My Experience of Couch to 5k: I Am a Runner Now

I have just ran for 20 minutes without stopping! 

I wasn’t planning on writing another instalment so soon, but feel compelled to do so as I am so chuffed and currently on that post-run high.

That was the final run of week 5 of Couch to 5k. A sudden step up from 8 minutes of non-stop running being the maximum so far. All previous weeks have the same run/walk pattern to be completed three times but this week was all different. I fear the easy start is behind me and there will only be longer runs from now….

I’m going to try and avoid having a sneaky peek of the weeks to come.

Things I have discovered so far:

It is more of a mental challenge than a physical one. Just don’t think about what is happening with your body. Being outside in wonderful nature and breathing (or gasping!) fresh air beats being in any gym.

Music is the key. For me this is what has kept me pushing, helped me zone out of what my legs and lungs are doing, and has drowned out my heavy breathing. I always use the shuffle function, never knowing what will come next. David Bowie’s anthem ‘Station to Station’ saw me through most of today’s 20 minute challenge, with James Blake’s ‘I Need a Forest Fire’ coming in for the final 2 minutes (more perfect timing as I was already getting that warm, fuzzy feeling that kicks in when you know you are nearly there and have done it. The song just added to my fuzziness).

Time of day makes a difference. For me my ‘easiest’, most fulfilling, runs are after work – despite always being a rush to finish, get changed and complete the run before dark. It massively helps to de-stress from the day and stretch those muscles after a day hunched at a desk.

Smile and laugh. We all know that it’s harder to hurt when we smile and laugh. Don’t worry, I’m not out there grinning and cackling away –  just smiling when I pass others (as to give the impression that it’s not hurting really!) and when I catch lyrics to songs that I’ve never noticed before without the benefit of headphones and volume. Althea and Donna’s ‘Uptown Top Ranking’ inexplicably crops up most weeks – out of my 150 songs. I love this tune and it always makes me smile (and want to “wine up m’waist”).

Jo made me chuckle today by suggesting I think about anything else other than running, such as a night out that is coming up or my shopping list. Given the lockdown, I had to resort to the latter. Well, my weekly Tesco trip is the sum of my social life currently.

Jo’s usage of the word “Huzzah” as I finished today is another one for the memory bank when I need a smile. She is still my friend and I am starting to look forward to my dates with her more and more now.

I am a runner and I am amazing – both things that Jo often tells me. 

Image courtesy of Alex McCarthy.

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