I don't think I ever expected to be writing a review of an exercise programme, much less something like Couch 2 5K.
Back in March I had a health check, and discovered I was clinically obese. (To be honest, the huge belly I had was also a hint, but one I was studiously ignoring.)
After some time looking at my options, I was surprised to find that running was my best bet, and that C25K (as it's known) was probably the best way to start.
I hate running, but C25K had a reputation for delivering results, it had low costs, and it didn't require a lot of time or equipment. So I could get started straight away...
Very soon I found myself in the quite unusual state of running. For all of a minute - then walking again. Because C25K really does start off gently, and the first week is basically:
- A five minute warm up walk
- Sixty seconds of running, then ninety seconds of walking, repeated for twenty minutes
- A five minute cool down walk
It's very achievable.
The whole programme does, of course, require you to run more than just a minute by the end. Each week has three runs, and with the warm up/cool down walks they're never longer than three quarters of an hour.
I'm not going to bore you with details of all nine weeks, but will mention that weeks five and six are the ones where you're really pushed further than before - if you're planning on starting C25K, you might want to do it when your calendar will be empty for those two weeks!
When it comes to equipment, you really just need running shoes. Now, you have to bear in mind that I am a man of minimal wardrobe, who owned two pairs of footwear - walking boots for leisure time, and shiny shoes for business wear.
All I bought to start with was running shoes, a weatherproof holder for my phone, and an app to help me through C25K. (I'll review the app later, today I'm concentrating on the programme itself.)
Here are some things you'll inevitably think if you try Couch 2 5K:
- "I'm knackered. Running is hard."
- "Oh. When they say run, they mean jog!"
- "It's much easier now I've got a feel for the pacing"
- "I've not run for this long since I was at school..."
- "That wasn't so bad - it's all psychological really"
- "Is that a stitch?"
- "OW! That is a stitch!"
- "I haven't had a stitch since I was at school..."
- "Done it. Shouldn't there be some kind of fanfare and ceremony?"
- "OK, so now I just run 5K three times every week. Why does that not sound difficult anymore?"
I'm genuinely impressed with Couch 2 5K. It's a great programme which is nicely designed.
I still don't like running. But I like its results. And I like how Couch 2 5K made it easy. So it gets a full 5/5 from me.