I've touched upon fitness before on this blog and if you read my Fit February series you may remember that I attempted (and miserably failed) my running week (post here). My attitude to health and fitness has really changed this year and I'm focusing on eating and exercising to keep fit and healthy rather than to lose weight as I've tried in the past, which just made me miserable.
Since the weather has got a bit (emphasis on the word bit) nicer I've been wanting to exercise outside rather than do my YouTube workouts indoors. On a whim one evening in April I downloaded the C25K app (the free one with the orange logo) and vowed to start the very next day.
The aim of the app is to get you running 5k in 8 weeks and it is aimed at people who haven't run before and who aren't particularly fit. It starts off by building your stamina using interval training to ease you into running, with each week challenging you to run a little further before taking a break. You're supposed to go three times a week, which really is doable! The app is so easy to use as it tells you when to stop and start, plus you can still listen to music on your phone at the same time! Also, if you feel out of your depth you can repeat days until you complete them. The only bad point about the app is that it doesn't have GPS and works solely with time so once I started the longer runs I used Map My Run at the same time to track how far I was actually running.
Week 1 | 5 minute warm-up walk, 60 seconds of jogging followed by 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes. As someone who was already exercising I found the first week fairly doable, as you get such big breaks in between running. I would imagine this could be challenging if you haven't run before, but definitely still doable!
Week 2 | 5 minute warm-up walk, 90 seconds of jogging followed by 2 minutes of walking for 20 minutes. Again, I found this week fairly easy because even though you increase the amount of time you're running for you also increase your rest time. I wouldn't say it was any more difficult than the first week, just different!
Week 3 | 5 minute warm-up walk, 90 second jog, 90 second walk, 3 minute jog, 3 minute walk then repeat. When I saw this pop up on the app I thought it was a huge jump up to 3 minutes, but you get a three minute walk afterwards which was nice! It was a bit of a challenge, but I found the run actually went faster when I was running for longer chunks of time!
Week 4 | 5 minute warm-up walk, 3 minute jog, 90 second walk, 5 minute jog, 2.5 minute walk, repeat. I was definitely ready to stop after 5 minutes, but again I found that running for longer chunks of time made the whole run feel shorter and by the end of it I felt like I could probably do more. Also at the very end of week 4 a nice little message popped up congratulating me for getting halfway through!
Week 5 | This week is different every day, building up to the end of the week when there's the first big run of 20 minutes without stopping! It does seem like a big jump (and feels like one!) when earlier in the week the longest you've run for at a time is 8 minutes! I could have easily stopped after 10 minutes, but I kept going and even though I was so tired and red faced it felt like such an achievement!
Week 6 | The first 2 sessions of week 6 take you back to interval training, which felt quite easy after doing the big run and was quite nice to go back to. The third day is another long run at 22 minutes without stopping. This was a challenge, but I completed it again and at this point was feeling so good about myself!
Week 7 | Week 7 is pretty brutal I'm not gonna lie! It consists of 3 25 minute runs with no walking and I didn't find it got any easier as the week went on! I did keep track of my pace though using Map My Run and managed to improve my pace slightly each day so maybe that's why it didn't get easier!
Week 8 | This week again consists of three long runs, 2 at 28 minutes and then one at 30 which is supposed to be your 5k. I actually did slightly over 5k on my final run, but found it a massive struggle! I was so tired and definitely could have stopped halfway through (and would have if I hadn't wanted to complete it so bad!).
I'm so chuffed that I achieved my 5k - it's the furthest I've ever run without stopping and I'm determined to carry on running and keep my fitness up. I would definitely recommend this app as it really does work! For me I think it worked psychologically rather than physically - I think fitness wise I probably could have run 5k before doing this, but I never would because I didn't think I would be able to, plus I would have stopped as soon as I got tired, whereas the app kept me going!
Since finishing it I've been going running twice a week and I have to admit I haven't actually achieved 5k again and am tending to run between 3 and 4k. I'm aiming to get my pace up and hopefully eventually 5k will feel comfortable enough for me to start training for 10k!
Do you run? Have you tried this app? Would you?