Couch to Half Marathon - my journey thanks to C25K!

First of all, here are some pictures documenting my journey:

I thought I would make a post here because although it has been a while since I completed C25K, it was that program that started it all off for me and today was the culmination of a journey started with a 1 mile jog/walk back in January.

I found C25K after deciding that I wanted to make a change in my life. I was eating unhealthily, I was woefully unfit, and being in between jobs, I had some time on my hands. On the seventh of January, I went out for a jog for the first time ever. I had done some sports in school years ago, but I had never just run, so it was all new to me. I made it 1.2 miles in 12:45 which included lots of walking, and I was completely exhausted. The next day I made it 1.4 miles at a similar pace. I was pretty disappointed in myself. I didn't know much about running and thought it would be easier than that! I read up a bit online and found out that it actually wasn't that easy and that there was a specific program made for people like me, C25K! I decided to start C25K using the NHS (British National Health Service) free podcasts and after 2 days of rest, I started W1D1 on the 11th January. At the same time I started counting calories.

The structure of C25K helped me massively. I am not a particularly disciplined person and having a program to follow made it easier to get out there. I found week one really hard and week two nigh on impossible, but I didn't fail a run and kept on pushing myself. I took it nice and slow and learnt over time that I am definitely not a naturally gifted or fast runner! I worked through the program week by week and got myself to the end of week 8 in subsequent weeks. I took a rest for a week there as I developed a really sore blister on the bottom of my foot that just would not heal. Luckily it healed in a week and I went on to finish W9D3 and the program on the 17th March. I ran my first ever 5k on W9D2 in 35:25 and ran another on W9D3 in 32:48. I was done! I had completed the hardest thing I had ever done in my life, so I then looked at how I could put myself through even more pain! I knew I didn't want to stop there so I made a plan to slowly increase my mileage until I could run 10km non stop. At this point I decided not to use B210K and go it alone, but it wasn't long until I had another program to follow. On the 4th April I took the plunge and entered a local Half Marathon even though I was definitely a fair way off from being ready for it. I knew that if I actually put some money down, I would feel more desire to actually continue.

I found a Half Marathon plan on RunKeeper (I use both Strava and Runkeeper) which had me starting on the 24th May, but I wanted to get a 10k under my belt before then. By increasing my mileage slowly, I managed to do so on the 14th May, making me feel like I was ready to embark on another training program. I also managed to run my first sub 30 min 5k during this time so increased milage is definitely the right way to increase speed! My Half Marathon program had me running 4 times a week for a total of 64 runs (including the final race) in 4 months. Through the four months I encountered a number of injuries, lapses in dedication to the cause, and other struggles, but I only missed 5 runs and kept it up. I ran a 10k race as part of the program on the 29th June (57:07) as I wanted at least the experience of racing amongst people before the big race. I ramped up my milage as per the program and ran 10 miles for the first time on the 2nd August. The program was working and although my body was hating me for it, I was seeing improvements! The program actually had me running the full distance before the race, and then tapering, so on the 22nd August I ran 13.1 miles for the first time. I ran it slow and struggled through it but I made it! I knew then that I had to be able to finish the race so I suppose it felt a bit easier from there.

The last 3 weeks of the program had me running less miles and I'm so happy it did! I was having some problems with pain in my legs and this pretty much cleared up with the tapering. I ran a final ParkRun last Saturday to see how my pace had improved, and I managed to run my first sub 25 minute 5k (24:52)!

Now to the race! I'm not going to say it was easy but the training certainly paid off. The race I had chosen was not a flat one, and was very tough. The hills really took it out of me and after starting off at a fair pace, my pace suffered due to the inclines. That said, I did finish without walking and was very close to my very far off goal of running sub 2 hours. I finished in 2:01:26 and with a smile on my face! My long journey started off with that 1.2 mile run and culminated in this 13.1 mile one. I am so proud of myself at actually following through on something and not giving up. Throughout these 8 months I have gone down from 95kg (209lbs) to 66.5kg (146lbs) and am hoping to maintain now.

I don't know what the future holds, and I can't say I am completely in love with running, but I do want to carry on and plan on signing up for a 10k soon. I want to maybe run another Half Marathon next year and if I go completely mad, I may end up running a full marathon the next year. I hope this has been a good story to read, as it has definitely been a good one to live through, and I hope it will give some of you current C25Kers some inspiration! The program works and is well worth following through. Good luck and keep it up, and if you are as mad as me, I hope to see you running a Half Marathon and more soon!


Featured Content

Join the NHS Couch to 5K community

Couch to 5K has been designed to get you off the couch and running 5km in just 9 weeks

Start today!

Featured by HealthUnlocked

26 Replies

oldest β€’ newest
  • Well done Matt - what an inspiring story and the photos of your weight loss are a great testimony to your perseverance.

  • So much good advice and 'real world' experience there :) Thank you for sharing it and Congratulations on your Run :)

  • Great story and photos Matt 😊

  • Just fantastic, Matt. It's posts like this that inspire me and keep me going when it all feels a bit grim (on IC at the moment) and pointless. Thank you!

  • Well done that man!!

    Don't forget to run for fun.

  • This is a really inspirational read! Thank you ☺

  • Brilliant story!! Thank you for taking the time to share :)

  • Wow that is really inspirational and great to know there are all these programmes out there for us after we finish C25k - like you I need the structure to keep pushing me on. Well done.

  • Absolutely fantastic.. well done Matt! Awesome achievements :) such determination and staying power.. :)

    C25k is such a fabulous begining.. felt so proud on my graduation day! I,'ll never forget it :)

    I've since ran my first 5k race ..been a life changing experience for me also.. health is so much improved..eating vegetarian ..striving to vegan diet.. and lost 3 stone in 8 months.. feels fantastic to be this active now as I turned 50 :)

    Hope you keep up your running and maintaining your healthy life style..

    Whatever the future holds.. Good luck and thanks for sharing..

  • I love this post! It is so nice to read about how far you have got from c25k. There's hope for us all πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

  • Great photos and brilliant post. Well done.

  • What a great and inspiring story, Matt. You should be so proud of everything you've achieved in such a short space of time :)

  • Wow - great journey. Well done Matt!

  • A great story and some great times in there along the way. Do keep running for relaxation and general fitness and dare I say "fun" for a while before embarking on another training programme. I would imagine you'll be signing up for another event in the not too distant future, but for now just go out and run "because you can"!

    Thanks for sharing your story, I'm sure it'll be an inspiration to many.

  • Thank you for writing your story of the last few months - it was great to read it. Congratulations on your achievements, it's amazing what we can do with a little determination! Good luck in your future running adventures!

  • Amazing achievement in just 8 months Matt! It is incredible really what weight loss and exercise does for you, you look years younger. You sound like someone with a lot of grit and determination so I hope you find some new goals that inspire you. I bet you will :)

  • What a story. You have totally transformed yourself! Good luck with your future goals. With your determination, you obviously have the gumption to succeed at anything you put your mind to. Thanks for sharing your journey. :)

  • Well done mattbudd, I'm just half way through the programme and your story is so inspiring, thank you.

  • That's amazing! You are justifiably proud of yourself. And a huge inspiration to me. I'm on week 8 of C25K and hope to continue running, 10 k and then dare I say, maybe a half-marathon! Who knows! But I've been doing some research into running once C25k ends and the take-home message for me from your experience is to increase mileage to increase speed. Thank you.

  • Lovely, inspiring post! What a fantastic journey you have been on in such a short time! And big well done on your Half Marathon!πŸ™‚

  • Awesome! What fantastic progress over 8 short months. Well done πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

  • What an inspiration- well done Matt!

  • You are totally inspirational :) Well done

  • Wow! Inspirational ... I started C25K last November and since graduating have managed a 10k and in 2 weeks am attempting my first Half Marathon ... a 19k training run tomorrow before tapering means I'm dreading it but almost looking forward to the challenge so thanks for your story, it's given me a bit of a lift. Great times you've been getting by the way!!! :-)

  • Great story, thanks for sharing and very well done! Such an achievement to be able to run a half marathon from the couch, and in such a short time! You look great, what a difference physically but mentally too I am sure. Your story should be on the NHS website. All the best for the future and happy running!

  • Great story and well done. I did C25K just over two years ago. I regularly run 12km so I'm looking for my next challenge. I will sign up for a half marathon - it's only another 9km longer than I'm already doing so how hard can it be?! πŸ˜‚

You may also like...