NHS Couch to 5k: Week Six

NHS Couch to 2K Community Table Image SIZED_0.jpg
Written by littlegoode

Mentally, emotionally and physically, this was the hardest week to gear myself up for. Riding off the elation of having completed a full twenty minute run at the end of last week, I couldn’t help but fearing that Week Six was going to be one hard podcast after another. But, and this is a massive but, Week Six was no more difficult than the past two or three weeks, proving to myself that my fitness and stamina genuinely have improved.

Better structure

Like last week, I particularly enjoyed Week Six because there were three different runs, keeping it varied and more interesting:

  • Run One involved running for 5 minutes, walking for 3 minutes, running for 8 minutes, walking for 3 minutes and running for 5 minutes again.
  • Run Two meant running for 10 minutes, walking for 3 minutes and then running for another 10 minutes.
  • Run Three was a full 25 minute run.

In hindsight, it was a bit foolish of me to be so afraid of running this week. After all the steady progress this programme has taught you, it’s not going to chuck you straight into running twenty minutes, three times a week, when there are still three weeks to go. Instead, it’s still about building your confidence and physical abilities, rather than forcing you to pound the pavement and do yourself in.

Minus points for the music this week – I’ve heard the same songs for the last three weeks, and would like some more variety. Maybe the NHS only had a small budget to commission this and couldn’t get the rights to any more songs. I am just being very pedantic, though.

Never ending surprises

It’s hard to begin to put into words the utter amazement I feel in myself whenever I come home after a run and realise a) how good I feel and b) that I actually completed the run without stopping, cursing, wheezing or generally doing battle with myself. The 25 minute run definitely seemed a bit daunting, especially after feeling quite achey after last week, but once I’d passed the ten minute mark there was no difficulty in keeping going.

Although I’m just out there gambolling about, it’s surprising how much I feel I’ve learnt about running so far, in terms of technique, pacing and breathing. Over the last six weeks, you should have developed your own methods for keeping in control e.g. slowing down when feeling tired but never stopping to walk. Or, in my case, breathing heavily like a banshee until I’ve calmed myself down enough to keep going.

Mental power

As Laura keeps reminding us, the fitness is there, and it’s now about your mentality and keeping yourself motivated. As the weeks go on and the runs get harder, it is striking how quickly you can convince yourself that you can’t do this. I’m still finding it hard to believe that it’s already been six weeks and that I’ve stuck with it. But the feeling of being able to do it really is empowering, and the reason you should continue. Even if, once the programme is done, you only stick to running for 30 minutes twice a week, that’s still a great way to keep fit. Nobody’s saying you have to run a marathon every month – just do it for yourself to prove that you can. There will be results – I’ve just had all my jeans taken in by 2 inches at the waist.

Keep at it!