I’m a week into the Couch to 5K programme (which is 9 weeks long, minimum) and it is going really well, so far. I actually did 4 runs this week, rather than the 3 recommended, for a couple of reasons. First, as I explained in my last post, I wasn’t following quite the same programme for my first run (and didn’t strictly follow even the one I was using), so I didn’t feel like the first run counted. As luck would have it, the second run also went a little nuts as I failed to switch my mobile off silent, so couldn’t hear the verbal prompts. It’s amazing how ready you are to think your phone is vibrating (the only other prompt), when you expect it to vibrate in the near future.
One of the fantastic things about the modern world is relatively simple things like the C25K app. With the app (provided you use it properly!), all you have to do is follow the instructions. You start it up and then run when it tells you to run and walk when it tells you to walk. You have no idea what a relief it is not to have to look at your watch and see the seconds count down. Knowing you will be told when it’s time to start walking is so much better.
The second reason for four runs, rather than three, was that I know myself. I was worried that, if I left a rest day between my first run and my second, it would be too big a hurdle to jump. Now I’ve done a few runs, I shouldn’t need to repeat it, but I needed to prove to myself that the first experience was not a fluke. I might run both Saturday and Sunday for a couple more times, but my guess is that – the further into the programme I get – the less I’ll feel like doing it two days in a row.
So I’m looking forward to tomorrow, with reservations. Next week is three runs of “90 seconds running, followed by 2 minutes walking” for 20 minutes – which is 9 minutes running total compared to 8 minutes last week. But it isn’t the extra minute that’s daunting; it’s the “half as much again” running each time. So we’ll see.
The best improvement over the week has actually been Toby’s attitude. You may recall that he spent most of my first run, standing by the park gate. I have no idea how much of that was:
- The presence of the scary dog;
- The imminent need for breakfast; and
- The strangeness of Cath moving around at speed.
By Thursday’s run, however, he joined in for the entire time. Don’t get me wrong, there was still a significant amount of standing by the gate, and even more of standing at one end of the park, trying to figure out what version of nonsense his owner was up to now. But he did keep joining me, with what I’m choosing to call Toby’s interval running – either stop to sniff something interesting or stand still to see if Cath is coming back soon, then running like mad to catch up. Those of you who have dogs will know that watching your dog run towards you, ears aflapping, is one of the best experiences there is in life.
I’m hoping that, if I manage to stick with this, I’ll be able to persuade Toby to run alongside me on shorter runs. Yesterday made me think it might be doable. It would be a shame not to be able to combine my exercise with Toby’s. It would be particularly helpful when it stops being summer. The only person I know who hates the rain more than I do is Toby. What that means is that I get a strange schadenfreude from making Toby go out when it’s raining. When he was a puppy, we had to walk for half an hour before he stopped fixating on going home and realised how much he needed to pee. Running with him in the rain (when we’re running away from, rather than towards, home) will be his penance for making me walk unnecessarily in the rain.