NHS Couch to 5k: Week One

Couch(ish) potato

I’m not a runner, and that’s probably why I’m currently editing the food & drink section for Kettle! I was brought up to love my food and enjoy eating out, as well as cooking and baking whenever I get the chance. I’m not unfit per say – I play badminton and spend six days a week running around a busy restaurant – but I know that I couldn’t run for more than ten minutes without stopping.

In an effort to improve my general fitness I decided to start running, but knew that it would be hard work to force myself out of the house every other day for a jog. The problem with exercise is that it’s incredibly easy to feel disheartened after only the first go, so I started searching for ways to teach myself and my body how to be a good runner.

NHS Live Well Couch to 5k

I happened upon the NHS Couch to 5k programme, which is a series of 13 podcasts over 9 weeks, that claims to take you from complete non-mover to being able to run for 30 minutes without stopping. There’s a ton of information on the website as well as testimonials from self-proclaimed exercise phobes, who can now run several times a week and feel great about it.

I was attracted to the programme for two main reasons:

1. It’s a gradual build up that teaches you how to pace yourself, rather than forcing you to run flat out straight away.

2. Someone talks you through each run, meaning you don’t have to keep time or worry about making workout playlists.

Week One

Each week comes with a different podcast, which you’re supposed to complete three times a week, with a day of rest in between each run.

The first week’s podcast was lively and interactive. The friendly Laura talks to you all the way through the 32 minute workout, which starts and ends with a brisk 5 minute walk, and alternates between 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking. Laura tells you when to stop and when to slow down, and explains the benefits of the interval-style training throughout, as well as telling you how well you’re doing. The music is good – current, suitably punchy and with pace during the running segments, and more relaxed during the cool down periods.

By the end of the Week One workout, I’ve run a total of 8 minutes, which doesn’t seem like a lot but will gradually build up into that full 5k run. I found the first week easy as someone who is quite active on a daily basis, but can see that it would still be challenging for someone who rarely leaves the house and does no exercise at all.

The first podcast proved to be engaging and enjoyable. I’m looking forward to taking on Week Two!