After 5 weeks of using the Couch to 10K app and running 3 times a week during lockdown (Covid19 makes me do funny things apparently), I figured it was only appropriate that this week’s blog post is a review of what I think about the app so far…
Is the Couch to 10K app just for beginners?
5 weeks ago, after a pretty breathless and exhausting 5K run, I decided to chuck my ego in the bin and go back to basics with a long lost friend… running.
Now, I’m not too sure what made me download the Couch to 10K app in the first place – I’ve always considered it an app for those who have never run before – but I did, and here we are.
Once you download the app, it’ll ask you a few basic questions to try and determine where you are with your current running routine. Aka, if you have one or not. Based on my answers, the app decided week 5 would be a good week for me to start with. And guess what? It was pretty spot on.
I won’t lie, it seemed too easy to begin with, but that’s the idea. The app helps your body adjust to running gradually and slowly increases your running time week by week.
Whether you’ve run before, or not run at all, the Couch to 10K app is pretty ideal for both beginners and non-beginners. Just be prepared to go back to basics and learn to trust the science of the app.
Why I decided to download the Couch to 10K app
Despite the fact that I’ve run numerous times before (including that breathless 5K run right before I downloaded the app), I wanted a new challenge to take on during the Covid-19 lockdown whilst working on my stamina and cardiovascular fitness.
My aim: to run a 5K comfortably without wanting to stop halfway through. I’m also highly competitive so I wanted to prove to myself that I can ignore the stats and just run with one mission in mind: get fitter before you get faster.
So with that in mind, I downloaded the app and just yesterday I managed to finish my first 5K… fitter and happier!
My Couch to 10K review so far…
While I can’t review the full app itself, I’m still pretty confident to say that the first half – Couch to 5K – really does work.
My first run of week 5 started with three 5 minute runs, broken up with 3 minutes of walking and followed by 2 more runs for that same week. By day 3, I was already running 20 minutes with no breaks. So while the first 2 days may sound a little too easy to begin with, you’re soon testing your stamina by day 3. Aka, your long run day.
Week 6 was easier, but by the time day 3 came around, I was soon doubting myself and my ability to run when I realised I had to run again without stopping. I definitely struggled more with mentally accepting the long day runs than I did physically.
But I’ll be honest, week 6, day 3 turned out a lot better than I expected. In fact, I remember thinking I could have kept running. Crazy, right?
For a majority of week 7, I suffered from sore calves (a horrible burning sensation as I ran), which resulted in a few tired and fed up runs, but luckily by week 8 the burning sensation soon disappeared.
I think week 7 was also the week I noticed a big difference in my stamina and pacing techniques. Slowly yet surely, each run started to feel a little easier and by the end, I was finishing each run feeling good. Breathless, but not too breathless.
Note: I researched into pacing techniques and heart rate monitoring in week 6 and I’m really glad I did.
When week 8 quickly rolled around, I soon found the pressure was on as week 8 marks the week of running your first 5K. While it might have not been my first ever 5K, it would have been my first 5K running at a comfortable pace.
If I’m honest, I did expect to hit 5K on day 2 of week 8, but I didn’t. Annoyingly, I was 100m out. But after a stern talk to myself (and a quick reminder that a set time isn’t in my plan anyway), I quickly brushed aside any added pressure for day 3.
As soon as I started running day 3, all negative thoughts and feelings left my mind. My pace was controlled, my breathing was good and most importantly, I was really enjoying my run.
I managed to finish my 5K milestone in under 27 minutes and while it may not be a PB (not that I was aiming for one), the structure of the programme helped build up my strength and stamina for a comfortable and smooth 5K. So much so I would have happily carried on running for a wee little longer!
5K to 10K
For me though, the real challenge will be the second half of the programme – working towards my first 10K.
I’m already preparing myself for a lot of self-doubting (especially those long runs over 60 minutes), but with my new found love for running, I’m hoping that it’ll be more enjoyable than it will miserable.
So sit tight. I’ve got a few more hours to run and a few more playlists to listen to before I come back with a full Couch to 10K app review, but don’t worry, it’s coming!
Thankfully, I’ve recorded my Couch to 10K journey via my story highlights on Instagram, so if you want the in-depth post-running chats, then head over there – @hannahandfitness
The app I use: C25K – 10K