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Can Couch to 5k make me into a runner?

Couch to 5k

That was the question I asked myself when I downloaded the App onto my iPhone about 3 months ago. I’d heard great things about it but there was a nagging feeling in my head telling me, ‘Kirsty, you’re not a runner! Never have been, never will be.’ but I was determined to give it a try.

So did it work?

The short answer is yes and no.

I completed the full nine weeks about a month ago now and yes, I can actually run for 30 minutes straight! But can I run 5k in 30 minutes? Not yet. I run about 4.8k in 30 minutes (on a good day!) but does that matter? To me, not really. What is important is that I’ve increased the amount of exercise I do every week as well as adding variety.

Couch to 5k graduate

So how did I find completing the nine weeks and what’s it been like after?

You can read how I found weeks 1 to 5 on my blog but weeks 6 to 9 were challenging to say the least – but in a good way. I loved the discipline that Couch to 5k gave me whilst I was doing it and I felt like I had a goal. Now that I’ve finished it, I’m finding it much harder to keep the running up. Lots of people have said that I need to set myself the challenge of completing a Park Run or another 5k run but I don’t really feel ready for that yet.

And the reason for that is because I’m struggling to run outdoors… One of my absolute top tips if you’re looking to take on Couch to 5k is to do all, or all least half, of your training outdoors. I did all of mine on a treadmill at gym and I can tell you now, running outside is MUCH harder!

The first outdoor run I did, I could only manage 20 minutes (even though week 9 is three 30 minute runs) and it was torture. I found it impossible to regulate my pace, the surface was harder, the gradient varies and I found it tougher on my knees. I have only run three times so far outdoors and only managed one 30 minute run. So do yourself a favour if you plan on running outdoors – don’t do Couch to 5k only on a treadmill!

What I love about Couch to 5k is the community. Throughout my journey I had lots of people giving me support – on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It feels like a community and it definitely helps spur you on knowing that people are rooting for you.

Thinking of giving it a go?

Here are my tips:

  • Follow the plan to the letter.
  • Give yourself a day to rest between each run.
  • Stretch after each run (calf and hip flexor exercises)
  • Buy wireless headphones (my best friend recommended Otium)
Otium headphones for running
  • If you’re doing it on a treadmill, make sure to also run outdoors every second or third run.
  • Get a good running playlist!
  • Share your achievements – tell your partner, post it on Facebook, share it on Twitter, post a sweaty red face selfie on Insta Stories! It gives you a huge boost when people congratulate you. It’s also nice to chat to people who are also doing it or who have completed it and now can run marathons!
Stretching after running

I still don’t feel like running comes naturally to me but I’m hoping that the more I run, the more I’ll become better at it. I’m not sure yet that I’d call myself a runner but give me until the end of the year and I’m sure I will be. My best friend is a huge inspiration. She too started on Couch to 5k and is now running 20k every weekend! She has her sights set on running a marathon. Amazing.

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Will Couch to 5k turn you into a runner?

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.

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