I've had a few people follow my journey on the Couch to 5km and asking me a few questions about it, so I thought I'd put it all in one post so if anyone one else was keen to start, all the info was right here!
Last October I decided to quit moping about how I couldn't lose the last few kilos of baby weight, I had on my stomach and about how I always felt tired, unfit and lethargic. I knew I wanted to become a runner, but how did I actually go about doing it? I decided to do some research and stumbled across a program called the Couch to 5km, and the more I read the more excited I became as it actually felt achievable.
Put simply, the program works on interval training, and if you follow week to week by the end you'll go from a couch sitter (like me) to running 5kms non stop. Yes, that's right, non stop!
There are 9 weeks in the program, and the Podcasts can be found here: Robert Ullery's C25K Podcasts These podcasts are great, as Robert will tell you when to run and when to walk, and it's all set to motivating music. All you need to do is download them to your ipod.
If you have an iphone, you can download to C25K app here. It lets you listen to your own music, and gives you audio cues when to switch from running to walking.
Another source of inspiration I found was the C25K Facebook page. Make sure you become a fan if you decide to do the program, as there's lots of handy hints about warming up, what to eat, etc.
Now, here's my personal perspective and a few things I learnt along the way...
- You will need to make sure you can do the program three times a week. It takes about 30 minutes each time, and it can be done either outside or on the treadmill. What time you do it is up to you, some people prefer to workout in the morning, but I found that I had more energy in the evening. I would start on a Sunday, then run on Tuesday and Thursday.
- It is imperative that you have good runners that are fitted properly. When I started out I was using my 3 year old runners, and it finally dawned on me that they were the cause of my knee, shin and ankle pain. New runners stopped this immediately, and I haven't had any pain since!
- It's OK if you don't run as far as the podcast asks you too, or if you need to repeat a week. Don't beat yourself up! I repeated week 4 and week 8 as I either didn't make the time, or felt I hadn't built up the stamina needed for the next week.
- Try and drink around 2-3 liters of water a day, especially on the days you run. (Just make sure you pee before you go, nothing worse than running on a full bladder!)
- Invest in a great sports bra.
- If you want to track your distance and calories burnt, grab a Nike+ sports kit. It slots into your ipod, and the cheapest I've found them is here. You will also need to shoe pouch to put the sensor in, and you can find them here.
- When you feel like you can't keep jogging, slow your jog so you're almost walking. Keep telling yourself you can do it!
- Enrol someone to be your 'motivator'. Someone who will push you out the door on the days that you 'just can't be bothered'. I had those days, and when mum was here she was fabulous at kicking my butt into gear and shoving me out the door!
The Couch to 5km program has seriously changed my life. I've lost the baby weight, I feel more alert and active and even my mood has improved. My skin is clearer. This has been fabulous for my confidence too, and I love that I can actually plan to do a 12 km fun run in September!
Good luck, and go for it! If you have any questions you can either email me or pop them in the comments section, and I'll be more than happy to answer them!