Taking on Couch to 5k with my daughter

Date: 3 March 2021   Author: Energise Me

Helen and Evie on a couch to 5k run


After struggling to keep up their active routines in lockdown, Helen and her daughter decided to take on a challenge together. They share how they’ve supported each other through the Couch to 5k.


Lockdown and Me

I’m normally a positive and resilient person. But when the third lockdown was announced after Christmas, I have to admit I struggled. As a working mum, I was suddenly given the extra job of teacher to my two children. This was in addition to making sure that everyone had clean clothes to wear, the house was (reasonably) clean and tidy and that people got fed.

My diet was poor. Any exercise that I had been managing to do before went out of the window and I was struggling with sleep. I was completely overwhelmed and suddenly found I was anxious about things I’d never given much thought to before.


We needed something that could bring some routine back to our lives but was easy to do with current lockdown restrictions.


Lockdown and my children

I watched as my normally active children took different approaches to the lockdown. My son was happy to go out scooting on the road or down to the park to kick a football around and just generally be outside.

My 8-year-old daughter, whose motivation for being active is 100% about the social aspect, did nothing. This then added to my ‘worry’ list (especially as someone who knows the importance for children to be active).

I decided that we needed to do something about it, for both of us. We needed something that could bring some routine back to our lives but was easy to do with current restrictions. A friend of mine told me that she was just about to start the Couch to 5k app with her daughter.


Couch to 5k

Now, I’m not a runner – I never have been and probably never will be. But the idea of having something that was regular (the app suggests 3 times a week), where we could build up slowly, appealed.

Amazingly, my daughter agreed. She liked picking the Couch to 5k coach on the app – the voice that would support us on our walk and runs.

When we started out, I fully expected my role to be cheerleader and motivator. I thought I’d be dragging her along on each run. But the beauty about Couch to 5k is that you start small and build up. In the early weeks that meant we could chat and walk/run.

Helen and Evie on a couch to 5k run

At a time when life was so hectic, this allowed us to spend time together that didn’t involve me nagging about home learning or screen time. We were on an equal footing.  Before we knew it, we were running 25 minutes without stopping (definitely less chatting now!). This was something neither of us ever thought we would be able to do when we started.

We have only 2 weeks to go and the promise of going out for a celebratory breakfast together when restrictions ease is keeping us going to the end. So initially my motivation was to help my daughter get active and I’m so proud of what she’s achieved, but I have to admit that I have benefitted too.

After we do a long run I feel really proud and I don't want to stop running.


What Evie thinks

I started the Couch to 5k because I couldn’t do gymnastics because of lockdown. I find Couch to 5k really tiring, but it is helping me run faster and longer. After we do a long run I feel really proud and I don’t want to stop running.

I prefer running in the rain because it is really hot in the sun. I like running with my mum because she always tells me to keep going and not to stop. If I can do it without stopping then me and my mum are going out to breakfast to celebrate.

Feel inspired?

Couch to 5k

Find out more about the Couch to 5k programme and download the app.

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Tips on starting running

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