Couch to 5k: week one

I downloaded the couch to 5k app onto my phone and was delighted to see that I could have Sarah Millican as the voice of my trainer!  Sarah is funny and dry and far from skinny.  I don't mind being told to run for sixty seconds in her warm Geordie voice.

Well the first decision was what to wear to have a go at this.  A couple of years ago I decided that, after six years or so,  yoga was clearly here to stay and bought myself some new yoga gear so I have leggings and yoga tops and very lovely they are too.  I also have lots of gardening t shirts and jeans but I haven't really got any equivalent of tracksuit bottoms which it makes sense to jog in.  In the end I found a loose pair of exercise bottoms which used to be my yogawear before I upgraded.  Then the question was what to wear on my feet.  I know that it is important to wear suitable running trainers but I feared that if I didn't get started until I had all the gear I might miss the moment when I was prepared to give it a go.  I dug around in the wardrobe and found a pair of cheap and hardly used trainers which I bought to go the gym and which were never really worn (mm, what does that tell you?).  I thought they would be fine for the first week when you only run for sixty seconds at a time so out I went.

Now this is the bit where I know I am really lucky.  The idea of running out there under the public gaze, on a road or in a park, was truly daunting.  But we have a couple of acres of land and I thought I could manage to do these very short runs in our field well away from view!

OK, walk briskly for five minutes says Sarah.  That's easy.  I like walking.  I use the fact that I need to cover the whole field and garden to go round looking at what is in bloom, resisting the urge to stop and smell and steaming past cheerily.

The very first of the snowdrops are out.  There are snouts of daffodil leaves pushing through around the apple trees.

Sarah tells me to start running  so off I go.  Now I am not sure you can really accurately call it running but it is definitely a touch faster and a lot bouncier than walking so that will have to do.  It is surprisingly ok, mainly because just about at the time when I begin to feel I really want to stop Sarah tells me I can and start walking instead!  So it is eight minutes of running in total, alternating with eight times ninety seconds of walking followed by a five minute cool down.

I am unfeasibly pleased with myself for doing it.  So three times in a week is the aim.

The second time I am amused to find that, while the idea of being away from public gaze works for not being seen by people, I attract some serious attention from the neighbour's cows.  First one or two come ambling up to the fence to see what is going on and in no time at all they are mooing and lowing and calling and the whole fieldful is pushing up against the fence, thrusting past each other like a crowd waiting for the Queen, wondering what on earth is going on.  Never tell me that cows are not curious.  So run number two is also ok.

I like the fact that you have to take a day off between runs and try to space mine so that I am running on days when I don't do anything else normally.  So this week I run on a Sunday and then have my day off on Monday when I go to yoga.

Run number three is the same routine.  By this stage I am starting to learn one or two things.  The first one is not to try to run too soon after breakfast.  I found ages ago that unless I eat breakfast a couple of hours before a yoga class it is better to delay until afterwards.  I hadn't really thought about running in the same way but it seems to apply to running too.  On day three I leave it for about an hour after my breakfast until I go for my session but I am still too aware of food sitting heavily in my stomach.  That is good to know I suppose because I imagine that finding little things that help and hinder might be crucial in keeping me going so that is tip number one: don't run too soon after eating.  On my last run of the week I also find that it encourages me to move about the field so that I am looking at different things to distract myself when the running bit kicks in.  The daphne bholua Jacqueline Postill is in flower and every time I run past the scent it cheers me on.  So that is the second discovery: finding things to look at which are pleasing makes the whole thing easier.

So there we are:  week one is done.  I am very pleased that I did it but still daunted by the idea that the next session will ask me to run for a little bit longer.  And I still feel that "running" is a grand word for the slow jog which is all I can manage, but hey, it's a start!


  1. Well done you! I was the same with trainers at the beginning. Didn’t get proper running shoes for several weeks. They do make a difference because they are much lighter. Looking forward to hearing about your progress :) B x

    1. Thanks Barbara! It really does help to know that others have gone before me and what is more, are still going!

  2. Good for you! I'm cautiously pleased to be back at 5km runs again at 65, having had to switch up my training completely over the last two years because of a concatenation of relatively small injuries. Would you ever consider doing that morning run before your breakfast? I find that works for me if my schedule requires it -- although I almost always have a cup of tea first. When I was doing much longer distances, a few years ago, I'd make sure to have at least a banana first, but again, I really couldn't spare the hour or so it would have taken to digest a proper breakfast. Just a thought for days when you might want more flexibility. . .

    1. Thanks mater. I'll have a try at that. Certainly there is an attraction in doing the run first thing. I'm finding that I need to book the next run in my diary and choose the time so that it feels like a commitment rather than something I will do if I can fit it in!

  3. I love your definition of running as 'bouncier than walking' :) Good luck.

    1. Thanks Anne! I have just bought myself a sports bra so perhaps the bounce will be less pronounced!


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