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.