Couch to 5K – A personal journey

Couch to 5K – A personal journey

I did it! I completed the ‘Couch to 5K’ training app and now I am comfortably running a 5Km distance on a regular basis. Perhaphs running 5Km is not that impressive for some. However, given my start point was literally from not being able to walk I am quite pleased with myself.

Disaster strikes!

Last year was not the best for me. A momentary lack of concentration found me landing at the bottom of my stairs crying in pain. I knew immediately I had a broken ankle. The audible crack was a bit of a give away. Five weeks of lounging around and limping about on crutches was not much fun. When the plaster came off I was in shock. My foot and ankle were rock solid and I had a complete inability to walk. Osteopathy treatment and lots of determination got my ankle moving again. However, it took from March until August before I could comfortably walk at any sort of sensible speed for any amount of time.

Ankle in a plaster cast
Broken ankle disaster

The road to recovery

I decided to try the ‘Couch to 5K’ training app. The couch to 5K programme would act as my personal journey towards a full recovery. Once I could run comfortably for 5Km I was fixed.

The ‘Couch to 5K’ programme is a free download from Public Health England. The programme is designed to get someone who is relatively sedentary up to running for a whole 30 minutes. This consists of 3 ‘runs’ per week with a mixture of walking and running. Initially the periods of brisk walking are longer than the running periods. Gradually the running periods elongate and the walking periods get shorter until you are comfortably running for 30 minutes. The whole programme takes 9 weeks.

New running trainers
New running trainers

You choose a trainer (Michael Johnson, Jo Whiley, Sarah Millican, Sanjeev Kohli or Laura). Your trainer talks you through each session encouraging you along the way. My personal choice was Michael Johnson and I couldn’t have done it without him!

Running wasn’t easy for me. I started the programme and after two runs had a pain in my foot so stopped for a few weeks. When I resumed running again for most weeks I was doing two runs. It did therefore take me longer than the 9 weeks to complete the programme. However, I don’t think reducing the runs per week was a problem. The key is to complete all of the scheduled runs within a reasonable timescale. There is also an option to repeat weeks if you feel you aren’t ready to move onto the next level.

Running enjoyment

I completed the couch to 5K programme just before Christmas. Now I am able to complete a 30 minute run relatively comfortably. I have found a fabulous running group with whom to continue my running journey Running with the group is fun, sociable and non-competitive and I am really enjoying it.

Running is not for everyone. Anyone with hip, knee or back problems should seek professional advice before taking on the programme. The ‘Couch to 5K’ programme is for individuals who want to try and get more active and just don’t know how to start. If you do develop a pain it is important to stop running. Only return to running when you have recovered. I also recommend investing in a good pair of supportive running shoes. Running is free, takes 30 minutes of your time and you can do it from your door. You can run whenever it suits you so what are you waiting for! Download the Couch to 5K app today and get started.

Follow the link below to the NHS website for more information on the ‘Couch to 5K’ programme. The NHS website describes what is involved and shares other stories of other individuals who have taken part.

Make an appointment

If you are unsure if running is for you and want to discuss it or you have any other musculoskeletal aches and pains get in touch. I practice from my home based clinic in East Finchley N2. Call 02084446725 for an appointment.

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