Couch to 5K
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One year on - what has C25K done for me?

For anyone unsure about whether or not this is for them or uncertain if they can make it to week 9, here is my story...others will have heard this before :)

This day last year I tied up an old pair of trainers...not even running shoes, more fashionable 'skate' type shoes, jogging bottoms and a baggy hoddy to try my first attempt at C25K. I specifically chose the Sunday morning the clocks went forward because I hoped that the streets would be a little quieter as I was feeling numerous things.

I have always said the first run was the hardest for me, I was nervous about not being able to complete it, I thought I might get laughed at when people saw me being quite over weight trying to run and I was a little bit angry too because I had spent about an hour before I left home trying to coax my other half into coming out with me - I didn't think I could do it on my own.

The day before I had actually had a practice wk1 run1 around my living room, the barrier of going out the front door and running in public was just to big that day.

What got me onto Couch to 5k?

A week or so previously to starting I had gone for a walk with my sister up a small but steep mountain side in Belfast called Cave Hill. I had been chronically ill for over 3 years previously and had put on about 2 stone in weight due to comfort eating and becoming pretty inactive. About 9 months before I had visited my consultant who had comented on my weight gain and encouraged me to get active again by walking. I had done this and took on about 3-5 extra miles of walking a week and along with new medication my condition was starting to improve.

The trip up Cave Hill was the next turning point - we were stopping to rest along the way, but there was an elderly couple who started at the same time as us and we had taken over them to start with. I couldn't keep up the pace at which we started our walk with and had to stop to rest at numerous points - until I saw the two grey heads pop up in the distance I would think to myself - 'what shape have I got myself into, I can't let them over take me!' - then get up and keep going again. My sister thought I was suffering from a vertigo attack to do with my illness and I just played along, but really although the symptoms were very similar I knew the difference! I think it was the first time in my life I thought I was going to throw up due to physical excertion.

I went home that day confused at how I had got to where I was. I have always been a naturally sporty and competative person, fair enough I had health issues, but I was only going to bring on more myself if I didn't start making changes.

Through an internet search I found the C25K programme on the NHS website and decided it was perfect for someone like me. I also have hypermobility syndrome if I do too much too soon my joints normally suffer - the fact that this programme was a gradual build up was perfect!

I'm getting on a bit here so I will try to wrap it up :)

Since completing the programme last year I ran Race for Life 5K and upped my miles to my longest run at 8miles/14k towards the end of the summer. Then a bit of a roller coaster began for me, health wise things were inconsistant, Sept/Oct was taken up with trips to the hospital to visit a severly ill family member, November brought about medication changes that turned me into a zombie and December...well that's just a busy time for everyone! Apart from December where I didn't run at all, on average I ran once a week (although it was normally twice a week then off a week, etc...)

In January I was able to get back into things without much trouble fitness wise, but have had an issue with my ankle I have been working on.

Compared to this time last year I am 1 stone lighter, I am happier and feel like my old self, I love getting out of the house and spending time outside running, I have more confidence...maybe too much sometimes when it comes to my ability but as long as it encourages me what's the harm!

I hope to build my milage back up gradually and that whatever life throws at us running is just like riding a bike, you never forget! I may have to mix things up a bit with another form of exercise until I feel more confident about my ankle which is a shame for now, but I know I can get out there when I need/want to.

My goal for this year is to loose another stone and I'd like to do another race although will hold off on picking one until I am injury free.

6 Replies

Thanks for sharing that, it is really helping me! I was so full of the joys of "running" up until just over a week ago! I then started feeling "poorly" (sore throat, chesty cough and headaches), not ill enough to miss work by a long shot, but not up to running (and have also missed my weights class so other than walking the dog have been a bit of a couch potato grr!). Now I havent run for 11 days and found myself slipping into the "cant run" mentality I used to have!

I am now taking my dog out for a long walk(no excuses it is def too warm for me to run right now!) but will definitely do a run this evening even if its a short one!


Hiya - Thanks for sharing your story. Well done for getting this far with the programme. Its made me determind to continue and push on through. :)


Wow thanks for sharing your story. Well done on all you've achieved. It's great for us newbies to hear how some C25K verterans have fared - very motivating and inspiring!


it was lovely to read about your progress - well done.. I think what you say will spur a lot of others on..


What an inspiring story, thank you for sharing :)

One of my reasons for starting this was when I realised I couldn't walk up 3 flights of stairs in the local multi storey car park without feeling completely unfit and knackered, I've not been back there yet but I will do soon and am sure I will have seen an improvement.

What fantastic progress you've made :)


I haven't made it back up Cave Hill yet but I know I Will relish every step when I do! And possibly break into the occasional run :)


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