One run to graduate! Celebration?: This time... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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One run to graduate! Celebration?

tgwj77 profile image
18 Replies

This time last year I was obese, with a BMI of 32. Now I am (just) in healthy range at 24.5.

Having delayed starting running until I had a little less timber to cart around with me (note from joints: thank you) I commenced C25K in late November. My week 9 run 3 is in the diary for Saturday. Or Sunday. That's more like 11 weeks on the plan than 9, since I had to repeat one run (the first uninterrupted 20 minute session), and sometimes (quite often) I only run every 3 days rather than every 2. My best distance over 30 minutes (yesterday) is [X] km. My best split for 5K is [Y].

So I am pleased with progress. My ambitions are to be able to do a 5K in under [Y minus a little] minutes, and a BMI in the middle of normal range around 22. So, a little way to go yet. But in the meantime ...

Main question now is how to celebrate graduating (assuming that I can manage 30 more minutes). My thinking had been Domino's. But to my absolute horror, since my last order way back in early 2022 they have discontinued my 'go to' Kick'n Chicken Meal Deal (large classic crust Farmhouse pizza, garlic bread, Chicken Kickers, Coke Classic, 3,617 calories). Those items would cost me £29.97 now!

How did you celebrate graduating?

18 Replies
Instructor57 profile image

Great progress!

And enjoy your graduation run .

I really wouldn't be concerned about distance or pace .

It is completely irrelevant.

It may seem counterintuitive however what is true is that your best aerobic development will come by running slowly .

Even elite runners will spend around 80% of their training running slowly.

'Running slowly makes faster runners'

Gwenllian1 profile image

That’s a fantastic achievement! You have done brilliantly. Personally I celebrated (four years ago now!) with some new running kit to replace the saggy t shirt and grey joggers I’d been using. I reckoned having decent kit was a statement of intent! Enjoy your running!

John_W profile image

That's very impressive progress with both your BMI and running.

I'm curious ... how have you managed to reduce your BMI ?

tgwj77 profile image
tgwj77 in reply to John_W

Thank you! This will sound odd since it feels like so long since I started, and now that I am in the habit I almost can't remember when I consciously made myself do it. The main things were nothing to do with running (so apologies for putting them on a running forum!):

1. Eating within an eight hour window each day. I can't function without breakfast, so that means taking the hit toward the end of the day. Sometimes I cheat.

2. Don't particularly worry about what I eat, but don't take the ****. I eat quite a lot of granola, yoghurt, pasta. Try to work as much fruit and protein as I can into those. I probably have too much coffee, probably not enough veg. McDonald's probably a couple of times a week (just being honest). My excuse is that a Sausage & Egg McMuffin meal (with flat white) plus an orange juice = 34.4g protein.

3. In the beginning, before I took up running, I did a lot of walking, on average every other day, really quite hard for 45-60 minutes. By 'hard' I mean predominantly in 'fat burn' heart rate zone and peaking in 'cardio', according to my Fitbit.

4. I had particularly good results after holidays in Wales, i.e. walking up a mountain every 2/3 days. Usually incentivising myself with a full English breakfast beforehand. It sounds a bit bizarre, but there's a spectacular number of calories expended going up and down a mountain, 5/6 hours of pretty much constant fat burn/cardio zone.

There's not been much more to it than that, other than an attitude change. That is basically, don't let perfect be the enemy of good.

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to tgwj77

Most of that sounds very sensible and very pragmatic. Anyone thinking they can lose weight by just doing C25K or running 3x 30 mins a week would do well to read your reply. Weight-loss really is 80-90% nutrition-based.

A lot of beginner runners who are motivated by weight-loss are surprised to learn how few cals 3x 30 mins actually burns. So your 5-6 hour mountain hikes are a good illustration - line that up alongside a more healthy approach to nutrition and you've got yourself a great combo. As you say , mindset is key as well as habit formation.

tgwj77 profile image
tgwj77 in reply to John_W

Indeed, I was stunned to learn how little difference there is in calorie burn rate between brisk walking and running (IIRC it was something ridiculous like 15 vs. 16 calories/minute). The impact of exercise on weight loss appears to be much more about the length of time you do it (once you are doing enough to hit an elevated heart rate), and as you say 3 x 30 minutes is not a lot from that perspective.

So I see running as quite separate to weight loss, it's purely about improving fitness for me. That's a great aim in its own right, but it's different from the weight loss aim.

Carners1 profile image
Carners1Graduate in reply to tgwj77

For me the running led me to looking at my diet. Think I read it on here somewhere that you 'can't outrun' a bad diet. My wife's a gym nut and put together a diet for me. It's high protein, low carb and involves eating 4 times a day.I've literally never eaten so much, but the weight is dropping off!!!

Being lighter has definitely impacted my running from when I started.

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to Carners1


Hey Bob, have a look at the post and replies above re weightloss and running. Hope they help.

ObjectiveBob profile image
ObjectiveBob in reply to John_W

Thanks, John_W - definitely ideas in here I can work with.

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to ObjectiveBob

You're welcome. Be in no doubt that re: weightloss ...

(1) 3x 30 mins of C25K or any moderate cardio alone, isn't anywhere near enough of a calorie burn to affect your weight. 3-4 x 60 mins per week is different however.

(2) weightloss is overwhelmingly to do with nutrition - making small sustainable changes is the way to go and will prove successful over the short, medium and long term.

MissUnderstanding profile image

Congratulations and welcome to the forum. You’ve clearly done really well go nearly be finished with the program. That’s a great achievement.

I just wonder what it feels like when you’re running. Can you hold a conversation out loud without gasping? If not, you’re most likely going to fast, I know because that’s exactly how I did c25k and only found out how great it is to take it steady and grow your aerobic base after graduating and building toward 10k. It’s counter intuitive but that’s how you will develop best as a runner. It’s something to consider as you consolidate after graduation, especially if you’re planning on increasing your distance at some point.

My favourite celebration is a good cup of coffee. And running kit. All of the running kit!!!

For any newbies (or regulars!) reading and feeling a bit demotivated that you’re not running as fast as this, remember that distance and pace aren’t the goals for couch to 5k. .You might never run a 5k in 30 minutes, let alone 25 but you are still a great runner. Maybe it’s just me that needs to remind myself of that today!

tgwj77 profile image
tgwj77 in reply to MissUnderstanding

Some really good points in there. In particular about the times/distances - I have deleted them from my post because I don't want anyone comparing and reading anything at all into their own journey. I have been convinced at various stages that I am too slow, hate being overtaken (frequently) by the alpha/jock-types in my neighbourhood, etc. Reality is that I go best when I ignore everything and plod along. When running, all I am thinking/worrying about is not time but the more pragmatic question whether I can actually finish and how on earth I can survive until the end! Oh, and the McDonald's that unfortunately sits right at the start/finish of my circuit.

Given that I don't run with anybody, I haven't tried conversations. I suspect I probably could have one, but I would probably also swear a lot! But I definitely agree once I graduate there is some finessing to be done of how and when I run, along the lines you suggest.

Running kit is a cracking idea (to think I started this as a cheap form of exercise 😊).

MissUnderstanding profile image
MissUnderstandingAdministrator in reply to tgwj77

Ha! I started exactly the same thinking running would be cheap. I’d cancelled my gym membership and was going to save loads. Then I discovered trainers. And leggings. And technical t shirts. And fancy headphones. And more trainers that do a slightly different thing. Don’t forget socks. Then shorts because it’s warm. And a bright coat for when it’s dark. Need a head torch now. Maybe a chest light would be better…let’s try one of those. What about some race entries? Perhaps a vest top for race day. Maybe some special race trainers. I’m not even thinking about the total!

I could definitely have survived without so much kit but it has made having something clean to wear much easier and I feel safer and more visible with some of it. Its a bonus that I’ve always got something to suggest if family want to buy me a present!

Thanks for your really considerate editing. On your next run, you could test out your conversational pace by pretending you’re on the phone! That’s what I do!! You’ve got years of running ahead so it’s worth spending some time nailing how to go slowly. It took running on very sore legs for me to get it but it’s a wonderful feeling when you do. I read a fantastic article about how Eliud Kipchoge trains. It might surprise you to realise how much is at his conversational, easy effort pace.

Enjoy your final program runs. When you graduate well signpost you to some advice on what you might like to do next. For how, just concentrate on keeping it steady and planning how you’ll celebrate! 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️

Cmoi profile image
CmoiAmbassador in reply to tgwj77

Well done on reaching week 9   tgwj77 ! I too appreciate your having edited your original post, as tbh I was pretty astonished by those numbers. I also get the impression you're pushing too hard - wondering whether you can finish and how you're going to survive is what I'd associate with all-out speed training.

For me the most useful takeaway in the article suggested by   MissUnderstanding is this: If you’re able to hold a conversation in full sentences, without having to interrupt yourself every few words to take a breath, then you’re in Zone 1 – easy training. I.e. where Kipchoge spends 85% of his time.

Enjoy completing C25K and developing your running!

Dendev75 profile image

A huge well done so far - that’s an amazing achievement! You should be so proud of yourself - enjoy that last run. But the first of many more. 👏🏻👏🏻

I celebrated by buying myself a new pair of real running trainers as I’d only used my ordinary ones and I went bright to show off 🤣😆

1970Wolfie profile image

congratulations, a huge win for you!

I celebrated graduation with a run! I have lost 2.5 stone since December 2021 and started running again in April (1.5 st lighter thanks to 5 weeks of covid) and quickly discovered the joy of running. I stopped thinking of food as a treat a while ago and running has become a healthier outlet to look forward to.

I'm 52 and before covid I struggled to get upstairs or even pull myself out of my armchair with tricky knees. now, I'm running 4 times a week and up to 8.5 mile runs.

JeremiahObadiah profile image

Just splendid

Looking forward to hearing you’ve done that last run.

I felt a bit cut adrift when I finished and wanted to keep hearing, in my case, Jo’s lovely voice praising my efforts. But I’ve got the NRC app and I’m trying out that.

ChannelRunner2 profile image

That is awesome, tgwj77 ! I celebrated by having a big smile plastered on my face all day 😎 Since I had already bought myself some stuff while I was working through the program (some running makes you happy shirts), I didn't feel the need to buy myself something special... Feeling the pride of attaining this achievement was all I needed!

And as JeremiahObadiah pointed out, the post-celebration time was a bit of a challenge for me, too. I felt a bit lost without a program. The trick then was to just keep going out the door. Monday, Wednesday, Saturday. Those are just day I go out to run. Now I am working towards a 60 minute run - slowly and steadily (adapting the Magic Plan to my needs...).

Keep running. Keep smiling!

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