This Girl Can: Finally, Springing forward…

By Helen Madden on March 27, 2017 in Blog

Energize STW

Blog. March 2017

This Girl Can:   Finally, Springing forward…


It might be too early to say Spring has sprung, but it is definitely flexing its muscles.    Lighter nights and warmer days have made me look at ways to keep active outside of the gym.   Although I find running difficult, I envy colleagues who make it look effortless.   A ‘Couch to 5K’ app (sometimes called C25K) is designed for non-runners who want to improve by starting them off with very small intervals of jogging which increase week on week.    Week one begins with a brisk 5 minute warm up walk and then alternates between just 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking to a total of 20 minutes activity.    Each week you complete 3 days of repeated activity before progressing to the next level.  By the time you reach week 9 you should be running for a total of 30 minutes without stopping!   I am currently at week 5 and pushing myself to run in 8 minute spurts.   Each run is accompanied by a voice-over coach who encourages you to keep going and offers tips to help improve breathing techniques and avoid injuries.


The C25K is a great introduction to running and by providing achievable goals it builds confidence, but by far the best way to improve is to run with friends.     Colleagues and I ran out on a sunny lunchtime and I found I could run much further and with more enjoyment in their company.    Telford and Shrewsbury Parkrun offers just such an opportunity to runners and walkers of all abilities to come together at the weekend and enjoy running as a group.   Registration is free, all they ask is that you print off a bar code from their website which is scanned at the end of the event to record your time, compare your performance with others in your age category and give you a benchmark upon which to improve each week.   If you want to take advantage of them, pace setters are on hand to push you to your goal finish time, however, many people just challenge themselves and take pleasure from the fresh air and festival feel of the event.   Be prepared for that obligatory social media photograph!


Lighter evenings provide the perfect opportunity to step away from the television and go out for a walk.    I love walking with the family and take every opportunity to do so.  The AA produce local walking guides which reveal otherwise undiscovered footpaths and grade them in terms of difficulty, gradient and estimated time to complete.   Alternatively, check out local walking groups on Facebook or other internet searches.   Best of all, walking is something that can be done together; grab the kids, grab the dog, pull on your wellies and get out there!


It is most definitely the season to come out of hibernation and undertake more activity.   The garden isn’t going to weed itself and if all that isn’t enough to make you relish the thought of outdoor exercise just remember your shorts are waiting for you in the chest of drawers!


Check out  links to NHS Couch to 5k here, or download the app from iTunes.   Or click on the AA walking and bike riding guides herewith.  For more information on Parkrun follow the links below:-




About the Author

Helen MaddenView all posts by Helen Madden