Graduation Blog – Things I Did and Learned Through C25K

I promised to write a graduation blog, but have only just got around to it. Now, I’m obviously no expert or fitness guru (!), but I know a little advice that is relevant to other runners can really help when the going gets tough – so here goes!

I’ve been on a ‘Health Kick’ (I’m not using that dirty word, Diet!) since the New Year and have been really good with my eating habits and making myself more active. I was 30 and weighed a massive 29 stone.

Now, I’ve always been an active ‘fatty’ and until now, I have yo-yo’d my way up and down the scales, probably due to being plain lazy with my eating habits and especially binge drinking at weekends. I knew I was getting to the point where my body was slowing down and unless I kick started it into action, I was on very slippery slope to becoming more and more sedentary.

I cut out all of the rubbish in my diet, stopped the drinking and started to walk and from work – approx 1.5 miles each way, but built this up over a few months, dependent on how my body felt. As this became a little easier to manage, I threw a few weekly games of badminton into the mix, just to shock my body into something a little more vigorous.

By this point, I had been dieting for around 4 months and had lost a very decent 3 stone and 4 pounds. I was obviously doing something right! But, it came to a shuddering halt and I knew that I needed something harder to do – step up C25K!

I started the programme on 12th May and completed it on 13th July, meaning that I ran 3 times a week, with no breaks or repeats. I am still flabbergasted as to how I managed it, but I believe that mental and physical preparation is key to this whole journey.

Things I would say to others about doing this:

** If you are finding this extremely difficult from day 1, then don’t be afraid to spend a few weeks just walking for 20/30 minutes 3 to 4 times a week, getting your body used to the movements and stresses that this kind of activity puts you through. At a heavy weight, I knew that I had to be careful how I planned things, as I knew that if I did too much too soon, I would end up injuring my body. (and my ego!)

** Complete EVERY planned run in the programme, regardless of how well you may have done in your last run. By skipping runs, you’re losing out of obtaining both the stamina required and the mental toughness to get out there several times a week for the whole of your running career. Week 5 Run 3 is daunting, but Week 6 Run 1 is the biggest physical task I have faced to date. Week 6 looks easy, but if I had skipped it, I wouldn’t have made it to week 9.

** Get the correct running shoes. I know this can be expensive, but I didn’t buy new shoes until week 7 when the runs became longer. I wish I had bought them earlier as the difference in my claves and knees is amazing. I still hurt after every run like everyone else, but during runs, I feel very little discomfort. For info, I am an overpronator and I bought a pair of Brooks Beast. Fantastic.

** Get good rest and enjoy your rest days. Try and get as much sleep as you can the night before your run and rest those legs on non-running days. I tend to run early in the morning (6:00am) and if I’ve had a late night, it makes things ten times harder!

** If you are struggling during a run, it is more than OK to slow down – try not to walk, keep yourself shuffling along unless you REALLY have to walk or stop and take a whiff. You’d be surprised by how quickly you can recover on the longer runs by slowing right down to a ‘shuffle run’, instead of giving up and stopping. Your body is capable of brilliant things! Running fast, for most of us, just isn’t

** Treat yourself once in a while. Like I said, I have cut out the rubbish and the drink, but I will allow myself a few beers once about every 6 weeks and will have the odd cake once or twice a month if I fancy it! As soon as you’ve eaten it, you’ll regret it, but at the time, it tastes immense! Ha!

** Do not take any notice of weight loss – or lack of it. Since I’ve been on the programme (10 weeks), I’ve lost about a stone in total, but the majority of that has come in the past 3 weeks. Your body will change shape dramatically and build up muscle in places you didn’t know that had any! If you stick to the programme and eat well, you shall see a big difference, guaranteed. (or your money back!)

** Be proud in your running. A lot of people don’t like to be seen – I am the opposite. If I come across someone I know, I did that little bit deeper (get a little faster!) to make it obvious that I am doing something awesome! (Even if I am feeling like death at the time!) So what if you’re red in the face?! You get red in the face sitting on your backside doing nothing in the sun or lying in a hot bath!

I now plan to consolidate my running by doing 3x5k runs a week and then see how my body reacts, along with a few short kettlebell sessions. If I get stronger, I’ll attempt the B210K programme. Hopefully, if I can shift a good bit of weight over the coming weeks, my times will improve beyond reasonable doubt. Fingers crossed. I now weigh 24 stone 6 pounds, which is obviously still pretty damn big, but I can run 5k in 38 minutes and I can honestly say that not a lot of people I know (who are half and even a quarter of my weight!) can do that! My BP is also now a healthy 117/76 and not a ghastly 147/92!

Use this forum as both a sounding board for your successes, failures and frustrations. There are some genuinely inspiring people here who can help you through tough times and will pat you on the back when you’ve done something awesome, which, in all reality is every run that you complete!

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27 Replies

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  • Well put.

    It's not only good to get advice from people who have graduated but also from people who struggle with the same weight issues as i do.

    Thank you for writing this it is really helpfull

  • Thanks for this blog! I have just done W5R3 so am over half way.. Hopefully I'll get to the end of the programme (I quit last year after a tough run at W6R3 so I just want to get over that hurdle).

    I totally agree about the new shoes, I had my gait analysed and I'm also and over pronator - my "special shoes" (as my family call them - thanks guys) make me so much better at running!

    Good luck with the running now you've graduated... I'm dreading it as I know I'll feel like I'm not working towards anything any more and that is a big motivator for me at the moment... hopefully by then I'll be bitten by the bug and totally addicted!

  • The new podcasts will be out by then so you'll have a new goal to work towards :) Good luck with the rest of the programme.

  • Congratulations on your graduation and everything you have achieved so far. I, for one, can't wait to hear all about the next step on your journey. You are a real inspiration!

  • Congratulations and thanks for sharing your journey. :) I've only been on c25k for 2 weeks but it has already impacted my life, fitness and weight in a very positive way. I can't imagine how you managed to do it all without rest days (I shudder at the thought!), but I did take the decision in week 1 never to have more than one rest day in a row, and am glad I did. I also have Brooks running shoes (just got my second pair, I'm a slight over-pronator) and can't imagine running without them. My friend tried starting this in ordinary trainers and had so much pain in her legs, which I haven't suffered (slight pain after last run, but nothing serious).

    I'm looking forward to graduating and hopefully progressing onto B210K, as well as re-introducing some of the activities I used to enjoy (cycling, yoga, Zumba, body-boarding) before my weight and health put a stop to them. I plan do do regular (monthly or bi-monthly) parkruns too, just to keep giving me something to aim for. I might even become a parkrun tourist, as I've seen some other people do.

    Best of luck to you. You have accomplished so much and are an inspiration to those of us still on the road. Happy running! :)

  • I did have rest days, but I didn't take an extended break between runs. (more than 2 days) I ran Mon, Wed & Fri and then has Sat and Sun as rest days. (With the odd game of Golf! Ha!)

  • D'oh! Silly me. I read that as June, not July, and thought you'd done it all in one month! ;)

  • Well done! Thanks for the blog, you are so right about getting a good nights sleep if you are running first thing in a morning. One of my 'shuffles' was a shocker due to a bad nights sleep. :/

    Happy future running to you :)

  • Brilliant blog, thanks for sharing! All the best on the rest of your weight-loss journey.

  • I'm so pleased to read this blog. You've done fantastically well and will continue to do so with such a positive mental attitude.

    I started dieting (I will use that word) as my New Years resolution and then took up doing C25K. I struggled like mad to do those first runs of 60secs and wondered what the hell I though I was playing at. I only ever went out at night so that it was cooler and nobody could see me. Now I can happily run 4 miles...in daylight, and I'm 6 stone lighter and have been a normal BMI for a couple of months now.

    More than that, I LOVE exercise and it feels so wrong if I don't do my 3 sessions a week. This is the bit I'm most pleased about. I never thought exercise would be anything except something I needed to do to be healthy. It's become essential to my happiness to do it and I still find that shocking!

  • "I cut out all of the rubbish in my diet, stopped the drinking..." but how? HOW?!!???!!.

    Seriously though, that's the most inspirational blog I've read. (Really, how did you just cut out all the rubbish?).

  • I allow myself a packet of Quavers or Wotsits (anything under 90 cals) and also an ice lolly, which only come in at around 35 cals . I look at these as treats. That way, if I get them 3/4 times through the week, I don't go looking for anything else and it doesn't hurt me at all.

    Does that make sense?!

  • it does, i have done a similar thing, with weight watchers though I have planned for a bag of crisps & sandwich for lunch and eat good food for the rest of the time.

    Just eating heathily and excercising is working wonders for me.

  • Congratulations, and thank you SO MUCH for that wonderful and motivational blog post. Keep up the good work!

  • Many congratulations Innuendo on your graduation. Wonderful blog read too, you have achieved so much and are still doing. I wish you well with our continuation of a healthier life style. More people should try this programme its not beyond anyones capabilities so long as you listen to your body and take it at a pace that best suits you. Well done.

  • fabulous blog you have acheived so much already I intend to show it to my son who needs to loose weight to inspire him off the couch.

  • Great blog and well done you. Once you start seeing progress there's no going back.

  • Well done! Lots of brilliant advice in your blog, I'm sure it will be an inspiration to many new starters and those that struggling. Great to hear that you have taken control of your weight and you're so right that nobody should be embarrassed or afraid to run! Anyone can do it and should feel proud that they can :D Congratulations and I hope you'll keep us updated on life after C25K.

  • Brilliant, thank you. The tips are great, I shall be coming back to them as I go through the programme ( just about to start week 3). I particularly think the advice about walking before you start if you feel you need to is fantastic; the body needs to adjust and nobody should feel put off from starting the C25k journey, even if that means a few extra weeks building up to the first run.

    I hadn't really thought about when I'll finish, but seeing your May to July completion really brings home how quick it actually is to go from wheezing your way through 60 seconds as I did to being able to run for 30 minutes non-stop. Hopefully that'll be me come September.

  • You are a true inspiration, wow!!! well done xx

  • Brilliant blog, thanks for sharing that. Well done. :)

  • Well done to you. I had a 'shuffle run' today W9R2 sooo close but seems so far............

  • Well done and thanks so much for recounting your journey. You really sum up how brilliant this exercise lark is!

  • Thanks innuendo, that's a great read, really inspirational.

  • You are totally inspiring - thank you for your blog. Lots of practical advice to help us all succeed - and I esp loved the bit about running proudly. Even though I'm only week 3 I always feel good setting out - but hope I don't meet anyone I know or that anyone will make me feel ridiculous. I feel a huge sense of solidarity with others doing this blog / programme, think we should have C25K t shirts so that we could recognise each other and wave as we pass!!! All the very best for whatever comes next.

  • Well done! Inspiring blog. I'm on w9r2 tomorrow.

  • Lovely blog, thanks for taking the time to write it, I am just about to start week 9 and can't belive I've got here, the plan is amazing isnt it!

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