Couch to 5k – the final stretch!

I’m a little late with this post, as we actually finished the course the week before last; however, with the kids off for half term, I haven’t got round to sharing our success with you guys 🙂

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So basically, we did it!! A full 30 minutes of running, with ease as well – there wasn’t any moaning or even asking if it was possible – rather unlike the first week, when one minute of running was a chore! We just set off and kept going, not only can we run for 30 minutes now, we also enjoy it, which is amazing!

We’re living proof that given nine weeks, a good program to follow and in our case the support of a fantastic coach, anyone can become a runner!

Week 8 of the routine consisted of three 28 minute runs.
Week 9, the final week consisted of three 30 minute runs.

I really think that after week 5, when we had to jump up to running 20 minutes, the course became easier. This was because once 20 minutes had been run the rest was achievable.

This week I haven’t run, mainly due to my daughter being off for half term; however, today I’m back on it! My next personal goal is to go from 5k to 10k. I really would recommend the couchto5k course to anyone, I’d also like to take this opportunity to once again thank Pete, our coach. It’s amazing being able to leave the house and just run; it has so many benefits not only physical but also mentally too – running is a great way of letting go of stress.

I’ll keep you updated on future progress.

Figure fixation

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Ok, so the title of this blog is quite unusual; however, having an in depth think about my figure, I’ve decided that it’s not something I want to be fixed on. I’ve gained a few pounds over the last couple of years, and you know what? That’s fine!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means what I would call fat but having previously always been a size eight, when I did start to gain weight, I hated it! I put it down to a few things, metabolism changing and mainly becoming content with my boyfriend.

I’ve toyed with diets before, in particular weight watchers, but I think there’s a reason they haven’t worked and that’s because I’ve done it because society says that you should be size eight, rather than because I actually care. Of course, there are things I would love to change about my body, for example a toned midriff area; however, when I was a size eight I hated my thighs, so I guess we’re never satisfied anyway.

I’m not encouraging people eat until they’re obese or anything, but a healthy balance with the odd slice of pizza/donut now and again, isn’t going to hurt anybody! Since being ‘curvier’, for the first time in my life I actually have boobs, their not huge or anything but they are there! It’s just important to dress for your figure, like now I’d never wear a crop top because my love handles would look hideous and when I was really thin, I’d never have worn a low cut top because my cleavage wouldn’t fill it.

I do promote being healthy with a balance though; if you read my blog you will know that I’ve recently taken up running – so if I lose weight through this, that’ll be cool too! I just don’t think we should stress so much about our bodies, I see so many beautiful girls caught up on it and it’s a shame! I mean I’m not a size 6/8 like our magazines and media promote, however, I am under the national average – which is actually a size 14! Most importantly, I’m happy and life is just too short!

In the words of Beyonce “love your curves” 😉

Image sourced from Pinterest.

Couch to 5k – week 7

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I can’t believe I’ve completed week seven of the couch to 5k course! This means that I only have two weeks of training left, when I should be able to run the full 5k!

This week has been a real game changer within the program, this is because each routine consisted of a full 25 minutes of running! Even though I ran 25 minutes in the previous week, then my other two runs had some interval training, which means I had some walking time in between runs – it has been an achievement now that the walking time has gone! The walking time is excluded completely at this stage in the program, therefore, each week the running time just progresses!

My boyfriend came for a 25 minute run with me and it felt amazing to be able to chat on the way round, and not be puffing and panting for my breath. It really is fantastic when I think back to week one, when I was shattered after running for one minute. I can’t thank our coach, Pete, enough for enabling us to get to this stage of running!

This week I also did my first run in the rain; I have to admit, I was definitely one of those people who would drive past runners in the rain and question whether they was crazy!? And now I’m one of those runners.

The end is in sight for me on this program; however, it definitely isn’t the end of running for me, next I hope to go from 5k to 10k.

Image sourced from Pinterest.

Couch to 5k – week 6

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This week I’ve really enjoyed running, I think completing the 20 minute run in the previous week has made me realise that the 5k is now achievable, and within reach. I mixed up my routes a little and had a bit of a country run.

This week’s routine:

Run one: run five minutes, walk three minutes, run eight minutes, walk three minutes and then run five minutes.

Run two: run ten minutes, walk three minutes and then run another 10 minutes.

Run three: run 25 minutes with no stopping.

We all managed the 25 minute run with ease, which is amazing when thinking back to week one.

Pete, our coach, was most impressed that we all managed to maintain a pace that we was comfortable with, this meant we were able to have a conversation while running.

I can’t believe I’m now on week seven of the course and only have two weeks left; it really is proving successful!

Couch to 5k – Week 4

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This week the pace was knocked up a notch with our routine progressing to –

Run 3 minutes, then walk 1 1/2 minutes.
Run 5 minutes, then walk 2 1/2 minutes.
This is repeated twice.

There was an evident improvement in my fitness levels this week, which was apparent when moving up to the full five minutes of running. This made me and the rest of the running group feel proud, especially when thinking back to week one, when we felt tired after one minute of running.

I was a little apprehensive before starting week four, mainly because I was going from the treadmill on holiday, back to the windy pavement. However, other than feeling a little more achy than usual the next day, I managed fine. As a group we meet on a Wednesday with our Coach, and then I completed my next two runs on Friday and Monday.

Unfortunately, my Mum, who is also completing this course with me, has injured her calf muscle. She was really beginning to get into running so I hope she will be joining us again soon!

I’m looking forward to beginning week five, and hope that it continues to be as successful for me!

If anyone lives local and would like more information on how they can complete this course, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Image sourced from Pinterest.

Couch to 5k week two and three.

So, for the last two weeks I have been on holiday in Bahrain, which is why I have decided to blog about week two and three together.

I’m not going to lie, it was difficult finding the inspiration to run whilst on holiday in the lovely weather. However, I figured that half an hour out of my day, three times a week, isn’t a great deal so I stuck to it! And besides, with all the eating and drinking over the course of the holiday, my figure appreciated some exercise!

My view from the treadmill

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Week 2 routine:
90 secs running and 2 mins walking for 20 minutes

Week 3 routine:

90 secs run 90 secs walk
90 secs run 90 secs walk
3 minutes run 3 minutes walk
90 secs run 90 secs walk
90 secs run 90 secs walk
3 minutes run 3 minutes walk

Each routine begins with a warm up of brisk walking and dynamic stretches, and then, a cool down of brisk walking and long stretches.

I completed all of week two whilst away and two runs of week three, which means I only need to do one run when I’m back home before Wed, as I leave Bahrain this evening. I’m really proud of myself for sticking to running, as before, I was definitely the type who wouldn’t bother whilst being away. I feel this only proves how successful the course is going, and hopefully, in a few weeks i’ll be completing the full 5K! I got that into it, I even decided to do other exercises in the gym 🙂

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One concern that I do have, is that I’ve completed my runs on the treadmill on holiday and may feel the difference when going back to the pavement.

Have any of you taken up a new fitness regime lately?

Couch to 5k – Week 1

Here’s something a little healthy to add to your Easter weekend!

So, as stated on my last post, this week I began my journey from the couch to 5k. This is a program heavily supported by the NHS, which is designed to encourage anyone to take up exercise.

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The course lasts for nine weeks, when we should be able to complete the full 5k! I’m completing the course with a running group, which includes four of us and our running coach, Pete. It’s great running as a group because we can all encourage each other and having a coach there to support and inform us all, is just fantastic!

Week one: 5 minute warmup, which includes a brisk walk and some gentle exercises.
Followed by 1 minute of running and 1 and a half minutes of walking.
This is repeated 8 times and then completed with a five minute
walk to cool down. When we got back, we did some vital stretching!

Beginning running like this made it much more fluent and really broke it down. It’s fab having Pete there to show us the important exercises, and knowing we have a coach will inspire me to keep it up! As a group we meet with Pete once a week; however, in order to finish the course successfully, we must also run on our own at least two/three times a week.

Yesterday we set off on our first run without Pete, and just ran for a bit and walked for a bit. This is obviously better than doing nothing but it just didn’t feel structured. However, I have found this fab app called Get Running. It has the program on the app, so you just pop your headphones on and that tells you when to warm up, run, walk and cool down. If you wish, your music can also be played alongside the app and that’ll just cut in with the instructions – it is £1.99 but I think it will definitely be worth it!

I will be completing my final run of week one in the morning and I’d say it has definitely been successful. I’m proud of all of us for just getting out there and giving it a go, because that’s the hardest part! Now I have my app, I’ll be able to carry on with the course while I’m away!

Holidays and fitness

This is just a quick update for you guys and some things to expect on Charlotte’s Web in the near future.

My blog will be quiet over the next couple of weeks, this is because I’m escaping this awful weather and going to visit my grandparents in Bahrain. I can’t wait and I’m sure that I’ll have lots to tell you about when I return; I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the Easter break. However, it does feel weird ironing all of my summer clothes whilst it’s snowing outside!

Something else I’ll be telling you all about is a new fitness regime that I’m embarking on. Basically I will be using a local personal trainer and the idea is to go from the couch to 5k in nine weeks. This is something I’m a little nervous about, while I dabble with fitness, you know the odd step/aerobic class and gym session, I’m definitely no pro! For two of these sessions I will be on holiday, so I’m actually completing the course in seven weeks.

Is it possible? I haven’t ran since school! Anyway, I’m going to inform you every step of the way; complete with before and after pictures, how I’m finding it and any weight loss that I’m hoping will occur! If you have never stepped foot in a gym and are not convinced that I’m an exercise novice, I will also inform you that my Mum is doing the course too, and as she will say, she’s a complete beginner! On holiday I’m going to have to get swimming and in the gym so that she doesn’t overtake me! 🙂

I’m hoping that informing you of my honest experience along the way, will encourage those who have toyed with the idea of running to give it a go. The idea of the course is to give you the ability and confidence to keep the running up, long after the nine week course. It’s something that I’d like to keep up because unlike the gym it is free! My first session is tonight, so I’ll probably do my first post about this before I go!

Hope you all have a lovely Easter!