So here I am, huffing and puffing my way to school every morning, arriving (late of course) at the school gate completely out of breath, with rosy (vermilion, more like) cheeks, and my heart pumping hard in my chest is reminding me that I’m on the wrong side of 30… of 35 even! And that fitness is now something that needs working (hard?) on…
Could I squeeze a little cardio training between school runs and a part time job? When I heard about the “couch to 5k” free app from the nhs, I decided to jump at the opportunity. Here’s my experience of the “couch to 5k” nhs mobile app.
- 1st run: my first run today was brilliant. Interesting fact: I can run (60 seconds at a time, still… an achievement)! I really enjoyed being out there in the park, feeling like I was finally doing something for myself, something that did not involve food shopping or cooking, house cleaning, or the word “children”… – surreal! I took it really slow; the instructions are very clear and easy to follow. The feeling that the world was smiling at me was reinforced by some glorious rays of sunshine, and by the inspirational music and words on the app. Cheesy? Maybe slightly. But when exercising, encouraging words are like a pat on the back, and I certainly needed one to get me started.
- 2nd run: ouch! I started my second run today with a bit too much confidence. Increasing the pace was a bad idea. With 3 children “under the belt”, and years gone by with no training, it wasn’t long before my body sent the first distress signals: side stitches here and there. So really now, I’ll go easy and steady.
- 3rd run: Yeah! I finally completed week 1 today… and it only took me 4 weeks (Well, it’s been cold out there and, erm… you know). The sun was out again, and I enjoyed being back in the park, where my 2-legged feathery friends were nesting. The run (all 8 minutes of it in total) felt easy and quick. If I can do it, so can you. Now Week 2, bring it on!!!
- Running gear: don’t invest in some fancy running gear just yet. Instead keep it as a reward for when you complete your 9-week training. However, comfy and warm clothes (windproof if you can), proper running trainers and a well fitted sport bra are a must.
- Finding your own pace: I feel that the pace set by the music on the app is sometimes a bit fast. Find your own pace instead of trying to follow the music. The energetic and inspirational music does keep you going though, which is fab. I tend to do a lot of day dreaming – which leads to my walking slowing down – but the fast paced music is a gentle reminder that you need to keep it up!
- Breathe: because I don’t have much time to think during the day (it’s all about do do do) many thoughts go through my mind whilst running/brisk walking. So I think, but I forget to breathe properly. Breathe in through the nose, breathe out through the mouth, and keep those nasty side stitches at bay.
- Snack: don’t forget to bring a healthy snack (the app suggests a banana) and water for after the session.
==> DO: stuff that makes you happy whilst keeping you active. For me at the moment, nothing beats dancing erratically in the lounge to the sound of “Cheap thrills”!
==> (absolutely) DON’T: devour a muffin straight after your walk (or a fraise tagada for that matter – yes, I know, they do look harmless). Or, (totally) do it if you cannot resist it. But… keep running! Renouncing that muffin will get easier in time…
So, feel like downloading the app yet? Is it really worth it? Well, first, it’s free, so it’s worth it anyway. Running is worth putting a little time and effort in. If you’re not convinced, read on to see if/how I will progress through the weeks (mind you, it took me a month to complete week 1, so at this pace, it might take the best of 9 months to complete the whole program!)