NHS couch to 5k

Hi everyone, I'm new here.

I would like to share a little bit about myself, so that hopefully I can get pointers of where to go from *here* currently feeling at my most enthusiastic and determined.

I'll start by saying I'm an asthmatic, I've had it since I was a child, I'm now 30 years old. Exercise has always been somewhat off limits to me, as I find/found it very hard to run and not feel like I was borderline suffocating.

(On top of that I've been a deluded imbecile, by smoking since I was 15).

I've recently kicked the habit, and I don't even think about them at all throughout the day.

I've been needing my inhaler less and less to the point I no longer carry it with me at all anymore. (Unless exercising).

Today I finished my first 3mile jog in 33 minutes. And I'm feeling over the moon about it. I took my inhaler 30 minutes before, and once half way in.

I feel like it could be possible for me to one day do the whole 3 miles without my inhaler, and to complete it in one go, no stopping.

My only concern is that reading online people are telling me jogging at a pace of 5mph isn't going to help me loose any weight. Sure it will make me feel better, and my cardio will be much stronger then without it. But ultimately, it won't help me.

I've always been a comfortable 13st for my 5ft 8inch height, but currently I'm 15st.

I'm planning to follow the couch to 5k NHS plan and try to eat no more then 1900cal a day, with intermittent jogging throughout the week, ie Monday run, Tuesday recoup, Wednesday run, and so on.

But what else should I be doing?

I'm a father of an 18 month old and a 7 week old, with limited time. Currently finding it hard to manage my exercise time/being a father and holding down a job.

Any advice welcomed.

10 Replies

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  • Well done you! I think that ANY jogging or even any exercise can only help! I'd even say a father of an 18 month old - chasing, running after, even walking is exercise - the 7 week old is weight training - and week by week the weight lifting will increase! Slowly but surely is the way forward!

  • Wow! Well done and many congratulations for kicking the habit. I gave up 15 years ago having smoked since 15 and it was the best thing I ever did. I'm sure you will feel the benefit.

    I'm not an expert but I can't see how exercising can fail to help you lose weight. It burns calories which will mean you have a calorie deficit and hence you will lose weight. I think people sometimes suggest that you will replace fat with muscle, which is heavier and hence your weight stays the same. But I think, unless you are lifting some pretty heavy weights you are unlikely to bulk up in that way. Additionally, the leaner you are, ie the more muscle you have, the higher your base metabolic rate. Which means you actually need more calories just for your body to carry out its basic functions. So either way, it should help you lose weight. As I said, I'm not an expert but that's my understanding.

    5mph sounds about right for couch2 5k to me. I run slower than that as I base my running style on forest gump - I'm slow but can keep going. But I'm also only on week 3 and I am getting faster and running further. I also notice feeling fitter and muscles more toned so it's definitely worth doing if you can fit it in. I try to go first thing in the morning before breakfast because then I know it's done and it's less likely I will talk myself out of it during the day with all the other things that I need to fit into my day. But find out what works for you.

    Good luck with it!

  • In order to successfully lose weight and maintain that loss for the rest of your life you need to make changes to what you eat, for most this is combination of changing the types of food you are eating and the amount.

    You'll benefit immensely from any additional exercise you can do but it sounds from your post that you are using this as some sort of crutch to losing weight, so once again it's important to also make changes to what you are eating.

    As for C25K if you are able to run 3 miles in 33 minutes then you'll probably find the program a little to tame (certainly pre W5 R3) because to be honest you're already able to complete the end goal, which is to run for 30 minutes non stop. You might find it more useful to look at the Post C25K programs or if you do go for C25K and find it too easy try jumping to W5 R3 and beyond.

    Have you looked at the NHS 12 week Healthy Eating Plan? nhs.uk/livewell/weight-loss...

  • Thank you, it may seem like a crutch but I have every intention of living the rest of my life this way, battling a long bout of depression I've found keeping fit / exercise to be the best solution.

    I did stop to walk two times during the 3 mile. So I wasn't going non stop for 30 minutes. I think once I can comfortably do the 5k non stop, I'll look to up my pace. And look to the post C25K runs.

    As for diet, my main meals are typically healthy, eating sweet potatoes as apposed to regular. I hardly ever touch bread, I've cut out sugar tea and coffee, and replaced them with 3L of water a day.

    Also I don't use salt in my food prep.

    My main concerns are time, I feel so selfish going out for an hour or so some days leaving the wife with our two kids. Also going forward I know there will possibly be the odd week here and there where I won't have the time.

    I'm more scared that the effort won't pay off. I truly feel disgusting at 15st..

  • If you are following the pure Energy In vs Energy Out theosis then jogging for 30 minutes is going to use on "average" around about 300 calories. So you need to be doing some serious exercise in order to make a decent daily dent, the problem is when you get up to these higher levels of activity then you also need to be looking at seriously fueling it with both energy and nutrition for cell repair and muscle growth, the danger if you don't, is that you'll start picking up injuries over the long term.

    Your body also has several tools within its arsenal to enable it to claw back some of the energy it expends during exercise, some are noticeable some not so but often you'll find if you'll find yourself doing less after periods of hard exercise or be subtly, it might be you move slower or sit down more.

    Exercise is great, it really is, it will improve your health tremendously, improving no end of things, it should also increase and improve muscle quality which in turn will increase your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), personally however I don't think it should be used as a primary method of weight control. For a start off what happens when you can no longer maintain a couple of hours a day of cardio activity, all be it may be temporary due to other commitments or an injury, do you then re-gain weight? What happens when you hit old age? I think it was Prof Tim Noakes who is a Sports Scientist and a Ultra Marathon runner that said, "If you are using exercise to lose or control your weight then your diet is wrong".

    Maybe in addition to your new exercise regime also rethink your current diet, it might already be healthy as you've said but could be you are eating too much?

    Good Luck with whatever you decide to do.

  • Well done for biting the bullet and doing the most difficult thing of stopping smoking. If you can do that you can achieve any of your other goals.

    I also recommend the NHS weight loss plan.

    Re leaving your wife with the children occasionally, perhaps she would appreciate a similar amount of time to herself while you look after the young one?

    Good luck anyway. You will feel soooo much better.

  • That's actually a good point, I'll make the suggestion.

  • Hi

    Just wanted to say a massive well done for making some pretty amazing changes.

    I never had an issue with weight pre kids as I could just go to the gym/go for a walk when I wanted and knew I would get a full nights sleep. How times have changed....

    I STILL get the maternal guilt when I make time for myself and go to the gym but the way I look at it a) it's showing the kids that exercising is 'normal' and part of everyday life b) makes me a much nicer person to be around and c) means I'm increasing the chances of being around to see them have their kids and be driven slowly round the twist. I just make sure my hb gets a bit of time as well...def eases some of the guilt.

    Whilst exercise is great for loads of reasons including maintaining weight I'd def rec the nhs weight loss plan with an app to count calories-it's an eye opener at first. I use my fitness pal. It's free and remembers your food (bit faffy at first but gets easier).

    By the way...have you tried running with the buggy? It needs to have a bit of suspension but I used to do it round the park. I did look like a complete eejit so might be worth driving to the next town.......

    Good luck and well done. Keep going and make your kids proud.

  • Runs to date:

    1st - 2.86mi in 33min *18/02/15*

    2nd - 3.04 in 32min *20/02/15* (very proud of this one as my breathing felt awesome, i only slowed to walk for 30 seconds at the top of a hill.)

    3rd - 3.01mi in 33min *22/02/15* (Disheartened by this run, it was 4° out and right from the start i could feel my lungs were burning with the cold air. I felt out of breath every step of the way. I had to stop twice for my inhaler and 4 times over all to catch my breath.)

    That was 3 runs in one week, the second & third runs were while fasting on the 5:2 diet (recommended by @gingernut49 from these very boards thank you :D.)

    I should really go out again today, but the cold air has scared me.. I don't mind the cold, but my breathing is terrible in it. I would run if it was snowing if i thought my lungs could handle it..

    I really do not want to stop, but all day yesterday i was holding back coughing fits.

    The warmer air needs to come back, i feel like that 3rd run could have been a 31min or a 30min 3mile.

    If i combines the way my lungs felt on day 2 with how full of energy my legs felt on day 3 i could have possibly done that..

  • Just a quick update, i'm now regularly doing 27min 5k's and no longer needing my inhaler at any point throughout the run.

    My diet has slipped this Sun/Mon i ate lots of crap in big portions.

    I'm takinh the wife and kids to Spain on Friday this week, so I need to be eating nice light healthy fruit and veg over the next few days just to lose this bloated feeling.

    Picked up some more running gear as a treat for consistently running 5k's in under 30min, got myself a karrimore hip belt with a small water bottle on the side, just to swig when my mouth gets dry. (I really hate that) also a light long sleeve T and a Garmin Forerunner 10 watch to boot. (Using my phone to track my runs has been great, but its becoming a massive PITA!)

    Planning on using the Gym while on holiday, most would say "it's a holiday, a treat go and relax" but running does relax me :D

    Anyway like I said I was a little naughty Sun/Mon, but what I've taken away from this is experience has been valuable. I feel super unfit already just off those two days Bloated and slow. Its been a short sharp shock to remind me why I started this whole journey.

    I don't want to live like that, I don't want to eat like that, I don't want to feel like this. So the lesson being that there is a positive and negative to everything.

    I feel bad but its a positive because i it's made me realise what I could lose if I fall off the wagon again.

    So I'm looking forward to an afternoon jog with some nice grilled salmon poached eggs and spinach for dinner.

    Fasting tomorrow and Thursday, flying Friday. Fasting Saturday.

    Next week is probably going to be a bad week food wise, but I have the incentive to get right back into this regime as soon as my feet are back on home turf.

    Wish me luck. :/

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