This is a huge week in my running journey where I wonder if I can finally make it to the elusive 5,000 metres. This is also a week where I introduce some fancy new graphics and music into my videos which strangely doesn’t have any impact at all on my split times.
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Unbelievably it’s been one year since I crawled off my sofa leaving behind a very nice plate of biscuits and ventured outside into the brightness to attempt the Couch To 5K programme.
Couch To 5K is a programme sponsored in the UK by NHS England and the BBC that helps you using structured lessons, 3 times a week to get you running for 30 minutes after just 9 weeks.
In April 2018 when I started Couch To 5K I could barely make it a hundred yards without wheezing uncontrollably and collapsing into a dazed huddle on the floor sobbing for those biscuits (and the sofa).
I’d tried running a few times prior to that, trying to make it to a new lamppost on each run, but didn’t really make it past a couple of them before I gave it up as a bad job and went back to the TV remote.
Couch To 5K gave me the structure I needed to finally make some real progress. After 9 weeks I actually was running for 30 minutes. 29 and a half more than I ever thought I’d make.
Unfortunately after that things went slightly pear shaped.
I went on holiday not long after finishing the programme and after returning I never quite made it back to 30 minutes. The best I managed over the next few months was about 20 and more often 10 or 15.
By the time the first anniversary of starting C25K was approaching I realised that I needed to do something about this sorry state of affairs before I threw the towel in altogether.
So over the first anniversary of me taking the C25K programme, I’m going to finally try to make it to the magic 5K distance, something that has alluded me up until now.
At my starting point, I’m on 22 minutes. I want to make about 35 minutes if I’m to get to 5K at my standard split time of around 7 minutes per kilometre, but likely a few more minutes as I’m sure to slow down!!
So my challenge this time is to hit the 5K before I get to the first anniversary of finishing C25K and to achieve that I’m adding 1 minute per run over the next 9 weeks with 2 runs per week. So from my starting point of 22 minutes, that should take me to around 40. However, my main objective is to get to 5K, even if I don’t quite make 40 minutes.
You can see the first video in this new series above as I finally attempt to vlog my way to 5K! Come along for the ride(run) and see how I get on! You’d be most welcome.
This is my final vlog of the Couch To 5K programme when an unfortunate technical problem in the last 5 minutes almost scuppers my final run! In this video I reflect on the programme and start a somewhat unsuccessful Mexican wave.
This process has been something of a revelation to me. 9 weeks ago, I didn’t think for a moment that I could run for 30 seconds, let alone 30 minutes and yet, somehow, miraculously it’s happened.
The NHS/BBC Get Inspired Couch To 5K app is, simply, a great way to get moving and even if you pick a different programme to achieve the same goal (there are plenty out there) how you get there isn’t really the point – just getting off your sofa and out and about (quickly, preferably) is the main thing.
At the start of this I was happy with my general fitness, my walking every day with my dogs and standing rather than sitting at my computer, however I knew that I could do better. Above all, I needed to do some kind of exercise that would raise my heart rate a bit. And running is the prefect way to achieve it. I’m not one for “going to the gym”, it’s just too much hassle frankly, but running is easy to do – just put on some suitable clothing and leave the house. “Simples!”
I hope you’ve enjoyed my vlogs. I plan to do a follow up at some point in the future but have no idea when that will be. In the meantime, I plan to work my way up to 5K (I don’t quite get to 5K in 30 minutes – in the video, you’ll see how close I get) and then after that I may look at “Bridge to 10K” which isn’t a programme as such but from what I understand is a series of challenges and tips to get you running for up to an hour.