An Inside look into the Couch to 5K programme

By Run Birmingham Activator Sally Bynoe

As you may already know, a lot of the work that we at The Active Wellbeing Society is to do is with people starting out on their exercise journey. With Run Birmingham, we work to support those taking their first steps and often have Couch to 5k running programmes taking place across throughout the year. If you don’t know much about the programme, it’s basically a good introduction into running and you start with lots of walking and just a little bit of light running to get you going.

Running activity in the park for beginners

In those early weeks, it’s about using your legs in a different way and engaging different muscles. I’m not going to lie, it will probably hurt a little as you’re using muscles that you probably didn’t even know you had but it is well worth it!

Lots of things will probably come into your head, “my feet/legs hurt”, “I can’t breathe”, “I can’t run”, “what will people think if they see me out trying to run?”, “I’m too slow”. All of these things are absolutely normal and pop into most people’s minds. It’s something new and it’s ok to recognise there’s a bit of fear. Remember, when you start something new you need to learn how to do it. You’re not going to be a top athlete just because you’ve decided you’re going to run. Also look to the reason you decided to start, and try to see ahead to how you will feel once you achieve your goal.

Once you complete a session you will hopefully feel a sense of pride and satisfaction. You’ve just achieved something you didn’t think that you could. It’s your first building block, so the following session when you return, try to remember how you felt at the beginning of the previous session and remember, you can do it, you’ve done it before!

It can take a little while to settle in when you start running and it’s always ok to walk if you need to. The programme builds slowly so initially it’s about learning to use your legs differently, what to do with your arms and how to breathe when you have a slight bounce in your step. It can feel a slow process but I promise you, that you will be making progress.

It’s good to check in with your body from session to session. You’ll find that something that was hurting before might not be hurting as badly the next time or you go a little further or a little faster. This usually happens without you noticing and as a Run Activator I like to highlight this so you can see the changes are coming.

A great thing to do is to get a jar and fill it with notes of your successes. Don’t forget, you’re already winning by putting your trainers on and stepping outside of the front door intended to get moving. This is a great tool to keep motivated as when you recognise the small successes, they soon become big!

S from Shard End, Couch to 5k, week 4, run 1.
“I can’t believe I’ve just run for 5 minutes and my back isn’t hurting!”

If you are interested in opportunities to exercise The Active Wellbeing Society can help you, check out our activities here

21st December 2018  |  Adeel Khan




Councillor Lisa Trickett appointed The Active Wellbeing Society Chair

The Active Wellbeing Society works to improve the wellbeing of the most deprived citizens in our city delivering projects such as Active Streets, Big Birmingham Bikes, Active Parks and Run Birmingham. (more…)

17th December 2018  |  Tina Bold




One Hundred Years of Representing Birmingham

Birmingham played a key role one hundred years ago in women gaining the vote – ‘Represent’ is a new community heritage project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to explore the impact on the lives of Birmingham’s people now and then.

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14th December 2018  |  Marcus Belben




Mince Pies and catch up in Handsworth

Join us for Mince Pies and a Crowd Catch Up in Handsworth.  The Active Communities team would like to invite you to a festive gathering to help shape the community activity plan that has been designed to address the top issues you voted on earlier this year.

Tuesday 18th December 2018,6.00pm-7.30pm, 
Play Centre attached to Handsworth Wellbeing Centre, 
Holly Road, Birmingham, B20 2BY

(more…)
12th December 2018  |  Dee Manning




How Active Communities brings folk together in Solihull

On Friday we were next door to Planet Ice to meet Hobs Moat and Greenhill Active Communities with Solihull Council, to better understand the assets locally and listen to ideas on how we can develop happier, stronger communities and get people active.  At the event itself two local people met for the first time, one having cleaned up a street after the the other, a shop manager, had their shop broken in to – a film is now planned working with Solihull College: (more…)

6th December 2018  |  Marcus Belben




Grans run too – Cheryl’s Run Birmingham Story

Here’s Cheryl, 44 from Birmingham. This is her Run Birmingham story:

Cheryl weight loss transformation

“I volunteer for the Real Junk Food Project here in Birmingham and that got me thinking about my health and wellbeing. I was focusing on what I was eating but I couldn’t remember the last time I did any exercise.

“Having four children and three grandchildren, I felt that I was not finding enough time in the day for me, never mind exercising.

“Now that the children and grandchildren are getting older, I decided to make a change and make time for exercise. My main goal was to lose a little bit of weight and tone up my mummy tummy.

“When my grandchildren’s school held a ‘couch to 5k’ programme I decided that this was the goal I needed to work towards! I was so proud of myself for doing it and have been running with Run Birmingham ever since.

“Joining the ‘5k group’ is the best decision I’ve ever made and I have achieved so much. I’ve lost weight, I’m fitter now than I’ve ever been and I have even completed a half marathon. I can now say that I enjoy running.  That’s something I never thought I would say.

“I keep running because of the other people in my group. They are so inspirational. I’ve never really been much of a fan of exercise but running as a group is different.  It gives you the push you need and you feel better after every single run.”

Inspired by Cheryl’s story?  Find an activity to suit you.  Go to https://theaws.co.uk/activities/ and load up which day and type of exercise that suits you and find your nearest group: 

3rd December 2018  |  Adeel Khan




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Ways to stay healthier this winter

As the weather takes a turn for the cold outside, winter needn’t be the unhealthiest time of year for you and your family.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you stay fit and healthy even if you want to stay under the duvet and hibernate, you can keep healthy and fit, no matter what the weather’s like. (more…)

21st November 2018  |  Tina Bold