

The following day I can hardly walk – my achilles feels so tight and tender I don’t want to bend my foot. A friend teaches me some stretching exercises which help.

Day Two (07/Mar/18)

During my rest day I did a 40km cycle, and felt like I had no energy in my legs. Then I ate a decent pasta meal, so I felt ready for day 2. I know what’s coming – the podcast is once again very helpful and encouraging, but today I know what’s in store for me. I think I run slightly less hard, I’m trying to land on the midfoot, not the toe or heel. I choose a route which takes me further away from home.

31:23 / 4.40km

I ran slightly less distance in the same time. I used my friend’s stretching advice and found no ill effects on my achilles the following day.

Day Three (09/Mar/18)

It is a beautiful sunny day, and after a rather intense morning I had a lunchtime bike ride. That might not have been the best preparation for a C25K session. I ran too fast, I know I did because both my achilles are aching, also for some bizarre reason my right elbow hurts. I don’t understand why. (If I have a shower now, does that count as a triathlon event?)

32:13 / 4.65km

Pace and distance

Week Two:

Walk briskly for 5 minutes
Run for 90 seconds
Walk briskly for 120 seconds
Repeat six times total
Walk briskly for 5 minutes
30 minute total exercise.

Day One (12/Mar/18)

It was windy and raining as I set out, but I knew that I’d heat up while running, so I was looking forward to running in the rain. I didn’t know how it would feel to run for 90 seconds. I was anxious because my back had been aching the previous day (my rest day) and I wondered if I was hurting myself. I knew I would run less vigorously, but looking at the data I seem to have run more erratically. I tried collecting heart rate data, but my cycle computer spent most of the run telling me I was “activity paused”… to fix this I’ll have remember to switch between auto-pause and always on. I did it though – I ran for 9 minutes in total… a minute longer than the week before, but I covered the same distance. I had expected running for longer to cover more distance in total.

31:11 / 4.59km

back to the start…

After a busy week at work I missed several evenings, then I had a 200km audax on the cards and now two weeks later I’m looking at starting again. I also know that Holy Week is round the corner and might interfere with running. Anyway – I’m not going to launch back into week two, I have to go back to week one and start again. I’m not disappointed by this, but I would be disappointed with myself if I just gave up.

One comment

  1. I’ve never been a fan of loads and loads of cardio bc I’ve seen the results from lifting weights! I do circuit training 3/4 times a week, mixing sets, rounds and rest time (minimal for cardiovascular pump). On the other days I do LISS, walking briskly on the treadmill or outside when the weather warms up. One big, recent change I’ve made is to incorporate mobility work into every day. Stretching, rolling, and just moving with intention for joint health. I’m 48 and it’s already helped immensely to offset weight training and avoid injury.

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