Couch To 5K: I’m A Graduate, Week 9

by Apr 24, 2018

This was to be my last week with Couch to 5K – I needed to stay focused and determined otherwise I knew I’d struggle without the guidance…

The past 9 weeks have quite literally flown by; I’ve gone from a bumpy, unconfident beginner to an almost accomplished 5K runner. I decided not to make any drastic changes to my routine or technique as I didn’t want rock the boat when I had been doing so well.

Week 9 consisted of the following routines:

Run 1
Warm-up – 5 minute walk
Run – 30 mins
Cool down – 5 minutes

Run 2
Warm-up – 5 minute walk
Run – 30 mins
Cool down – 5 minutes

Run 3
Warm-up – 5 minute walk
Run – 30 mins
Cool down – 5 minutes

Run 1

I felt ready and raring to go before run 1. I could confidently run for 28 minutes without stopping so another two minutes shouldn’t feel much harder. As Jo announced that I had only 5 minutes to go I still felt strong (albeit hot and sweaty) and managed to power through to finish the full 30 minutes. My parents had the (metaphorical) confetti cannons out when I arrived home red and panting, which made me feel pretty damn proud of myself!

Run 2

I wavered slightly on run 2 – I ran the first half a little too fast and found myself gasping for breath as my tired, wobbly legs carried me forward to the finishing spot. I still managed 30 minutes without stopping but it felt painful – it wasn’t as energizing or enjoyable as run 1.

Run 3

I needed this one to be successful. This was my last time with Couch to 5K and I wanted to graduate having enjoyed my last timed run. I set off slightly slower and maintained a steady breathing technique. I got the nagging sensation of a stitch around the 20 minute mark but I took some deep breathes, adjusted my pace and pushed on. Luckily the stitch went and I was able to up my speed slightly to finish the run with a bang. AAAANNDD I DID IT. After 27 practice laps I could finally call myself a 5K runner.

Week 9 outcome

The whole programme was a rollercoaster of emotions for me. I’ve never felt so disappointed/excited/anxious/proud in my whole life as I did in those 9 weeks. In just 3 months I’ve gone from a feeling stiff, unfit and incapable to feeling strong, healthy and motivated. If I’m being totally honest I really didn’t think I would stick it out; I’ve tried running so many times but have always failed and felt disappointed in myself. But there was something about this programme that changed my way of thinking. I wasn’t in a great place when I started and I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel like I’ve truly accomplished something. Those runs are 30 minutes of the day dedicated to myself; not just my body but my mind too. For half an hour I can put aside my worries and my obsessions and instead focus on making myself a better person – inside and out.

Overall outcome

I’m fully aware that running does not appeal to everyone – I was one of those people 9 weeks ago – but believe me when I say if I can finish this programme, so can you. Even if you can’t finish it but are willing to give it a try, every little helps. Maybe instead of running you could go for a brisk 15 minute walk in the evening, or extend the dog walk by 10 minutes. If you feel better in your body it’s likely you’ll feel better in your mind.

As for me, the work is far from over. Since finishing Couch to 5K I’ve been pounding the pavements around twice a week and am pleased to say that I can now hit 5K in UNDER 30 minutes. Ok, ok so it’s only by a few seconds but if I carry on I can hopefully keep on improving. I’ve joined Park Run UK, signed up for R.E.D. January and am looking forward to running my first organised 5K run with Race for Life in May.

Follow me on Twitter to keep up to date with my progress: @sophiageorginax

For more information about the Couch to 5k challenge visit the dedicated BBC page here.

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About Sophia Chettleburgh

Sophia works and lives in London and recently began writing as a hobby in her spare time. Her interests include films, music and food. Although Sophia has only been writing for a short amount of time, she has written for an array of well-known lifestyle brands and popular publications.

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