Let's talk 'couch to 5k' and working out at home

4 August 2020

This time last year, me and my sister managed to get to the beginning of week 8 out of 9 of 'Couch to 5k' but we took a break from it when we went on holiday. After nearly two weeks of not running, it was really hard to get back into it especially fitting it around a new school year (year 11 for me!). So we kind of stopped and I really felt the difference of not exercising. I and I'm sure many other people have got a love/hate relationship with working out/running. If I'm in a good mood, motivation will come easy to me but if I'm not feeling it, you bet I'll be trying to put off running with all the excuses I can think of. 

With finishing school 4 months early and having all this time on my hands, I was determined to get back into exercising. I know it makes me feel great physically and mostly mentally so why not. It also gave me a focus and something to do to escape from the worries of the world for a bit.
I started joining in with Joe Wicks P.E sessions and only completed a couple before somehow I felt like I couldn't sit down (they killed me!!). I carried on doing them for a couple more weeks on and off until I gave up. 

So I thought about starting 'Couch to 5k' again. At this point in lockdown, you were only allowed one hour of exercise a day and me and my family were using that hour to go on a walk around the fields near our house. Therefore, I decided to complete it in my garden and start from week 4 this time. I found it harder to essentially run a circle multiple times over and over instead of a path but I put up with it for about 4 weeks before venturing out into the 'real' world. 

I forgot how much I loved running and the rewarding feeling of finishing. When I did it last year, I struggled to run for 90 seconds and then after hard work (literally blood, sweat and tears), I was able to increase my time with ease (as much as difficulty!) to 5 minutes, then 10, 15 and right at the end, half an hour! The BBC 'Couch to 5k' programme (a free app) is so clever; I loved listening to Jo Whiley cheer me on but sometimes hated it when I heard her voice as I knew I had to run again. There are many other celebrities/ athletes you can listen to to help you get through your training. 

When I eventually took the step from running in my safe garden to the roads in my town, I felt so nervous! It was week 7 and my pace got completely messed up due to running on different terrain. I got too excited (lol) and ran too fast at the beginning resulting in me not being able to finish the full the full 25 minutes of running without stopping for a walk and I doubted my ability to run. I immediately hated it because I couldn't do it but I knew I couldn't give up. I was SO close to finishing the programme. I repeated the run multiple times until I achieved a steady pace and managed to complete the week. 

Fast forwarding two weeks from that, I was on the last week running the full 30 minutes! I think doing something like this really shows you you can do anything if you really want to. Some days I didn't want to run at all but I pushed myself to because I knew the outcome would be worth it. 
Now I've finished the programme, I use an app called 'RunKeeper' to track my 5ks. It's so easy to use and cool to see how much progress you have made. I would love to get my time to around the 25 minute mark but that might take a while! 

My running views aren't too bad!

Just to quickly touch on working out at home (something I had never done before lockdown), I try to do a bit of exercise a day. I love the Chloe Ting workouts on youtube and completed her two week ab challenge (10 minutes a day) which was amazing! And now I either re-do that workout or another one on her channel on the days I don't run. If I'm unable to workout on a certain day or I just don't feel like it, that's also okay too. However, I do make an effort to try and get out of my house even for a walk to move my legs a bit. I love to exercise for my mental health and it makes me feel fitter in myself. 

Apologies if this post is boring for any of you (hopefully it's interesting to some!), I just wanted to share my experience with 'Couch to 5k' which was amazing and I really recommend it if anyone is wanting to try it out. Feel free to leave any questions if you have any about anything I have mentioned.

Bethan xx

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