Hi, I thought I'd pop back to this forum on this historic day. A year ago today, I decided to have a last-ditch attempt at running, after 30 years of repeated hope, dreaming and quick, depressing failure. I found the Couch to 5k app and then this wonderful forum. I was initially feeling overwhelmed as I didn't think I could run for more than 30 seconds but the C25k wanted me to run for a WHOLE MINUTE to start with! Cripes. Initially, I laughed cynically at that seemingly over-ambitious concept.
I remember the first few weeks, feeling like death warmed up, yet elated after each run because I had done it. My breathing was terrible, my chest hurt and I got lots of stitches. I specialised in the looking like I'd run a marathon after only a few minutes. I didn't tell anyone that I was doing it because I thought I was doomed to failure and until I got that graduation badge, I wasn't celebrating anything - there were still a lot of weeks in which to fail, in my eyes. Luckily, I am quite determined, competitive and stubborn when it comes to achieving goals.
That week when there was, what seemed like, a huge leap to running 20 minutes non-stop seemed daunting but I kept faith in the programme and kept running. I managed to build up to running every other day near the end as I wanted to graduate by Christmas, which I did. Had Christmas fallen in the last two weeks of the programme, I would have inevitably been derailed and possibly not got back to it for ages.
Since my graduation, I've kept running. I had some time out earlier in the year due to illness, and another period off again due to further illness. I'm still not the fastest runner in the world and I've never run 5k in 30 minutes, but that's ok as I focus on the enjoyment of running and how it makes me feel. When I have a bad run, I remind myself that a year ago, running for a minute felt like pushing my limits, so even if I feel rough after 10 minutes, that's a success for me. I recommend that if anyone here ever feels inadequate as a runner or thinks they should be doing 'better', look back to when you were on that metaphorical or literal couch and notice that you're already so much further forward. Be kind to yourself.
In September, I ran a 10k race and completed it in 1 hour and 8 minutes. I was so chuffed with myself. I'd entered in May as motivation to keep me running and give me something to aim for. It was an amazing experience and if you'd told me a year or so ago that I'd be running a 10k race non-stop, I'd have laughed at you and bet my life savings that it was beyond my capabilities.
So, for everyone who's still on the C25k journey, keep going! You are more than capable of doing what I've done. Don't deviate from the programme and don't run consecutive days, stick to the set distances, walk/stop when you're told to, get proper running trainers fitted in a proper running shop, and start to watch out for signs of addiction to buying running gear (tip: shop in Aldi for great sports gear that doesn't leave you bankrupt).
Thank you to all the people who supported me on my C25k journey and to the amazing forum founders/moderators (or whatever the proper term is!). I found it so motivational to be able to access this support, share stories and hear other people's tales. Thanks again!
I hope this post continues to inspire others who are in the same position as I was a year ago. You can do it!