Couch to 5K / Running - Does it get easier ?

Barbara Fan

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This is one for all runners out there -

I have downloaded the couch to 5k app on my phone - I have never been athletic and spent a lot of time at school skiving off PE and avoiding hockey, sports activities but i was a good runner at 100 and 200 m never a long distance and always trailed in last at 400m

I have always been lucky, could eat what i want and did and never put on a pound, but thats changed and now the UK Size 8s are tight and a 10 is comfier and i get out of puff walking up hills/ steeper gradients ( I do have asthma tho)

I was fitter when i was younger as I spent half my life running for a bus and train at school, college etc then I got a car! - and it stopped.

I have decided i dont want to be unfit and need to do more exercise so down loaded app and Michael Johnson is encouraging me to walk for 90 secs then run for 60 secs and no matter how hard i try I cant run. Im out of puff after 30 secs and wonder what is the secret, are there any tips, how do people battle through it???

Im lucky i live in the country and have loads of open space to run, just would appreciate any tips on how to build up stamina and tolerance to get fitter and get rid of a podgy stomach that used tobe very flat and the envy of my friends!!

Any advice gratefully received as i know some people are runners and have completed marathons

:ty:
 

Alexis Colby Carrington

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This is one for all runners out there -

I have downloaded the couch to 5k app on my phone - I have never been athletic and spent a lot of time at school skiving off PE and avoiding hockey, sports activities but i was a good runner at 100 and 200 m never a long distance and always trailed in last at 400m

I have always been lucky, could eat what i want and did and never put on a pound, but thats changed and now the Size 8s are tight and a 10 is comfier and i get out of puff walking up hills/ steeper gradients ( I do have asthma tho)

I was fitter when i was younger as I spent half my life running for a bus and train at school, college etc then I got a car! - and it stopped.

I have decided i dont want to be unfit and need to do more exercise so down loaded app and Michael Johnson is encouraging me to walk for 90 secs then run for 60 secs and no matter how hard i try I cant run. Im out of puff after 30 secs and wonder what is the secret, are there any tips, how do people battle through it???

Im lucky i live in the country and have loads of open space to run, just would appreciate any tips on how to build up stamina and tolerance to get fitter and get rid of a podgy stomach that used tobe very flat and the envy of my friends!!

Any advice gratefully received as i know some people are runners and have completed marathons

:ty:
As a half marathon runner, all I'll say is stick with it, the fact that you've started is the main thing, just don't stop, run as far and as fast as you can every time it asks you to run and do as much as you can, you will improve, it might not seem that way, but it will get better, I'm sorry if this isn't the advice you were looking for.
 

Barbara Fan

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Thank you @Alexis Colby Carrington - went out for 90 mins today, Im far better at walking fast! I guess anything is a bonus, not sure i will ever get beyond 40 secs and no breath!!

Half marathon is very impressive

thanks, BF xx
 

Crimson

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Im out of puff after 30 secs and wonder what is the secret, are there any tips, how do people battle through it???
I am not a "runner", but like you I am working towards it. I am reasonably fit; I take bootcamp and BodyPump classes 5 to 6 times a week and do a lot of walking/hiking. But running has always been a challenge. Every year, I set the goal for myself and every year my enthusiasm sputters out after a few weeks. This year I've made more progress than ever before; I can actually make it around .5 mile without my lungs wanting to jump out of my chest.

I think your basic approach is sound, but don't be shy about adjusting downwards. "Your race; your pace." If you have to run for 30 seconds rather than 60 for a few weeks, who cares? Do what you can do until you're ready for the next level. The important thing is consistency so your body adjusts to a new routine.

Best tip I got from a runner friend: don't think you have to run fast. It's not a sprint. Find a comfortable pace that's somewhere between a brisk walk and a slow jog.
 

Barbara Fan

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Thanks @Crimson - I do pilates and zumba but im not great at either but i try!! And i think you are right , your race, your pace! Im never going to be a She;;ey Anne Fraser pryce or Dina Asher Smith or a person with great stamina to do a long distance but if i can do a 7 k at my pace its better than nothing! And I like walking quick, i think thats my forte!
 

Angela Channing

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This is one for all runners out there -

I have downloaded the couch to 5k app on my phone - I have never been athletic and spent a lot of time at school skiving off PE and avoiding hockey, sports activities but i was a good runner at 100 and 200 m never a long distance and always trailed in last at 400m

I have always been lucky, could eat what i want and did and never put on a pound, but thats changed and now the UK Size 8s are tight and a 10 is comfier and i get out of puff walking up hills/ steeper gradients ( I do have asthma tho)

I was fitter when i was younger as I spent half my life running for a bus and train at school, college etc then I got a car! - and it stopped.

I have decided i dont want to be unfit and need to do more exercise so down loaded app and Michael Johnson is encouraging me to walk for 90 secs then run for 60 secs and no matter how hard i try I cant run. Im out of puff after 30 secs and wonder what is the secret, are there any tips, how do people battle through it???

Im lucky i live in the country and have loads of open space to run, just would appreciate any tips on how to build up stamina and tolerance to get fitter and get rid of a podgy stomach that used tobe very flat and the envy of my friends!!

Any advice gratefully received as i know some people are runners and have completed marathons

:ty:
I'm assuming that your asthma isn't so serious that it precludes you from running, if it does, don't following my advice, check with your doctor first.

If you are only able to run for 30 secs before you get out of breath then you are starting from a low fitness level so maybe you're not yet ready for couch to 5k, no matter how motivating are Michael Johnson's dulcet tones. Look at running for 30 seconds as being the starting point for your training.

I always think about 20 minutes is a good period to run or walk for when you start training. I suggest you commit to training 3 times a week (on 3 separate, non consecutive days) so that's only one hour over the course of a week which doesn't seem daunting. I would suggest you try the following training plan:

Walk briskly for 5 minutes then run slowly for 30 secs. This is your training "interval". Do another interval, i.e., walk for another 5 mins (which should be sufficient time for your heart rate to return back to normal) before running for another 30 secs. Continue with this pattern, 5 mins walk followed by 30 secs run, until you have completed 4 intervals, a total of 22 mins (20 mins walking and 2 mins running in total).

If after any of the 5 mins walks you still feel too out of breath, skip the next 30 secs run and more forward to the next 5 mins walk and try to run for 30 sec after that. Continue with this approach, only running if you feel able to. Worse case scenario is you will have walked for 5 mins, run for 30 sec then walked for 15 mins. It might not seem like much running but it's more than not running at all. When walking always try to walk briskly.

Next time you go out, aim to do the training interval (5 mins walk/30 secs run combo) 4 times, but if you only manage one or 2 of the running sessions, don't be discouraged, it will come eventually, I promise.

Do this until you can do the all 4 intervals in a session reasonably comfortably then up the running time to 1 min, i.e. your new interval will be a 5 mins walk followed by 1 min run. As before, if you can't run any of the intervals after the first one, just continue to walk for another 5 mins until you are able to run again.

Once you can run the new interval 4 times reasonably comfortably you can either return to the couch to 4k app or just up the running period in the intervals by 1 minute.

Points to remember:
  1. Be patient. Progress will be slow at first but as your fitness improves, progress will become more rapid
  2. Walks in your training session are not a gentle stroll, walk briskly always.
  3. Move out of your comfort zone but not too far. Don't be content will 30 sec run, aim for 1 min then 2, then 3 and so on.
  4. Listen to your body, if it's telling you that you're not ready to increase the amount of running don't push it.
  5. Make sure you have a good pair of running shoes, not just regular trainers. They don't have to be an expensive pair (Decathlon, Aldi or Lidl own brand is ok for short runs) but running shoes will give better support than regular gym or leisure trainers.
  6. Be consistent in your training. Commit to doing it regularly and you will achieve your goals.
There's probably stuff I've forgotten but hopefully that will give you some ideas regarding how to start.

If you need to know anything else, just ask. I'm not an expert but I've run about 10 marathons and many half marathons, 10k and 5k races so I have a lot of personal experience.

Good luck!
 
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Alexis Colby Carrington

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Thank you @Alexis Colby Carrington - went out for 90 mins today, Im far better at walking fast! I guess anything is a bonus, not sure i will ever get beyond 40 secs and no breath!!

Half marathon is very impressive

thanks, BF xx
You'll be surprised, track it over the next month, every time you run aim for one more second, or to run faster for one more second. build on what you can already do.
 

Barbara Fan

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Thank you @Angela Channing and @Alexis Colby Carrington also for your replies and AC I think you could take over from Michael Johnson as "coach" ( I had to pick him, along with Usain Bolt he is one of the greatest ever athletes, I admire him so much and has such an amazing, soothing voice)

I think I will go with your plan of running 30 secs then walking and take it from there, hopefully increasing it along the way and every other day appeals to me

My Norm is im a very quick walker and wish pavements could be like motorways! Half the time i end up on the road as people are too slow for me

Asthma wise - its exercised induced so take a puff before i set out, but i have to start somewhere - as i said i skived off PE all the time at school (twice was to hear Linda Gray, then Priscilla Pointer being interviewed on R2, so that was imprortant!!!) And im trying not to use my car as much for local shops etc and i have dusted the cobwebs off my bike too.

Thanks again folks for all your great tips, I dont think you will ever see me in the LOndon Marathon, but I will keep going!!

Much love, BF xxx
 

Barbara Fan

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Walked 10 miles today and climbed a hill

Feeling smug but out of puff! :jg:
 

Angela Channing

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Walked 10 miles today and climbed a hill

Feeling smug but out of puff! :jg:
You should be proud. When you're trying to improve your fitness every bit of exercise, no matter how small, is something to celebrate. Exercise that gets you a little bit out of breath and increases your heart rate is what will have the biggest impact on getting fitter. Keep up the good work!
 

Barbara Fan

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You should be proud. When you're trying to improve your fitness every bit of exercise, no matter how small, is something to celebrate. Exercise that gets you a little bit out of breath and increases your heart rate is what will have the biggest impact on getting fitter. Keep up the good work!
thank you @Angela Channing - I have always wanted to go to Peru and when all the C19 madness is over its on my list (having watched Race across the world on BBc 2 earlier this year, i really want to go now) BUT..

i figure if i cant climb local hills Im not going to be much good at Macchu Picchu at altitude- more this weekend but only if its dry!!
thanks again xxx
 

J. R.'s Piece

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I walked over 16.3 miles yesterday. The first 12 before I left the house. I did 10000 steps before 8am. By 10.30, I’d done 20000. Then I skipped a few hours, had food and more food. In the evening, I walked to the shops, decided not to buy anything, walked to another shop two miles away, emptied it of pineapple and duck. Final total was 36725 steps.
 

Angela Channing

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I walked over 16.3 miles yesterday. The first 12 before I left the house. I did 10000 steps before 8am. By 10.30, I’d done 20000. Then I skipped a few hours, had food and more food. In the evening, I walked to the shops, decided not to buy anything, walked to another shop two miles away, emptied it of pineapple and duck. Final total was 36725 steps.
The most impressive part of that was walking 12 miles before you left the house. You must have a huge property.
 

Barbara Fan

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Well @Angela Channing - I have deleted couch to 5 km and using your version instead

You could make a firtune lol And dont faint Im actually beginning to enjoy it and as i live in countryside was up and out by 6.30am at weekend climbing local hills

When I got to final destination (a loch) and turned final corner for it i felt like Mo Farrah in 10000m and the bell has rung for the final lap!!!'

I will never be a runner, but i feel fitter and you are so right - i need to get out of my comfort zone, challenge myself andgo up hills and luckily i can

Thanks again, BF xxx :ty:
 

Angela Channing

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Well @Angela Channing - I have deleted couch to 5 km and using your version instead

You could make a firtune lol And dont faint Im actually beginning to enjoy it and as i live in countryside was up and out by 6.30am at weekend climbing local hills

When I got to final destination (a loch) and turned final corner for it i felt like Mo Farrah in 10000m and the bell has rung for the final lap!!!'

I will never be a runner, but i feel fitter and you are so right - i need to get out of my comfort zone, challenge myself andgo up hills and luckily i can

Thanks again, BF xxx :ty:
Delighted to hear it, I'm glad I was of some help and you're very welcome.

You're so lucky to have what sounds like a magnificent location to train in. Keep up the good work!
 

Barbara Fan

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Delighted to hear it, I'm glad I was of some help and you're very welcome.

You're so lucky to have what sounds like a magnificent location to train in. Keep up the good work!
I dont think I really appreciated what is on the back doorstep until Lockdown, and if it hadnt happened I dont think I would be doing as much walking as i am now.

Good comes out of bad I guess xx
 
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