Couch to 5k (C25K): Weeks 1 to 3

At the start of September I ignored the warning signs (i.e. pain in my left foot) & completed a 5K run in Sutton Park. The following morning my left foot was twice the size of my right foot & I was in agony.

I was sensible, stopped running (the pain didn’t leave me with much choice) & decided to seek the opinion of a local sports physio. The physio promptly diagnosed metatasalgia & suggested that I would be able to return to running within a couple of weeks.

Although the physio had assured me that I didn’t have a stress fracture, I wasn’t so sure as my foot was so painful. I’ve always been taught to trust the professionals, so I assumed that I was being a hypochondriac & that the physio was correct. Perhaps my foot just needed more time?

I ended up spending £200 on five physio sessions. Looking back I have no idea what I actually paid for. During the final session the physio suggested that I get my foot X-rayed.

Fast forward another week & an X-ray finally confirmed my suspicions…UntitledLuckily for me the stress fracture was healing nicely & there weren’t any complications.

A week after my visit to A&E (yes I did feel like a time waster!) a Consultant in the Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Centre discharged me & said that I should be able to start running again in a couple of weeks. I was told not to do too much & to stop running immediately if the pain returned.

I decided that I would follow the Couch to 5K (C25K) training plan, and on Monday November 17th I tentatively ran for the first time since my left foot decided to fall apart (slight exaggeration).

My left foot felt fine, I didn’t die, I was a runner again!

I’ve decided to write a series of short blog posts to share my experiences of the C25K. The C25K training plan lasts for nine weeks & I will blog at the end of every three weeks of training. Yesterday I successfully completed the final training session of Week 3. Get me actually following a training plan!

Each week the training sessions have incorporated longer running repetitions & have been progressively more challenging. I feel that my fitness levels are gradually improving & my pace has increased with each session. Although I found the first three minute running repetitions in Week 3 challenging, I am already looking forward to the challenge of Week 4 & to running for five minutes.

To be honest the C25K training plan has been far more challenging than I anticipated. Although I hadn’t run since the start of September, I assumed that I had maintained a level of fitness through my walking & cycling. I thought that I would find the C25K relatively easy. I was wrong! I now respect the C25K training plan & everyone who has got off their arse couch & attempted to complete the training plan. Those first few steps really are the hardest!

Positives of Weeks 1 to 3 of the C25K

  • The C25K is easy to follow (although I suspect that I got some of timings of the various repetitions wrong!).
  • The C25K has enabled me to make an injury-free *touch wood* return to running.
  • There is no danger of me doing too much too soon.
  • Running three days a week enables effective recovery after each training session.

Negatives of Weeks 1 to 3 of the C25K

  • The short duration of the repetitions means that I have spent more time looking at my Garmin than at my surroundings (this is only an issue in Weeks 1-4).
  • I have struggled to keep warm during the five minute “warm-up” & during some of the walking recovery repetitions.C25K hand

After a weekend of resting & stretching I am looking forward to starting Week 4 on Monday. Hopefully my foot will continue to behave itself as I am really enjoying my running at the moment.


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