Couch to 5k - and why it is utterly brilliant!

Hi everyone

Laura here – the voice of the NHS Choices Couch to 5k podcasts.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it before - Couch to 5k is a plan designed to help you learn to run 5k in 9 weeks. The NHS Choices Couch to 5k plan comes with a set of free podcasts for you to listen to on your three runs per week.

And for those of you who are feeling sceptical or who don’t like the idea of running, you’re in very good company!

I really hated sport at school. I wasn’t much good at it and games lessons were the low point of my school timetable, especially (and somewhat ironically) if they involved running. So like lots of people out there, I gave up exercise at the first opportunity and apart from some half-hearted efforts to cycle to work or do yoga, I really was very inactive for nearly 10 years.

In January 2010, aged 27, I decided it was time I did something about my activity levels and I started following the Couch to 5k plan.

People who are fit and active don’t understand how hard it can be to start exercising. I was such a beginner that I didn’t even own suitable clothing or footwear. It really was starting from scratch for me.

But that’s one of the reasons why I can’t recommend this plan enough. It speaks to you as a beginner and understands that running for longer than a minute can sound very scary to someone who isn’t very active. Week one begins with just a minute of running at a time.

From then on, the plan builds your confidence at the same time as it builds your fitness levels. By the time you reach the weeks which require you to run for longer chunks of time – it feels like a challenge you really want to tackle head-on rather than the impossible that you’d rather shy away from.

One thing I didn’t have during my journey was the support of other people doing Couch to 5k. I think when I was struggling with motivation, mild injury or even fear – the opportunity to share my thoughts and ask questions would’ve been of real value.

So whether you are building up to starting Couch to 5k or doing it already – come and share your experiences and we can all make the journey together.

Happy running!

Laura

6 Replies

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  • Brilliant to see you are still about Laura :)

    You're advice on the podcasts has really helped me go from being wheezy at the thought of running for a minute, to completing week 3 today! I can run for 3 mins and still have juice in the tank to carry on (even if my legs feel like cold lumps of lead in this cold February weather!).

    For anyone that feels dubious about this plan - TRY IT and you will feel so proud of what you achieve each run.

  • Congratulations @mirandababes! It sounds like you're doing brilliantly and it's obvious you've been bitten by the Couch to 5k bug. I think there's something extra rewarding about running in this weather too...

    Really hope to see you posting again. Keep us all updated with - and inspired by - your progress...

  • Hey Laura!!

    I have long since graduated the C25k, did the B210k and am now on a 10 mile training prog. Having a great time and did a 5 mile race at Exmouth last Sunday, finishing in 44 mins exactly. Not bad for an old lady of 51. If you'd told me last summer that I'd be running four times a week and enjoying myself I'd have thought you were stark raving mad.

    Doing a 6 miler down a disused rail track turned cycle, walking and running trail down to Padstow (of Rick Stein fame) from Wadebridge on Sunday and just can't wait!!

    OH has just finished week 6 of the C25k (I think on the premise of if you can't beat them, you'd better join them!) and is felling very pleased with himself. I have been singing the praises of the programme to anyone who will listen.

    Whatever you do, don't stop running, and thank you so much for switching over to this much more user friendly interface, messaging and all! Fantastic!

    CaroleC

  • Nice to have some background on you. You Laura who has been telling me to walk or run for a few weeks. I am on Week 5 day 3 tomorrow and the thought of running for 20 mins is a bit scarey but I am looking forward to it.

    i have always been a runner but over the last few years due to getting too fat and then a bad hip I have not been able to run. I always scorned any sort of 'help' but when I realised this program was a podcast that you just listen to and do as your told I thought I would give it a go.

    I would have been stressing about whether I was doing too much to soon or not enough etc but now I don't have to worry. Just plug in and go its great.

    I have been telling everyone here in Australia about it, don't think anyone has taken it up though which is a shame.

    What is B21k CaroleC? Sounds interesting.

    I have previously done loads of fun runs and a half marathon, and before that when in my teens ran for my county and even my country (cross-country) (I have a certificate to say I did but I can't remember it, how does that work?) So am an experienced runner and still found the program great.

    We have the opposite conditions here one day I went out running and it was 38 degrees, now that is hot and dedication!!! LOL.

    DibDob xxx

  • Hi Laura,

    Good to see you on here. Thanks to your encouraging words I have managed to complete the first 7 weeks of this challenge. I've run in snow, wind and rain with my coldest run at minus 7 and can't believe that I am this fit already. I thought I would never manage to run for a minute never mind 25 minutes. I've not measured how far I've run but pretty sure I will be no where near 5K by week 9 but I'll work on speed later, I am just pleased as punch that I have managed to get this far. Week 8 starts tomorrow morning. This is a brilliant programme.

    Blueboots x

  • Running for less than a minute is scary for lots of people!

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