15 Sept 2015

Louise vs Laura.

“You can do it, let’s go!”

“Shut up, Laura.”

“You’re doing so great!”

“Your husband left you because you’re a bitch, Laura.”

“You’ve done so well, keep going!”

“I’m gonna punch you in the face, Laura.”

I just went for my first ever run. By ‘first ever run’ I mean my first proper adult run that didn’t involve getting changed into loose shiny P.E. shorts and a sweaty P.E. polo shirt that I forgot to ask my mum to wash over the weekend. Nor did it involve hiding behind the tree at the back of the school field waiting for the others to do an extra lap before I pretended I was tagging along the whole time, or running into a bin because it’s a foggy Monday morning in December but the teachers are made of stone (so was the bin) and made us do cross-country anyway, and gaining an impressive scar that unbeknownst to my 14 year old self, I would look back on fondly during my first ever adult run.

Laura is my running pal. She only exists in my earphones. And I hate her. She’s a bitch. She’s so cool and calm and acts like EVERYTHING IS FINE EVEN THOUGH YOU CAN’T BREATHE AND YOU JUST TROD IN HORSE SHIT AND THE WHITE VAN MEN ARE BEEPING AT YOU BECAUSE OF COURSE I LOOKED LIKE I WAS IN BAYWATCH.

Laura is inside the NHS’ Couch to 5K app. I had no intention of running this morning. I was happily watching Desperate Housewives (just started season six – how DARE someone hurt Julie) but someone tweeted about going for a run and it helping her depression and I thought, ‘Well, I suppose I could’. I had a google of how Couch to 5K works, I asked Twitter for some tips and motivation, and I found that the NHS’ app was free and super colourful so obviously that was reason enough to have a go. I went upstairs, grabbed the first pair of shorts (loose denim ones that I had to hold up the whole time) and t-shirt (it was knitted but I’m dedicated to Autumn and didn’t consider it to be an issue (it was, obviously (SO obviously))) I could find, and turned on Laura.


She told me to go for a brisk walk for five minutes, which was easy enough. You can listen to your music along with having the app open, and Laura just turns it down when she needs to talk to you. Much like your mum walking into your room without knocking. When my five minutes was nearly up, Laura told me to run for one minute. “Easy,” I thought, “One minute is a tiny amount of time.”

So I ran. Quite fast. I had the energy, so why not? I’m a good runner. I’m also a cocky little shit. Laura told me to keep a slow pace but fuck the system. TECHNOLOGY WILL NOT CONTROL ME. BACK IN YOUR CAGE, LAURA.

It bloody hurt.

I now understand why I should have slowed down.

You win, Laura.

During the first week of Couch to 5K, you spend 20 minutes doing intervals of 60 seconds of running and then 90 seconds recovering with a brisk walk. It sounds simple enough, but if you’re not a fitness kinda gal or pal, then it’s tough and you need to BEHAVE. I have learnt my lesson.

The 20 minutes were tough, I’ll admit. I had to skip two of my runs because I LITERALLY COULDN’T BREATHE but I never stopped moving. I was red in the face when I got back, and was still red faced even after a freezing cold shower and spending a good 10 minutes in front of the fan.

I feel good though. I feel really good! I’ve surprised myself, I’m proud of my body, and I’m even MORE proud of my mind for sticking with me and behaving itself.

And Laura? I have a feeling we’ll be enemies for a while, but I sense an impending friendship. Shh, don’t tell her though.


  1. If you ever get tired of Laura (and believe me, you will!) you should download c25kfree, which gives you the pings you need for your gear changes, but has less of the 'motivational' stuff. You can also listen to your own music ... bonus!

    If you haven't already, also download mapmyrun, so you can see how you are improving.


    If you fancy it, come along with us (though probably me) to a parkrun. Happy to have you hitch with us if you fancy it!

    Keep going lovely, proud of you xx

    1. I've been told about doing parkruns after I've finished the course! I'm in London more than Essex nowadays, but I will definitely take you up on that offer if it works out. Thank you! x