April 6th, 2016 by () in Diet Log


I wrote during my posts about c25k how important music was to me to get me round the run. So I thought that I would create a playlist of those tracks that helped me get round during the nine weeks and were appropriate somehow to that particular week.

So here they are:

And finally…


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March 24th, 2016 by () in Diet Log


So last week I completed my Couch to 5k journey and despite not really enjoying it (I said in the last post “I have always found exercise to be a chore and derive no pleasure from it whatsoever” and I stand by that) I have continued with it as I am using it as a way to help me lose weight.

At the same time as I was complaining about completing 5k Eddie Izzard was doing 42.195 kilometres a day for 27 days for charity. I take my hat off to him as I really cannot comprehend how he managed to do it when I struggle to run for half an hour. In fact on the last day Izzard did the equivalent of two marathons (84.39K). Unbelievable.

So kudos to Eddie Izzard. I won’t be emulating your feat but I am inspired to keep it up and I have bought some new trainers to celebrate!

You can donate to Sport Relief the charity Eddie was running for here.

2016-03-24 12.17.47


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March 17th, 2016 by () in Diet Log


So it is done. I have completed the nine weeks of couch to 5k. If I was expecting hearts and flowers from Laura I was to be disappointed. The last week of the NHS’ C25K podcasts were strangely impersonal with the last three runs being exactly the same. I don’t think it would have hurt to have recorded a different one for the very last run.

As I pointed out early in the journey it’s not really C25K at all by more C230M (couch to 30 mins) and if you make 5K will depend on how fast you run – the most I have achieved is 4.49006976 kilometres! However, I wasn’t doing it to hit the magical 5K. My goal was to improve my general level of fitness and to help me lose weight. The latter certainly has been achieved as I have lost 5lbs over the nine weeks.

So what now?

Well, some people apparently get a rush of endorphins when they complete their exercise and have a buzz for hours after. I don’t. I have always found exercise to be a chore and derive no pleasure from it whatsoever – it is a means to an end. I recognise that I need to do something and so I will persist until something less taxing but with the same benefits comes along. I might buy some new trainers though!

And an appropriate track for the last week – just not great running material.


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March 10th, 2016 by () in Diet Log


This week was supposed to be full week of running non-stop for 28 minutes but Laura had a bit of a wobbly today. In order to be encouraging Laura tells you when you are a certain number of minutes through the run – one of these is when there is a minute to go. Today I got my one minute warning and it felt too early and then, 30 seconds later, I got a one minute warning again! This was pretty off putting but not the end of the world.

The reason I realised that Laura was out in her timing was because I was tracking the run with RunKeeper and could see that the one minute warning was too soon.

While I can see that I am running for longer, that is the point of C25K after all, RunKeeper allows me to track my progress over the same route. So this allows me to see whether I am running faster (or slower) than previously and gives me a permanent record of my runs. As you can see from below it also gives you nice feedback on your performance.


While I have been on the C25K I have been working my iPhone pretty hard running three apps at the same time to: track the run, listen to the NHS “Laura” podcasts and listen to music in the background too.

I chose to listen to the NHS podcasts through their native app which was available for both iPhone and Android but a quick search shows that it is no longer available. This is a shame as apart from a few glitches it worked well and allowed you to listen to your own music at the same time. However, the podcasts themselves are still available and can be found here or if you fancy and alternative there is a set from the Guardian.

So just one more week to go and then it will be decision time.

Finally, here is this weeks apposite tune…




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March 3rd, 2016 by () in Diet Log


When I started couch to 5k I didn’t have much idea what I was letting myself in for and that was a very deliberate move on my part. I knew that detailed views of what was going to be required week by week were available but I stayed well clear of them for fear of frightening myself! However, when it went from a nice few short runs broken up by a gentle walk in between to one continuous run I thought Laura had gone mad. In fact I literally had to check that I had selected the correct podcast! (I had).

So at week seven those nice little breaks are just a warm past memory and it is all running now with no break. That’s fine and I was surprised at just how quickly I was able to adapt which shows how well c25k works. The last few weeks of the plan are about just extending out the running time to take you to 30 minutes continuous running.

Laura, being the little sneaky person that she is, is also trying to encourage me to run just a little bit faster too. It is clear that I am no Roger Bannister and I am a very long way from achieving his sub-four minute mile but it is interesting to see my times come down as I get more confident (more on that next week).

So here is this week’s apposite track.


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February 25th, 2016 by () in Diet Log


Laura says I am officially a runner now so I await delivery of my certificate in the post. I get back and my legs ache for pretty much the rest of the day. My wife helpfully tells me that “if your legs hurt it shows it’s doing some good”. Easy to say from her position of not having been out for a run!

Last week I talked about the importance of getting the clothing right, mainly in order to ensure that I don’t freeze. This week I wanted to touch on the importance of warming up.

The C25K programme includes a five minute warm-up and warm-down at the end of each session and it is difficult to underestimate just how important this stage is. When I last did any significant running I suffered from shin splints which if you haven’t had them you won’t know just how painful they can be. Warming-up can help ensure that issues such as shin splits are avoided, although in this case it is just one of a number of factors.

On one run back home today the following track was played by Midlake called Head Home, which was exactly what I was doing. I think my mp3 player is messing with my head.


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February 18th, 2016 by () in Diet Log


The problem with starting the coach to 5K programme in January in the UK is the weather. It can be variable to say the least.

I started five weeks ago and since then it has been cold and wet and windy. This, of course, is no problem if you are dressed appropriately but I had no idea what that was. I raised my cycling gear and hoped that it would be sufficient. As you can see I look like Reading’s best dressed cat burglar or, perhaps, David Niven in the Pink Panther.


Of course when you fist step outside it can be, how can I put this, bracing, but on the way back I am glowing like a little nuclear power station so I need to find some happy compromise.

Part of the issue is that I don’t want to be spending loads of money on gear I might eventually not use if I don’t continue after the nine weeks. This became an issue for me when I ran shortly after it had rained and found that my trainers were porous. Maybe I’ll need to reevaluate.

So far all the podcasts have been structured as walk, run, walk, run, walk. So when Laura announced that “today we are going to run for 20 minutes” I immediately assumed that I had put on the wrong podcast and grabbed my phone to check but no it was week five, day three. I felt my heart sink but as my personal trainer pointed out “you can do it, it’s just a mental thing” and she was right it was and I spluttered to the end. I’m not sure I would describe it as running exactly but it is faster than walking. Just.


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February 11th, 2016 by () in Diet Log


It’s getting serious now and I need a way of ensuring that I can make it though the extended running periods, or “light jogs” as Laura likes to refer to them.

For me I need a distraction and that is music. When I first started I used specific workout music from a specialist company called Audiofuel who specialise in putting together tracks that you can use for your workouts. Problem was that these either had coaching instructions (which Laura was providing) or were paced for Usain Bolt. From week two I reverted back to listening to my own music.

However, I was still left with the same issue of trying to find music that matched my pace but I have no idea just how many beats per minute (bpm) was right for what I am doing so I abandoned that too and just used the music as a background distraction and not something to pace me.

Over the first few weeks of the podcast, when Laura wanted to say that the run was finished, the music volume lowered and she would tell me that I was “doing great’. However, I found that after a few weeks this became a bit of a Pavlovian response because as soon as the volume lowered I would slow down assuming Laura was going to tell me that it was all over. Not so. In later weeks the volume would lower and Laura would say, in that chirpy Northern lilt, “that’s half way” and my heart would sink. So now I have to retrain myself to not slow when the music quietens.

Sometimes though the music appears to be prophetic, like this time when I was flagging and happened to be listening to Mike & the Mechanic’s Living Years and they told me:

“And if you don’t give up, and don’t give in
You may just be O.K.”

Sound advice.


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February 4th, 2016 by () in Diet Log

So week three and the intensity is rising but it is ok because I have Laura with me as I do my run. No I haven’t found a running mate. Laura is the name of the person that narrates the podcasts I use from the NHS.

There are many podcasts available but I chose the one from the NHS because I figured that they would go out of their way to ensure I didn’t end up in hospital using their services which would be self defeating. With this comes “Laura” a Northern lass who guides and encourages you along the way.

Laura assures me that it is quite natural to feel knackered at this point and when she is running she does such and such. I have no way of validating this and strongly suspect that she was chosen for her comforting voice rather than running prowess.

I find some of Laura’s idioms a bit odd. She regularly tells me that “You’re doing really great” when I would have thought that it would be more natural to say “You are doing really WELL”. I can imagine a committee somewhere in NHS Towers where they argued long into the night over the precise wording that would motivate.

I haven’t checked but I also strongly suspect Laura of cheating. The time allocated for walking between the runs seems suspiciously short compared to the length of the run time and certainly not the length of time quoted.

On the whole though I am glad of the company.


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January 28th, 2016 by () in Diet Log

Before starting out on C25K I first needed to work out a suitable route but just how far is 5k? Well for those not on the metric system 5k equates to 3.107 miles which I at least could visualise.

What I needed was a route that started and finished at home so was either circular or was a “there and back” affair and wasn’t longer than 5k.

In the end I turned online to the excellent site Mapometer which allows you to plot routes on a map for running, walking or cycling. It has great features such as “snap to road” allowing you to easily plot a route along roads and footpaths and “out and back” which allows for routes where you return by the same route your went out by to be plotted. As you add to your route you can see the total distance covered. You can the adjust the route to get it to the magical 5k as possible.

I quickly found a route that looked feasible and would, for the most part, also be flat. Job done you would think but no. The podcasts are based on time so you run for x seconds and then walk to recover for x seconds. This means because people go at different speeds they cover different distances. So although 5k is just over three miles I actually cover only just over 2.5. Depending on your speed your mileage may vary, as they say.

The point is don’t plan a 5k route expecting to cover it all, you probably won’t in the early weeks at least.

My second week wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be but I am struggling to motivate myself to get out of bed, especially when it is cold and windy. It will be interesting to see if the better weather helps.

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