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

John Dodge
By John Dodge
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Week 6 lasted 37 days. Did you miss the updates? I missed nearly three weeks through a combination of a nagging knee injury and a sinus/flu problem. It meant I couldn’t run at all over the Christmas and New Year’s period. That also meant that most people believed I had given up, rather than just being unable to run. So now I’m back, and here’s how the longest week 6 ever was completed.

Week Six, Day One - Sunday, 13th December

After running for 20 minutes straight at the end of week 5, I was ready to take on the world. Week 6 started with 2 runs of 10 minutes either side of a 3 minute walk. It was a clear bright day so I set off for my local park and completed it without too much hassle. I even went up and down the large hills as I started to feel like I could run whenever I wanted to.

Week Six, Day Two - Tuesday, 15th December

Balls. I had skipped a step. Somehow I had done w6d2 on my last outing, so I wanted to do w6d1 today.  Decided to run down towards the canal as I figured out a route around my house that involved a loop of around about 4.5k. Week 6, day 1 consists of 5 minutes jog, 3 minutes walk, 8 minutes jog, 3 minutes walk, 5 minutes jog. I was able to do it, but I felt like I should push myself harder because I was “dropping down” a level. That was a mistake as I was struggling at the end and I still had an extra long cool down run to come. I guess the lesson is to not try and get ahead of the plan!

Week Six, Day Three - Saturday, 19th December

I had my work xmas party on the Friday night but I wasn’t too worse for wear and wanted to keep going. Unfortunately I had woken up with a stiff/sore knee. I have no idea what happened it but it didn’t feel right. With my daughter’s dance class at noon I got ready and headed out, hoping i could walk/run it off. That was a mistake. Walking was OK, but I couldn’t push off my knee at all. I decided to just go for a long walk and hope that helped. It didn’t.

My knee got worse over the next few days and it was well past xmas before I could walk without a limp.

Recovery Day 1 - Tuesday, 29th December

To blow off the cobwebs, we went for a family walk in Lucan Demesne - fairy trees for the little one and lots of ground for me to cover. I was wearing some new gear that my wife had given me for Christmas and I really, really wanted to get back running. It wasn’t to be. I could walk without too much problem but I just couldn’t step off to run. I tried a couple of runs but it just didn’t feel right. We did complete a 5k walk though and it felt good to be out in the fresh air. This time last year I wouldn’t have been able to complete that. Now I see it as “easy”.


Recovery Day 2 - Friday, 1st January


Another attempt to run. Another failed attempt to run. I managed a total run of about 500 metres in a walk that lasted 4.5k in my new circuit around the house. Again it felt good to be out but I was pretty frustrated not to be able to get back on plan (when I thought I would be finished by now!). Still at least I was out and about and keeping active.  On New Year’s Day no less.

The following Monday I came down with a pox of a flu. My whole body ached and I couldn’t breath through my nose. I’m not writing this looking for sympathy or trying to disgust you with some gross images.  I’m merely saying that running wasn’t a possibility for another 10 days or so thanks toa  flu that morphed into a sinus issue.

Week Six, Day One (again) - Friday, 14th January

I was finally ready to get back into the plan on Thursday evening but between work and home life I just couldn’t get out. I woke up on Friday morning and decided I’d try running at lunch time. This was a big step for me as I work in the city centre and there are no hiding places. Back in week one I deliberately ran late at night in dark green lands so no one could see me. Now I was attempting to run in the popular Merrion Square park.


I was worried about my knee, about my breathing and whether or not I’d have to start at week one again with the long delay. I needn’t have worried at all. I managed week 6 day 1 correctly this time (run 5, walk 3, run 8, walk 3, run 5) and genuinely punched the air at the end. My afternoon was hugely productive as a run, shower and a leftover pasta lunch had me buzzing.

Week Six, Day Two (again) - Sunday, 17th January

Sunday evening saw me run 10 minutes, walk for 3, run for 10 around my local park. I felt great. I was going and down the hills and really felt terrific. There’s no doubt I’m back for good now. It's only taken a month to get back to normality!

Week Six, Day Three (again) - Tuesday, 19th January

This is it now. No more interval runs. It’s all about increasing how long I can run for now. Today is another lunch time run around Merrion Square park. I have to run 22 minutes no stop. I encountered plenty of other runners today. Nodding at all of them and all of them reciprocating. Some looked like they had been doing this for years. Others looked like I did when I started. I’d imagine Operation Transformation is getting more people out. I don’t like that TV show (the fat shaming by some of the “experts” is pretty disgusting for normal people looking to get healthier) but if it gets more people active, then that can only be a good thing, right?


Anyway for me I struggled badly. I started to tire around the 15 minute mark and it was only seeing a work colleague sitting on a  bench that made me want to finish it (I didn’t want them to see me hands on hips). I did it though. I ran 22 minutes non stop. I feel equally parts amazed, relieved and proud as hell.

Here’s to 25 minutes next week. Unless any more stupid injuries or illnesses get in the way.



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

Read: Join Me On My Couch To 5K Journey - Week Two

Read: Join Me On My Couch To 5K Journey - Week Three

Read: Join Me On My Couch To 5K Journey - Week Four

Read: Join Me On My Couch To 5K Journey - Week Five

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