It’s over a month now since I revealed my plans to get fit and hopefully raise some money for Save the Children at the same time.
I had been planning to blog through every week of the Couch to 5k training programme, but with all the blog woes that I’ve had alongside all the time for the training itself I’ve struggled to find the time. This morning I completed week 6 of the training so now is definitely the time for a catch up.
I started this whole plan as unfit as possible! I walk loads, but that’s pretty much the only regular exercise I was doing. Before children I had run a couple of 5km races before, but both times I’d stopped running after the races themselves and never continues with any training. The fact that I’d had two kids in-between also meant that I wasn’t in any sort of running shape. I’d heard really good things about the Couch to 5km training programme so decided to give it a go.
Couch to 5k
Now for those of you that haven’t heard of this before the aim of the Couch to 5k programme is pretty much as the name suggests – gets you from sitting on the couch to running a 5km race in 9 weeks. The expectation is that you will train three times a week and each training session takes about 30 minutes. Over the 9 weeks you build up from alternating running and walking to running for whole 30 minute stretches. By following a structured plan like this you don’t risk trying to do too much at once and it also really helps to keep you focussed.
You can see the whole couch to 5k training plan on the NHS website and also download podcasts to listen to on your training runs. I chose to download a Couch to 5k app for my iPhone and have been following that on each of my runs and have also been finding the data that it collects for each of the runs really helpful in terms of seeing how far I’m running and how fast I’m going.
Week one really does start you off easily with just one minute of jogging and one and a half minutes of walking alternated for 20 minutes. Adding on a 5 minute walk at the start and finish to warm up and cool down and it was 30 minutes more exercise that I’d done since Master C was born and to be honest I was shattered at the end!
The second two runs of week one are the same and it was tough going. Very tough. Yet now that I’ve got as far as the end of week six I can look back and see just how far I’ve come and can say with a hand on my heart that it all seems so easy looking back!
The running times build up from then so that by week 3 you are running for 3 minutes at a time, and by week 4 it’s up to 5 minutes. Week 5 seemed like a big step up in terms of how long you have to keep going for. The first run of the week had you just doing 5 minute bursts of running, yet by the third run of the week it was 20 minutes of non-stop running. I never imagined it possible, but the training had paid off and I was delighted to find that I managed the whole 20 minutes. Well, truth be told, I actually managed 22 and a half minutes before I had to walk as my phone had a pop up message on it telling me my battery was running low and so I missed the app telling me that it was time to stop running and to move on to the cool down walk!
Come rain and shine I’ve been pounding the streets of St Albans and when I’ve felt like stopping I’ve tried to just think about those that just don’t have an option of stopping what ever may be hurting them – be it physical or emotional.
My Couch To 5k progress so far, recorded for all to see.
(One workout not recorded properly hence it saying 10 still to go!)
This morning I completed week 6 with a 22 minute run and the usual 5 minute brisk walk before and after. I managed to run a total of 4.13km and with the walking I covered a total distance of 4.68km in 32 minutes. There may have been about 30 seconds of walking in the middle whilst I necked some water, but I was still really proud of (and surprised at) how far I managed to go. Finally 5km really does seem achievable.
Please give generously
There’s just over a month to go until my race (8 June at the St Albans Half Marathon) and three weeks left of my training, so as long as I steer clear of any injuries I’m all on course to hopefully complete. I therefore feel it’s time to actually start asking you lovely people to please put your hand in your pocket and start sponsoring me. As I’ve said before I’m running this race to raise money for Save the Children as I want to do my bit to help that they work that they do for children around the world. Even if you can only spare 50p every little bit of money really does help and it can make real differences to children who no longer have a childhood. My sponsorship page is here and if you want to read more about the work Save the Children are doing then have a look at what I learnt when I went to their bloggers conference earlier this year.
And as for the running bug – six week in and I still don’t seem to have found that!