First off let me state that the Couch to 5K is awesome. If you want to start running even though you have never ran before, stick to this plan and you will amaze yourself.
About me: I'm 44yrs old, smoked since my early teens and I think the last time a ran was a football game with my mates about 20yrs ago. I stopped smoking last October but still use an E-cig. I know its one vice for another but it seems to be the lesser of the 2 evils. I got coerced by work mates into doing a 30 obstacle, 10K mud run this coming September for charity. So I agreed and set this as my goal for getting into better shape.
So I needed a plan to get me running and came across the C25K plan which seemed to have some very positive feed back. So I decided to give it a try and downloaded the 1st podcast. It still took me a few weeks to get my head around getting out and doing it. I realized im not going to get any motivation from anyone/anywhere but myself and quoted to myself "The road to nowhere is paved with excuses" So I decided the coming Tuesday would be my start day and there would be no excuses.
WEEK 1: Yay, its raining. Im not going running in the rain. EErr, hold on ....... NO EXCUSES!, oh god im really gonna have to do this, so off I went. The 5min warm up almost gets me to my local park, which aint too bad. I enter the park by the middle gate which is a stones throw from the football/playing field. This will be my running area for the next 2 weeks. My 1st 60sec run, OMG my lungs cant get enough air!! push on, push on, its ONLY 1 minute. After i finished the 1min jog(more like stumbling for the last 15secs) my mind was filled with so many negative thoughts. I felt so out of shape and I was feeling the possible damage I might have done to my lungs with all those years of smoking. I couldn't help but feel this was not for me and I was kidding myself thinking I could do anything so physical anymore, my mind raced. Then her voice came telling me its time to get ready for my next run ...... OMG, that wasn't 3mins walking! Why cant the 1min jogging go that quick and off I stumbled again. I completed all the runs without stopping and did so for the rest of the week. Lots of aches and pains came with it.
WEEK 2: I felt negative again before I started. I was was only just managing 60secs last week and now I have to go on for another 30secs. This was just not going to happen, i'll do my best but I dont see me doing 90secs. After the 1st 90sec run my negativity had to take the side line because I did it, it was hard but i did it. I did good for the rest of the week too and completed all the runs without stopping. Still had aches and pains all over the place.
WEEK 3: I started this week feeling a bit more positive. Its pretty much the same as week 2 but with a 3min run at the end. I wasn't thinking bad about the 3mins, I just thought I can only do my best and if I fail I have 2 more attempts at it this week. Things changed a lot this week and for the better. 1st, I bought some fell running shoes to do the mud run in and tried them on to break them in a bit. They felt comfortable and I decided to do my 1st weeks run in them as I was running on a soft football pitch. They felt great but most of all they relieved me of a shin pain I had in my left leg. I had a feeling the running trainers I bought had 1 shoe smaller than the other which caused my big toes to curl a little causing the pain in my muscle next to my shin after running for awhile. I also tried them on hard ground, even though the sole of the shoe is very stiff they have big treads on them that help cushion the ground impact. Combined with some cushioned running socks they have become my new running shoes. Second thing that changed this week was my running style. After Laura gave the tip on bouncing reducing your energy I realized im very bouncy when I run so I had to change my running technique. I found myself with more energy and less heavy breathing. With this new available energy I had to do something with it and decided to start running around the park instead of just the football pitch which was getting very boring. The park is a .85mile circuit with lots of ups and downs including an incline thats around a 5th of a mile long. It was a lot more challenging but I managed to do the week easily enough and ran for an extra 1-2mins of the last run. It was a good week and felt great.
WEEK 4: I found this week easy after week threes changes and was adding an extra 2-3mins to the last run if I had the energy. I also tried to increase my running stride a little.
WEEK 5: Negativity came back with vengeance this week. Many attempts at trying to push it to back of my mind failed. It was the thought of the last run of the week that mainly concerned me. Also with the runs in week 4 I could calculate which turn to take when I enter the park to avoid the long incline as much as possible. The incline is tough when you hit it towards the end of a run and really weakened my legs. With these longer runs this week I would have to face it on every run. The 1st two days running wasn't as bad as expected. Running the whole incline was tough during the run but after another 50yrds I would hit the decline which helped me recover a bit. I decided I wasn't fit enough to do the last run around the park and decided to look for flatter ground. I thought about running the canal but decided to run around the lakes on a nature reserve that was near the canal I planned to run. What a difference running on flatter ground is compared to what I have been running. I ran the 20mins quite easily but ran with a lot of pain for the last 8 mins. The tendon/ligament or what ever it that attaches your shin to the top of your foot really started to hurt. I tried to stamp it off but it persisted and with my body trying to offset the pain I also got a pain in my groin. I was glad when 20mins was over but disappointed as I was not out of breath and my legs still felt quite strong I could have probably ran for another 10mins. It was still a very good week and I was very pleased with myself.
WEEK 6: Full of positivity this week and looking forward to the last run as I plan to run for 30mins if I feel good. Long incline ... bring it on, Im looking for a good workout this week, increasing my stride a little and doing extra if the going is good. The heat this week was a little off putting, but the NO EXCUSES stance ive taken is still there and I got on with it. First run of the week felt great and a ran for an extra 9mins. Second run was good but it was very hot and i only managed an extra 3mins. Then came todays run. The wife wanted to watch a few films last night and got some wine in too. I was a bit reluctant to drink at 1st thinking about my run today but decided to have a glass which turned into a number of glasses. Woke up dehydrated and had to drink a few glasses of water an hour before my run. I was still feeling a bit rough when I started my run and thought i'd just do my 25min run if I could manage it. Looked at my phone around the 20min mark and checked the times, I was doing good. I was still feeling pretty comfortable and decided this was the day to do 5k. I also noticed if I increased my stride a little I could possibly do it in under 30mins. So I went for it and did it, my last Km being the fastest.
Even while writing this, I still can not believe I ran for 30mins. Thinking of how i felt during week 1 I didn't think I would do 5k in the 9 weeks let alone 6. The time seems to have gone so quick too, like I was only doing the 1min runs about 3 weeks ago. Its amazed me how quickly you can progress doing the C25K which at first seems like its going to be a struggle from start to finish. The C25K really is fantastic.
I'll continue doing the full 9 weeks and my goal is to run 5k in the park which is a lot more challenging than running on flat ground. Looks like i'll be doing it twice as my wife has agreed to start it next week which I was very pleased to hear. I'll have to run with her as our local park is not the safest place for a woman to be running alone. Then soon i'll have a running partner and who better than your best friend.
I'd like to thank the people behind the C25K plan, it really is great and I will recommend it to all my friends and family. Most of all, i'd like to thank the people in this community for all your positivity. This might be my 1st post on here but ive read lots and lots of your posts and it was your positivity that got me to do the C25K.
Anyone that is willing to support me by sponsoring my mud run can do so here: justgiving.com/Mark-Jones88
Any donation would be greatly received.