Apologies for the length of this post. I don't normally contribute to forums but having recently completed the 9 week programme and a regular, anonymous, reader of the forum posts I thought I needed to register to post my thanks and add my tuppence worth.
The reason I've taken up running is that I'm in my fifties, my job isn't physically demanding and other than walking our dog I don't get a great deal of exercise. I thought about different activities but most of them have fairly high startup costs whereas running is relatively cheap or at least manageable. I had downloaded the C25K app so armed with my iPhone, some music and of course Laura, I started out on week 1 wearing an old pair of jogging bottoms, a cotton t-shirt (that got heavier with every step) and a pair of pretend trainers. As I've progressed I've added a couple of bits to my new wardrobe to get me through the programme and Christmas will hopefully add enough to get me by.
If ever there was a time to give up it's after running for 8 x 60 seconds in that first session, when you're gasping for breath during the cool down walk (or crawl) and thinking "what an idiot, I'm not up to this". Over the weeks that feeling has gradually passed although the trepidation caused by each new stage in the 9 week programme never really left me. I was increasing in confidence week by week, often after reading comments on this forum, but each week brought a new challenge from Laura. Now that I've finished all I can say is listen to everyone on here, have confidence in the programme and of course yourself. Personally I don't think any of the weeks are easier or harder than the others it's all a matter of pushing through the weeks and getting inspiration from others on here who have been, or are going through, similar experiences.
One thing I should add is that during each session I could hear a wheezing above the music as I struggled for breath and after every session I found myself having a coughing fit that sometimes lasted an hour or so. It was only in week 8 that I, or at least my wife, had enough and decided to make an appointment at the local medical centre. I saw the asthma nurse who thought I may suffer from exercise induced asthma (apparently it's common in us athletes) and gave me an inhaler to try. I've only been using it for a fortnight but it's like running with an oxygen cylinder. I'm not suggesting anyone should just pick up any old inhaler but if like me you're suffering from coughing fits or hear a wheezing sound as you're running it may be worth getting checked out.
Thanks again to everyone who posts on here, I'm now running a regular route 3 times a week around the local loch which is just over 5km door to door and I can manage it in 30 minutes or so and feel I've achieved my first goal.