reflections on couch to 5k: the halfway mark

As of today, I am about halfway through the nine-week Couch To 5K running program. This is my second time through the system, and it’s been a decidedly different experience than when I first tried it, over seven years ago.

couch to 5k

Why I Chose Couch To 5K

Couch To 5K is a solid program. It lasts nine weeks, with three sessions per week. Each session consists of a warmup and a cool down, with alternating segments of running and walking in between. Things start easily enough, as the weeks pass, the walking parts get shorter and the running parts get longer.

  • Week 1: 8 x 1:00 run/1:30 walk
  • Week 2: 6 x 1:30 run/2:00 walk
  • Week 3: 2 x 1:30 run/1:30 walk/3:00 run/3:00 walk
  • Week 4: 3:00 run/1:30 walk/5:00 run/2:30 walk/3:00 run/1:30 walk/5:00 run
  • Week 5: 5:00 run/3:00 walk/5:00 run/3:00 walk/5:00 run
couch to 5k

Simple enough.

Using Couch To 5K gives me some decent structure. I like the feeling of hitting goals without doing too much too fast. It’s also helpful too be able to check off (or log) my workouts as I go, so I can actually see my progress.

couch to 5k

How I’m Feeling, So Far

To date, I feel good. Not great, but good. Obviously, running on two bones that were once broken, and are now held together with a healthy amount of metal is nothing short of nervewracking. The first running segment for the past four and a half weeks seems to be the worst, as far as evenness of stride and flexibility in my foot, but things ease up after that. A few times, I have had to stop during that first interval due to a buzzing feeling in my lower right leg, but it has passed and no longer troubles me.

Another victory is that I usually don’t see a lot of swelling after my runs. There is some, and will probably always be some, but it’s not terrible. I’m tired on my run days, and my leg definitely feels that exhaustion, but it’s manageable, for sure. I will spare you photos.

It’s also worth nothing that I am able to keep up, even as we start into run intervals of five minutes or longer. Since I’ve been a pretty dedicated Galloway runner for years, this has been both tough and surprising. i keep telling myself “You can do anything for three/four/five minutes” and so far, it’s held true.

Those are days when I feel on top of the world.

The Challenges I Face With The Program

For me, the hardest part of Couch To 5K is that it’s not a Galloway program. Since my tonsillectomy seven years ago, I have struggled with breathing and swallowing issues, and it shows in my running. The Galloway Run Walk Run Method was always great because it gave me the opportunity to swallow any buildup and catch my breath (so gross). I figured that since I am starting from scratch, I might as well see if I could try something different.

Now that my run intervals are up to five minutes in duration, I am running into a bit of trouble with swallowing. My hope is that I can get through it, at least for the 5K distance. So far, all things are pointing in the right direction.

My Hopes For The Rest of Couch To 5K

I am trying not to look too far ahead, but I am hopeful that the last four and a half weeks go as positively as the first. Every day is daunting, but I have promised myself to stick with it. For one thing, I have nothing else going on, and it’s not hurting; for another, I’m happy to have at least some sort of training plan to keep me moving in the direction of racing again.

couch to 5k

Honestly, I do recommend this program for beginning runners, or for runners, like me, who are coming back from injury. It’s challenging, but not too much. I am using the Active.com version (which is free, and features a Runincorn “trainer”).

couch to 5k

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28 Responses to reflections on couch to 5k: the halfway mark

  1. It sounds like this is going really well for you! Are you hoping to be able to run the whole 5k straight through? Its so hard starting from scratch after time off. I think you are through the hardest weeks though at this point, and I have no doubt you will finish the program strong!

    • runswithpugs says:

      It would be a bonus if I could run a whole 5K straight through. I think I owe it to myself to try. Week 5 is pretty challenging, so I’m not expecting to get easier, but I’m keeping up and that’s what counts.

  2. Catrina says:

    Great progress!
    This is the first time that I’m closely following somebody doing the couch to 5k and I’m impressed with the program.
    Dealing with swallowing issues while running must be very hard. Hope it will all work out!

  3. I ALWAYS recommend C25K. For beginners, for those who are coming off a hiatus/injury. It is a great program.

    I think there are only 2 drawbacks: the big leap to 20 min of running (sorry, yes, it’s coming!) and the fact that it’s geared to a 30 min 5k. Not good for the confidence of slower runners. Heck, I STILL don’t run a 30 min 5k.

    I did run/walk for years, and it served me well. You can do it in a 5k too — I did all my races, short to long, that way. A couple of years ago I felt i needed to work more on endurance, so I went back to just a walk break once a mile. Then I added in some HR training. I did great with that!

    With my new nasal breathing, blech, I had to go back to run/walk intervals. But it’s working sorta better now. I have nothing I’m training for, though, so I’m willing to stick it out. For the present, anyway.

    Obviously I like to experiment. 🙂

    • runswithpugs says:

      Ha ha! 20 minutes is on Saturday!!!! WHHHHHYYYYY!!!!!!

      Yeah, I’ve never run a 30:00 5K. I was on track before the tonsillectomy, but it was a no go after. I strongly support run/walk, and I figure I will be back to it at some point, but I felt like I owe it to myself to try. I have nothing to lose at this point, and if it doesn’t work out, oh well.

      Experimentation keeps things interesting.

  4. Wendy says:

    I’m so glad that C25k is working for you! A lot of people swear by this program. I think you would be fine putting walk intervals in as you need–it’s your running!

    • runswithpugs says:

      I am not opposed to walk intervals at all. I just figure that since I’m starting from scratch, let me see what I can do. I love those walk intervals LOL.

  5. Interval running has helped me comeback from numerous injuries. Great news that you are not seeing swelling and pain. I’d count that in the win category! Keep it up

    • runswithpugs says:

      Since 20 minutes is planned for Saturday, I may have to switch to an interval, but my plan is to try and see what happens. Either way, I’m getting this done.

  6. Darlene S. Cardillo says:

    I think it is great. I haven’t used it myself. But I have mentored new runners. They did great. But it is always when you have a real person encouraging you.

    You are patient so you will do fine. I do have a breathing problem from a collapsed lung many moons ago. So I always walk when I need. Many times in less than the required interval times.

    • runswithpugs says:

      Today, I realized that if I could just swallow my own spit, I would be so much better at this whole thing. It wasn’t my leg that was bothering me… it was oxygen intake. Ugh.

  7. I used this program when I first started too! I should probably start it again and actually stick to it. Especially now that there’s an app. Way back when I first started, I just had to memorize the daily program and stare at my watch frequently. The app sounds MUCH easier.
    Great job sticking with it, and I’m so glad you’re finding it to be reasonably challenging.

    • runswithpugs says:

      Do it! The app is great. I use the drill sergeant because I need to be yelled at to keep me going, but it’s really great. It logs your progress, too. Let me know if you start it up!

  8. Couch to 5k sounds like a good way to get started back with running. I would definitely be nervous about running after breaking bones like that. I hope that the C25K program continues to work well for you!

    • runswithpugs says:

      It’s really scary LOL! I can still hear the sound from that morning, and I do worry when I get little twinges or pokes of pain. It’s not often nor does it last, so it’s probably just in my head. It’s been a helpful program.

  9. Glad to hear it’s going well! It’s a little scary getting back to running after an injury (and a big one at that), but you’ve been transitioning back smoothly. Keep itup!

    • runswithpugs says:

      So scary. I mean, it’s scary every day, but that fear feels less and less every time. Maybe one day it will be gone for good. Except for abject terror at the sight of stairs LOL. That’s with me for life.

  10. Rachel says:

    Girl, I am SO proud of you! You’ve come such a long way. And I feel like I keep saying the same thing over again on your blog and IG posts. But seriously, this was such a long journey for you and I’m so happy for you that you’re back.

    • runswithpugs says:

      Sooooo long! And it could have been worse, of course, but I feel like I’m at the positive and exciting part now. Thank you for being such a great supporter through this!

  11. The Couch to 5k program is a great way to get back to running. You’ve done such a great job of both pushing yourself forward and restraining yourself from doing too much. You’ve come so far!

    • runswithpugs says:

      I was thinking this morning about how I used to not be able to make it to the end of my street. It’s helpful for when I feel discouraged. Not to toot my own horn, but I have really made some progress!

  12. Mary says:

    I haven’t checked in on your blog in a long time. Just read about your break and surgery. I’m sorry you went through that trauma and pain. I hope you are able to enjoy being back running now, even at a rehab level.

    • runswithpugs says:

      It was not my best life, for sure LOL! But it’s ok. I’ve really come so far. I remember when I struggled limping three houses down in a boot and now I can run a couple of miles, and walk several more. Such a testament to what the human body can do. Thanks for visiting again!

  13. It sounds like your running is coming along well. I would be so nervous to start running with metal in my foot. Good to hear that you don’t have any swelling.

    • runswithpugs says:

      It’s really scary. I question every twinge and jolt. But at the same time, I have to remember it’s kind of bionic. I’m constantly feeling to make sure the screws aren’t working themselves out (my irrational fear), and everything seems to be holding. Mr PugRunner wanted me to get one more xray before I really started this back up, but it just wasn’t feasible.

  14. Aw man if only Runicorn had been around when I did C25K! I’ve had a few tough runs lately and I’ve been really impressed with run-walk when the going gets tough. I’ve heard a few interviews with Jeff Galloway and now I really want to look into the method a bit more. Congrats on being over the hump!
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