Couch To 5K - A First Timer's Experience Week One.

Woman running in thr woods she is wearing earphones and holding a phone

So, I've finally done it. I've downloaded and completed the first week of the Couch to 5k training plan! I know, I can't quite believe it either. I even went out in the rain on my first day! That should have been enough to put me off truth be told and previously it would have done, but truthfully?


I want something positive to come out of this third national lockdown. Who knows when I'll be able to go back to work, the hospitality industry has been hit hard by closures and not having customers inside their restaurants. So, whilst I wait to find out I may as well start doing something productive with my time and make use of the free Couch to 5K NHS app!


Couch To 5K Week One


Week One of the Couch to 5K training plan is very easy as you run for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds, adding up to a total run time of 8 minutes, with a 5 minute warm up/cool down walk at each end of the run. It doesn't feel like you're really running at all, more of a light jog and the walks in between really do help when you feel like you're struggling!


When setting up the couch to 5K app, you get to choose which voice you want giving you the instructions and guiding you through each run. At the moment you can chose from: Michael Johnson, Jo Whiley, Sanjeev Kohli , Sarah Millican and Laura who does the Couch to 5K podcast. I chose Sarah Millican because as a fellow cake lover, it makes it slightly easier to get up and go for a run!


I have to say that I was influenced by seeing my friends on Instagram also doing the Couch to 5K whilst I sat on the sofa (again!) watching Netflix (again!). So, on my Mum's birthday, I downloaded the Couch to 5K app and went for my first run!


I'm not going to lie to you and say that it was easy, because on the face of it, it wasn't. But what does make it slightly easier (for me at least) was running (or at least, attempting to!) surrounded by other runners. Harrogate is a very active town to live in, there are always people running around the Stray, so I didn't feel too out of place and felt I could blend in to the background amongst the other runners and walkers.


I'll admit now that I went a bit far from home on my first run and so ended up being on the far side of the Stray, feeling cold as I'd finished my first Couch to 5k run and was faced with a cold walk home in the rain! So I decided to run the last stretch because there was no way I was getting any wetter than I needed to.

woman outside on a path surrounded by nature. The sun is shining through the trees

How I'm Feeling After Week One of Couch To 5K


After a bit of confusion on my part about the amount of runs I was meant to do, I did my last run of Week 1 on Sunday 14th February. Yes, I went out on Valentine's Day morning, the ultimate act of self care if you ask me! There were lots of people about and I was mistaken as a runner....by other runners! I don't quite know what happened there to be quite honest!


In Harrogate, we are very lucky that we have a lot of green space known as the Stray. it gives runners like myself the opportunity to plan out a nice circular route without the need to go back on myself!


Having done all of the runs now, I feel geared up to start run two. Now that the weather is beginning to warm up, it will not be quite as hard to get up and go! I can't quite believe that I've gotten up and been out for a run before breakfast AND in the icy/wet/snowy weather we were previously experiencing!


I was the girl who hated cross country running and would do anything and everything to avoid running. Who would much rather spend a wet afternoon inside on the sofa than even contemplate setting foot outside to exercise! I'm even surprising myself to be honest. I think it's because I just go and do it before my brain has time to catch up and think of a reason to not go!


The Couch to 5K training plan has really helped me to get out the door. Knowing that I have an app in my pocket which will tell me when to walk, when to run, as well as giving me little pep talks throughout, really helps me.

reflection of a runner in a puddle. the photo is black and white

My Thoughts Going Into Week 2 of The Couch to 5K


I am already excited to head into Week 2 of the Couch to 5K training plan actually. Having the runs broken down into small, achievable chunks makes it easier to manage, for me at least anyway. Knowing that I can always pause the run if I need to, knowing that the runs themselves are only seconds rather than minutes all add up to making me want to put on my trainers and go for a run.


The training plan within the Couch to 5K app is laid out so well that it feels totally manageable. I don't feel at all overwhelmed when opening up my Couch to 5K app, instead I feel ready to take on the next run. As someone who was a bona fide couch potato before downloading the Couch to 5k app, I can definitely say that it's worth starting; if like me, you're looking for a bit more activity in your life!


Now I'm moving onto Week 2 of the Couch to 5K training plan, I'm sure I'll be feeling more out of breath as the runs go on! I'm doing this more for my cardiovascular health than anything. Even though we have slightly more freedom in the lockdown, when you haven't got work to occupy your days, it's easy to remain that couch potato and not think about movement, apart from moving from the sofa to the kitchen!


So if by the end of Week 9 of the Couch to 5K, I can feel less out of breath then it will have been totally worth it! I feel positive going into it and I want this to remain throughout, so with that in mind I purchased some new leggings and a top. I only wanted to buy more activewear after I'd started, because it's all too easy to buy new activewear and say you'll get out there and exercise/download the Couch to 5K app and then not actually go!


I was lucky I found some activewear in ASDA, as despite the fact it's only February, retail moves in mysterious ways and the rails will soon be full of summer clothes! (who know WHERE exactly we're meant to be going though!?) It feels good to be out running in my new gear, gives me another reason to get out and complete another run on the Couch to 5k training plan!


I hope you've enjoyed this little update, I'm hoping to do a series documenting how I'm feeling every week. So be sure to come back next week to see how I got with Week 2 of Couch to 5K!


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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