It's taken exactly 9 weeks with runs usually on Fridays, Sundays and Wednesdays. From my hesitant start running small circles in the park across the road (I wanted to be near home If anything went wrong) to confidently striking out on the local Parkrun route (not yet finished). From being a sweaty lobster to being a slightly less sweaty less red lobster. From running in anything I could find to owning a vast collection of brightly coloured Lycra, here are a few of the things I learned:
1. The programme works. It doesn't matter whether you use Laura or just follow the timings, you see the improvements week by week.
2. Running needs to become part of your life. Schedule your runs, make them part of your regular routine so the habit sticks.
3. Tell everyone what you are doing, they will keep you focused. This forum is a big part of that.
4. Focus on time and don't think about speed. If you want to track progress, measure distance as it will increase with time and with the small changes in speed that naturally occur.
5. At least in the south of England, the early morning is a wonderful thing, usually clear, often sunny, and less windy than it will become.
6. On the subject of wind, if you run in an open area, plan your run to avoid headwind.
7. For the women, invest in a good sports bra.
8. You don't need fancy running clothing but if you can afford it it helps with comfort and motivation.
9. Stretching is really important. My approach is warm up walk, stretches, run, stretches, cool down walk, more stretches (if you use Laura, pause her while you stretch).
10. Benefits include better mood, feeling more healthy, having more energy, being able to sleep better, better posture, better fitting clothes, being motivated to increase my activity in general and in particular do more walking and swimming.
I really can't thank the people on this forum enough for their continuous support, and I hope in turn my words will help others. Now onwards to the rest of my running life.
Good luck both to those still to complete, and those on the next stage of their running journey.