Couch To 5K First Timer's Experience - Week Eight


Woman running along trail wearing a yellow top, blue top and trainers

Okay guys I made it. I'm *currently* in Week 9 of the Couch to 5K training plan and I only have 2 runs to go until I've graduated from the program. *Gulp* Still can't believe that after all this time that I've made it all this way but also I'm proud of myself for doing exactly that. When I first downloaded the NHS Couch to 5K app all those weeks ago I never truly believed that I'd make it all the way to Week 9!


I may not be a proper runner or even be able to hold my own against all the runners I see everyday going around the Stray, but I can jog non-stop for at least 30 minutes. That more than anything is what I wanted to come out of this whole journey for me. I suppose the real test is whether or not I'll be able to keep going after I graduate, that more than anything will be the acid test for sure!


So without further ado, let's get into how I found Week 8 of the Couch to 5K training plan!


Couch to 5K Week 8


Week 8 of the Couch to 5K consists of three runs of 28 minutes each. This is a step up from Week 7 of the Couch to 5K training plan where I was running for 25 minutes at a time. It may not seem much, as it is only 3 extra minutes but they can seem like a lot when you're already trying to run for 25! But this was also the week I discovered how good running with music is so maybe I'd be able to hack it after all!


Run 1

Warm up 5 minutes

Run 28 minutes

Cool down 5 minutes


Run 2

Warm up 5 minutes

Run 28 minutes

Cool down 5 minutes


Run 3

Warm up 5 minutes

Run 28 minutes

Cool down 5 minutes


Week 8 of the Couch to 5K training plan sets you up for Week 9 where you're running for 30 minutes non-stop. Sarah Millican keeps emphasising that it's all about distance not speed in these later runs so I guess I have to concentrate on that whilst I'm huffing and puffing around the streets!

girl smiling whilst running along a path next to the water

How I'm Feeling After Week 8 of Couch to 5K


To be honest, I did find the first run quite hard and was constantly thinking about how long I had left! Like I said previously, this was the week I discovered the BBC Sounds App and let me tell you, that middle run was one of the best I've had since starting on this journey with the Couch to 5K training plan.


I found the music really helped me out when I needed it the most and lead me to dancing around the streets, forgetting about everything and maybe making a few people smile along the way I'm sure! The music helped my breathing much better than any other tips I've heard throughout my whole Couch to 5K journey. It also made the whole 28 minutes go by much quicker and I wasn't constantly thinking 'when will this run end?' 'I'm so tired already, how much longer?'


The music helps me push through to the end, I find that if a good song comes on I can forget about how I'm feeling and concentrate instead on doing funny dance moves, lip syncing the words and almost 'dancing' on my runs! To the delight of other people I'm sure, but right in that moment, I honestly don't care! If I make people smile then so much the better!


Now I'm coming to the end, I'm starting to think about life beyond the Couch to 5K training plan. Importantly, how do I keep going after Week 9 of the Couch to 5K? Do I just keep replaying the last run over and over so I know how longer I've got to go? I'm still not sure, but I've since downloaded Strava app which records each run so I'm hoping that with that and the BBC Sounds app I'll be able to keep going beyond that last run.

woman running along a road

My Thoughts Going Into Week 9 of Couch to 5K


Well, what can I say other than WTAF!? How did I, a very noted NON RUNNER, end up being at the end of the Couch to 5K training plan and being able to run NON STOP for 30 minutes!!??? Can someone please explain that to me please because I'm still very confused!


Anyway, that aside, I'm looking forward to completing the Couch to 5K training plan. I'm proud that I've gotten this far without giving up and have managed to get to the stage where I can run non-stop and despite the way I sometimes feel during my runs, I have more or less successfully gone through all the various stages of the last 8 weeks of this Couch to 5K training plan.


I know I can run for 30 minutes non stop and for me it's much more a mental battle to get to the finish line than it will ever be a physcial one. I can get to the end of a run and not be TOO tired, still have power in my legs should I need to go further for any reason. Sometimes it can feel like I haven't been running that fast because of how quickly I recover at the end, I'm not too sure if this a good thing, but I guess it also means I'm getting fitter because I'm not breathing as heavily at the end as I was when I started off in Week One? Who knows really! Answers on a postcard I guess!?


I hope you've enjoyed reading these posts, docuemting my journey with the Couch to 5K as much as I've enjoyed writing them and actually DOING the Couch to 5K! For me, it's been kind of theraputic to write down how I've been feeling each week and seeing my progress come through the pages as it has been on the pavements.


I'm planning on doing a round up post after I've finished so if you have any questions for me about anything relating to the Couch to 5K, running, how I'm feeling after I've finished etc. Then please do leave them below and I'll feature them in my next post!


Thanks again for reading, I really hope you've enjoyed this post and that you've having a good week so far!


Sarah

xoxo

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A 30 something woman navigating life, sharing posts focussing on mental health, midsize fashion, self-care routines and life as a vegan.

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