graduating couch to 5k

I think it’s safe to say that graduating couch to 5k is one of the highlights of my summer. The program represented a long-term goal for my recovery from two broken bones, and I am so pleased to say that I conquered it!

graduating couch to 5k

I last checked in at the halfway point, which took us to right before the longer runs started. Confidence was high prior to Week 6, but I got served a whopping portion of humble pie.

  • Week 6: 5:00 run/3:00 walk/8:00 run/3:00 walk/5:00 run
  • Week 7: continuous 25:00 run
  • Week 8: continuous 28:00 run
  • Week 9: continuous 30:00 run

As an interval runner, these continuous runs were TERRIFYING, but I planned to stay as true to the program as possible.

So How Did The Last Weeks Go?

With the exception of Week 7, when we were in the mountains of North Carolina, everything went just fine. I was 100% not equipped for the elevation. Much as I didn’t want to take a break, I just postponed that week until we got home, so I didn’t do any kind of (additional) damage.

flat running vs hill running

Other than that, my biggest issues were mental and emotional. I’m a head case athlete for sure.

What Did I Learn From the Experience?

I learned quite a bit about myself by graduating Couch to 5K. First, I learned that while intervals are comfortable, I can actually run a lot farther than I thought I could. I was also pretty pleased to learn that I haven’t experienced any of the anxiety I normally have towards the end of a run. Finally, I discovered that it’s ok to take it easy and a step at a time to reach my overall goals.

week 26

How Did I Celebrate?

With a big jump and a huge breakfast. Obviously.

grauduating couch to 5k

I will also FINALLY complete my Starlight 5K virtual race from freaking December as my “untimed run.”

What’s Next?

From here, I think I need to acclimate for a little bit. I think I will be comfortable settling at the 5K for a few weeks, and then it will be time to make a move. Before the pandemic, my goal was to be half marathon ready by December. It’s not a horribly unrealistic goal, but I think I will focus on getting to five miles, and then a 10K. Then I can see what happens.

graduating couch to 5k

I also need to decide about whether or not I will continue with straight running. The air quality has been terrible lately, thanks to summer humidity and the Saharan dust storm, so maybe I will ease up just a bit.

Do I Recommend This Program?

Graduating Couch to 5K for the second time emphasized how much I really do like the program. I would absolutely recommend it for new runners, and those coming back from injury. Yes, it does work off the premise that the user can lay down a 30:00 5K, but that really didn’t ruin it for me.

I found it a slow, steady and manageable way to come back from a serious injury without hurting myself. It wasn’t easy, especially in the last weeks when the intervals ended, but it wasn’t impossible, either.

Have you tried Couch To 5K?

Do you have any recommendations for a 10K program?

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14 Responses to graduating couch to 5k

  1. Catrina says:

    Congratulations on your graduation from the Couch to 5k! Well done, Jenn!
    Great that it gave you the confidence to do intervals and to run long stretches at a time. After reading your experience, I would recommend it to anyone starting to run.

  2. Congrats again on finishing! This sounds like it was a good plan for you to follow. I love that it pushed you to work on continuous running. Now you know you can do it. It makes sense to consider adding in some more walking intervals while the heat is really bad this summer.

  3. I would say this is a the highlight of your summer as well. You have come so far. I am so impressed with your determination. Your hard work really paid off. Congrats! the 10K sounds like a fabulous plan. Look forward to seeing which one you pick Congrats again

  4. Congrats! You are awesome.

    I think it’s a great program. My only complaint is that it is timed not distance. You run for 20 or 30 minutes straight at the end. But the distance varies by how fast you run.

    I never run by time. I just run by distance. And I walk frequently in order to keep up a decent pace.

    Good luck with 10k. You will run a half. Not sure when because it’s different for everyone. I think it took me like 14-15 mos post surgery to do one (and it was in Fla).

    • runswithpugs says:

      That is definitely a factor. I generally also run by distance, but I felt like this program got me where I needed to go.

      I know I will run that half, but I don’t think it’s healthy for me to prioritize it right now, especially with everything going on. We just don’t know when the next available 13.1 miler will be.

  5. Wendy says:

    I’m so glad to hear how well C25K worked for you on your comeback! I would definitely recommend it to people looking to start running.

    • runswithpugs says:

      It’s really been so great, and a wonderful way to keep focus during these hard times. Unfortunately, now I feel kind of lost and in need of the next goal. I need to figure that out.

  6. YOU did awesome with this! I did a very modified run/walk “program” when I was allowed to run after my recovery. I didn’t have broken bones that had mended, but I was really nervous about my huge scar and limited range of motion (from not having bent my leg much in those three months of recovery). I bet it feels great to have that all behind you. Onward!!

  7. I did C25K the one year that I stopped running over the winter and discovered that, um, no it doesn’t work to get off the couch and go run 3 miles after 3 months of no running. I remember that the first 20 minute run seemed to come out of nowhere but other than that it was pretty smooth and got me back in business. Congrats on completing the 5k and I’m excited to see where you go from here.
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  8. Debbie says:

    Congratulations! It’s been fun watching you come back from your injury and gradually gaining more confidence about your running. Great job!

  9. Shathiso says:

    This is brilliant!!! I remember those early days when you’d just been injured, and then when you started getting back into things again, and now this! What an achievement for you – it took so much patience and determination, well done!! I think a Half is definitely possible for you by December but I also agree that you should go by feel and take it a milestone at a time! Well done Jenn!

  10. I can be a head case athlete too.
    Great job on your progress! Good luck on your 10k goal. I see a half in your future!

  11. Great job! Those longer runs seem so scary, but it feels SO AMAZING when you get them done! So happy for you!

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