How has running changed your life?: Apart from... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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How has running changed your life?


Apart from the obvious of becoming fitter running made me much happier within myself. I became much more confident and prepared to try doing things that before I wouldn't have even contemplated doing! Your answers may help new runners just starting out that there are more benefits than just getting fitter ;) How has it changed you?

37 Replies

Apart from fitness, stamina and more toned legs? I would say running is also a great stress reliever. I have an hour commute there and back to work and after being sat at my desk all day in a stuffy office it's lovely to get out and run - it makes me feel very free. Even when I don't particularly feel like it or I'm tired it makes me feel better. It's a great headache cure and I find if I'm stressed the anxiety etc disappears after five minutes of running. Plus I haven't had a cold since I started running 3 times a week!

OldgirlGraduate in reply to achydunlin

Great results all round it's true that it's not just for fitness. I'm thinking that the C25k poster should promote the other benefits that could be achieved through running. Well done and thanks for reply.

achydunlin in reply to Oldgirl

Thanks! I agree though - it's not just fitness for me. I never thought I could run. I've walked, swam, been to the gym etc but often saw joggers/runners and thought "I wish I could do that..." but I thought I couldn't - running a mile just seemed impossible. C25K helped me do that in a nice, structured way - I didn't get any injuries and it was just enough to stretch me. It was do-able and the pride I now feel when I run along the seafront with the other 'proper runners' gives me a real boost of confidence.


Well I'm only on week 9 but I feel a lot better in myself since starting c25k. It helps to relieve stress, gives me a sense of achievement, improves my mental well being, I'm sleeping better which, in turn, gives me more energy the following day. These are just some of the benefits for me and I'm only just starting out ;o)

Rob_and_his_westieGraduate in reply to paul2014

"Only on week 9"??? My goodness, most people never even start! Great stuff!

paul2014Graduate in reply to Rob_and_his_westie

Lol :)

Rob_and_his_westieGraduate in reply to paul2014


No LOL, I'm serious. Don't underestimate what you've done here. Most never get close.

paul2014Graduate in reply to Rob_and_his_westie

Reading that made me stop for a second and yes, I have achieved a lot over the last 9 weeks. Thanks, Rob. You're right ;)


I think it's a bit of a stress-buster. I've just emerged from a work panic, but I kept running during it and didn't get quite as overwrought as I might have done.

And yup, I feel fitter. I also have a smug happy glow for a good few hours after a run.


It's made me feel really proud of myself and I am much more open to trying out different things now. Which is a good thing don't want to get into a rut at 56. Buying clothes is much easier too, not lost more than 3 or 4 pounds but everything looks better on me. I also feel smug, which is very unusual for me, and I like it :)


I'm happier, more focused, a little trimmer (though I was never looking to lose weight) and I have more energy. I feel like I'm 'doing something' with my time and I've explored places in my relatively local area I would never have seen if it wasn't for running to them :)

The benefits are incredible, I've always 'exercised' on a low level but running has impacted on me like nothing before.


Running has made me feel good- really good- about me. I feel fitter and more confident than I did before I started. Wish I'd discovered it 30 years ago when I was in my twenties!


Great things happening to all of you, stress busting and more confidence, happier within, it really isn't the first things that come to mind when you start this running malarkey, it just goes to show that its good for us in more ways than just fitness. Thanks and happy running :)

paul2014Graduate in reply to Oldgirl

So true. I would think most people start running 'just to get fit' but soon discover many more benefits.


i just love running. I may not be the most graceful speedy runner out there but i am a plodder and just go and do my 3miles 3 times a week. I get a huge sense of well being after each run, and even if i am tired and not really feeling like going, i do, 'cos i know i will feel great afterwards, instant gratification, much better than reaching for the tv remote or the biscuit box!!! It has given me something to talk about and given me confidence to join another sporting activity which i probably would not have done before. All in all it is an all round winner as far as i am concerned. I am really looking forward to retiring next year when i will be able to fit longer runs in and more sporting activities. I often wonder if i had been pushed as a child i may have enjoyed sport much more, cos i certainly am now i am older.

OldgirlGraduate in reply to carerof

Its good careof that many of us have found running later on in life, I was just 3 weeks off my 60th birthday when I stepped out of the front door for the first run (W1R1) it nearly killed me, it didn't stop me going again though. You are quite right too, with retirement not too far away you will have lots more time to get even more active. Running gave me the confidence to try Zumba class, Stability Fit & Body Pump, all these classes were designed for younger people and I was surprised to find I was able not only to keep up but hold my own among the younger fit class mates. :) You say you're a plodder but some of my happiest runs have been at a slower steadier pace, its not all about speed, its about enjoyment. The day I stop enjoying my running will be the time to hang up my running shoes. Happy running and thanks for replying :)


Oh my goodness, what a question, it's given me so much, confidence, I am contemplating cycling and maybe zumba, peace of mind, my stress levels have dropped dramatically, a sense of pride that I am doing what my kids cant , a weird feeling to shop till I drop for sportswear !! A keen desire to keep buying ugly beautiful running shoes, an urge to look up running events in my area, this is awful , wonderful, hated thing called running has me completely hooked !


Hahaha grannyjudes that would make Headlines on any news worthy sports magazine. It just goes to show how it can change lives. I can (hand on heart) relate to truly many of your listed life changes, well done :)

Running is something I thought was for other people. But, I believed in myself and trusted in Laura and now any more than three days without running seems to be just plain strange.

C25K itself made me feel special. It gave me a target. Now, I make my own targets: things that I never even dreamed of in times past.

I am no longer afraid to look at my profile as I pass shop windows.

When I lace up my Brooks's I am confident, more confident that I ever was before.

I buy sports gear for sport.

I wave at fellow runners as an equal.

I am the envy of those who know they could but just plain won't.

I run to live and I live to run.

I have purpose. I have direction. I have all of you to help me.

I am a runner.

OldgirlGraduate in reply to Rob_and_his_westie

Absolutely love it all, but one thing stands out for me as its so like my mantra on my ID tag and that's

'Live to run

Run to live'

Happy running Rob and thanks for smashing reply :)

poppypugGraduate in reply to Rob_and_his_westie

Rob, I just need to say I love this post, absolutely top notch ! :-) xxx

I've gone from what felt like the verge of a nervous breakdown (I don't know if that's the right terminology, but was signed off work with anxiety and depression and it was deemed bad enough that I got an NHS referral for counselling within a 2 week window - I was pretty unwell) to feeling 'normal' and able to cope with/enjoy life in the space of 2 months. Aforementioned excellent counsellor was a big help, as was mindfulness meditation, but the running has definitely been the quickest, most effective pick-me-up-and-put-my-back-on-my-feet-er. May not work for everyone, but my mental health is SO much better as a result of going out and getting sweaty :).

OldgirlGraduate in reply to the_tea_fairy

I'm so pleased you are well again and able to write about it too. Running has many hidden attributes it seems, better than any drugs from a packet or bottle. Wonderful results for you, well done. :)

(And during the worst bit I was struggling to eat at all and was down to 7 and a half stone. Have put on over half a stone since starting running, through a mixture of building muscle and just needing the fuel and feeling hungry again - feel SO much better in my skin as a result)


In the 5 weeks since I started c25k I'm in a better mood, more confident and less anxious. I'm sure that my family has noticed a difference. As well, running has given me a pastime that I look forward to doing and miss doing on my rest days. What started as a way to get fit and lose weight has become so much more.

OldgirlGraduate in reply to Lavender1962

Well done Lavender62, you are one of many that have benefitted like this. By the way rest days don't mean you can't exercise, they just mean refrain from running to give your muscles a rest and recovery period. You can however do other things like walking, cycling, swimming or even a DVD workout, something a little less energetic but beneficial could be yoga or pilates. Its a common feeling that new runners get, they need and want to do more on their rest days and other exercise will help build up your strength and stamina which in turn will help enormously with your running. All the best for the rest of the programme you're more that half way there now. :)

Only been out there for a couple of weeks but the changes have been quick to arrive.

I'm a lot less stressed than usual - I run my own business and my employees have commented on it....

Clarity of thought is much, much better as is my decision making. I'm crunching my way through a lot more work in a lot less time. In fact, for the first time in a long, long, long time, I took the afternoon off on a whim!

Not sure if it's coincidental but in the past two weeks, we've generated about 15% of projected annual revenue.

It would take a lot to make me give this up now.

Forgot to add:

- A number of people have asked if I've lost weight,,

- (We're all adults here, right?) Been a few changes to libido as well.

OldgirlGraduate in reply to DiabolicalLiberty

I would press the recommend button at least a dozen times for that one DL but the system doesn't let me, but loved it, its the first time that's been said. :)

I'm not that good at expressing myself with the written word , but I'm just more happier , I feel like there's something been added to my life even going on holiday & being able to get up & go for a run the holiday was better for it . I even feel more confident in my self . It's something that I would really miss if I couldn't do it because it's a big part of my life


It has enabled me to find the courage to find jobs (I'm self employed), as I was in a terrible rut and had low self esteem.

Just today after some upsetting things at the end of the day I just felt the need to go running, so I did, and I felt so free like I was shaking the days stresses away, I came back like new.

I was already fairly fit when I stared but feel more so now and have noticed a difference to my body, but mainly for me it has been mentally uplifting :-)


Running gives me pride in myself and develops my self-confidence. I feel more alive and more ready to see and grasp the opportunities that life presents. Most importantly I find that running provides me with a source of what I can only describe as 'longer term happiness and well being'.

Let me explain this a bit more... We live in a world or short term fixes. If I felt down I would often play a computer game / reach for the biscuits / watch a film / eat a takeaway, etc etc. These things gave me a 'lift' while I was experiencing them but the moment they finished all my problems and stresses would just return and often would be worse for having been postponed.

Running is under 'my control'. I am not dependant upon anyone or anything else to feel happy in myself. I burn the calories instead taking them on board. I get to out to see people and explore the countryside. I feel less stressed and good in myself and what' s'more - the feeling lasts!

I am just starting week 9 so maybe I will discover even more later on, eg perhaps my running will encourage others to take it up as well...

Many thanks and best wishes to everyone who has helped me on this forum. The sense of community is great.


I Have been struggling with a lot over the last few years. Now I'm running!

I have more confidence

I cope better with stress

I'm happier all round!

I enjoy everything that little bit more

I feel like I can achieve more

I have lost over 1 stone (2 to go!)

I find other exercise easier (especially cycling)

I really do believe in myself! This amazes me!

When I don't run I can feel the build up of stress and within a few days my mood totally changes! It's noticeable to everyone. Now my husband will say why don't you go for a run or to the gym... He wouldn't have done that before but can see what It's doing for me



Wow thanks to everyone who replied to my question, amazing replies and superb results this running gives. You have all helped me too as I've been out of action for many weeks with PF It's a long hard struggle and not my first time being on the injury bench. However your such positive replies have cheered me up and will help me get going yet again when I'm able. This is what this lovely running community is all about, helping others and you guys and girls are some of the very best :)


Great question old girl and amazing replies especially tea fairy which I can relate to. I have a slightly different answer though to the question as I have overall been a bit disappointed with the results from completing this programme. I have put on 7 pounds to now be the heaviest I have ever been and as I didn't so the programme for weight loss it's not really a problem but a bit disappointing as all my clothes feel tighter which makes me feel a bit self conscious, I am still by no means heavy but just 'heavier'. I don't feel my body has changed or toned at all but some people say that takes time and I have only been running 12 weeks! Apart from you wonderful forum friends I have had little encouragement, support or even praise from my direct family and I think that might be as I have now been missing 3 mornings a week and someone else has to do kids!! Don't get me wrong I have a wonderful husband who works 7 days a week and never complains but he doesn't like his routine changed. I completed the race for life for a dear friend who passed a way and I did feel a great sense of achievement but without her to share it with I found that a very sad day. I am sorry this is a bit negative but I wondered if there is anyone out there who feels the same? It has made me feel like giving up the running but the feeling of self achievement and that 40 odd minutes to myself 3 times a week is sacred now. Any thoughts comments? Off to Spain in a few hours and yes I am taking the runners!

OldgirlGraduate in reply to Nellyharte

Hi Nellyharte its interesting what you have written because my running has had a negative effect on my friendship with a very dear friend. When I started running she said I was mad (we could speak our minds we know each other like sisters) that I was far too old, she reminded me I had asthma and a heart problem. I told her I had checked this out with my doctor and he was encouraging to say the least. As time went on I stopped speaking about my running with her as she was not at all encouraging and sometimes even blunt to the point of rudeness. Nearly 4 years have gone by now and not so many months ago she said while we were out for lunch one day 'I wish I could run, could you teach me' My reply was I'll help you download the Podcasts but in my opinion its something your best doing yourself to begin with and it was left at that.

Everyone needs 'Me' time too especially busy mums with a house to keep and family to cook and clean for. So don't feel guilty about your 3 x 40 minutes a week you more than deserve it. You of course felt sad when you did the RFL and missed your friend but you were not alone feeling like that thousands throughout the country will have felt the very same way, but you did something to help others in the future, feel very proud of your achievement. Have a lovely holiday and remember to take water with you on your runs, Spain will be much hotter than here :)

notbadGraduate in reply to Oldgirl

Excellent answers from everyone, it's really touching to read. I think you were very wise regarding your friend OG, it really is IMO something we have to do by ourselves for ourselves, but you guided her to the right place.

I have a couple of people in my life who have said and continue to say negative things about my running over the last 2 years, it's sad and it bewilders me at times but I just get on and ignore it best I can. Fortunately my OH and son are supportive, in fact today my big strong 16 year old lad told me out of the blue he was really proud of me and inspired by my determination to build fitness. I can't explain how wonderful it was he said that, so I guess that is my answer to your original question OG, my running has made my lad proud of his old mum, pretty much as good as it gets. :-)

Nelly, it must have been a very emotional experience to do the rfl for such a personal reason, good for you - I'm sure she would be proud of you. Keep on enjoying that me time and if my experience is anything to go by you will be quietly steadily impressing a good example to your kids.

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