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Couch To 5k First Timer's Experience - Week Four

woman running in the desert

Welcome back to another instalment of my series, documenting my journey doing the Couch to 5K training plan. I'm now more than halfway through and feeling much better whilst out on my runs now than when I started. I'm running longer, feeling fitter and have actually started looking forward to my run days.

Whilst in the beginning I would feel tired, out of breath and exhausted when I finished my runs. I'm now starting to recover quicker and feeling surprised at how quickly my runs are over - in the beginning it would feel like I was out for ages, but now that 20 minutes goes so quickly! (minus the 10 minutes spent warming up/cooling down)

Couch to 5K Week 4

Week 4 steps up the pace and is more like interval training, with short walks interspersed with longer runs. You can see below what was in store for me during week 4 of the Couch to 5K training plan:

Run 3 mins

Walk 90 secs

Run 5 mins

Walk 2.5 mins

Run 3 mins

Walk 90 secs

Run 5 mins

I'm still enjoying having Sarah Millican in my ears, telling me when to run and when to walk as well as giving me advice, such as trying not to bob up and down whilst running so that I don't waste energy or exhaust myself too much!

The weather this week has been a mix of sunshine and cold, in fact one morning run it was misty and felt more like a November day than a supposed spring day in March! I'm still waiting for the day I can run in just my t-shirt!

Four weeks into the Couch to 5K training plan, I'm beginning to get used to running longer and managing my pace. Sarah Millican always says that there's no need to run fast, only a light jog, especially during my longer runs as I don't want to exhaust myself. Although it is important to get to the end of each run, no matter how exhausted I feel because it's how I build on my fitness.

people running in a group night running

How I'm Feeling After Week 4 of Couch to 5K

There have been times during my longer runs where I've felt my legs become really tired and wishing for it to finish so I can collapse! It was only on my last run of Week 4 of the Couch to 5K training plan where I actually felt I could go longer than the 5 minute run and that I didn't feel so exhausted afterwards!

I'm still really enjoying each run of this training plan, the fact that I'm actually still doing it proves to me that I can and that I shouldn't ever doubt myself again! It's now becoming a habit and on run day mornings my first thought is 'I need to get up, put my running gear on and go!', didn't really think I'd ever be thinking about exercise in this way, but here we are!

I tell you what the biggest struggle I'm having is, during this whole Couch to 5K training plan, finding somewhere to run which is long enough for my 5 minute+ runs without having to stop for traffic! In some places there are lights but mostly just roundabouts and roads with busy traffic! Annoyingly these tend to come at the worst times - when I'm about to start running, or have just begun! So I'm standing there like an idiot waiting for there to be a gap in the traffic!

Saying that though, if I go early enough I can usually pick a route which means I only have to cross a busy road once or twice. Thankfully we have the Stray here that I can make a route around and if I have to go straight on whilst running then I will! Also, running downhill makes everything easier!

black and white photo of exercise equipment

My Thoughts Going Into Week 5 of The Couch to 5K

Week 5 of the Couch to 5K training plan sees a different set each time, really amping up the run time so I can see this will be the make it or break it week for me! I don't want to go into it thinking 'oh it'll be easy because run 1 of Week 5 was', that's just a fools promise and one which will see me crashing out before I've finished.

I'm hoping the weather will improve this week and beyond as it's no fun running in the cold! I thought I'd got over that in the early weeks to be honest! There was one day last week when I was cold during my runs, I couldn't even get warm whilst running!

It's good to see my posts are reaching lots of people, when I started this mini series it was more for me than thinking it would help or be of interest to anyone else! But it seems like they're resonating with a few people who are either doing the Couch to 5K training plan alongside me or are wanting to start it because of these posts, which really makes me so happy.

For me, undertaking the Couch to 5K training plan is more about my mental well-being than having anything to do with losing weight or my physical being. I can get too much in my head if there's any sign of my body changing or my weight going down. I'm really just trying to use this Couch to 5K training plan to prove to myself that I CAN RUN. That I CAN do this physical challenge, that all those times I spent hating cross country were not in vain and that I can actually, god forbid, ENJOY it?

It will be interesting to see how I'm feeling at the end of Week Five of the Couch to 5K training plan after the two longer runs I'm yet to do. I'm hoping I'll feel fitter and more capable of running for longer than 5 minutes at a time!

It's good to have something positive to focus on throughout all of this lockdown/pandemic shit. The days can seem pretty long, tedious and very much the same at the moment so knowing that on at least three of the days, I have to get up and go for a run makes it easier to get through the never ending-ness of it all!

I hope you've been enjoying my mini series, documenting my journey through the Couch to 5K training plan. I'm enjoying writing about and I hope that I can look back at Week One and realise just how far I've come. Thanks so much for all of the positive feedback on these posts, it really does make everything more fun!



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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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