Couch to 5k: recap 2021

The popularity of running has soared during the pandemic. Part of the appeal is its simplicity – running doesn’t cost a fortune, you can do it anywhere and go at your own pace – but it can be hard to get started and harder still to keep going, especially on your own. Romsey Road Runners’ 2020 couch to 5k course (C25K) was cancelled because of the pandemic, but this year things looked more positive.

Run leader Steve Geary said:

‘over the last year we saw so many people out walking, running and riding their bikes during Lockdown. We wanted to keep that momentum and enthusiasm going.’

C25K, an NHS approved 9-week course that takes people from non-or lapsed runner to 5k runner is a tried and tested formula. This is the fourth year that Romsey Road Runners have hosted the course and it remains as popular as ever.

Run Leaders Steve, Moira and Dorota, supplemented by guest appearances from various members of RRR, were on hand to help the 25 men and women who signed up for the course, encouraging them to keep going on their Tuesday sessions as the running bits got longer and the walking bits shorter.

C25K course member Emma Peel explained her reasons for taking part.

‘I signed up for the course as I wanted to improve my fitness. I found the course structure helpful and the team and coach support amazing. I hope to carry on running as it has helped me meet people, enjoy the outdoors and I don’t want to go back to square one again! Thanks to the friendly people at Romsey Road Runners for organising this course.’

Another participant, Jane Bucke, said:

‘joining the C25K course was a leap of faith for me after a fear of exercise, however, since starting I have not looked back. The support you receive is second to none and you are among beginners like yourself. I took things at my own pace and made it my own personal challenge. The programme really does work and I have amazed myself at the level of fitness I have achieved in nine weeks. I have met some lovely people along the way and plan to continue running to maintain my fitness.’

Nats, another member, added:

‘I joined the programme as I needed to lose weight and increase my activity levels. I have tried to complete C25K on my own before and never succeeded. The support, encouragement, guidance and best practice tips shared by members of the coaching team of Romsey helped break those physical and mental barriers, increasing my self belief and helping me to achieve success in completing the course and running 5k.’

Last week was the final week of the course with the graduates completing a 5k run along the Test Way. Many of them are now going on to an ‘RRR Lite’ course which will prepare them to be full club members. Helen Bull is one of those. Having previously tried to do the C25K course on her own and struggled to complete it, she can now call herself a 5k runner. Helen said:

‘the encouragement and camaraderie of the group has kept my momentum going until the end. You can’t believe when you start that it is ever going to be achievable to run non-stop for 30 minutes, but the programme, along with the support of the fantastic team leaders, does actually work. I plan to continue running to maintain my fitness; I’ve even got to quite like it!’

Current Government guidelines is for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, per person, per week for good health. Running is a great way to get those minutes done. It improves your cardiovascular fitness and looks after your bone and muscle strength (particularly important for people over 40), and it helps with weight control. Romsey Road Runners offer two training sessions a week throughout the year catering for all speeds and levels of ability and we welcome new members. Please visit our website for further information.

Couch to 5k celebrations