On the Starting Block Couch to 5k

On the Starting Block | COUCH TO 5K

Nobody is more surprised than I am that I’m doing this. I hate running. But here we are! By the time you read this, I should be two runs into my Couch to 5k challenge, over halfway through week 1.

If you aren’t familiar, Couch to 5k is a running program for beginners, designed to gradually build up your endurance and get you to a point where you can run 5k! The app is really nice to use, and from having had a small explore, seems very user-friendly and non-judgemental. You don’t have to provide any personal information if you don’t want to! To start, you just need to select a personal trainer from the voices on offer, add your goals, and enable location services (if you wish to). You can switch on reminders if you want, but otherwise you’re all set up! The main screen of the app shows you the program. It’s designed to be 9 weeks long, with each week increasing slightly in intensity. To start, there’s short runs followed by short walks, repeated for about 30-40 minutes. By the end, you should be running for the full half hour, with walking just to warm up and cool down.

If you already have a bit of a running background, you might want to jump forward a couple of weeks, and that’s okay! You can select the run you want from the app screen. If you’re struggling, that’s also okay! The app allows you to repeat weeks/runs super easily, so you can increase the intensity at your own pace. This is what I mean by non-judgemental — although there is a set path for users to follow, there’s no having to circumvent the app to reduce the difficulty, you literally just pick which run you want to do before you start. It also doesn’t assume why you might be downloading the app: the goals section has a range of reasons why someone might want to use the app, and has an option for ‘other’ if you don’t find the reason to suit you.

I really like that the warm-up and cool down are included in the exercise, though I might add in a couple of stretches as well as the walk to be on the safe side. It tells you when you’re halfway through your time, so you know when to turn back if you’re doing a route that requires you to double back on yourself to get home, rather than a loop. I’m also so grateful that it starts off assuming you aren’t an experienced runner. I find working out really intimidating to get into, because so many things assume you already have a certain fitness and experience level, which is why the only thing I really do is swimming. But this app changes all of that! My eventual goal is to be able to do park runs when it’s safe to do so. Park runs are cool events where people literally just turn up to a park on Saturday mornings and do their 5k. It’s quite widespread across the UK, so there may well be a park near you!

Couch to 5k: On the Starting Block

In preparation for this, I spent too much money on workout clothes. I needed leggings with pockets, so I can take my phone with me (else the app would be useless!) and a second sports bra, because I only had one. I was already the proud owner of some running trainers, so that wasn’t an issue, but I did have to wear them on a little local walk to make sure they weren’t going to hurt my feet.

Alongside Couch to 5k, I want to start doing some yoga! There’s loads of free resources for yoga routines. Yoga with Adrienne is one that gets mentioned a lot. You can find her on YouTube and she has some great routines for all sorts on her channel! I also have the Nike Training Club app, which has a selection of free workouts including some yoga ones, so I might use that as well. I am not a flexible yoga queen at all, so I’m sure my poses will be absolutely horrific at the start, but hey, everyone starts somewhere!

I’m not going to make this series a weekly feature, but I would like to post a couple of updates. If anything, it’ll hold me somewhat accountable. The more people that know, the more people can pester me to do it! As the Couch to 5k app suggests a 9 week program, I think I’ll do updates once every three weeks. So we’ll have now, midway through week 1, midway through week 4, midway through week 7, and a few days after I’m meant to have reached the end of the program. I’m not sure how good I’ll be at this, so I don’t know if I’ll have to be repeating weeks or not. I have been doing some lockdown walks that are about 5k, so I know I can easily walk that distance in one go, so hopefully scaling it up to running will be achievable!

Wish me luck, and let me know if you have any fitness goals/plans below! The main thing is to do whatever is healthy and achievable for you, especially at the moment with so many restrictions on what we can actually do.

15 thoughts on “On the Starting Block | COUCH TO 5K

    • Would recommend! Even just the second run I noticed a lot of improvement from the first ☺️ it does break you in gently so it’s a friendly and relaxed place to start if you want to start running

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    • Thank you! It’s also one I really struggle with. My favourite is definitely swimming, but I also like yoga and would like to cycle more but my bike seat is so uncomfortable 😂

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    • There absolutely will be!! My advice if you do it over summer is to do either morning or evening to avoid the heat! Two runs in and doing alright so far but only hitting 3k per session at the moment

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  1. Love this, I started C25K in lockdown too! Managed to start a few weeks in, which I was impressed with since I hadn’t run since last summer! (Definitely a fair weather runner haha) I prefer to do fitness classes style workouts than run most of the time though 🙂

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    • I prefer swimming! I’m pretty confident at it so I feel less self conscious ☺️ obviously at the minute all the pools are shut which is why I’ve turned to running instead! Congrats on your achievement though, that’s great! I definitely don’t think I’ll be able to skip any weeks 😂

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  2. Good luck! I already did this Couch to 5K a few times but I’m lazy as hell 🤣 I managed to do half of it. But I need to get fitter so I hope that this summer I’ll be able to get some running done!

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    • Ahh good luck! I’m just starting week 2 and sticking with it so far! I want to make it to the end but I’m not sure how convinced I am that I will… I have this post to hold me accountable though, and people in my life who are encouraging me through it so that’ll help a lot with motivation I hope

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