This is my third time attempting to complete the Couch to 5k programme. The first two attempts began in a blaze of optimism and motivation which quickly petered out and limped home, dejected and despairing. This time I am determined to complete the plan and have signed up to a 5k run which is due to take place on my final day of the plan! At the moment the biggest obstacle I am encountering is a set of crazy weather conditions. Storms, snow and heavy rainfall have been keeping me indoors on too many running nights and I am now a few days behind schedule. However, I have gotten as far as…..drumroll please, Week 8, Day 3!!!!!
I am surprised at how resolutely I have stuck to doing this. I have only had one run so far where I just couldn’t complete it and I think that was down to a lack of hydration and pacing myself too quickly initially. I’m thrilled with how much better I am now feeling and with how quickly my fitness has improved. I’ve gone from huffing and puffing when running 90 seconds to completing 28 minute runs this week. Over the course of this journey I’ve picked up a few tips which I have decided to share. I’m not a running expert, I’m not even a proficient novice but I have gotten past the point where most people drop off (week 6) so I thought I’d let people know how I did it.
1) Tell EVERYONE!!!! And I mean EVERYONEEEE!!!! I told family, colleagues, friends and people I barely knew. I have found it very motivating to have people asking how the programme was going and feeling accountable to them often gave me that little extra push out the door.
2) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate…and then hydrate some more. I can’t stress this enough. Even though I knew this starting out there were still so many days when I allowed myself to go for a run without being properly hydrated. It shocked me every time how much harder it was to complete the run when I hadn’t had enough water that day.
3)Wear running socks. I got away without special running socks for weeks and kept forgetting to stock up on them. I currently have a massive foot blister and ripped skin to show for this foolishness.
4) Pick a fun run or race and book yourself in. This will motivate you to keep going as you’ll have a goal to aim for.
5) Read running books, blogs, pinterest boards, magazines…anything that helps you to stay on track and hopefully some of it will stick in your head for those moments of despair during the run when all you want to do is give up. My own personal mantra which I picked up from a book along the way is:
I don’t stop when I’m tired, I stop when I’m done.