I've mentioned trying out the Couch to 5k program a couple of times, but I've never managed to see it through past the first couple of weeks. The truth is that I'm never going to be one of these (insane) people who love exercising and have a real passion and zest for it. That being said I have come to accept the importance of exercise and have grudgingly conceded that if I want to get to my goal weight and stay there its something that I'm going to have to incorporate into my life 3-5 times a week.
Enter Couch to 5k.
For those of you who don't know (which I'm sure is nobody because its pretty much the gospel of most weightloss bloggers), C25K is a 9 week training program aimed at those who have never run before. The plan alternatives periods of jogging/running with walking to gradually increase stamina and fitness and claims to have you running 5k (or for 30 minutes) without stopping in 9 weeks. I've heard a lot of great reviews and seen a lot of bloggers who have successfully completed the program. Even my dad has given it a shot and was running 5km in the gym three times a week until just recently. (He has now given up his gym membership in favour of a fancy-pants new bike, and is cycling 75 miles from London to Brighton in September to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. You know things are bad when your 50-year-old father is in better shape than you are.)
Anyway, back to my point. I know that at this stage in the game exercising regularly is going to be the key to losing the last few lbs and keeping them off. As well as that, one of the items on my '21 Before 22' list was to complete a 5km run. And as I no longer have access to a gym since moving home and becoming a poverty stricken unemployed graduate, now seemed as good a time as any to have another bash at C25K. So thats what I did.
As of yesterday I have completed the first week of the plan - without too much trouble. When I was in good habits at the gym a few months back (before exams and my trip to NY messed it all up) I was running for 10-12 minutes at a time without stopping (sounds like nothing but a huge achievement for someone who previously couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without breaking a sweat!). Obviously running on a treadmill is vastly different to running outside so I don't think I could have done that on the road at the time anyway, but its also amazing how quickly your fitness decreases when you're not exercising regularly and maintaining that routine. I tried to mix things up in the gym to stop myself getting bored, so sometimes it would be two weeks between 'big' runs. I'd be doing classes, swimming and other workouts in the meantime, but running is definitely a whole different ball game and requires regular specific 'training' sessions as it were if you want to build up your fitness and stamina. (Because I am clearly a real expert). I had no trouble running for a minute at a time for the week one workouts, except when I had to go uphill - and even then it was doable. I also made the extremely wise decision to download the NHS Choices C25K podcasts, which have definitely made it easier. Before I was going it alone, so I spent most of the time checking the stopwatch on my iPod to see when I had to start or stop running. I wasn't really concentrating on what I was doing and definitely wasn't putting my all into it. The podcasts tell you when to run and when to walk and they're set to some great tracks as well - I'd definitely recommend them if you're interested in starting the plan. They're available for free from iTunes.
I'll be starting week two of the plan tomorrow, and have decided that once I've completed it and can run 5k without stopping then I will treat myself to some new (read: decent) running shoes. The ones I have now are fine and they do the job, but I'd like some that are a little more specific to running and are a little...well...prettier. There. I said it.
I'll be updating weekly to let you all know how I'm getting on with the plan, and hopefully in eight weeks time I'll be able to cross another item off my '21 Before 22' to-do list!
Hope you're all having a good week so far!