Couch to 5K
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B210k W1R1 Review

It seems my horror weekend 13km debacle did have a silver lining after all. The epic quest (for me anyway) has thoroughly loosened my stiff calf. After a few days recovery I felt good enough to return to some intervals today and I gave Bridge 2 10k with a lady called Samantha a go.

Week 1 is running for 10 minutes x 4 with a 1 minute walk in between. Add on your 5 min warm up/down walks and that is a 53 minute time commitment. That 40 mins running is a huge step up from 30 minutes running by my reckoning. If I hadn't managed the C25K+ podcasts I think I would have struggled.

So, on with my new travel belt for storing new front door key and Samantha's perky American tones send me on my way. First thing I noticed is that Samantha is quite quiet compared to Laura so you need to have your headphones quite loud to catch her. Secondly Samantha is a rewarder not an encourager like Laura was. This means she will tell you to start running and 10 mins later tell you what a great job you did whilst Laura would coach us by chirping in every so often. She seems like a nice lady though.

The music Samantha has chosen is probably more to most people's taste as it is "real" songs rather than the musac I am used to with Laura. One thing I did find was that there was a bit of a bias to songs about ladies getting their heart broken or being strong willed. Thus with my burgeoning strong independent woman's spirit, I powered along.

Since I have been at this since January I knew I would have to slow down a bit and take this slow and steady. Thus as the end of the first 10 mins approached and I thought I would just run straight through to the end of the second 10 minutes with no walk break, I realised that might take its toll later in the run. I stopped after 10 minutes and was quite happy. Amazed that I was breathing normally within a few steps, running is brilliant for you! Other than first minute "oh my goodness, go home you loser, you can't do this!" usual doubts all was well thus far.

The second stint was fine and I worked out that 10 minutes is about 2 and a half songs. That seems like not much so I dawdled on. A real runner passed me going the other way looking like he could run for another few days, he gave me the knowing runner's nod and puffing along I gave him a big ol' thumbs up.

The 3rd stint was a bit tougher. I noticed that I hadn't quite got my breath back this time and the start was much harder. I imagined Laura saying "You're doing great" but felt like I was really waiting for Samantha to tell me to stop.

The 4th stint was on the big hill that my calf hates. Fortunately the minutes walk took out the first wee bit of it so that helped. I struggled up the hill and again made the odd observation that it feels hardest to run at the start of the easier downhill bit and not the steep climb (is that just me?). The last song/5 mins of this bit was definitely tough. It was a dig deep moment and without a 1 minute to go warning, I was happily surprised when Samantha said stop. I was knackered and legs felt like they did after my first ever 30 min run.

Turns out I jogged 6km in 43 minutes which is pretty good. The return to intervals was quite nice and I hope the repeat runs feel a smidge easier so I can go up to week 2. Would I recommend it? Yes if you liked intervals and stretching your distance, no if you need lots of encouragement or only use one headphone (you wont hear the instructions). One thing I learned though was that at this stage I find myself more and more planning my routes as I am travelling somewhat farther afield these days.

7 Replies

I agree with you, whilst not using the same podcast as you I am doing a B210K with interval running and find it quite good.

Glad you are enjoying it. I started running too quickly on the first segments and ran out of steam towards the end, so now I am trying to pace myself a bit better.


I am still surprised by how tempted I am to go for it at first. I think I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that complete is better than compete at this stage. I look forward to reading your first 10k report!


I do keep thinking about trying these... Truth be told, I still struggle with 30 mins non-stop much of the time (having graduated last November!), and can't quite decide if going for longer runs would help with this, or would be a foolish plan doomed to failure! ;) You've made it sound like a real possibility though, so perhaps I'll go through the 5k+ set another time or two, then give these a go...

Well done for your mammoth weekend run, and for what sounds like a great and well-paced run this morning :)


I'd say give it a go - I find 5k still hard work most times, but doing an extra bit on the end is, if anything, easier than the first 2k. By then my legs have loosened up a bit, and it's just a matter of keeping going (ha!) Easily said!

I do find that it works best to trick myself into it though. I don't use music, just a garmin, so I go out thinking I'll run for 30 minutes, which takes me just over 3k, then I've warmed up, so I think maybe I'll do 5k today, and then maybe I'll do a bit more. Once I kept going to 10k! That was a bit of a surprise, as I'd only done 7 before then. I'm not at all sure I could go out intending to run more than 5k. :)


It was a smidge daunting I must admit. Perhaps you could give it a go and plan to stop after the 3rd set of 10 minutes? If you feel good after the third you can always give the 4th a good go? It wasn't easy but it felt a lot like the 5k training so I enjoyed the gentle challenge. Good luck if you do go for it!


I'm on week 4 of Sam's podcasts (3 x 18 minutes) and so far so good. I do just a bit more than 7K, but I think the intervals really strengthen your legs and I like the high I get too :-)

I only do 1 "Sam run" a week -- maybe 2 -- but intersperse with a Speed (C25K+) and a 30 minute run. That is following advice from good runners on this forum.

I am in no hurry wahtsoever. I'll get there. I also did the 5 x 50 challenge. This time last year I was still a Couch Potato!


I'm doing an Ease into 10k programme, similar to B210k, but over more weeks. I have also enjoyed the return to intervals but was a little shocked when I veered from the programme on Sunday to run a straight 5k, and realised I could no longer run for 30 mins straight without a break. I took a 1 minute walking break halfway through the run. I still covered 5k in 31 mins, so not a disaster time wise, but I hadn't released how my body has seemed to become dependant on the walking breaks!


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