I've just completed the third run of week 6 (the 25 minute one) and I am so amazed at how far I've come since I first took the plunge and downloaded those podcasts.
I'm 41, and have never enjoyed exercise particularly - did a little bit of badminton at school, did judo for a couple of years in my teens, then that was pretty much it. Life was becoming more and more sedentary - especially now my kids are of an age where I don't have to run round after them so much. Hitting 41, and about to start 3 years of study, I realised something had to change.
Having little spare cash available for regular classes or expensive kit, I thought the idea of running was more appealing than other alternatives I could think of - and also the fact that I wouldn't have to travel from my house to somewhere else in order to go and do the exercise - I could run from there. This would mean I wouldn't have to spend time travelling - fitting exercise into a busy work and home life felt like a challenge.
So I googled 'beginners running plan' or something similar - and found the link to the podcasts. I liked the idea of the voice in your ear telling you what to do when, and I liked the fact it was only half an hour at a time. I particularly liked the fact that the initial sessions involved much more walking than running.
I was nervous about starting. I'd had a go at running once a couple of years ago, hadn't warmed up properly, overdone it (although not gone far at all) and my knee had swelled up - it took weeks to get right again. I also knew how unfit I was - although tall and slim in build, I had no stamina and really struggled with believing I could ever run for 1 minute without keeling over. I had also never stuck at any form of exercise as an adult - the best I'd done was swimming once a week for about 4 weeks in a row. I really didn't want this to be another flash in the pan.
I told a couple of friends I was starting the plan. I thought this might make me stick at it if I had to suffer the embarrassment of telling them I'd jacked it in! One of my friends said she'd do it with me - now I had a running buddy. This has made a huge difference - we have kept each other at it when we were tempted to give up when the session feels tough, or skip more days than we should between runs. When one of us has been unable to do one of the runs in a week, the other has repeated a run to allow them to catch up.
I look back now over the past few weeks and I can't believe how differently I feel about exercise. I do feel healthier, my stamina has vastly improved, I have more energy in general, I sleep better, and my wobblier bits are - well, getting less wobbly!
The biggest change for me has been in my attitude. Exercise used to be something I dreaded - or at best did because I knew it was good for me. Now, I look forward to my running days - and I feel a little out of sorts if I can't run when I was planning to. Yes, some sessions have been tougher than others, and there have been several times when my legs seemed to have a mind of their own and it didn't all quite feel like it came together properly, but I've kept going. I don't have big plans to aim for a marathon or anything - I just want to be able to run for half an hour 3 times a week. That will keep me fit, and fit into my lifestyle.
My running buddy and I plan to do the Race for Life at some point to celebrate finishing the C25k plan. But for now... week 7 is calling...