Angela Rainger, Case Management Officer at Eastleigh Borough Council, decided to take on the ‘Couch to 5k’ challenge during lockdown to replace her usual gym workouts as they remained closed.
Angela had been taking regular walks but realised she had become less fit as she was getting out of breath walking up hills, she felt motivated to get as fit and healthy as possible in case she did catch coronavirus and would be in with a better chance of fighting the virus if she was healthier.
With the support of her two teenage daughters they decided to start the challenge together, Angela said: “Looking back, the first few runs were the hardest. I think this was because I couldn’t imagine going from running for one minute at a time to running for a continuous 30 minutes. Although I was very out of breath during the first few weeks, I took it slowly and it helped knowing how much longer I had to run for.”
In the Couch to 5k challenge the length of time you are required to run for builds up slowly and at the end of each week it increases. At the end of each week Angela was left thinking how difficult the next step would be but each week she managed to progress knowing there was always the option of repeating a week if she needed to.
Angela found it really helpful doing the challenge with her daughters and it has helped keep her motivated throughout, she said: “I want to keep going for them and we encourage each other if we are struggling. We are also quite competitive so none of us want to give up or fall behind and I am feeling proud of myself for keeping up with people 30 years younger than me.”
They are at the end of week six now which is over halfway. Angela feels she has more energy after starting the Couch to 5k and is now able to walk up steep hills easily and being out in the fresh air helps to lift her mood as well.
Angela would like to encourage anyone thinking about doing it to just give it a go, it can only do you good and improve your overall fitness. It’s also a manageable challenge that allows you to repeat a week if you are finding it too hard to progress to the next step.
Angela’s top tip: “Don’t try and run too fast. Your aim is to finish, the speed will come later.”