“I’m not cut out to be a runner,” “My body just isn’t suited to it,” are both things you hear time and time again. And you know what, it’s true – not everyone can automatically just run when they first try.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t become a runner.
If it’s something you haven’t done since you were a child then sure, you may find it tough at the beginning, but I think that if you want to try it then you’ll probably surprise yourself. The key is starting slowly and building up to the running part. Pace yourself.
Even the fastest of runners had to start somewhere and you can’t expect to be running the same as someone else who’s been doing it for longer. I just always think to myself that there are always going to be people faster than me, and there’s always going to be people slower. It shouldn’t stop you from keeping going.
The Couch to 5K Training Plan
Also known as C25K, this is a beginner’s running plan, and so you’re not expected to be able to run for 10 minutes at a time straight away. I’m not qualified in any way, but I personally would always suggest that you have a base – and by that I mean you should be able to at least walk for some time. If you struggle to be on your feet for more than 30 minutes, then in my opinion you should work on that first before starting a running plan.
On the Couch to 5K training plan, you’ll be doing run/walk intervals right from the beginning and then pretty much throughout – with the running intervals gradually getting longer. It really eases you into the running, which is why I think it does work so well for beginners.
At the end of it, the aim is to be able to complete 30 minutes or 5km of running in one go. If it seems like you’ll never hit that then it’s exactly the kind of plan you need.
How Do I Follow Couch to 5K?
Now there are SO many different apps, different podcasts, different written plans. You can really just choose what works best for you.
I used an app to begin with, but I think if I were to try it now I’d possibly try a podcast. You can see the NHS Plan written out on the website, to give a better idea of what it is. All these app plans will likely differ slightly, but they all follow the same kind of style.
So outdoors or on a treadmill? When I started I did the majority of the plan on a treadmill. I think I started running outside when I started hitting the 20 minute mark and I found that I enjoyed it so much more. It’s just a little more interesting!
There is no right or wrong here. Do what makes you feel most comfortable and you’re more likely to carry on. It really doesn’t matter which route you choose, especially so with apps and podcasts – I’m sure they will tell you when to change from running/walking.
Sticking to a Plan
Arguably one of the hardest things is keeping the motivation up. Making sure you complete these three runs each week. It can be tough, I get it. But if you really want to hit that 5K you’re just going to have to suck it up and get yourself moving. Sorry guys! That said – if you have to miss a session, it won’t ruin all progress.
Structure is important.
You want to try to keep your runs on the same days and if possible around the same time too. It’ll begin to feel like a normal routine for you. I know that on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s I’ll get home from work and go straight out to complete my run. It’s in my head that it’s happening at this time, and so I just get it done. Always tell myself that yes, I may not feel like going out, but if I do I know that 9 times out of 10 I will feel SO much better afterwards. That runner’s high is real guys.
Take Your Time
Go at a slow pace, and then slow down some more. All too often we want to just go for it. We want to get the speed in, and then only seconds later we’re struggling. I personally think that’s why a lot of people decide they hate running and can’t do it. Because if you try to go too fast too soon, it does feel really hard.
I recently took on a new training plan with Runner’s Connect. This training plan gave me a slow run pacing at 1:30-2:00 minutes slower than what I’d usually run and I just couldn’t believe the difference. How could I improve going this slow? But I’ve learnt that going ‘slow’ is how you start to build up your aerobic system and it really does help.
Alongside that, if needed you can always repeat a week rather than move onto the next. It doesn’t matter if it takes longer than the set plan. You will improve at your own pace, and you’ll soon figure out how far you can push yourself. I did this myself for a couple of the weeks and I’m sure many others have too. It isn’t the end of the world.
Remember: There is no failure in taking more time than others – only success when you reach those goals you are working towards!