Couch to 5K to cure anxiety

I work in healthcare in a very stressful job. I've suffered from anxiety for a while now. Then, last year, I had a traumatic event that sucked any confidence right out of me. The way I got my confidence back was by going through the C25K program. Making it through each week gave me a sense of achievement that stayed with me like a halo through tough days. It was enough to make me forget about how bad my anxiety actually gets so I got relaxed with running and ran less and less.

At the same time, I became more and more anxious until I had a panic attack at Christmas, fainted and badly sprained my ankle. The minute I was unable to do it, I knew how valuable running was to me and now I'm healed and back on couch to 5K.

I'm also BMI 32 and thought running might help me lose weight. Now I realise trying to lose weight just causes me more anxiety and so my energy goes into running faster and further and not into calorie counting and putting pressure on myself.

Today, I was jogging when someone shouted something out of a car driving past. I had my headphones in so I didn't hear what was said and I'm a bit more than paranoid most of the time so I can't be sure it was directed at me. The minute I heard it though, I was so proud of myself for being outside and claiming my right to the pavement. I hope that as my anxiety improves, my running continues, as it equips me with the tools to deal with a stressful life.

7 Replies

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  • I did C25K last year in response to mega stress at work, have started it again this year for exactly the same reason. No bad things happened just way too high a workload and very long hours. The program definitely helps with stress levels. I run with only one headphone in so I can hear cars approaching, maybe they were shouting something encouraging at you!

  • well done for getting back out there you should be really proud of yourself. I agree with what your saying, i know its not quite the same as what youve been through but i was really anoyed at work today about something i thought was very unfair towards myself and i came home really angry. Normally once the anger had calmed i would have been knee deep in depression by now and feeling sorry for myself but instead i went for my run, the anger got me quickly out of the door, not a recommended tip, just really noticed it as normally i have to have a half hour conversation with myself to get out there! The run really lifting my mood and i know it will help me sleep tonight instead of tossing and turning worrying about the stress at work. So yea running is becoming important to me to, just thought i would share:)

  • I only use one earphone too. I don't run on roads (yet, anyway) but prior to this I was walking which was great psychologically (from a starting point of no mental health issues, but we can all use the boost) and when I started C25K I really missed the sense of connection with the world, the birdsong etc and initially felt that psychologically it was worse than useless. But switching to one earphone makes enough difference.

  • Absolutely agree with you on this, I have suffered anxiety/depression for about ten years on and off and even after my first run my confidence and mood was sky high ! It is a well documented fact that exercise in general is a great tonic for anyone with these problems, endorphins and all that! I feel fantastic after my runs and would recommend c25k to anyone out there feeling the strain :) Keep going and be proud, you deserve to :)

  • Your post could've been written by me! i started C25k last year after a panic attack left me hospitalised. I found that the running really did help my anxiety and having the routine of running 3 times a week really helped other aspects of my health as well.

    Funnily enough I had the same thing happen to me the other week, I was doing my 5 minute warm up when some bloke screamed out the passenger window of his car. Not going to lie it scared the life out of me, but I think I handled it quite well and didn't react too badly. It's just idiots who think they can do whatever they want because they're safely in a moving car and you can't catch up with them.

    Keep on keeping on though! The endorphins will really help your anxiety and eventually you'll feel that you cope better with everyday life. I'm coming to the end of week 5 and I'm feeling the good effects already :)

    Happy running!

  • Good for you for feeling proud of yourself!! Why not? You're getting outside, doing something positive to help deal with the difficulties that we have in life. Who cares about what people shout from cars? You know you're looking after yourself. You know that you're improving your health. BMI and weight is all well and good but we're individuals. If you feel comfortable with yourself that's ok. Getting fit helps you to feel good. Forget what passersby think. (Prob good idea to keep one earphone out though, You never know they may be giving you a compliment and you'll miss it!

  • I hope you are really proud of yourself. I started walking a few years ago and was so anxious about the thought of walking too far and then needing to get back quickly, I could barely get out of the door. I find the exercise is great for anxiety and depression and having spent the last year literally sitting on the couch getting fatter and sadder, I have just finished the first week and am feeling slightly more alive. Never forget, however bad things get you are not alone, loads of us live with these problems and it is inspiring to all of us to hear how well you are doing. Keep it up and it will help you.

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