Every day when I go out running I see those words painted on a house near me - and it reminds me that "nothing comes without work" - it's been my Couch to 5k motto. This evening I did my final run - W9R3. I'm sitting here now with tight calves, feeling exhausted, but thinking to myself that about four months ago I think I wouldn't have been quite sure which muscles were my calf muscles in the first place!
Everyone writes a graduation post that is gushing with enthusiasm about the programme, about the difference it made in their life. Well, I'm about to add to that chorus. It is not exaggerating to say that this has significantly improved my life. The physical benefits are clear - I found this evening that I didn't struggle for breath even after 30 minutes of running - this is from a person who could barely walk two flights of stairs without panting before Christmas. I have toned a bit (not enough - but I'll get there!). I'm more energetic and my skin is better. For the first time in my life I am amazed at my body - what it is capable of.
But I have to mention the mental changes that for me have made the most difference. I have tended to depression over the years, and sometimes the strain just of the day-to-day can be a struggle. This programme has given me a focus and a goal. It's given me a reason to get up in the morning when things seem black. Even when things in my personal life weren't going my way I've felt more in control of my life. A guy I'd been seeing for a few weeks, who seemed very keen, dumped me on the evening that I did W5R3 - and I remember thinking to myself "at least today will not just be the day I got dumped - it was also the day I ran 20 minutes for the first time". Life has not been great for me over the past few months, but I know that this programme has made things better for me - at times it was the one constant in a maelstrom of emotions.
I hope I'll manage to maintain - these longer runs require more physical and mental effort. I'm setting myself a new goal of a 10k race - and over the next few weeks I'll be repeating W9 until I'm comfortably running 5k in 30 minutes. This forum has been excellent as a way of holding myself accountable - plus the support I have received from you all has been second-to-none. I'm so grateful - and I hope to continue posting (if you'll have me!).
It's taken me 19 weeks, 37 individual runs...but I made it...now I'm going to go get my badge!