Couch to 5K
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When exactly is graduation?

That may sound a bit of a daft question, but what I mean is:

All being well I shall complete Week 9 at the weekend. That's the good news.

But the truth of it is that I am still a long long way from 5k (currently running about 3.25k, but 4k if you include the warm-up and cool-down).

So, do I graduate when I complete Week 9, or not until I can trot out 5k? If the latter, does the 5k include the warm-up and cool-down (she said, hopefully!)?

11 Replies

Good question. I have been wondering that too because people seem to have different parameters for what qualifies..


Graduation is when you complete Week 9 Run 3. That is a 30 minute non-stop run. Very few of us achieve 5k in 30 minutes after 9 weeks. My graduation run was a 32 minute 4.68k but I'd worked so hard for that I knew I'd earned my grad-badge!

I graduated just before Christmas and my fastest 5k so far was just last week - 30:37, so I'm creeping ever closer but don't expect to break the barrier just yet!


Crikey - 4.68k in 32 minutes is very speedy by my standards! Well done!!


:-) Thank you - not bad for an oldie!

But speed and distance doesn't matter when we start out - just being out there doing it, at your own speed, is what counts. We're not in competition with anyone but ourselves. Stamina and speed will come eventually.

Congratulations on what you've achieved so far and best of luck for the weekend!


First off congratulations on getting to Week 9 :-)

To be fair the name Couch to 5K is a bit of a misnomer as the whole point is to get to being able to run for 30 minutes or 5K, rather than specifically 5K in the 30 minutes. Should really be called Couch to 30mins but it doesn't have quite the same ring to it :-P

You'll graduate as soon as you finish Week 9 this weekend :-)


I've been on this forum since Oct last year and I don't think I've seen anyone do 5k in their graduation run. I'm almost at a 30min 5k now and I graduated a couple of months ago- it takes time to get there, especially if you've only got little legs like me :D

Looking forward to your graduation blog!


I've been thinking about how I can best get from 3.25k to 5k. How did you do it?


Nothing special, I just kept doing it and gradually got faster. Parkruns are good if there's one near you. If you want to increase your speed then intervals are what most runners do, but you'll probably find that you'll just get faster anyway if you keep running regularly.


Try just running a little further every week. It doesn't need to be much - a few extra metres will do and you'll gradually find the distance building up. If you can add an extra minute on to every run, you'll be amazed at the difference it will make. The established 'rule' is to increase by no more than 10% per week.

The main thing is not to push too hard - it takes a long time for your body to adjust to the stresses and strains running puts on it and just one moment of madness can result in an injury that can put you out for days, weeks or months!


I'm not sure whether I'm meant to increase time (and therefore distance), or keep with the 30 minutes but try to travel a bit further in that time. Any idea?


Either! If you KNOW that you can run faster, then up the pace a little. If, like me, you KNOW that you can't run faster but can run further at the same pace then add a few metres each week.

Just don't get hung up on increasing distance or reducing time. I like Cazvs reply - "just kept doing it and gradually got faster," - that sums me up as well. The stronger you get as your body adapts, the further/faster you will run.

The most important thing is not to try to do too much too soon. Many of us have fallen by the wayside because enthusiasm got the better of us! And, yes, that does include me! Managed a 10k+ run, then a week later I suffered a calf strain after only a few minutes which kept me out for three weeks.

Take some time to enjoy running without any pressure, and find out what works best for you. I often just go out and see how I feel; sometimes I run fast for a shorter distance, other times I run slower and further! There are 5k+ Strength, Speed and Stamina Podcasts on the NHS Choices website if you really want a more structured approach.

It's not a race, we all run at different speeds and for different distances but we all take pride in our own and others' achievements.


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