Couch To 5K: Week 1 | Starting Running For The First Time

Jan 5, 2023

Heather: Couch to 5K is a challenge and it's one that we've covered in videos in the past, but I actually wanted to find someone who we could take through it step by step to share it with you guys so I needed a guinea pig, one who's happy to share their journey over the next eight weeks. I'm delighted to say that I have found a wonderful volunteer, Pippa. Now, I need to go and let her know exactly what she's let herself in for. [music] Before Pippa arrives, I should probably give you a little bit of background. Pippa is part of our team. She works as a producer and is basically an all-round amazing problem solver. As for Pippa's running background, I'm going to let her share you in on that one, but one more thing, you're very lucky because you are going to get to meet Wilma. Yes. Pippa has a puppy called Wilma. She's just awesome. [music] All right, hey, Pippa, how are you doing? Pippa: I'm good. I'm good. How are you? Heather: I'm looking forward to this. We are going to get you running 5K and under 30 minutes in just eight weeks. Pippa: I'm very nervous that I'm going to make a complete fool of myself on the internet, but if you manage to get me to run 5K under 30 minutes, I'll be super chuffed because that has never happened ever. Heather: We will do and we might even get Wilma running that as well. Now, I know you're not a true couch potato, but where are you at with your running at the moment? Pippa: I've definitely been a couch potato since coronavirus hit the UK and we've been in lockdown, so that's basically the past three months, four months. I could count the amount of times that I've exercised on my hands. Before that, I was relatively fit, exercising about five times a week, either in the gym or netball, but I am 100% not a runner. If you saw me running in the park it would be because I either lost the dog or I was late for something. I have no idea where to start. I just don't even know where it all begins.

There's so much to think about when you take running seriously and you want to start building it up with like pacing and breathing and terrain. I'm a complete newbie, and I'm excited to see if you can make me a proper runner. Heather: Well, we've got a lot to cover by the sounds of it. I know that you've done netball in the past and quite a lot of HIIT sessions in the gym, so you're used to pushing your body, but in a different way then I guess. Pippa: Definitely. Heather: Cool. Well, I think it's time that we share with you the first two weeks of what we've got in store. I'm also going to share it with you guys, so you can follow along at home. The first week, three sessions, with either one or two days rest in between, and they're all going to be the same to start with. It's a five-minute warm-up, which is just a walk. Then the main set is 60 seconds of jogging followed by 90 seconds of walking. You repeat that eight times through, and then it's a five-minute walk as a warm down. The second week only increases slightly again, three sessions with the same one or two days rest so you spread it out. All the same again, so a five-minute walk to warm up. Then the main set this time is going up to 90 seconds of jogging, but the rest increases as well to two minutes of walk. You repeat that six times and then the warm down is again, five minutes of walk. All right, so now you know what you're in for, for the first two weeks? How are you feeling? Have you got any questions before we get going? Pippa: I have lots of questions. I'm not trying to avoid doing the actual running, but firstly, how fast am I walking and running? Heather: Okay. It's hard to put an exact number on, but your walk is like you're walking for a walk with Wilma, kind of you are going somewhere, you're walking to the shops, you're not just going for a walk with a friend. You're thinking, "Right. I want to get somewhere," maybe like you're walking to work- [laughs] Pippa: When I'm late. Heather: -because I've seen you walk to work, so it's brisk, that's for your warm-up, so building to that.


Then for the jog, I just want you to be jogging because if you're not used to jogging, it is literally so that you can still say a few words. Maybe you're chatting to Wilma or if you've got a friend to run with so that you can talk. You're not finishing going [gasps] because you've finished and you've then got to go back to walking, not stopping, so we want it to be continuous. Then the walk, in those in-between bits, can be a bit slower if you need to just get your breath back. It's kind of conversational running and then walking that's still moving forwards, but as a recovery walk. Pippa: Right. Okay, so then each session, am I trying to get faster or I just keep the same pace? Heather: No. At the moment, because naturally, it's only slight, but we're progressing the distance so you don't want to try and change too many factors at once. We're not going to be changing the intensity. We're just changing the length of each effort and then overall a tiny bit more in total, so we're just concentrating on that. Then the pace will come in later on. The first two weeks, it's purely about just getting used to running and finding your comfortable zone. Pippa: Right. Okay, and then if I skip a day, what happens there? Heather: Okay. Well at the moment, it's three per week. You've got a little bit of leeway to still have-- so if you skip one day, you could hopefully still fit all three in the week. If say, it gets to Sunday and you haven't done it, then there is no harm in putting that one on the Monday, as long as you've still got a day off in between and just don't panic. Maybe give me a call and see how you're doing or something, but I don't want you to back them all up so you're then doing your-- Or we're meeting two weeks after and you haven't started and you're going to then try and put all six into one week. I don't want you doing that. Pippa: So no cramming. Heather: No cram learning or anything like that. Try and always keep a day in between. If you go off that model, you've still got a spare day each week to play with, so to speak. Pippa: Cool. Then I think the last bit is obviously we live in Bath and it's ridiculously hilly and I get really tight calves so what do I do there? Heather: Okay. Well, I know you've got some nice new shoes, which have got a bit more of a heel-toe rise, so that should hopefully help a little bit. Yes, hills are the bane of our lives around here, but you can use them to your advantage. If you are starting off and you're on a really hilly route-- and some of the really steep hills around here, it's okay to actually walk that, but walk it really hard if it's on your run part. Then obviously on the recovery bit, you're going to have to walk really slowly to make sure you've got enough recovery because the hills do naturally make you work harder. I don't want you worrying about pace or anything like that. Then, as for tight calves, just make sure you can start to get a little bit of a stretching routine and some rolling, but we'll talk more about that maybe in the next week, but yes, just keep an eye on them and if they are getting uncomfortably tight or it's increasing then yes, ease off a little bit and make sure you've just got plenty stretches after.


Also, it's really important you get that full five-minute warm-up before you start each time so we'll keep an eye on that. Pippa: Okay, great. Then lastly, I guess, is there any running etiquette that I need to know as a complete newbie? Heather: That's a funny one, isn't it? I think because I've run all my life, I have to actually have a think about that one. It's not quite like cycling, there's not as many things that you could do wrong, so I wouldn't worry. I think at the moment, in COVID times, if you're running on any paths, just remember to shout if there's anyone up ahead because I know some walkers can get worried if they suddenly hear a runner up behind them. Don't be afraid to just-- maybe your breathing's heavy enough so people hear you, or just cough, or say, "I'm coming through," but other than that, I would say smile to other runners that you pass. [music] Heather: All right. Now, you've asked all your questions. I think there's no more procrastination. It's time for your first session. Are you ready? Pippa: Okay. I think I'm ready. Heather: I think Wilma's ready. Pippa: She's definitely ready. Heather: You've got plenty of walking, so I think she'll be fine. Pippa: Definitely. Okay. We'll start the timer. Heather: Good luck. Pippa: Let's go. Heather: See you when you're back. See you, Wilma. [music] Heather: Whilst Pippa is out on her run, we probably should have a look at kit. As you can see, Pippa came prepared. She had the full set of running kit. You don't need to go and splash out on loads of new kit, but I would say investing in a decent pair of running shoes is essential. It'll make such a difference. If you don't have the correct shoes, it could lead to blisters and even worse, some sort of injury. Make sure you've got something that's comfortable and offers you the amount of support that you need. Again, a good pair of socks will also help with that comfort side of things. Now, as for clothing, it doesn't need to be so specific. Comfort is key for getting you coming back to your next session, but if you've got something that's sweat-wicking, that'll help to maintain you and your body at a nice temperature. If you're obviously in really hot climates, then you might need something that's a little bit more technical. Talking of technical, you probably notice Pippa has a nice Polar watch. You don't need to go to the extremes of buying a sports-specific watch.


For this program it's all based on time, so you just need something to basically be able to time yourself with. Whether that is a basic sports watch or it's even your phone with a timer, that's completely fine. If you are using your phone, you might want to have something to carry it if you don't have a pocket because you want to have your hands free. Talking of that, headphones are another option. If you're motivated by music, then, by all means, use them, but try to find somewhere to put it out the way so it's not distracting you. Finally, water. I know a lot of people ask about water. Obviously, we're starting off pretty short on these runs. Unless you're somewhere really hot, I would say you probably don't need to carry water with you. If you do, try to find some way of carrying it so that you can still be relaxing your upper body and concentrate on form rather than having to hold something in your hand. [music] Heather: How was it? Pippa: It was okay. Yes, it was good. I am really unfit, so I'm definitely excited for that to change. Heather: That's good. If it was really easy and you were like, "I'm super fit," that would kind of defeat the object. Was it harder or easier than you expected? Pippa: I think it wasn't as hard as I expected because the walking really helps, but I definitely think at the end of the running I was sort of at my capacity, and I needed those walks so I was very grateful for those, so thanks. Heather: Cool. Whilst you were doing it, did it bring out any hopes that you've got for this whole program or anything you're really worried about? Pippa: I'm worried about my calves, but I'll go home and do like a proper stretch session now. Then I guess I'm scared I'm going to fail in front of all these people, but- Heather That's normal, isn't it? I think. Pippa: -I'm really hopeful that I will become a runner, that you would get me regularly running, and hopefully, I'll learn to be using it as a stress reliever like so many people use it, whereas right now, it's more stressful, so that'll be nice. Heather: Okay, well we'll hopefully get rid of that stress side of things.


Have you got any questions before you go off for your next-- these two weeks, you've got another - what have you got? - another five sessions before we touch base again? Pippa: Yes, I think I'm okay now, but I will probably be ringing you, like [crosstalk]. Heather: Please do, please do. Awesome. Wilma, did you enjoy that? She seemed to be pretty cool with it too. Pippa: I think, definitely, next time, I'll go without her though because she was far more interested in sniffing and eating the lead. As much as she's a beautiful camera model, it's better to run without her I think. Heather: Awesome. Well, we look forward to the update in two weeks' time. Pippa: Thank you. Heather: A massive thanks to Pippa because I know it's really getting out of her comfort zone to be doing this and to be on camera, so please give her plenty of encouragement. Even better, if you're in the same situation as Pippa, then join in and follow the program and let us know how you're getting on. You can do that in the Comments section below. We will be back in two weeks' time to find out how Pippa's got on and also give you an update of the next two weeks of the program. See you then. If you've enjoyed it, give us a Like and remember to check out our social media channels and give those a follow too.

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