Get Fitter 3 – Couch to 5k

The 21st of May was a big day for me. I completed the Couch To 5k (couch25k) running programme using a guide app on my phone. Having never previously stuck to anything exercise-related I was immensely proud of myself.

In the early days of the lockdown, the very first run (w1r1 in couch25k forum speak) proved just how unfit I was. A handful of 60-second runs, alternating with longer bits of walking, nearly killed me. I made it but only just.

Finishing Couch To 5k

Then, in mid-May, there I was running/jogging non-stop for 30 minutes feeling like I could do more. Amazing. To me, and to most people who take on the programme it seems, the feeling of achievement in doing this is immense. It does make you want to tell everyone you know, even if they don’t care one iota about running or exercise. Ok so I was probably not running fast enough to properly achieve 5k in distance in 30 minutes but speed or longer durations could be worked on if that was important. Might I do a 5k run sometime? Sure why not. If I can keep on running and maintain my stamina and now slightly improved fitness then these things can open up for me. I think I will need new motivations to keep going now the programme has officially ended.

Couch To 5k Complete award banner
COUCH 2 5K Complete!

One thing I did experience whilst running the longer times (20 minutes or more) was a mid-to-lower back-ache. This stopped me doing some of my other exercises for quite a while. I asked about it in the couch25k forums and found it is not uncommon and can be down to weak core strength and poor Gluteus Maximus (Glute or backside muscles) activation. I probably have weak everything so not a surprise. However, over time, the back pain reduced. It still hasn’t gone away entirely, as after some runs it’s there a bit but other runs not, but at least I don’t feel like I have done something very wrong and know to work on my butt.

I am setting myself a goal of writing 40 minutes of music to warm-up/down-walk and run to. I hope to produce two versions. One with a time-guide voice-over and one without. I doubt this will be ready before the lockdown ends but I will share it when done.

Kettlebells

Whilst looking at workout routines I was reading about how kettlebells provide a good all-round workout routine. I put a message out on our street WhatsApp group to ask if anyone had one I could borrow to try it out. Someone did and kindly lent me an 8kg kettlebell. I have enjoyed the beginner routines available on YouTube.

In most places, it states that a 12kg kettlebell is sort of a basic weight for a bloke so, after a few days, I thought I would look to upgrade. However, it seems that the whole country had decided that a kettlebell was an essential piece of kit for the lockdown as pretty much everywhere was sold out. My eldest son also pointed out, rather sensibly, that there probably wasn’t anyone making new ones right now either. Clever chap.

In the end, I found someone on eBay selling some but I went for a single step up to the 10kg weight. It arrived, with the delivery driver telling me to be careful as it was heavy, and the difference between an 8kg and 10kg was very noticeable. The move was from “yes that’s fine” to “just manageable”. I am glad I didn’t go for a 12kg weight just yet. I will need to build up to it. Most of the routines are fine with the 10kg but single left arm presses are REALLY hard for me and using the 10kg certainly brings out more sweat and makes me more tired.

With all the backaches, I got really out of step with the other exercises apps and so am going to start them again properly from the first of June and try and be consistent with them as I have been with my running.

At the time of writing, I have lost just over half a stone in weight and about an inch from around my fat relaxed belly. I have not stopped drinking in the evenings…nor stopped eating too much…”Damn you crisps”. Will try and do better in June.


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