Business lessons learned from the Couch 25k programme
In December I decided that I wanted to be a runner. The problem was, that the last time I ever did anything more than running for the bus was probably when I was 14 and doing dreaded track and field at highschool.
I have hated running all my life. In fact, I would say that I was probably the least likely person to ever become a regular runner. It was just too hard.
But I WANTED to be a runner. I mean, I really wanted to be a runner. I think for me, running epitomises fitness and health and I wanted that for myself.
Running does so much good for your heart and body that I wanted to be the kind of healthy person that goes for a run.
But I knew that learning to run was not going to be easy.
So, I decided to follow the NHS Couch 25k Podcast.
Life changing lessons
And what I found was that there were a huge number other benefits as well.
If you are already very good at motivating yourself, these will seem obvious – but as someone who is always impatient to finish, there were definitely some aha’s in there for me.
Have a system to follow
The C25K podcast takes you through a proven 9 week programme. Each week was different from the week before and built on what I had done previously.
Knowing that other unfit people had been able to make it through meant that I knew that it was possible. If they could run, then so could I!
The importance of community
I also joined the Health Unlocked community which is a free forum for people that are doing the Couch 25K . Reading other people’s challenges and sharing in their successes kept me motivated when I was worried about whether I could do it. A support network was crucial to keeping me motivated.
Success takes time
I keep having to remind myself of this. There is a part of me that expects to be able to do things quickly and easily. And I get frustrated, yes, like a child, when that doesn’t happen. But the C25K programme builds in patience.
You need to complete each week and each step before moving on to the next one.
And because physically it would be too challenging to skip a step, I had to learn to follow the pace of the programme. And thereby, learn patience.
But by doing so, I managed to get there. It took me 13 weeks because of a knee injury partway through, but it was worth it.
You don’t need to be perfect all the time
Let’s face it, nothing ever goes as smoothly as we might like.
Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes you make mistakes or no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get there. Again, it is easy to let the gremlins take over and talk you out of following the next step. But not this time. I knocked those gremlins to the curb.
I trusted the process and stuck with it and based on other’s experiences, I knew if I did, I would get to my goal.
First things first
Going for a run was an absolute priority for me – so I would make sure it was the first thing I did in the morning. Brian Tracy calls it Eating that Frog. Stephen Covey, calls if First Things First. Regardless, the principle is to do the hardest thing first so that it is out of the way.
And getting out the door was the hardest thing I had to do (particularly in the middle of winter!) so I made it the first thing I did when I woke up.
Honestly, I’m not sure how I managed to do it, but I did.
Making the commitment
Finally, the thing that really helped me to complete the programme was just deciding that I was going to do it and fully committing to that decision.
There were no exceptions or excuses. Every week I committed to completing 3 runs a week.
Having that goal and being able to see my progress was very motivating and knowing that if I made the effort, I would get there. I had to show up every time to get the results that I was looking for.
Just keep going
As you can see, I learned a lot of lessons from this, probably even more than I have listed.
Since I completed the programme, I run a couple of times a week along with doing other exercises and I have to say that running has changed my life and my health enormously.
When I have had to stop for one reason or another, I have noticed that I could feel my fitness start to slip quickly – so now I have committed to running 3x per week.
I can’t say that I love running all the time and I do still find it hard sometimes to get out the door, but I never regret it once I do. The results are definitely worth the effort.
Edit: Now I have been running for another 2 months after I originally wrote this post and I have noticed a couple of other things. When I ‘graduated’ from the C25K programme, it took me 8.30 minutes to run one km. So, I was pretty slow. I use an app called Map My Run to track my runs and my progress and last weekend, I ran 7.5km in about 52 mins. And on one of those kilometres, I completed in 6.43… knocking almost 2 minutes off my time.
I am hopeful that I will make it down to a 6-minute km so I can achieve 5k in 30 minutes at some point down the road (no pun intended 😀 ) I am pleased that I have made so much progress, but that has only come by consistently showing up. Another important lesson.
Have a brilliant week.