When my lovely friend Victoria approached me and asked if I wanted to start the Couch to 5k programme of course I said yes! Her motivation was infectious, so I was immediately excited about the prospect of starting despite being a little apprehensive, (not so easy to back out when you know that someone is relying on you to motivate them as well!).
Prior to speaking with me, Victoria had already formulated her plan and downloaded the C25k Pro app following recommendations from her some of her friends who had used it previously.
The Couch to 5k apps themselves are a dime a dozen, all with the ultimate goal of getting you to run a 3.1 mile, (or a 5k). On the face of it that seemed quite a hurdle, but I promised Victoria that I was as invested as she was. I said this trying to sound positive but secretly worrying that I might let her down because I was so unfit! (No, that was not an option I told myself!).
Due to the fact that the weather has been so gorgeous and sunny we decided that it would be more sensible for us to complete our sessions at around 6 am before it starts to really heat up. It has been far too hot to wear my full length Lycra leggings so I dug out my old faithful grey capri yoga pants. They are the most comfortable pants I own although they have definitely seen better days!
The C25k Pro is a 9-week programme where you train three times a week, ideally you should give yourself a day off after each session to recover; I have been running three times a week.
For each session you always start with a brisk 5 minute warm up, and end with a 5 minute cool down.
When you open the C25k Pro app and press start, a voice will start giving you instructions. The app is designed to be used with your own music and the music automatically goes silent between instructions.
For the first four weeks you just follow the same program for each session. As expected, the first week is easy but it gets progressively more challenging as you progress throughout the weeks.
Ok, so here goes…
Brisk five-minute warm up walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking of a total of 20 minutes.
Session 1 – I am sure that this first session should have been easier, unfortunately we picked the worst possible route as it was nearly all up hill. As a result, my poor heart was literally beating out of its chest. At one point my Garmin vívosmart® HR recorded a heart rate at +179, (how unfit am I!) If Victoria had not been there running alongside me I think I probably would have stopped. It just goes to show that exercising with a friend can be a great motivator.
Session 2 – This time we picked a much flatter route and completed this session without much difficulty. This is the first time I started to liken Victoria’s running style to that of a gazelle running on the plains of Africa! (sorry Victoria, I had to mention it! ha ha). Her strides are so long and they have so much spring in them, I felt like the tortoise following the hare most of the time! Hopefully I will build up enough stamina to overtake her one day 😉
Session 3 – This was a great session. I was able to maintain casual conversion which meant I could vent to Victoria about the previous day which made me feel so much better!
Week 2 – x 3 sessions of brisk five-minute warm up walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
I did not have any issues with the three sessions during week two because I made sure that I paced myself. I quickly learnt I needed to slow down when I started to get out of breath. Much better to slow my pace down to catch my breath, as appose to pushing so hard that I end up stopping or giving up completely.
Getting comfortable with your breathing is really important so you have to get it right; as a beginner this is not an easy thing to do. I will never forget my PE teacher telling me that you should always breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. I never understood why as it always felt awkward. Personally I find it easier to breathe in and out using both my nose and mouth at the same time… (does that make sense?), it just allows me to take in as much air as possible. Other that the obvious downfall of exercising during the summer months, (fly’s in my mouth), this breathing technique, (if you can call it that) has been working well for me. What works well for you guys?
Week 3 – x 3 sessions of brisk five-minute warm up walk. Then do two repetitions of the following: jog for 90 secs: walk for 90 secs: jog for 3 mins: walk for 3 mins.
Session 1, 2 & 3 – I found this week harder and at times it was a struggle to keep going. One of the issues I encountered this week is that I started experiencing discomfort in my right shoulder. Even though I always try to make every effort to relax my shoulders, I think I am still quite tense as I am not yet at ease with my running posture. The fact that I have also been carrying my phone in my right hand has made things worse because the tension naturally runs from my hand into my shoulder. Moving forward I will either put my phone in my pocket or get an exercise belt, its an easy fix. Creating unnecessary tension in my body whilst running could easily lead to further issues down the line so I want to avoid this if at all possible.
To be continued….
Love Katie xxx
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