Couch to 5K

So I am happy to write this blog post now that I have finished the nine weeks of couch to 5k. For those that don’t know what c25k is it’s a nine week plan that gets anyone at any level of fitness from sedentary to running for 5K three times a week.

As it turns out, C25K is not a strictly accurate name as it actually gets you to running for 30 minutes three times a week and whether that is 5k will, of course, depend on your speed. For me the closest I got was 4.49006976 kilometres!

It has been a deliberate move on my part to not tell anyone that I was doing the plan until now that I have completed it. This was simply because I didn’t want to tell everyone only to not complete it. Also I knew that it would come up when I met anyone I told who would want to know my progress which would pile on the pressure to complete it. So I didn’t tell anyone even when it would have been obvious to say, something my wife found very amusing. So I have completed it on my own terms.

This secrecy also extended to going out first thing in the morning when it was dark and cold. Week one it was pitch black when I left and also when I returned 30-40 minutes later. By the end of the ninth week it was just cold and everyone in the street could see what I was doing. And how I was dressed. As you can see from the picture below I look like Reading’s best dressed cat burglar!


C25K is a nine week plan and there are many podcasts to guide you but I chose the one from the NHS figuring that they would go out of their way to ensure I didn’t end up in hospital using their services which would be self defeating. These podcasts are narrated by “Laura”, a Northern lass who guides and encourages you along the way.

Laura assures me that it is quite natural to feel knackered and when she is running she does such and such. I have no way of validating this and strongly suspect that she was chosen for her comforting voice rather than running prowess.

I found some of Laura’s idioms a bit odd. She regularly tells me that “You’re doing really great” when I would have thought that it would be more natural to say “You are doing really WELL”. I can imagine a committee somewhere in NHS Towers where they argued long into the night over the precise wording that would motivate.

As the weeks progressed I got to week six where I was running with no walk break in between and Laura announces that I am now officially a runner. I await delivery of my certificate in the post. I get back home and my legs ache for pretty much the rest of the day and I wonder if it will ever feel easier. My wife helpfully tells me that “if your legs hurt it shows it’s doing some good”. Easy to say from her position of not having been out for a run!

Last week I completed the ninth week of couch to 5k. If I was expecting hearts and flowers from Laura I was to be disappointed. The last week of the NHS’ C25K podcasts were strangely impersonal with the last three runs being all exactly the same. I don’t think it would have hurt to have recorded a different one for the very last run.

So what now I have completed the nine weeks?

Well, some people apparently get a rush of endorphins when they complete their exercise and have a buzz for hours after. I don’t. I have always found exercise to be a chore and derive no pleasure from it whatsoever – it is a means to an end. I recognise that I need to do something and so I will persist until something less taxing but with the same benefits comes along. I might buy some new trainers though!

This post has been adapted from a weekly blog on The Chubby Challenge and you can read them all here.