January 6, 2015
I have never done a Couch to 5K programme
I don’t think you have to use a c25k plan at all to run your first 5k
There I have said it.
*silence as I await the backlash*
So what is the meaning of this outburst? I must get a thousand emails a day (ok slight exaggeration) that start something like this
Hi Julie, I’m wondering if you can help me. I have been trying to get into running for ages and every time I get to week (?) of couch to 5k, I just seem to lose motivation.
I don’t know whats wrong with me I can’t seem to get past week (?) of couch to 5k its like my legs just don’t want to do it.
Now I guess before I start slagging off this ever so successful running programme I should simply state why I have never personally done it.
1. When I first started running I had never heard of it
2. By the time I had heard of it, I was already doing 10K races (although walking some of it often)
3. When I had to start running all over again after having my daughter, I had already decided that c25k just really wasn’t for me.
And its not because I am some kind of maverick who knows better than anyone else, it’s because I know myself and how I work better than anyone else. And I am just no good at following anyone elses plan (Ask my parents they’ll tell ya)…because my life is too chaotic to do things systematically, and besides I would rather use a bit of my own common sense to devise my own.
But what about people who can’t devise or follow their own plan?
Well that’s the point really, if you really want to learn to run you just need to get out there and run, and if you want your running to improve, you simply need to run more often, run a little further, or push a little harder.
OK so I am being a bit flippant
In all seriousness my problem with the C25K programme, especially when trying to tackle it alone is that it doesn’t really encourage you to listen to your own body.
You almost have to follow it like a robot…start when it says start, stop when it says stop, run further this week not next, and heaven forbid you go on holiday for a week or have a migraine…then what? Start all over, or just skip a week?
Also, for me, having to take 10 weeks to build up to 5k would have been painfully tedious, having to stick to prescribed run walk sequences, pah…what if a fit guy entered the equation, or an angry dog appeared?
Apologies if this feels like a personal attack to anyone…perhaps you have just started out on your own c25k journey, or perhaps you lead a succesful beginners group…I just thought it was about time I tackled this issue head on…as I never really mention it on here.
At this time of year there will be literally millions of people all over the world starting on week 1 excited at the prospect of becoming a great runner, and I am sure many of them will…but at a guess I also figure that many will give up after the first few weeks, or spend then next few months dancing back and forward with their weeks trying to find some kind of improvement.
I am impatient, I want to see improvement on my terms. I also know my body and know what it is capable of, so if I am on a roll and want to run further I will, and no app is going to convince me otherwise.
What I must say in its favour about the couch25k is that it really has caught the imagination of the inactive, and most people, runners or otherwise know what it is…possibly half the inactive UK population have an app on their mobile phone, or a plan downloaded to their laptop.
But signing up to it, and completing it are too different things.
So my humble “how to get to 5k without going mad” advice???
- Get out to run or walk as regularly as you can
- Build up at a pace that suits you and stop if it really hurts
- Make your routes interesting or go with friends
- Learn to enjoy running, don’t take it all so seriously
- Sign up to a race or your local parkrun ASAP and just give it a go
Whats the worst that could happen?
For further info about starting running, check out my getting started section.