We all know about new year’s resolutions. The idea that a new year would provide the impetus to start/stop/try/whatever something.
Like 30% of respondents to a 2020 survey, I’m not good at keeping new year’s resolutions for even a month… Let alone a year.
Therefore to everyone’s surprise on 1 February 2023 - which is way too late for new year’s resolutions - I settled on two things:
- Start Couch to 5K
- Give up alcohol for a month
Let’s start with 2. Give up alcohol for a month. Well, February is the shortest month:
Clever a? I thought so!
Traditionally the first couple of weeks of February are when the south of the UK is likely to see snow. “No good starting to run in January when one would have to stop because of snow in February” is what I thought sat on the couch between Christmas 2022 and 2023 new year’s. Made perfect sense to me!
So when checking the weather on 1st February I saw that there was no snow in the weather forecast for the foreseeable, that added to the aforementioned February being the shortest month, I felt like it was now or never.
Couch to 5K
For those not aware of the Couch to 5K program, the aim is exactly that: Get up from the couch and run for 5 Kilometres without stopping.
The program comes in the form of a 100% free (no paid add-ons etc) app for Android / IOS:
It takes nine weeks to complete the plan, with three runs each week.
The very first run of week one lasts just 60 seconds with the last run of week nine lasting 30 minutes. Take a look at this page on the NHS UK website for further details.
In my case, I had originally downloaded the Couch to 5K app in the summer of 2020. Which means - embarrassingly - I had spent two and a half years working on the couch part of the plan…
…yeah, probably time to start then…
Yep, after 9 weeks, this morning I finished the plan:
Was It Easy?
There were times when I didn’t want to run.
There were times when I didn’t continuously run the required time.
There were times when I didn’t think I’d make it to the end of the plan.
I repeated one of the runs.
Are You Glad You Finished?
I made it.
All of the above was worth it.
What’s more is that I ran the full 30 minutes without stopping for all three of my week 9 runs!
How Do You Feel?
My level of general fitness has increased - I don’t think I’ve ever been this fit in my life before. Certainly not this century or ever - yes I’m old!
My stamina has increased too. I used to suffer from “the 4pm lag” - that is come 4pm each day, it felt like it was time to switch my brain off; time to slow down for the end of the work day.
Since starting running that feeling has completely gone. An example of this is completing a four hour drive starting after work at 5PM, arriving home at 9PM and still feeling able to fully function in the brain department. Previously I would have needed to switch off the second I got home.
Not so any more!
Will You Keep The Running Up?
YES - DEFINITELY!
As previously mentioned, my fitness and stamina are better than ever!
My next run will be without the “safety net” of the Couch to 5K app.
No more words of encouragement in my ears from Sanjeev Kohli.
I’m looking forward to it!
Wait - You Gave up Alcohol too… How did you do?
Really good! - I’m still off of it! February was harder, March was a breeze.
In all honesty, I could not have done it without assistance from these three alcohol free friends:
Although when all said and done, of the two resolutions, I can see alcohol returning at some point in the distant future.
Just as long as the alcohol doesn’t affect my running!
It’s easy to avoid - just keep buying the alcohol free beer and I’m good!
Thank you to family, friends, everyone for the kind words of encouragement over the last 9 weeks. I could not have done it without your help!
Now, who fancies an alcohol free beer?