I’ve been running through the Couch to 5K programme again, no pun intended. If you’re unfamiliar with this well-paced running programme, check out the image at the end of this post for more information. Also, play through Emi’s path on Katawa Shoujo and you’ll really want to do it.
Ahem. Anyway. Tonight was the first day of my fourth week on the programme. I’ve done it through to completion once previously, but that was quite a while ago now and my fitness has lapsed somewhat, so I decided to start again. Week 4 is where the pace starts to step up a bit and the jumps in difficulty begin to become more noticeable. For example, tonight I did two three-minute runs and two five-minute runs; on the previous trip out, I did two minute-and-a-half runs and two three-minute runs.
I got on pretty well. I didn’t have to stop at all, and I paced myself well. Said pace is still fairly glacial compared to people who aren’t carrying around as much weight as I am, but I’m satisfied so far.
One thing I remember noticing last time I did all this and am noticing again now is the fact that running is good stress relief. It’s actually probably exercise in general, but I’m finding it particularly apparent while running.
When I say “stress relief” I don’t necessarily mean “making the stress go away”. If it was possible to just make stress dissipate… well, then the world would be a much nicer place. (I also don’t mean “stress relief” in the same way that J-List refers to “stress relief toys”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry.)
No, what I mean, in fact, is that running seems to “shake things loose” in my head. Stressful thoughts which have been clogging up my head all day come to the fore, particularly when reaching the end of a session. This isn’t always a massively pleasant experience, but it can be helpful and cathartic in the long run. It’s easy for stressful thoughts to get “backed up” and simply cause you to “feel stressed” all day for no specific reason — releasing these thoughts helps dissipate that vague “meh” feeling, though naturally you still have the specific thoughts themselves to deal with.
The human brain is weird.
Anyway, I’m happy with my progress on Couch to 5K so far. I remember being impressed with myself when I made it through the last time I did so, and being even more impressed when I successfully made it through an entire 10K race in London. (Okay, again I wasn’t especially quick, but at least I didn’t come in last place!) I’m contemplating setting myself some sort of target such as another race somewhere so I have something to aim for — the end of the programme is all very well and good, but where do you go from there?
Well, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. For now I shall enjoy the small victory of successfully running for 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 3 minutes and 5 minutes without stopping.