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I have always wanted to be able to run, I have tried a few times before but I run for a few seconds (literally) and then have to give up. I see people jogging past my window and I’m very jealous – they are taking part in something that I want to do and what’s more, it’s free! So I decided to take the bull by the horns and I found a ‘Couch Potato to 5K’ running programme which guides you slowly through the stages and gradually builds up your stamina. I was very critical at first – the programme is broken down into 9 weeks and asks that you commit to 3 sessions a week for the 9 weeks.
Day 1 of week 1 arrived – I had a pair of old trainers in the cupboard and found some leggings and a loose fitting t-shirt. I had already downloaded an app on to my phone which would guide me through the programme and also meant I could listen to music whilst out – I had read that this can take your mind off the effort you are putting in and help you through! It was a lovely sunny day; I grabbed a bottle of water and set off for my venture into the world of jogging. The programme for week 1 starts with a 5 minute warm up walk and then 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes, which is followed by a 5 minute cool down walk. I took my 13 year old son with me and was really happy that I managed to complete the full day’s programme – I actually felt like Rocky when I had finished, I was so elated to have managed it and I couldn’t wait for Day 2 to come. Day 2 and Day 3 felt just as amazing as Day 1 but I was worried that Week 2 would beat me.
I had now definitely got the buzz for running so I went out and bought a whole new kit – new running trousers, a good sports bra (very important) and even an armband to put my phone in whilst running – this was getting serious!
The programme for week 2 steps the distance up a little – you still need to commit to 3 sessions in the week and each one takes around 30 minutes. Each sessions starts again with a 5 minute warm up walk and then 90 seconds running and 2 minutes of brisk walking (6 repetitions) followed by a 5 minute cool down walk – this time I was on my own, my son had decided he had other more interesting things to do. So off I went with Paolo Nutini to keep me company! The feeling of elation I had when I completed my run was unbelievable – something I never thought I could do.
This week I decided to buy a new pair of trainers, I had been feeling some discomfort in my right knee and wondered if the old trainers I had were not providing enough support. Grey and luminous pink trainers completed my new outfit – now I did look the part. I was so excited when I set off on Day 1 but I was also worried as the programme was starting to really push me – the usual 3 day commitment and 5 minute warm up walk was followed by 90 seconds running and 90 seconds walking then 3 minutes running and 3 minutes walking this was repeated for a second time and then a 5 minute cool down – I could not believe it when I finished Day 1 – in fact I actually punched the air, I was really high on the endorphins and adrenalin – what’s more, I wanted to carry on. A bit like Forrest Gump!
I took a quick look at week 4 and thought, ‘that’s it, the programme stops here’. 3 runs again with a 5 minute warm up walk then 3 min run, 90 sec walk, 5 min run and 2 min 30 sec walk both repeated a second time and then 5 minute cool down walk. So off I went. I took extra water as the sun was blisteringly hot but I also noticed that my mind set had changed from ‘this is going to beat me’ to ‘I really want to do this’ – I could hear myself willing me through it.
I am now half way through week 4 so half way through the programme and I can say I have never been so excited about exercise. I go on holiday in 7 weeks and hope that I can keep up the good work and go running whilst I’m away.
If you are interested in taking up the Couch potato to 5K run programme here are a few links that may help.
And don’t worry, I’ll keep you guys updated on my progress in the future!