Home   Lifestyle   Article

Castle Park Couch to 5k benefits mental wellbeing as well as fitness





Indie news editor Sinead Corr has signed up for a Couch to 5k fitness programme in Bishop's Stortford...

Week five, and sick children and business meetings meant our group of eight was reduced to an all-female quartet running in Castle Park under the watchful eye of coach Laurence Foote.

It was a useful reminder that finding the time to exercise is not always easy when we have busy lives with work and family responsibilities, but the benefits go far beyond keeping physically fit.

The Castle Park Couch to 5k starting group, with Indie news editor Sinead Corr far right
The Castle Park Couch to 5k starting group, with Indie news editor Sinead Corr far right

Since our first session on this eight-week Couch to 5k journey, we've been very fortunate with the weather and today is bright and balmy.

The challenge began with a chilly run on crunchy grass on a frosty morning back in January, and part of the enjoyment of the weekly coaching has been watching the transformation of Sworder’s Field and Castle Gardens from winter into spring.

Each week I walk along the Stort from Grange Paddocks to our rendezvous point by the war memorial and feel both calmed and invigorated by the unfurling beauty of the river bank.

The stretch of the River Stort between Grange Paddocks and Castle Park. Picture: Vikki Lince
The stretch of the River Stort between Grange Paddocks and Castle Park. Picture: Vikki Lince

Signs of new life are all around me and there is a real feeling of optimism as I join my fellow runners.

As I trot around the Waytemore Castle mound listening to glorious birdsong, it’s physically tiring but mentally refreshing. The 45 minutes we spend being put through our paces by triathlete Laurence, of FooteSteps Coaching, fly by.

Our reps are steadily increasing as our endurance improves and we complete a trio of five-minute runs with a three-minute recovery.

By the end, as I make my way back to Grange Paddocks to head home for a shower, I genuinely feel even happier than before I started as endorphins released by the exercise lighten my mood.

Couch to 5k (54946839)
Couch to 5k (54946839)

While there may be some trepidation about how my knees will hold up before the warm-up, by the time we’ve finished our cooling down stretches, I’m full of beans and ready to face the rest of the day and telling myself not to forget how good this feels next time I’m struggling to get out of bed for a run.

* The Castle Park Couch to 5k, in partnership with Active East Herts, started on January 12 and will finish with a group parkrun at Castle Park on Saturday, March 12.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More