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.
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
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.
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.
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”).
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Have ever used Couch to 5K or a similar program?