• Sophie Carney

My Couch to 5K Challenge

It already mid-February, and I have lost no weight... I knew this would happen, right from the start. Life is too unpredictable for simple maths, so what to do? Work on the areas I need improving.

Let me start with something indisputable and straightforward, I wouldn't say I like running. Not many people do, although it is probably one of the most straightforward exercises to start doing, it also one of the hardest to keep up with (ha). Why? First, it is a full-body workout, you're moving your arms, keeping your balance, let along moving your legs at various speeds. Also, it is mostly cardio, your heart is pumping, lungs are working hard, and you feel like your body is about to shut down. But these are short term, compared with the benefits of running.

"Running is free, you can do it anywhere, and it burns more calories than any other mainstream exercise. Regular running can reduce your risk of long-term illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also boost your mood and keep your weight under control." - NHS

So, as I was looking at apps to help me in my weight loss journey, I found the Couch to 5K App... again. It has been coming up regularly since I started looking at apps to help in my weight loss but was always put off by 'Running'. But at this point, I am looking to try something new and different.

Couch to 5k by One You are supported by BBC inspiration and the NHS which is why I chose the app (Also it's free!), but there are several different variations on this concept, including an NHS podcast called Couch to 5K: week by week. It also has a range of 'couches' who you can listen to as you do your run, I chose Sarah Millican, as she is more relatable and I have been a fan of her for many years. You do 3 runs per week, which increases in difficulty throughout. This is the starting run:

Warm-up: 5-minute walk

Run: 60 Seconds

Walk: 90 second

repeat: 7 times

Run: 60 seconds

Cool Down: 5 Minute walk

You do 8 minutes of running, and 22 minutes of walking, totalling 30-minute workout. Even when you are walking between each run, your body is still pumping and breathing harder. You always get the benefits of running, even for a short amount of time. By the end of the course, you should be able to run for the full 30 minutes running about 5k in that time, however many runners complete a 5K in 30 to 40 minutes, for women of my age (22) the average is 36 minutes. This system solved a big problem that many beginner runners have, doing too much too soon. It gradually increases over 9 weeks, giving you plenty of time to fix, your posture and stamina, meaning you won't be put off by being knackered or injured at the end of the first seasons.

The next question is where to run, I am lucky enough to live near the Forest Way, a cycle and walking trail, which is relatively straight and flat. I also have a gym membership, which I can use for those rainy days, and buried deep in my garage is a treadmill that I need to steal at some point.

I know with everything that getting started will be the hardest thing. Due to illness I haven't been doing any exercise, let alone going to the gym. I am hoping to have a steady increase in activity will encourage me to start a routine of gyming, swimming and eating healthily. Running is something I can do anywhere, I am lucky to have the outdoor space and a gym where I can start this new form of exercise.

My plan is to start on Thursday at the gym, after which I will have a swim to cool off, it won't be that busy so won't be full of people running half marathons on the treadmill. I look forward to trying out something new and hope this doesn't put me off running for life. Also, I have just opened a forum, so come and join me on my journey of exercise, asking questions and participating in the discussion of best ways to start exercising!

The Case of Running Continues...