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  • Writer's pictureJules Scudder

What happens when you....?

I was approached by a journalist from Woman & Home magazine a little while back and asked to be a guest expert for an article she was writing about the NHS Couch to 5k program.

The finished article (scroll to the end of this blog post to see it!) is just one page and therefore quite short and condensed, so I thought I'd share the questions I was asked for those of you who might be thinking about embarking on their own running journey and are keen to know what to expect!


Why is couch to 5k such an effective running plan for absolute beginners?

If you don’t currently run, the thought of putting on a pair of trainers and heading outside can be quite daunting for many people. The couch to 5k programme is an ideal starting place, allowing you to break things down in to manageable chunks both physically and mentally. It encourages you to start introducing small segments of running in to a walk basically and then gradually builds on the running part, whilst reducing the walking. Starting to run this way can mean far less overwhelm, meaning you’re more likely to look forward to it and stick with it!

Any tips for beating the fear of starting?

The fear of starting anything new is very common. We all lead busy lives and it’s easy to find excuses not to do something. You might not have done any physical exercise for a while and are worried about whether you will be able to cope. You might feel intimidated and worry about what people will think. Some women for example might have taken a career break to raise a family and the prospect of doing something for themselves seems like a strange one! Changes in health or low self esteem in women going through menopause might also be a cause of fear if they're thinking of starting to run and I work with a lot of women in this demographic, helping to overcome any boundaries they may face.

My advice is to think of the many benefits of physical activity and more importantly the reason you want to start in the first place. You might want to keep up with the kids without getting out of breath, may be you want to lose weight, you might want to improve your mental wellbeing.. you might just want to take some time out of the day for you!! These are all great reasons for starting to run but try to visualise how you want to feel once you’ve achieved these things.. find your ‘WHY’ and it will not only help get you get over the fear of starting but it will also help keep you going.

What benefits might you notice when doing couch to 5k

Running is a great activity to improve cardiovascular health and those who start running on a regular basis decrease their risk for heart disease by 35 to 55 percent.

As you progress with your running and your fitness levels improve you will notice that it feels like less effort. Your stamina increases and you’ll be able to keep up with kids without running out of steam!

Running is a great way to lose weight if that’s one of your goals, burning more calories that many other types of exercise. And different types of running, at a higher intensity can burn calories even after you’ve stopped!