Join Sophia as she takes on the Couch to 5k challenge, documenting her progress and giving a few tips along the way.
After week 1 of Couch to 5K I felt a little lighter; not just in the physical sense but mentally I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, and I found that I was actually looking forward to starting week 2.
To celebrate my new found momentum I treated myself to a gluttonous weekend, consuming everything I could get my hands on. Cookies, chocolate sweets, crisps – you name it, I ate it. So when week 2 came knocking at my door you could say that I was a little unprepared.
Week 2 consisted of the following routine:
Warmup – 5 minute walk
Run – 90 seconds
Walk – 2 minutes
Repeat – 5 times
Run – 90 Seconds
Cool down – 5 minute walk
I was glad that I only had to repeat the routine 5 times instead of 7, however I managed to misconstrue the fact that this meant more running. Within the first 90 seconds I was panting and sweating like it was my first run all over again. When the bell rang to signal that I was halfway through I was half tempted to give up and skulk home. But as I pounded the pavements Jo Whiley spoke a few words of wisdom: ‘…it’s so much harder to start again once you’ve stopped, so keep going!’ With her words echoing through my head I decided to push on and finish the first session.
In an attempt to shake off the negative reaction I had had to the first run, I tried to trick my brain into believing that instead of feeling nervous and defeated I was in fact excited and pumped about run 2. I soon learned that I was neither excited nor pumped, but unmotivated and frustrated. I stubbornly pushed myself to finish the routine but felt dejected and irritated that I hadn’t enjoyed myself. The usual doubts crept into my mind and I realised that this was going to be harder than I thought.
This run was going to be better – I’d decided that during my warm up walk. I chose an upbeat and encouraging playlist to motivate myself, so that when Jo announced that it was time to run I felt ready. I was still out of breath fairly early on, but I seemed to be doing marginally better than I had on run 2, which I’ve got to admit felt pretty good! The slight improvement had a really positive effect on me and by the end of the routine I was buzzing with pride. I was so pleased that despite not feeling confident or fit enough, I still did it. I put on my running shoes and spent half an hour dedicated to upping my fitness.
Whilst I can’t claim to have enjoyed week 2, I honestly felt like I’d turned a corner (running pun intended). Instead of punishing myself for not being up to scratch physically, I took on board what I needed to improve on and focused on the positives rather than the negatives. Yes, exercise is painful and yes, it’s hard work, but the struggle and fight is so worth it. My mind felt clearer which in turn made me feel more comfortable and hopeful.
For more information about the Couch to 5k challenge visit the dedicated BBC page here.
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