Our work couch 2 5k journey started on 12th March 2019, with 18 nervous participants and two very keen run leaders. Two group sessions are held after work each week, with individuals running for a third time, on their own, at the weekend.
The first session started with one minute of running followed by one and half minutes of walking, for 20 minutes in total, and each week this has increased. The group are now running, without stopping, for 40 minutes. Despite the official 5k challenge not due to be held until 5th June, our runners have already completed their first 5k in training last week – which is a fantastic achievement in just ten weeks. They have shown great dedication and motivation to be able to run this.
Our team of runners had many different reasons for commencing the Couch 2 5k running programme. Some had wanted to start running for a long time, but had been anxious to do so on their own, or had lacked the confidence or fitness levels. For others it was taking up a new hobby, meeting new people, for wellbeing or getting fit and losing weight. To most this represented a great opportunity in a familiar and supportive (rather than competitive) environment; running with others in the same boat.
“It’s easier to run straight from work rather than go home and spending time on the “couch” which generally demotivates me from doing any exercise!” Lee Harris
The team when asked what they have gained from the programme, have quoted many benefits, which whilst personal to them have a much wider positive impact on work.
Personal benefits range from feeling fitter and more energetic, gaining a far more positive mental attitude, improved confidence and the confidence to be able to go for a run, helping with weight loss, and feeling better in oneself, to being able to run 5k without stopping.
“I think I’m fitter now than I have been for my whole adult life and I think it’s made me happier too.” Rhian Goodall
The wider benefits have been the social side and the team ethic, gaining friends, and getting to know colleagues from other departments. It’s allowed people to get to know and interact with other members of staff who they wouldn’t normally deal with day-to-day at work.
There has been a recognition that running doesn’t have to be an individual sport as the team ethic has been really strong.
Once the 5k race has been completed, some of The a-Team are keen to progress. The next challenge will be a 10k run on 4th August. To support this, we will continue to hold two sessions a week, with a view to the a-team reaching their 10k goal.
Claire Winfield & Tina Gabb