Monday, 2 April 2012

Couch to 5k running programme

Last year (2011) I put on weight and decided to go on a WeightWatchers diet. I found the Couch to 5k running programme which really suited me well. Once I completed the running programme I built the distance up to 4 miles which was taking me 40 minutes.

I was running Monday-Thursday (4 days) on the treadmill (Reebok iRun), I was really pleased with my progress. I was fitter and had lost all the weight that I wanted to lose. I started to get shin splints and knee aches which were becoming very painful, so I backed off the amount I was running. I even had to take time off and just found that the aches and pains were just too much. I went to a running shop to be fitted with the right shoes using the gait analyst, I even had a better treadmill. I just could not shake away the aches and pains, so I ended up losing my way.

This year (2012) my goals are to run 5k injury free and to lose 1.5 stone before my holiday in June. I started to post on the Runners Forum to look for tips and keep the motivation up. I started right from the beginning W1D1 and found it too easy, but thought I will benefit in the long run (no pun intended).

We had a new carpet fitted, so I folded the treadmill up to make it easy to move around on the wheels as it weighs 100kg. When the carpet had been laid I got ready to do a run and found that the bracket on the console of the treadmill had been broken, I was really annoyed as the treadmill cost a fair amount and it would put me behind in my training schedule. I looked on eBay and was going to purchase another Reebok iRun with the motor burned out so that I could just use the motor, I was out bid. The next day I rang a company that sourced parts for Reebok fitness equipment and told them what I needed. They said they could send the part free of charge as the treadmill was under 2 years old. Once the part arrived I fitted it immediately and got back on with the running programme, I had been put back 1.5 weeks.

I was going through the weeks nicely and with no injuries, so at this point I am feeling great. I thought nothing can now go wrong, it’s all mapped out for me to achieve my goals.

On W6D2 I found I started to get shin splints, I just could believe it. All I was doing was 2 x 10 minutes runs, simple enough.

I started to research in to what the issue was. I thought ‘I’m running on a treadmill, my running shoes don’t have many miles on them, running at a 6 mph pace which is easy enough to finish the distances in the programme, what can be wrong?’ I just could not see what the issue was. I started to watch some running technique videos on YouTube and noticed that most of the people were landing on the ball of their foot. I thought about the way I ran and found that I was landing on my heel.

I came down with sickness and diarrhoea, I just could not believe what was going on, and this is just putting my running programme and weight loss on hold. During this time I watched a few more videos and read some articles to find out a bit more about running technique. I found a technique called POSE. Using this technique you land on the ball of the foot opposed to landing on the heel causing a breaking effect. This all made sense and I could really see why I need to adopt this new way of running.

Once I was well enough I repeated the W6D2 and found that it worked for me, my shins were not hurting, but I felt a bit of aching from the calf and hamstrings which were to be expected. My new Garmin Forerunner 610 (with heart rate strap) arrived that I had ordered from Amazon, my motivation to run was very high at this point. I soon realised that I needed the Garmin Foot Pod as I was running on a treadmill. I also ordered some running tights as I found I was getting too hot with the shell-suit type trousers on. After reading on the Running Forum I found that a large number of people don’t wear any underwear underneath. So there I am with all my new kit and tights on without any pants underneath… oh ah kinky. Strangely I found the tights just feel like pants and soon forgot there is nothing on underneath. At this point I just couldn’t wait to get back on with the running.

During Week 7 I found that my Achilles tendon started to ache and found that if I landed on ball of my foot and followed through with foot flat on the ground this eased the pain. This modification to the technique is worked all though Week 8. So now I am feeling happy that I am back on track with my goals.


  1. Hey great post man, i may try this too i was reading about the paleo diet as well do you reckon this diet is good for runners as well?

    about paleo diet <<<<---- basically its like eating like a caveman? and avoiding carbs (i think) but dont carbs give energy for running?

  2. I have not tried the Paleo Diet, but as long as you follow Weight Watchers then I can certainly vouch for that. Some people like to add up all the points they don’t use during the week and use them at the weekend.

    I would start each day the same and if there were any points left over then I would never take them across to the next day. The diet and exercise just goes hand in hand, I found it was tough to start with but you just get used to it if you persevere.