I’m really rather proud of myself at the moment and also rather grateful to friends and family on Facebook for support over the past couple of months. This morning I did my first Parkrun, representing the end of a 9 (or so) week journey. For my own reference (and with the promise of not updating Facebook anymore with nearly every bloody run I do) here is c25k in Weeks and Numbers.

In the beginning…

Back in March, I wrote about how much I was enjoying my personal training and I continued enjoying it until a week later when I had a funny turn in the gym and had to stop. With hindsight, it was probably a virus but, at the time, I had a bit of a think and decided I needed to try something else for a while. I was busy at work and struggling to fit the gym into my day. On Sat 7th April I started c25k again with a 60/90 sec walk run 7 times. Then someone posted this notice on the WW group I’m a member of:


I’d missed the first session but Caroline agreed it was probably a good idea for us to follow a set programme and we turned up for session 2 on Wednesday. Full of enthusiasm but also very cold we did another run on the Friday of that week.

weightloss: -0.5 lbs
average resting bp: 74
distance: 5.91

Week 2

90sec/2 minute walk/run cycles. Caroline was working away and I was at a concert so we only did 1 run at the Sports park but I took myself out on Saturday morning for a second run.


weightloss: +0.5 lbs
average resting bp: 73
distance: 3.9

Week 3

Week 3 sees me googling leg pain and making some discovery about myself and warm-ups. It turns out that the traditional bouncy warm-up exercises cause me problems with my back so I do them a lot less enthusiastically and I start adding a back stretch at the start.

The leg pain is a bit more of a worry but it’s what happened last time and I know that the solution is to go slower – I’ve already had gait analysis done and I’m wearing trainers that support my overpronation.  The Sports Park appears to be in some sort of horrible micro-climate with rain and wind and at least 5-degree temperature lower than the rest of the area. I like it!

We miss another run because I am out for Mum’s birthday.

weightloss:  sts
average resting bp: 73
distance: 3.69

Week 4

Week 4 and 5 are hard weeks not because of the running but the fitting it in. It’s the last couple of weeks of term in work and there’s lots of working and then going out for lunch.

Week 4 involves alternating 3 min and 5 min runs with walks. From this point on I don’t miss any runs.

weightloss: +1 lb
average resting bp: 72
distance: 4.3

Week 5

Week 5 is traditionally the time I give up on c25k but even though the official meeting was “off” due to the Bank Holiday we did a run two days on the trot (ha!) and managed to keep to the schedule.

Dr. C leading the way. This is a common feature. No swans attacked.

The end of week 5 was my first real test of a 20-minute run. I nearly cried at the end, I was dreading it and I’m not going to lie and pretend it was easy.

weightloss: -2 lbs
average resting bp: 72
distance: 7.22

Week 6

This week I realize that my Fitbit measures distance in 15-minute increments so if I time my runs to start on the hour (or plus 15, 30, 45)  I can start working out exactly what distance I am covering in my timed runs. This causes me delight because I can generate a table of how my distance has increased but also frustration because I can’t remember when I did early runs so some data is missing. I also can’t control start times when I’m at the sports park due to the mandatory warm up and walk.

From this point on c25k is very much ‘all running all the time’ and it’s making myself carry on that’s the problem. I’ve discovered good music for running (The Wonderstuff, Erasure, Blondie) and bad music for running (KT Tunstall, difficult audiobooks). I know that if my back starts to hurt I’m better off stopping and stretching for 15 seconds rather than carry on. The leg pain hasn’t come back but I’m getting out of breath at the start and I find out that the first ten minutes is a problem for everyone. I also start reading HealthUnlocked and find out that week 6 is universally loathed by c25k-ers.

weightloss: sts
average resting bp: 71
distance: 7.07

Week 7

This week is my personal watershed moment and, amazingly, I recognize it at the time. From now on it’s just running for longer. There’s no big secret, there are no new training methods, I just need to go out there and run for a few more minutes than I did last time. That’s it. I know that if I get through this week it will be my best attempt at c25k and also a huge sign that I can actually make it through to the end.

Additional fun is provided by the UK hitting a heatwave. At one point my glasses steam up when I am running.

weightloss: sts
average resting bp: 72
distance: 7.56

Week 8


I find week 8 comparatively easy. It’s raining  (which helps) and Caroline is around for extra impetus. It’s just a habit now, although, admittedly, a habit which involves me hating it for the first 10 minutes. I do learn that my leg does start to struggle at +25 minutes though.

I also realize that because of the routine of running I’ve been eating a bit too much on run days and for my performance to improve I need to lose weight so I take a look at what and when I am eating.

weightloss: +0.5 lbs
average resting bp: 70
distance: 7.89

Week 9


Week 9 I have my first major problem and it’s nothing to do with my leg or back but rather my stomach. My first official half hour run and I have to stop due to pain which is very disappointing. I carry on walking through to finish the training and complete my next two half-hour runs that week. It means that going into Week 10 at the Sports Park I am on Week 9 run 3 of c25k.

At this point, we get a bit of a shock. We thought they had skipped the bank holiday weeks so the runs would be two x 30 mins and then the 5K at Crosby on Saturday. Not so! My c25k final graduation run was actually my first 5k. I covered the distance in around 45 minutes (I wasn’t using a tracking app).

weightloss: -2.5 lbs
average resting bp: 68
distance: 8.47

Graduate Runs

On Wednesday ignore the warm-up and go straight into my 5k on the hour, starting with a 5-minute walk. I run for 30 mins then walk/run alternate until I finish the distance. I cover 0.1m more in the same time as Monday.

Parkrun. Or more accurately beachrun as our local parkrun is Crosby beach. A good group of the Litherland runners turn up which is really motivational and our class leaders are there. I discover a) that I can’t run on sand very well and b) I’m really going to miss the track buddies.

I finish in 44:52. I’m not last, not that it matters. I probably run for a total of 35 minutes out of that.

I gain half a pound at weightwatchers.

I’m far more comfortable wearing lycra publicly than I’ve ever been before.

What now?

As impressive as the change has been (my average bp was around 80 at Christmas!) I know that I have to carry on or my fitness will slip back quickly. I’m going to continue to do three runs a week over the Summer months and probably slowly work up to 45 minutes of running, possibly with a week off soon.  I am very much aware that this is something I may not be able to do just because of a physical limitation. I expect my speed to increase a little but not much more.

The value of this has very much been proven in the pulse rate stats, in my body fat percentage measurements, in my general feelings of wellbeing and most conclusively in my blood pressure readings. I am continuing to be kind to myself as I know from experience if I go too far and too fast injury will set me back but I am thinking of adding one or two strength training gym visits while I have some time to think about it.

I still can’t quite believe we did it.