NHS Couch to 5k: Week Two

Written by littlegoode

I think I’m a little bit ashamed to say that Week Two did me in a little. I thought I’d at least make it to Week Four before I started suffering, but by the second run of this week I was feeling a little puffed out. But, I’m still enjoying it as much as last week, and am starting to feel good about getting out to jog every other day. I even smiled at the postman.

The breakdown

This week again began with a brisk five minute warm up walk, followed by ninety seconds of running and two minutes of walking. They’ve upped your runnning time by 30 seconds, but also your walking time, so don’t freak out too much. The first ninety seconds seems like a surprising eternity, but after that I managed to complete the full twenty minute exercise without too much huffing and puffing. The second run of the week was easier and more enjoyable, as I knew what to expect. By the end of the third run of the week I was definitely feeling like I’d worked a bit harder and was fitting into a routine, but I’m still encouraged enough to carry on to Week Three.

Hints and tips

This week’s podcast came with some helpful tips from Laura, our omnipresent trainer.

  1. When running, try to make sure the heel of your foot hits the ground first, to avoid injury. In other words, don’t run on your tip toes or you’re going to pull something straight away.
  2. Try counting your breathing to give yourself something to focus on, create a rhythm and help you not to get out of breath. As your left foot hits the ground count 1, 2, 3, 4 steps breathing in, and then another four breathing out. If you find that you tend to gasp while you run and get a sore throat, this trick will really help.

One thing I do think that the NHS podcasts are missing is some kind of prompt to stretch before running. The five minute warm up and cool down walks are useful, but some stretching is also essential, especially as you build up to running further each week. On my first run I had a really sore and tight muscle on my right leg, which was making me really want to stop walking, let alone jogging. My reccommendation would be to do a few stretches like this one before setting off, especially as it’s cold outside now and not muscle friendly.

Soundtrack to a better you

More bonus points to the NHS for a second week of excellent, motivational music. The tracks change as you do, so there’s a different ninety second song for each run and walk, which keeps it interesting and also saves you the hassle of having to think about your playlist. There’s the perfect mix of upbeat club classics to pound the pavement to, and motivational lyrics along the lines of ‘I’m stronger than that!’

All in all, another good week and (I hope) a positive start to being able to run for thirty minutes without getting a stitch or having a small heart attack on the pavement. The important thing to remember is that it’s only three times a week, and only for half an hour, so there’s no excuse not to give it a go. As Laura promises, by keeping up with these podcasts, you’ll be able to run further and for longer every week. Fingers crossed!