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Couch to 5k – Weeks 1 to 5

Couch to 5k a review

Thinking of giving Couch to 5k a go? I’m officially just over half way now and really enjoying it. Here’s my honest thoughts on the programme and how it’s working for me.

A couple of months ago I decided I was going to start running. Part of my motivation is to lose some weight (without dieting) and I’ve heard running can be good for that (combined with healthy eating, obvs). Now, I’m not a runner – I’m more of a swimmer. I can happily swim for 45 mins no problem but running is something that just doesn’t come naturally to me. Which is annoying because my dad was a marathon runner so why doesn’t it run in the blood?!

So one day I just decided to start doing interval runs on the treadmill at gym, of my own accord. I must have done this for about 3 weeks – and it was going well – until I thought, ‘perhaps I should follow an actual programme’, which is where Couch to 5k by the NHS came in. I’m sure I could have carried on by myself, doing my own thing, but if Couch to 5k can *actually* get me to run 5k in 9 weeks then that’s a definite goal I know I can achieve.

I downloaded the app and started on week 1, however, technically I was really on about week 3 or 4 so I have to say I just carried on doing my own thing for the first two weeks whilst listening to my trainer (I chose Laura). I was running longer – up to 15 minutes in one go – and also increasing my pace, until I pulled a muscle in my calf! Top tip – do proper stretches after you run!

Stretching after a run

In one way, pulling my muscle was a good thing as it meant that after it healed (in about a week using the RICE method – rest, ice, compression, elevation, ), I just followed the app to the letter (although I do run a bit more afterwards). They do recommend that you give yourself a day to recover between each run, something I wasn’t always doing before but I am now as it is important.

Some days are definitely harder than others but I really feel that my fitness level is increasing and my breathing whilst running is improving. Although I don’t seem to have lost any weight, I’m definitely more toned and I feel stronger.

I’ve just completed run two of week 5 where you run for 8 minutes straight, twice. I only have four weeks left so I’m interested to see how you go from 8 minutes to 30 in just four weeks but stay tuned and I’ll update you again when I finish the programme!

Something I really didn’t expect is that I’m actually enjoying running! Honestly, if you’d asked me at the beginning of the year whether I’d enjoy running I would have laughed in your face. Now I just wish I’d started Couch to 5k sooner!

Have you done it? How did you find it?

Couch to 5k - a review of weeks 1 to 5

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.



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