What I Learned After Completing Couch to 5k
Back story: I got up from the couch and began training for a marathon because it seems like an amazing thing to do, and I want to do amazing things.
Current training status: 5k in the books; 10k is in five weeks. Marathon is in July.
Couch to 5k
If you haven’t heard of the Couch to 5k (“C25K” ) running program, you are living under Patrick Star’s rock. Though I forgive you if you are unfamiliar with the finer details. The gist is, with baby steps, to get you off your butt and able to run 3.1 miles.
I completed the program earlier this month (December 2017) and learned a lot along the way.
Here’s what I’ve come to know:
- There’s more than one program. C25K is not codified; it’s not a specific program. The term just describes the concept. Programs are, by my observation, around 8 weeks long and don’t vary much. Almost all “Week 1 Day 1” steps begin with a thirty-second run followed by a two-minute walk, repeated for thirty minutes. I picked mine because the chart was easy to read.
- The goal isn’t actually 5k of running. It’s thirty minutes, which is a ten(ish) minute mile if you complete a 5k in that time. I’m slower than a 10-minute mile, so I adapted my C25K program to cover distance, not time. So, on a day when I was supposed to run for a minute then walk for a minute and repeat for thirty minutes, I just extended it to repeat until I had covered 3.1 miles. By the end of the program I ran the whole distance in 35ish minutes.
- Outside of unique physical circumstances, it will probably be easy. I don’t want to diminish the challenge it may be for some. I only mean to say that I don’t think most of us have anything to fear. Go do it!
- You are not an imposter. When race day comes around, your comrades will have more expensive shoes than you. They will have already completed 30 miles as a warm up. They will have fancy GPS watches and be running it backwards and you will compare your sports bra to theirs for who knows what reason. You will be beat by a teenager and also a grandma. You are still a runner. You are still doing it. You’re going faster than the people sitting on the couch who never started the program.
- Reddit is your friend. The subreddits you’re looking for are r/running and r/c25k. Ask questions, brag about any accomplishment (no matter the size), or lurk and learn.
I hope that helps. I haven’t been doing this long enough to start schlepping out general running advice, so I stuck strictly to knowledge gained in the wake of C25K. If you wanna talk about C25K, or my current training regimen, or running in general, or how I voted for Doug Jones, hit me up.