Monday, 26 January 2015

Couch to 5k Week 1 - Run Fat Girl, Run

So, to cut a long story short, I recently decided to start running.

Why?  Well, this is not meant part of a weightloss journey, because I have accepted that I am never going to be Kate Moss.  I have curves and I realise that a size 10 is never going to be achievable for me.  What I really do want to achieve however, is to not be out of breath when I chase after the children on their scooters or kick a ball with them in the garden.  To be a bit fitter.  If losing a bit of weight comes as part of this then that's good too.

I wasn't initially going to blog about it but then I thought writing it all down here might spur me into action should I suddenly decide that sitting on the sofa watching daytime TV was preferable to becoming fitter (or Rinder more important than Running if you like).

I completed week one of the Couch to 5k podcasts last week and so thought I'd write a bit of a retrospective post about that, should anyone considering the Couch to 5k want to either join in or need a bit of encouragement to get started.  After all if a slightly podgy 40 year old mother of five (with a questionable pelvic floor) can run then anybody can!

1.  Preparation 

As I say, I chose Couch to 5k, mainly because after getting a new phone recently I'd found the NHS choices app in the App Store, and as it was free I decided to download it so I could have a better look.

The NHS app is very simple to use.  The first week of podcasts is unlocked ready to use and after you've completed that then all you need to do is register with them and you can then unlock the following 8 weeks (yes, 9 weeks in total, OMG what am I doing!).

There's a small amount of information within the app itself but I did also read a few articles on the supporting NHS Choices website about the Couch to 5k programme before I got started.  In particular the advice on what to wear (it's been quite a few years since I hit the gym you see) was helpful.

In addition to this I am using Blinkbox Music which has some readymade running playlists available to download so that you can listen on the move.

I also downloaded Map My Run (more on that next week) so that I had some idea of time and distance covered during each run.

2.  Encouragment 

Ok, so I let slip on Twitter one evening that I was considering C25K which some may say was foolish given that I haven't done any exercise bar Wii Fit since the children were born.  Maybe I was setting myself up for a fall?

Anyhow, I needn't have worried because all I got was encouragement.  This made me even more determined since my husband had just laughed in my face when I'd first mentioned running.

Twitter buddies, it turns out can talk you into anything.  Thanks @mardykerrie for that :)

3.  The first run

The following morning I pulled on my ancient trainers (this may be a mistake but one I fully intend to address at a later date), an outfit comfortable enough to run in, launched the C25K app and off I went. I was convinced that curtains were twitching and neighbours laughing as I marched purposefully down the road, but I didn't care.  Really, I have five children and am pretty much the talk of the street anyway, so how much worse could it be?

I was further convinced that I would hate it and nearly kill myself as I was so unfit, but


Just 30 short minutes later and I had completed my first "run".  I even had a bit of a spring in my step for the rest of the day.  What followed however, I was not prepared for at all.

4.  The following day

In short, I woke up almost unable to move, wincing with every step.  It appeared that my trainers were a particular version made with miniature graters sewn into the ankle padding because mine were now in shreds and bleeding. 

Actually, I did at this point wonder if I could hack this running lark after all.  If this was the end result of day one, then how hard would the running be by week 9?

Following the advice of the podcast I took a day's rest at this point, and decided to see how I felt the following morning as to whether I would carry on.

5.  The rest of the week

Run number two was much better than the first one, although my ankles begged to differ but I was relieved not to ache at all on the following day.  By the final run of the week (there are three in total per week for the whole programme, so not a massive commitment) I had started to turn the corner so much so that I was not out of breath at all by the end.  So, that was week one, complete!

Things I've learnt this week

Eat breakfast. I hate breakfast.  Mine is usually just lots and lots of coffee.  By the end of my second run I wondered why I was still feeling so wretched and concluded that it must be a lack of fuel.  So I've started to have a small bowl of porridge before I run, which makes it much better.  Not only in terms of energy but also concentration.

Wait for the pavements to thaw. That first run?  I'll be honest, I was like Bambi on ice at times.  Workmen who happened to be unloading their van nearby may have laughed at me.  So now, I wait until the pavements are not white any more.

Music helps motivate.  Even the things that I don't want to listen to.  Listening to music really helps take my mind off how long I've got left to run (and also my blisters!).

I might need new shoes and a sports bra.  Actually there's no might about this.  I really do need to get onto this.  I'm not even going to tell you what constitutes a makeshift sports bra at present *shakes head*.

I quite like running after all.  Who knew that?  I love getting out into the fresh air on my own.  If anything it's a garaunteed half an hour where nobody asks me to get them a drink/feed them/sign their homework diary/wipe their bottom etc.  Bliss!

Do pop a comment below if you are joining in with Couch to 5k too, or even if you have graduated.  It would be lovely to hear from you and I need all the encouragement I can get!


  1. Yay! Well done. I'm on week 6, day 3 - (although it's so far taken nearly three months because of one thing and another!) I agree that proper running shoes and a sports bra are a must. I read somewhere that it's important to buy shoes at the start because that is when you're more likely to get an injury. Try and have your gait measured when you get them. Good luck. Looking forward to reading the next instalment :)

    1. Thanks for your comment :). I can't imagine what week 6 will feel like at the moment! I've had the shoes for a while although they are "as new" (because I've hardly used them) so aren't a problem as such but my fat ankles are - always get blisters in the same place when I change from boots to shoes. I'm going to have to go and try a few pairs to see if they are any better. Happily M&S have 20% off today so the new sports bra is definitely on my list!

  2. Yay for you! I love running for the same reason 30 minutes to myself. Try sports direct or mandm for sports gear much cheaper :-) Since I've moved I regularly drop the kids to school while I'm in my running gear would never of done that before lol and i dont care what the neighbours think ;-) Keep going you can do it x

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence :). I had looked at Sports Direct and there one not far from here - I'm finding all the choice overwhelming though. Why can't they just have one type of running trainer?

    2. Oh I know! Find somewhere that will measure your running style to make sure you get the best ones also stretch after you finish not only helps with the aches will also make you a better . There's some on my health pin board :-) x.

  3. Dare I try it? I mean, if u can do it then I OBVS can... Hehe! I'll let u know if I decide to try it, we can give each other encouragement. Good luck with it, bet u kick ass! Xx

    1. Hehe thanks ;) you should totally do this. Get the running shoes on and get out there! You'll be positively gazelle-like compared to me ;). And yes let me know if you do!

  4. Great post! I'm just over halfway through and I can't believe how much I've progressed. The first few weeks I couldn't even run for 90 seconds without wanting to keel over and pass out but last week I ran for 20 minutes without stopping which I'd never had believed would happen!! Good luck and keep going.
    Rosanna xx

    1. Wow, half way! That's amazing. i know what you mean about wanting to keel over. I thought I was dying at one point! Thanks for your comment - I'll do my best!

  5. Well done!! I am very excited for you. I just ate a kebab :/ I hope to pick up the Couch 2 5k again but I just can't get motivated. January is horrible isn't it. No excuses. Well done you and keep going!!! xxx

    1. Thank you! Kebabs are fine (and sometimes necessary). The motivation can be hard though, especially with the weather which is rubbish. You have the excuse of being really busy and having very small children though so don't be too hard on yourself! I'm enjoying this far more than I thought I might so thanks again for convincing me! :) xx


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