What I've learned doing C25K

I promised some observations of what I've learned. Here goes (in no particular order):

(1) You're all an incredibly friendly bunch of people on this forum! Why can't the world be more like this?

(2) It seems I've made it through with much less difficulty than I imagined at the start. This is probably because I'd lost about a stone in weight using the 5+2 diet before (I was just over 17 stone in March!) I lost about half a stone further during the course. Also I cycle 6 miles each way to commute to work. But the people I admire the most here are those who have had a much greater struggle to get through - who have had to repeat weeks, or have struggled with health issues. The fact that you all have doggedly stuck to it and refused to give up, even if it took you a long time, is a real inspiration - you should all be very proud of your determination to get there!

(3) Running is definitely good for your mental health! What I haven't shared before is that I am having a very stressful time at the moment; my 87 year old mother has Parkinson's and also looking increasingly like dementia. I am the only child and live 50 miles away. A few telephone conversations to make sure she is taking her meds correctly when she gets muddled up have left me feeling absolutely helpless. Currently she is refusing to move from her house. There have been a couple of evening runs I have done when I felt I really NEEDED to do it just to clear my head. Also I have found morning runs really set you up for the day - after today's run I had this incredible sense of well-being and calmness that lasted several hours. I might end up as an endorphine junkie!

(4) Like just about everyone, I absolutely dreaded Week 5 Run 3 and Week 6 Run 3 as they both seemed such a huge step up from their respective Run 2's. I've seen many posts here expressing that dread, and I felt it too. But at the end, it wasn't too bad at all! I think the program prepares you for it, and the wisdom of having so many people do it kind of proves it works. So if you're reading this and not looking forward to Weeks 5&6 - try not to worry - it WILL be OK, honest!

(5) The most important lesson I've learnt is summarised in two words for me: SUSTAINABLE PACE. Find the pace where your body can sustain running for long periods of time. If you get out of breath, slow down till you get to your SUSTAINABLE PACE (there - I put it in capitals for emphasis). You will find as you get fitter that your sustainable pace gradually gets faster of its own accord.

(6) Rather than using up energy reserves and leaving me shattered, I find that doing this program has given me MORE energy than I had before. A couple of weeks ago I spent a couple of days in an office move, hefting furniture about, loading lorries, and running up and down stairs. When I first ran up the four flights of stairs, I suddenly realised to my great surprise that I wasn't out of breath! (As I had been before). After the whole day, I wasn't at all tired, and went and did the Week 8 run in the evening.

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15 Replies

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  • A good post and advice

  • Wise words

    Sorry to read of your mum. You've inspired me to stop moaning on and get back out there!

  • Brilliant post, thank you. Particularly agree with point 1!

    Re your ma, I fully sympathise. Mine is 89, has alzheimers, a nether-region prolapse, trigeminal neuralgia (hideous nerve pain in the jaw), a heart murmur and lung cancer but I have the opposite problem...she's lived with me for nearly 3 years and believe me, it's horrendous, utterly draining on top of a 13 hour a day job! Medication confusion??! Don't!! I have to keep it all hidden or else she keeps taking it because she doesn't remember she's already done so!! I hope you have got support with people visiting your ma daily? And attendance allowance to help you pay for it? Best wishes!

  • We have carers twice a week for two hours. Took quite a time for her to agree to that. Probably soon will go to once a day for a short period to sort the meds out. Attendance allowance forms in progress ( a 47 page form!) and also Lasting Power of Attorney. She has Parkinson's, heart valve disease, and looks like vascular dementia (though not fully diagnosed). Probably the most frustrating thing is that three different NHS hospitals are involved in her care (Watford General - Cardiology, Hillingdon - Anti-Coagulation, and Mount Vernon - neurology), and of course none of them communicate with each other!

    That's why the running keeps me sane. It's remarkable how calm you feel after a good run. Those endorphines are pretty remarkable natural drugs!

    Sounds like a real nightmare for you! Hope the running saves you from major burnout too!

  • Sustainable pace- you are absolutely right, it has taken a while for me to appreciate this but I now know that when I find it, that is when I start to enjoy the run.

  • Sustainable pace, brilliant made me rethink what I'm doing

    Went out today, r1w5, slowed it down a bit and nailed it.

    best bit of advice I think I've read on here

    Wishing you all the best with your Mum, it's not easy I know

  • Great advice and observations πŸ™‚

  • Love this post so much. It really sums up the whole process and reasons why running improves both mental and physical wellbeing. I can only imagine what people in your situation are going through having lost both my parents by the time I was 26. My admiration goes out to all who have these struggles to deal with on a daily basis 🌟

  • Great observations Iain..

    Sorry to hear of your mother's health issues, it must be very stressful for you. Times like these are when you pull on your reserves, and it's good you have found running gives you chance to unwind.

    Keep strong, and keep running...x

  • Thank you Iain for your heart felt post. I started the programme to help me start each day in a positive way rather than over worrying about my 83 year old dad with Parkinson's. I think running gives us the freedom to feel like children again. Happy running Iain.😊😊

  • Thanks to everyone for the kind comments. Running has definitely been a good stress-buster for me! To celebrate graduating I've bought myself a new pair of running shoes to replace the knackered old trainers I've used to cycle into work for the past several years. Hope to give them a try tonight!

    I'm also genuinely touched that people have found my posts helpful and have given good feedback on them. As I said in point (1) in the O/P - why can't the world be more like this?

  • Hi Iain, your post really resonated with me. Sorry to hear about your mum, I started running for my sanity as well as my health after my mum died from Alzheimer's at the beginning of the year. All of the frustrations you mentioned really can take their toll on your health. I'm glad you've found running & want to remind you to keep looking after yourself through these difficult times. Pack your running gear if you have to suddenly dash off in an emergency & get out for a quick run when you can! All the best.

  • When my mother showed signs of not being able to live alone anymore, my sister and I drove the 150 miles to her house. My sister packed her suitcase with essentials while I guided my mom out to our car "for lunch." Well, "lunch" was at my house.... :D She was not able to return to her home, ultimately living in an Alzheimer's unit.

  • What an inspirational message. I am one of those who is currently struggling and have stalled at week 6 run 2. I was doing really well and then strained a calf muscle. This seems to have settled but I'm not sure that the left knee is right either. Sustainable pace is definitely what I need. I will get back on the plan after a little advice from the doctor. Well done on your amazing weight loss. And lots of positive thoughts to you as you look after your mum 😊

  • Thanks - I have found this forum to be inspirational too! Very sorry to hear about your strained calf muscle. I think you're well advised to check with your doctor first. It's a shame that it happened when it did, because I think when you get to the end of week 6 with the 25 minute run you really begin to believe you can do it. You've three further 25 minute runs in week 7 to consolidate, and after that, stepping up to 28 and then to 30 doesn't seem like such a big challenge.

    Some people have said they actually find the long continuous runs easier than having the walk breaks in between, because the walking breaks your rhythm. I dreaded W5R3 and W6R3 but when I did them it was fine.

    Good luck ; I hope your calf muscle recovers soon.

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