Why I Love Couch25K

I’ve always romanticized the runner’s lifestyle. Not the shin splints, shortness of breath, pain, suffering and whatever else may come with running, just the act of it itself. Although I’d watch runners go by all the time, and sometimes, for a fleeting moment, wished I was out there strapped up in some Nikes doing the most classic form of cardio out there, I could never bring myself to get out there too.

When New Years of 2019 came around and everyone in my life made some resolution that they’d probably give up on by January 5th, I went through the ritual and made my own list of hopes and dreams.

  1. Go vegan (again)

  2. Start running (again)

  3. Go with the flow more (for the first time)

Veganism and going with the flow more are for another day, but to be honest it’s May and I’m still somehow vegan and a much more relaxed person. Today’s focus is goal 2: start running. I wasn’t planning on running fast or far or for a long time, I just wanted to run. So when January 1 rolled around, I redownloaded Couch25K and headed to the trail behind my apartment. It was quiet and since not many people used it in January, I could struggle in peace. I pulled on some fleece lined leggings from Aerie and my North Face and headed out to get back into a sport that I had given up on.

The first task of C25K is simple: start with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk, then alternate between 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking followed by a 5 minute cool down for a total of 30 minutes. You’re supposed to run 3 times a week, and each task ranges from 30-40 minutes as you progress through the eight week program. That’s only 24 days of running before you’re hypothetically running a 5K. I was sceptical to say the least.

I didn’t expect to stick with the program, however as the weeks and months went by I found myself looking forward to my morning jogs. I’d wake up, eat some toast, and then head out onto the chilly trail. It was a way for me to clear my mind while living the stressful life of a college student.

I didn’t run in the rain, snow, or in temperatures too extreme, but I knew that I was in deep when the weather dipped below 10 degrees and I still found myself bundled up and hitting the trail.

The program was supposed to be finished by mid March at my rate, but the day before I was supposed to run my first 5k on the app I fell down some stairs leaving my apartment and sprained my ankle, leaving me unable to run for nearly two weeks. I figured I’d have to dip back a week or two in the program to rebuild stamina but to my surprise my body jumped right back from where I left off and had me running for the entire 5k length by the end of March.

It is now May and I run about 4 miles every other day. I completely credit this with how fantastic Couch25K truly is. My body has changed a lot since I started the program, most noticeably I’ve lost over 50 lbs and have acted with a lot more confidence. My face is completely clear, and when I go for runs I find that I can run so much faster than when I first started. If you’re looking to start running, I could not recommend this program enough. It has completely changed my life and even though I finished the program, I am continuing to track my runs through another fantastic running app, Runtastic.