Couch to 5K

If you are new - so were we Graduates" :)

Originally this was in answer to a question - but then I realised it was something I wished I had read when I was new so posting it in a more 'public' venue.

What follows is just my opinion based on my own experience as a 5 and 10K Graduate, and as someone who is starting the entire programme from scratch again. I really hope it encourages someone who feels like they 'can't do it' to continue if Graduation is their goal. And while Graduation may be the goal - help them enjoy the journey to it also, I did not do the enjoying bit as well as I could first time around, but I sure am now : )...................................................

If you are happy with how you are doing the programme that's a HUGE bonus! However - if you are 'avoiding' the next part of the programme because of some insidious Gremlin whispering in your ear that you 'will never succeed'...we all went through that and thankfully we realised it was BS and continued to sweat, gasp, pant and run to Graduation and beyond :)

The programme really should be called 'Couch to running continuously for thirty minutes - slow and steady!" :)

EVERY increase in running time scared me when I did the programme ...and for weeks I never really believed - various health and physical problems - I could graduate anyway.

If you manage Day One in any kind of shape - and in my case I literally had a blue tinge around my eyes and lips and had to stop a nice passerby from calling the Paramedics - and as long as you don't have a disqualifying medical condition - I promise you, once you do the hardest part of this programme - you can Graduate... :)

The hardest part being - just gear up and go out the door each time. The run will then take care of itself - be it a 'practice' run or a 'success' run :)

For the first few weeks, my genuinely heartfelt dream was that 'maybe someday' - I could run without stopping to the furthest pathmarker I could see from the 'Start' one at the local park.

All of 3/10ths of a mile away....

Seriously - THAT is how little I had going for me.

Having never ran more than a hundred paces in my life because of Asthma, screwed foot bones and then add a lifelong belief that 'you are born either able to run or not, no in between' inculcated by well meaning but idiotic adults from a very early age warning me that my asthma and feet made it '"mpossible and actually dangerous" for me to 'run too hard'- that was me.

However,before my injury three months ago, I was running 'workmanlike' 5ks every week, gradually increasing my distance on my 'Long Run' days and tackling ever more gruesome Hills :) My new 'heartfelt' dream was - still is :) - to reach the ten mile mark this year, half marathon next year and full marathon for my 60th the year after. Most importantly though - I was having a ball with my new ambition, not the gloomy 'wouldn't it be great if' of that first 3/10ths goal! : )

Now I am doing the entire C210K programme again and certainly not putting as much pressure on myself to "succeed' in anything like the 44 runs or whatever it takes. I am taking it slow and steady and not worrying about what number of 'weeks' I am on - I have my goal, 10K, but this time I will reach it in "sensible for me" time instead of 'programme' time and enjoy the journey all the more. :)

Because - I always wished that that on my journey to 5K graduation, I had repeated the runs I 'barely ticked off' first time around - a firmer stamina foundation would have made my further progress smoother and more enjoyable. :)

"Slow...and slower still" when you are running sounds totally illogical - but its the guaranteed way to build up stamina and confidence and the necessary foundation for future 'speed and distance' if Graduation and beyond is your goal :

)

'Does it get easier?" - I dunno how to answer that except to say 'It gets different - and for me and so many that different then becomes enjoyable and we keep running even if we (me at least) still gasp, pant and sweat our heart out before the finish line..but with a smile on our face " :)

If you did not need the programme, you would have been runners long ago : ) Every single Graduate here went out on Week one, Day one. Please do not quit the programme if you are enjoying it on any level whatsoever - it is NOT about 'no pain - no gain" absolutely not!!, It is about 'slow and steady builds up your stamina - and your Running self that was always wanting to emerge : ) "

You can do it. I promise you - there is a LOT of competition here if we ever ran a 'Most Unlikeliest Graduate Runner' contest :)

Wishing you all the many happy miles that await you - one foot in front of the other, one day at a time :)

40 Replies
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Wow this post has just answered all my doubts! Thanks for sharing this with us all.

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Thank you and looking forward to seeing you at the Graduates table :)

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As someone who ran "alongside" Irish-John almost every step of the way, I can confirm that what he says is true. So many of us just didn't think we could do it. Day one I came home and said "I really enjoyed that, even if I get no further than week one I will keep on doing it".

And look no further than this forum for support all through the programme and beyond.

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We disd indeed run together albeit on our own Sue :) And had many more laughs than tears :)

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We did indeed

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😘

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This is beginning to make sense and ring very true as I approach the dreaded week 5. I’m terrified at the thought that this time exactly next week I will have to run for 20 minutes!!

It’s only a week away!!! But I will hang on to these words Irish-John and believe in the program. 🤞🏼

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Go sloooowwwwee.....

You will be a bit nervous, it is after all unknown territory for you...but don't let it make you tense up those running muscles ;)

Let me know when you are doing it - we will be cheering for you all the way :)

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Great post. Love it 🙌🏻🙋🏻😀

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Thank you TJ :)

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As ever...great post, great timing... :) x

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Learned everything I know from those who were ahead of me Floss, and believe me you and the others got me around that Park more than once :)

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Simply brilliant! Thankyou Irish-John ❤️

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Thank you Lily :)

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PS - please tell me you are from Wales. I've always wanted to know a Lily of the Valley...;)

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I’m afraid not... sorry! It’s actually Liz (but you can imagine I’m the queen instead if that helps) haha!🤣🤣

Liz x

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No worry's YRH :)

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Wow Irish-John ...that is a MASSIVE “HERE HERE” from me....fabulous post, fabulously written by a fabulous runner....every aspect of what you said has gone through my mind...posts like yours just confirm that we are not alone in our doubting thoughts!!! 😉

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Thank you MC :) We all washed up on these shores together...because we were all leaving the shipwreck to build a better boat for our futures ;)

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And my boat is having a good sail out...bobbing around enjoying the waves x

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I've got a Submarine lol 😂

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Fab post. Oh SO true post (and loving the new hair do) 😚

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You noticed! Lol. It's part of a bet :) If by January 20th 2019, my que is touching my belt... I get a very nice payoff :)

Plus, it will enrage an old folliclely - challenged arch foe of mine 😂😂😂😂

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i noticed too John, you 100% will win your bet! shall i send you some hairbands? xx

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Hopefully I will be needing some Lol 😂

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No hairbands, bet didn't specify how MUCH hair had to touch my belt (or that I can't tilt my head back, nor - good job for them and their wallet on this point I have SOME morals - even WHERE I wear my belt...could wrap it round my neck couldn't I! LOL)

Anyway - just growing out what we used to call a rat tail in my day ;)

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i remember rat tails!!! :)

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It will be interesting on Jan 20th next year to see what this will end up looking like :) Probably 'unforgettable' also - but not in a good way! LOL :)

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Excellent post. Should be pinned.

I would add, run for the joy of running. Anything else turns it into a task. Let fitness and muscle tone and weight loss and all the other benefits be added bonuses, not the goal.

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Thank you and a splendid point! :) If it's not fun on some level - why do it :)

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Very apposite to me John. I fell by the wayside almost a year ago following a move to the Blackpool area and retirement and all of the changes that entails. I restarted the programme late November and have just reached Week 4 using the approach you've described - consolidating each step of the way and just enjoying the progress and not being "forced" to move on to the next weeks runs.

Anyway, a request. I'm a member of a Facebook group that I think would appreciate the words you have written above. Would you mind if I copied the text? You writing is so much better than I could ever contemplate.

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I very much appreciate you asking instead of just lifting it Stewie, thank you :) Please feel free to copy and paste, I am glad it might encourage people anywhere :) Could I pop by your site? PM me ;)

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Such a lovely, encouraging post IJ, enough to spur on any one disillusioned or lacking in confidence. Highlights the brilliance of the programme, we are all just ordinary peeps trying our best and not believing we are runners.... but loving that, somehow we are!! :)

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Its the best thing I've ever done for myself, this running lark :) Asthma, misery about pair of feet issued to me, over thirty pounds of unhealthy weight...all in the past. And the running in combination with the positivity of y'all on the forum is reducing my pesky PTSD in yard long increments :)

It's me that should be indeed thanking you :)

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Scruffbag134 looky here read Irish-john's post (and welcome to the forum, I just read your first post and had to point you here!) - you'll do just great!

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Thank you! I’m so nervous about this but I want to do it!!! X

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This is a fantastic post :) I especially like your words "if you did not need the programme, you would have been runners long ago". How true is that? You are an inspiration, IJ - thank you!

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Thank you Annie :)

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Great post Irish-John so very good to read, just because I have graduate after my name it doesn’t mean that I don’t go through all those first doubts and anxieties that I had at the beginning I’m still serving my apprenticeship ! The best part of this forum for me are the wise words from the likes of yourself and old Floss .

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Thank you :) And you yourself are a great support here :)

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