Fleur Lucille


Sunday, 24 May 2020

My Couch to 5K Journey So Far | May 2020

Before the lockdown started in the UK, I was going to the gym at least three times a week and it was part of my weekly routine. When lockdown and its restrictions were introduced, the gym had to close and I had to start working from home permanently. This then meant that the routine I had was suddenly gone. Whilst my gym started sharing a number of sessions online I just struggled with some of the exercises included and felt that I really needed more cardio, especially as I was now sitting down for the majority of my day. I also wanted to maximise my daily exercise allocation.

I had heard about the Couch to 5K programme before but hadn't been a massive fan of running, the treadmill was always that one piece of equipment that I would want to try and avoid whilst at the gym! Maybe I needed to give it a try though.

Couch to 5K is a running programme for beginners that consists of a 9 week plan that helps you to gradually build up your running ability with the aim of completing a 5K without stopping (something that I had never done before). There is also an app that is available to download which I have found great to track progress as well as using it when out on runs to help to know when to start and stop running. There are three runs each week and it is recommended that you take rest days in-between runs. There is also the option to repeat weeks as necessary until you feel that you are able to progress to the next stage. 

I have include below details and thoughts of my progress so far on the programme. 

Week 1
The first week of the programme includes 3 runs where you have a 5 minute warm up walk and then repeat 1 minute of running and 1 and a half minutes of walking for up to 20 minutes. For me just starting the programme and having to run for 1 minute initially was very daunting. Although it does sound a lot of running at the beginning I did find that I managed to complete this. The second and third runs of the 1st week remain the same which is useful as you start to getting into a rhythm and know what you can achieve in that time.

Week 2
Similar to Week 1, the three runs remain the same and included the 5 minute warm up walk followed by repeating 1 and a half minutes of running and 2 minutes of walking up to a total of 20 minutes. You notice that the length of time that you are running for increases by 30 seconds each time but it is the same for the walking breaks in between each run.

I did find it a lot harder having to run for the additional 30 seconds each time but having the time for walking increased as well definitely helped. By the end of the second week I couldn't believe that I was managing to run for 1 and half minutes let alone the fact that for each of the runs I was running for a total of 9 minutes. If anyone had asked me two weeks ago, I would never had thought that I could achieve it.

Week 3
In the third week of the programme you start to see some of the running sections increase in time across the three runs that week (which again are all the same).

As always there is a 5 minute warm up walk at the beginning of each session, there was then two cycles of 1 and half minutes of running, 1 and a half minutes of walking, 3 minutes of running and 3 minutes of walking.

I never thought that I could run for 1 and half a minutes let alone three minutes but with having completed the previous weeks runs I knew that I needed to give it a try. I definitely surprised myself with the runs in week 3 and by slightly reducing how fast I was going (although I wasn't going very fast to start with) it did mean that I was able to complete the three minutes of running that was included in that week's plan.

Whilst the third run of week 3 was the same as the previous two runs in structure, I had been nominated to do 5K in aid of raising money for NHS charities. I knew that there was no way I could run 5K not at this stage in the programme, so I completed the 3rd run of the week as detailed in the plan and then just added on the extra as a combination of walking and running where possible. Although I did a 5K at this stage in the plan, I still wanted to get to the point where I could run it without stopping. 

Week 4
Within Week 4 of the programme, you definitely start to see the amount of running increasing mixed in which different amounts of running.

Each of the runs were the same and all started with the 5 minute warm up walk. There was then 3 minutes of running, 1 and a half minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running, 2 and half minutes of walking, 3 minutes of running, 1 and a half minutes of walking and 5 minutes of running. This meant that for each of the runs I was running for a combined total of 16 minutes.

When I started week 4, I really didn't think that I was going to be able to complete it (although I knew that I had done the previous three weeks) and was thinking that this was going to be the week where I may have to repeat it.

During these runs I couldn't believe that I had been able to run consistently for the 5 minute blocks this was something that I never thought that I could do. It does show that if you follow the plan that you build up the stamina and running ability to do these longer bursts. Once I had completed some of the 5 minute runs it then started to help when I had a 3 minute run as I then knew that I could complete that plus some.

At the end of week 4, I had a massive sense of achievement as I had stuck to the plan for a whole month and had run the furthest and longest that I had ever been able to do consistently. It had also given me a sense of routine as I had stuck to running on the same days each week which was something that I had been missing since my gym have to close as part of lockdown.

Week 5
I went into week 5 of the programme really not looking forward to it as had reviewed the runs that was going to be part of that week and had seen that the third run was for 20 minutes (something that I never thought that I would be able to achieve).

Week 5 was also the first week where all three of the runs were different which was a change from all the previous weeks as the runs had been the same throughout. Again all of the runs included the 5 minute warm up walk.

Run 1 - 5 minutes running, 3 minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running (total combined running of 15 minutes).

Run 2 - 8 minutes running, 5 minutes walking and 8 minutes of running (total combined running of 16 minutes).

Run 3 - 20 minutes running

Each of these runs was an increase on the longest amount of time that I had run in total. With each of the runs I always had some doubt that I wouldn't be able to complete it but somehow with the training from the past 4 weeks I completed them all. The third run of the week was the biggest test and one that I definitely wasn't looking forward to. I just focused on each minute of running and slowed down when I needed to which meant that was able to complete the 20 minute run which was a massive achievement.

As I am writing this blog I have just started Week 6 of the plan and I go into this on the back of completing the 20 minute run (last run of week 5) which was a massive success and am hoping to continue to build upon this (although I know that there are less split out runs now and more focus on running for longer periods). I now know that I can run for longer periods of time than I thought, giving me confidence for future sessions. 

Some tips that I have learnt so far on the Couch to 5K plan:
  • Trust the plan
  • Don't focus on the other runs that are part of that week, try and just concentrate on the one that you have that day
  • Don't stress about having to repeat as week, although not something I have done it is always useful to know that you can do this if necessary
  • Try not to look too far forward in the plan and worry about how on earth you would ever be able to do those runs
If you are thinking about starting the Couch to 5K programme, I would definitely recommend it. I never thought that I would be where I am now in the sessions as well as enjoying running. You will start to notice the improvement in your running and whilst some of the sessions can seem really daunting they are all doable and as I have learnt you just need to try and trust the plan as it really does work. 

Fleur xo


Saturday, 16 May 2020

Glossybox - Wild Things Review | May 2020

I joined the subscription beauty box from Glossybox about 6 months ago and I'm absolutely loving receiving one of their boxes each month. May's box was a themed version in which you could either receive a Wild Things Zebra or Leopard box.

I received the Zebra themed box which included 5 full size products. There are a number of different variation of boxes that you can receive (depending on which option of each product is included e.g. different colour eye liners) and for anyone interested the box that I received was variation 19.

The products that I received in this box included:

  1. Steve Laurant Eye Shadow Palette
  2. EOS Sphere Lip balm (I received the sweet mint flavour)
  3. SOS Printed Sheet Mask (I received charcoal and white tea)
  4. Mudmasky hair mask scalp treatment & miracle shampoo
  5. Stargazer eye liner (I received this in the colour fuchsia) 
All of the products received in this month's Glossybox are full sized and have a retail value of £64.50 which is amazing compared to the monthly cost of each box (from £8.50 per month depending upon the plan that you sign up to as there are a number of different payment options available). 

The EOS lip balm in sweet mint smells absolutely amazing, it was the first thing that I could smell as soon as I first opened the box. I haven't tried an EOS lip balm before so I am looking forward to trying this out. These are natural lip balm that include ingredients such as shea butter. There are three flavours that you could receive which all sound amazing - Sweet Mint, Pomegranate & Raspberry and Strawberry Sorbet.

I am absolutely loving face masks at the moment and especially sheet masks so when I saw that there was one included in this box, i was really excited to try it out. I hadn't heard of SOS (Save our Skin) products before but am definitely looking forward to trying this face mask, it will be the perfect way to end a long day at work. I received the charcoal and white tea facemark which has a palmation print to it. Similar to the lip balm there are three different options of face mask that could be included in the box.

This month's box included another product by Mudmasky. I had received a Mudmasky face moisturiser in a previous month's box which I am absolutely loving as was perfect for when we went on a skiing trip at Christmas. This product is a hair mask scalp treatment and miracle shampoo which is designed to repair hair, strengthen hair, hydrates hair, moisturises scalp and dandruff control. I will be interested to see how this product works as I know that my hair could do with some deep conditioning right now. If it is anything like some of the other Mudmasky products then I am definitely looking forward to trying this out.

This glitter eye pencil by Stargazer is another product where there were a number of different colours that could be received in the box. I received the Fuchsia colour with the other options being black, blue, peach, pink or white. These are eyeliner pencils that have glitter included. The colour of the fuchsia pencil that I received looks amazing, I will definitely have to try and think of an eye look where I could try this out as from swatching the colour it looks like they a quite pigmented and loving the inclusion of the glitter.

The final product in this month's box was this Steve Laurant eyeshadow palette. This was the version that I received as I think that in the Leopard box they are slightly different colours. This eyeshadow palette has an RRP of £31 which is quite expensive to purchase separately given the size of the palette but these neutral colours look amazing so am looking forward to trying them out.

The palette includes 9 different shades which are formed of 4 matte colours and 5 shimmer shades. They are all on the neutral colour scheme so should be perfect for creating an everyday make-up look.

I love it when Glossybox has different options of boxes that you could receive as it gives an extra surprise when you receive the box. I hope if you have also received this month's box that you are enjoying all the products and I am looking forward to trying out the products that were included in the box.

Fleur xo

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