Student Journalist and fellow runner Question

Hello, I am a student journalist and fellow couch to 5k enthusiast. I am writing an article about the couch to 5k programme and would love to hear people's thoughts on the programme. Whether it is a success story, a reason why you have decided to complete the programme, or how you keep yourself motivated to keep going and stick to the programme!

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  • Hi Gemma

    I think it's a fabulous programme. I followed it January to March this year, starting as a relatively unfit late 50s female, who was gaining a bit of weight and getting lethargic. I started because I wanted to improve my general fitness and health, and I liked the idea of something I could do in my own time with minimal investment. Sticking with the programme was fairly easy because the 'gains' seemed to come quite quickly. The programme is designed to build you up gradually, and for me, the weekly increments in running time were about right. The increased energy I got from it also got me back into swimming. The swimming complements running very well, as it can be done on running 'rest' days.

    Some 10 months on, I am running and swimming regularly, and also doing other forms of exercise. The weight creep has reversed, and I have lost about a stone without changing diet. My blood pressure has reduced, and my waist / hip measurements etc have reduced. I sleep better and have bags more energy. I have noticed the payback into day to day life as I can walk much faster /much further without getting tired. I also think the combination of exercise and being outside is a great mood booster. I am lucky to live somewhere where I can run by the sea and it is one of my favourite things to do.

    The gains initially motivated me to carry on. I think, at 10 months in, it's an established habit that I wouldn't want to break. If there are occasions when I can't get out as often as I would like, I feel frustrated. My success drew my husband into running, and he has if anything achieved bigger gains. Although we don't run together (we run at a different pace), it's nice to set off out together and meet up at the end. C25K naturally leads many people (me included) into Parkrun, which is another great initiative and a way to keep the running going.

  • I did a big long post here about the stimulus and benefits if you fancy a read? Happy for you to use bits for writing/research but would like to be fully anonymous.

    healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

  • Thanks tea fairy, that made me go back and read it. I remember enjoying it the first time around!

  • 1) I found brisk walking unsustainably painful when I wanted to add some exercise to weight loss efforts (having found doing it once before without exercise feasible but quite a grind... I have never been a hobby dieter)

    2) I knew that however good my reasons for limited exercise might be, they did not give me a pass to avoid the long term risks of not exercising

    3) I knew deep down that I did not suffer from 'kinaesiophobia' an irrational fear of exercise as is claimed by so-called experts on my health condition. Embarking on C25K was safer and cheaper than other options (I was only being asked to run for 60 seconds, right?... and emphatically *not* every day which was key) Graduating and keeping running (3 and a half years) is a big fat finger up at those ignorant and unethical individuals. Sadly too people take you more seriously if you are not overweight (that whole wicked 'fat=lazy' metric) so that's one more burden I don't have to deal with having gone from obese to healthy weight. I am not cured or recovered and most of my days still need to be spent largely in bed and running is so much looser than brisk walking.

  • I am 52 years old and was a non runner three months ago a, trying to lose weight through counting calories and trying to find some form of exercise to improve my health. I started C25K using the podcasts and didn't think I would be able to run but wanted to give it a try. The people on the Forum were so encouraging and it soon became a great family that was there to support each other no matter what. I graduated 6 weeks ago now, run 5k X 3 times a week, including parkrun. This is a programme that seems to do the impossible but it works! Julie ๐Ÿ˜„ PS I've lost 22 lbs so far with healthy eating and exercise

  • There are thousands of em on here! Get a cuppa tea and read on.

  • Hi Gemma

    Fantastic / unbelievable/ incredible/ amazing / healthy........

    It made me a new woman.

    I started C25K to go with the NHS 12 weeks weight loss program.

    Because the 12 week weight loss program worked for me, I trusted C25K. I knew if I could do the impossible with the 12 week program, I could do the impossible with C25K. I knew it had to work.

    Also I am proud and a bit of a show off so I "basque" with delight at the amazing moments when my friends, neighbours, family realise what I am doing. Their looks are priceless. I can see amazement, envy, and proudness. I feel sooo special.

    Now my fitness has improve heaps. The days I run, I feel all hyped up. I can do everything I want to do. I am full of energy.

    In the early 1800, a guy named Napoleon said "impossible is not French" , because of my French origin, I can say "Impossible is just not in my language"

    I am sure most of us think that way!

    Cheers

    M

  • My son is a good middle distance runner, running fir Tipton Harriers. He told me that virtually anyone can run. I am 49 and have never enjoyed sport. At school I was always the last to come back from a cross country run! In recent years I have had knee ligament and cartilage operations, plus blood pressure problems. I have tried to keep fit with aerobics, so my weight is fine. My 50th birthday is looming, so in September I decided to look for a challenge and came across the couch to 5k programme. I thought I'd give it a try with my daughter supporting me. It has been tough and I have discovered just how unfit I was! Gasping for breath after running for one minute! The programme does seem to work though. I'm not saying it is easy, because it definitely isn't! There is a huge battle in the mind, telling you to give up after a few minutes. I also wouldn't say I enjoy it, but you get a brilliant sense of achievement. I am on week 8 and have had to stop temporarily due to spraining my ankle. Hopefully in the next couple of months I will be fit to finish it off. In a nutshell the programme works. You can repeat a week before moving on to the next and you can achieve more than you ever thought possible. Before my injury I was actually getting excited about entering a Parkrun. This is unheard of as I have always been more a spectator than a participant. I'm looking forward to graduating from the programme.

  • I'm only one W7R1 so I'm well on my way to graduating. I'm overweight and have had high blood pressure for the past 25 or so years and on handful of meds for that. I hoped I would lose a bit of weight and look/feel a bit better with running so I started this programme. But no luck. I look the same, I feel the same, and I haven't lost a smidge of weight.

    BUT I started getting dizzy spells. So I checked my pulse and it was way ,way down. So I went to the doc who halved one of my BP medications saying that as I had started running my heart was that bit stronger. It's been 3 weeks now since I changed and I'm still getting the dizzy spells. So I phoned the doc who took me off one of the pills altogether! So although there's nothing to see outside, inside there must be big changes going on INSIDE now I've started running. I was told I would have to take BP medications all my life, and possibly up some of the doses over time as I got even older. It does feel good to prove them wrong!!!

  • Definitely a success story for me. I struggled to do the first week when i started 6 months ago. Next weekend i am doing a half marathon. I've given up smoking after 35 years and eat more healthily. I feel a lot better for it and enjoy getting out there early in the morning. The motivation for me to keep going are the fitness benefits and the next race!. Once i finish one i try and book something else up to give me something to aim for.

  • I found C25K through a friend when I had to give up my beloved swimming due to ear problems. My friend is a journalist and wrote a fabulous blog on his progress. I thought if he can do it so can I....I'm still surprised that I can actually run, and how much I enjoy it. I've lost over a stone in weight which I didn't think I needed to do, but obviously my body thought different....

    I think I may have found the solution to my swimming problems, but actually I don't think I'll bother, I'll just stick with my running...

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