The ladies from Team Netmums Run have completed the first week of their couch to 5k programme in preparation for a local parkrun on 5 December 2015.
Find out how they got on in training this week and what they’ve learned along the way…
“I’ve attempted running programmes before, so I’m in competition with my previous self to do better this time. The last time I had to repeat one week’s schedule for three more weeks until I felt comfortable with it. However, this time I’ve managed to move through the first three weeks’ plans pretty smoothly so I’ve got to a point where I’m used to running regularly in five minute bursts. Which is great. But I know it’s when the runs start to get longer, that I begin to wobble.
“I think a big lesson to learn is that speed doesn’t matter.”
“I started the week four plan this week. The first run of the week was fine, but I struggled with the second – for the final five minute burst I had to slow down to a crawl. Honestly a toddler learning to walk could have passed me! I think a big lesson to learn is that speed doesn’t matter, especially not at this stage – keeping going even at 3mph is better than stopping and not completing the session.”
My personal challenge through this whole process is to make sure I train at least three times a week without any excuses. I know I can run, albeit slowly, but like most other things in my life I start off with good intentions and then things tail off and I begin to make excuses. By doing this challenge and having it recorded on a weekly basis I can’t wimp out, though.
“I actually asked myself why I ever stopped running in the first place.”
“So with this renewed vigour I got the trainers on and mapped out my three mile route. I find it really helps to know your route before you go out, have your distance all worked out, know your mile markers and know exactly where you need to be. And it went well, I felt great and I actually asked myself why I ever stopped running in the first place.
“I was over the moon to run my three miles in my fastest time yet – 34.24. I got home, jumped in the shower and then proceeded to reward myself with two bars of chocolate… Well, I’ve only got room for one challenge at a time, the diet will have to wait!”
“So I’ve started! And what a lovely week to begin. The weather was great and it’s been so nice getting out into the sunshine, let’s hope it lasts… I’ve decided to do a session every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I work from home which gives me great flexibility with time, so I’ve been starting work early those days and then popping out about 9am. I don’t think I could face running first thing in the morning without breakfast and don’t think I’d have the time or the motivation in the evenings.
“I felt eager to get running again.”
“My first dilemma was what to wear, as although it was sunny, it was also quite nippy. I don’t have any ‘running gear’ so I just went out in old jogging bottoms, a long sleeved top and old trainers – I feel a spending spree coming on! I also wear a running bum bag which is fab for holding my phone, tissues and keys.
“I’m relieved to say that week one felt quite easy. I actually found the walks in-between the runs a bit too long for me and I felt eager to get running again, but fortunately had some good tunes to listen to and lots of dog walkers to nod and say hello to. I live in a village so my running routes are quite restricted without straying onto main roads or too-quiet lanes, so I’ll have to work out how to loop around the local roads without it getting too repetitive.”
“Wow this running is really hard! I hadn’t realised quite how unfit I was until this week. The first week in the plan gets you to run for 60 seconds, walk for 90 seconds and repeat this eight times, but by the fifth repetition I was struggling and I found after the walk I really wasn’t ready to run again.
“The next day my legs ached like mad too, so I asked advice from some running friends, who told me: ‘you’re running too fast / it’s too much too soon /you need to be able to talk and run at the same time’. So on my next two runs I slowed right down to little more than walking pace and both times got to the seventh repetition before it got really hard.
“I’ve also tried running at different times of day to see which works best for me. Going out as soon as the children leave for school means I can manage a run and a quick shower before work, plus there aren’t as many people around as there are in the evenings, so I feel less self-conscious.
I learned three very important things this week –
1. Buy a sports bra. I didn’t think I needed one that quickly but I have one on order as there was far too much bounce action going on!
2. Disposable water bottles are not good for running. You will drop them and they will crack and leak your water everywhere.
3. If you’re determined enough, no matter how unfit you are, you CAN run!”
“I started my first proper day on a Saturday morning, so I had none of the pressure of work / school / preschool commitments to deal with. My worst fear wasn’t actually the running bit but rather getting on the scales, so once that horror was over I put on the Lycra and headed for the door.
“The morning air was crisp and fresh and I felt excited going outdoors. I followed the plan and it wasn’t too bad, although I found it tricky getting the timings right – but this came as a welcome distraction from what I was actually doing. I was also trying to figure out my fitness level to see how much work I’ll have to do to get this right.
“I decided just to run round the block for my first run, to keep it simple. I was in a ‘running’ section when a couple of other super-fit runners went past the other way and we exchanged greetings – That felt great! They didn’t know I was a novice, and I loved the feeling of being part of a healthier bunch of people. I made it home bright red and sweaty but feeling really proud of myself for getting up and getting on with it.”
“I loved the feeling of being part of a healthier bunch of people.”
“The first week is over! Time goes fast and it’s been a particularly busy week so I’ve only managed two out of my three runs, which is not the best start, but I’m only human. It was a shock to the system on the first day, but I actually enjoyed it (after realising just how unfit I really am!).
“The thought of getting out there has honestly been the hardest part. I’ve really had to fight against the excuses of ‘I’m too tired’ or ‘it’s too dark!’ Once I get going I do actually enjoy it and I feel ready to get properly stuck in this week, although it is hard to schedule the times around three small people, work and study!
“It was a shock to the system on the first day, but I actually enjoyed it”
“My next goal is to make a more determined effort to plan exactly when I have the space to run and book it in the diary then it will be non-negotiable. Wish me luck.”
Fancy giving it a go?
So that’s the first week over and done with. Some of the team have found it easier than others, but they’ve all stuck at it and committed their time (less than half an hour, three times a week) to becoming fitter and healthier. Our team will be the first to admit that it’s not easy to fit everything in, with work – and twelve children between them – not to mention partners, pets and piles of laundry that need attention, too.
But, they’ve all completed – and dare we say it, enjoyed – their first week of training, and they’re ready to give the next week a go. And if our runners’ stories have made you think “I could do that too!” then sign up for the couch to 5k programme here and follow the progress of Team Netmums run next week.