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Join Me On My Couch To 5K Journey - Week One

John Dodge
By John Dodge
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Some background; I’m in my mid thirties and I’ve been overweight pretty much all my life. I played football as a kid and I’ve had sporadic outbursts as a midfield general on astro but generally speaking I’ve been a fat lazy git throughout my adult years.

About a year ago I, along with my lovely wife, realised that we were both unhealthily big. Something had to change. So we began eating better and a year later we’ve lost 8 stone between us. I now have strong opinions on a variety of lettuces when only 15 months ago I wouldn't have touched the stuff.

The next step is getting fit, or at least fitter. I decided to try the couch to 5k programme. I’ve never run before and genuinely haven’t really exercised in the last 15 years so it wasn't a decision I took lightly. I bought a pair of half decent runners and claimed I’d start “soon”. I researched base layers and other running gear and had a loose plan of action. Then I saw some base layers on special in Aldi and bought them. I decided to go running that night mainly because I couldn’t answer my wife’s question; “what’s stopping you, going out now?”

I’m going to write a weekly blog here to track my progress. If it helps you, do let me know.

In case you don’t know, the couch to 5k programme essentially gives you 3 workouts per week, all building to finally running 5k. That’s the theory anyway.

Week One, Day One – Thursday 5th November

I opened the app, press start and walk out the door. I’ve half an hour left on my favourite podcast so this should work out well. The programme calls for 5 minutes of warm up which I use to walk down to the green in my estate. It’s dark there so if I struggle no one will know.


“Begin running” says the throaty lady on the app. So off I go. I’m not sure I can even run for a minute but I make it easily enough. Then I walk for 90 seconds. The first week is 8 reps of this. The app works as your timer and it’s very handy. I have my first “what!?!” when she tells me I reach half way when I think I’m nearly finished but overall I manage the first run quite well.


My 5 minute warm down consists of a stroll back to the house. I’m not really out of breath but I know I’ve been active. A quick shower and dinner and then I relax for the evening. I haven’t died. Today is a successful day.

Week One, Day Two – Monday 9th November

I read that the key to the programme is to let your body build up naturally so it’s important not to push too hard at the start. I wanted to go out Saturday morning but felt it best to leave at least 48 hours between outings. I had a pretty sociable weekend (more so than usual) but I was raring to go on Monday evening. Back into my running gear (base layers, football shorts and 2009 Valletta jersey) and out I go.

Same routine as the first one. This one was much easier. I know for the next instalment I’ll have to change routes as it got a little boring but I handled the runs/walks much better today.


Week One, Day Three – Wednesday 11th November

I had a bollocks of a day. Got home way later than usual and really wasn't in the humour of exercising. My ever supportive wife said "dinner's ready in half an hour, go out running". Crap, she was right. I had to do it. Quick change and I'm out walking for my warm up.

Decided I'd try and mix up the route and not just run on the local green. We have a small park about 5/10 minutes walk away so I figured that'd do. Had to start running while still on the concrete paths and my knees immediately felt the difference. I dislocated my knee when I was in school and it's never been quite right since.

When I got to the park I mixed up running on the grass and the tarmac paths. I figured I had to leave grass sooner or later but this way I eased into it. The park is quite hilly so it was a lot harder than the previous two days. I'll be sticking to flat lands next week. When I got home and showered, I was pretty proud of myself. Glad to have done some exercise when I wanted to slob about, and very happy to have survived my first week on the couch to 5k programme without any aches, pains or breathing problems.


I feel OK today. Not tired but legs definitely feel a bit heavy. Already looking forward to week 2 which I'm hoping to start on Friday. Let me know if you've completed this or are looking to start it soon.

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