Couch-to-5K

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ImageThis is my story of how I worked from lounging on the couch to running 5k.

In this post, I will outline my experience with the Couch-to-5K program, beginning with a graph of my performance throughout training and then continue to provide juicy details as you read on. The following graph and all relevant statistics can be found on my RunDouble profile.

The official Couch-To-5k (C25k) program takes 9 weeks, I began the program on January 12 and ended on the 20th of February. This tallies to approximately to 7 ½ weeks. I chose to condense the program, since I had signed up for a casual 5K event late February. My experience follows:

Specifications:

  • 92kg (202 lb) starting weight
  • 86kg (189 lb) ending weight
  • Previous Fitness: Boxing and football until the age of 16, then sedentary lifestyle till 21
  • Goal: Run 5K (no time-limit) and weigh <90 kg
  • Maintain muscle mass
  • Technology: RunDouble, MyFitnessPal and Tabata android apps.
  • iOS equivalents: RunDouble, MyFitnessPal and Tabata
Pace is time per kilometer, in-case the inversion seemed counter-intuitive

ImageThe reason for the drop in January is that I forgot to turn on the GPS before starting RunDouble. I remained consistent and driven to obtain the results as fast as possible.

This attitude lead me to pushing myself after the allocated time and coupling the program with high intensity interval training (HIIT) to achieve the results faster. I tried to run every second day and lift four times per week.

My weekly routine includes a legs workout, so it was important that I planned a days rest from running post squats.

My ideal routine looked like this, however it was modified as life happened:

  • Monday: Run (AM) / Push (PM)
  • Tuesday: Pull (PM)
  • Wednesday: Run (AM) / Legs (PM)
  • Thursday: REST
  • Friday: Run (AM) / Push (PM)
  • Saturday: Pull (PM)
  • Sunday: Run (AM) / Legs (PM)

The cocktail of strength and cardio training was implemented alongside a calorie deficit diet (-500 each day), enabling fat loss with moderate muscle retention.This allowed diet and exercise combination was key to dropping 6kg (13 lb)

For individuals new to fitness and wanting to start out, I thoroughly recommend the C25K program. The program isn’t set in stone, nor is it a race. If you find yourself struggling, ‘de-load’ i.e. re-attempt the previous week and make sure that your diet is in check. I already had a strength base, so mainly focused on running throughout this period.

Evidence of said 5K run completion

Image

If you’re uncertain of how to even start, start walking. The hardest part is getting off the couch, all you need to do is create a habit. The allocated runs at the beginning of the program can easily be completed within ~20 minutes, so it’s just a case of making the time i.e. getting up earlier. Build your fitness incrementally and don’t expect dramatic results if you’re just starting out. I recommend the progress pics sub-reddit, and brogress which has an emphasis on muscular physiques, the submitters usually post the time to completion, diet and routine. Just remember that the ones who post have remained persistent to get those results, the ones who don’t follow through usually don’t post.

The time of transformation will be relative to your body’s current state, so it is important to create habits and plan long-term.

Below are the runs I completed. I got into the habit of running for the prescribed time away from my house, walking back then attempting to run up the hill. The final sprint is indicated by the final peak, as you may have noticed it’s duration tends to get longer and eventually I reach the top of the hill, wahoo!

Week 1 Day 1 and so on …

w1d1 | Carl Kenny

w1d1 | Carl Kenny

w1d2 | Carl Kenny

w1d2 | Carl Kenny

w1d3 | Carl Kenny

w1d3 | Carl Kenny

w2d1 | Carl Kenny

w2d1 | Carl Kenny

w2d2 | Carl Kenny

w2d2 | Carl Kenny

w2d3 | Carl Kenny

w2d3 | Carl Kenny

w3d1 | Carl Kenny

w3d1 | Carl Kenny

w4d1 | Carl Kenny

w4d1 | Carl Kenny

w5d3 | Carl Kenny

w5d3 | Carl Kenny

w6d2 | Carl Kenny

w6d2 | Carl Kenny

w8d1 | Carl Kenny

w8d1 | Carl Kenny

Below is the technology that helped me on my journey.

MyFitnessPal was essential to counting calories and analyzing protein intake. Initially it comes as a shock, my education somehow dodged quantifying food as a resource, instead of a delicacy. The app comes with an in-built bar-code scanner, so it’s super easy to record your food intake and it makes a habit to record your meals, so if you eat habitually it’s rather efficient.

Tabata, is consists of 20s (High intensity) work then 10s rest interval training method, with a default number of cycles as 8. I complemented the C25K program, by adding this method onto the end of my runs. I believe that this allowed me to progress faster, as I was contributing towards sprint and long-distance training each running day. The rush of HIIT reminds me of sports and will be beneficial when I return to either boxing or football.

Below is a complementary back-shot at 86kg, which was my goal:

Image

Unfortunately, I never took a back photo at the beginning of my progression. There’s clearly a lot of body fat still for me to lose, but I am happy with muscle mass I was able to retain.

I’m now focusing on reaching lifting goals, with a 90 day timeline, so stay tuned for progress updates!

  1. Deadlift – 120kg (264 lb)
  2. Bench Press – 90kg (198 lb)
  3. Squat – 100kg (220 lb)
  4. Press – 60kg (132 lb)

Feel free to comment if you have any questions.

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