An Inside look into our Couch to 5K programme

By Run Birmingham Activator Sally Bynoe

As you may already know, a lot of the work that we at Run Birmingham do is with people starting out on their running journey. We work to support those taking their first steps and often have Couch to 5k running programmes taking place across the city throughout the year. If you don’t know much about the programme, it’s basically a good introduction into running and you start with lots of walking and just a little bit of light running to get you going.

In those early weeks, it’s about using your legs in a different way and engaging different muscles. I’m not going to lie, it will probably hurt a little as you’re using muscles that you probably didn’t even know you had but it is well worth it!

Lots of things will probably come into your head, “my feet/legs hurt”, “I can’t breathe”, “I can’t run”, “what will people think if they see me out trying to run?”, “I’m too slow”. All of these things are absolutely normal and pop into most people’s minds. It’s something new and it’s ok to recognise there’s a bit of fear. Remember, when you start something new you need to learn how to do it. You’re not going to be a top athlete just because you’ve decided you’re going to run. Also look to the reason you decided to start, and try to see ahead to how you will feel once you achieve your goal.

Once you complete a session you will hopefully feel a sense of pride and satisfaction. You’ve just achieved something you didn’t think that you could. It’s your first building block, so the following session when you return, try to remember how you felt at the beginning of the previous session and remember, you can do it, you’ve done it before!

It can take a little while to settle in when you start running and it’s always ok to walk if you need to. The programme builds slowly so initially it’s about learning to use your legs differently, what to do with your arms and how to breathe when you have a slight bounce in your step. It can feel a slow process but I promise you, that you will be making progress.

It’s good to check in with your body from session to session. You’ll find that something that was hurting before might not be hurting as badly the next time or you go a little further or a little faster. This usually happens without you noticing and as a Run Activator I like to highlight this so you can see the changes are coming.

A great thing to do is to get a jar and fill it with notes of your successes. Don’t forget, you’re already winning by putting your trainers on and stepping outside of the front door intended to get moving. This is a great tool to keep motivated as when you recognise the small successes, they soon become big!

S from Shard End, Couch to 5k, week 4, run 1.
“I can’t believe I’ve just run for 5 minutes and my back isn’t hurting!”