Couch to 5K
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C25K+ Stepping Stone- should this be a 5K run & if not can anyone recommend a podcast to help me speed up?

I re-graduated in early August and have been running regularly, sometimes for 30 minutes and sometimes for a bit longer to get to 5K. I would really like to get to 5K in 30 mins and I'd also like to avoid getting bored by sometimes using my own music and sometimes listening to podcasts.

I tried the stepping stone podcast today thinking that this would make me go a bit faster than W9 of C25K. It felt like a good run but it seemed to be way off 5K. I didn't use runkeeper but did stick to my usual route and the 30 mins was up before I got to my usual stopping point so I must have been slower than usual (which is annoying). I do find it really hard to keep my pace right but if anything when Laura started counting again I sometimes had to slow down a bit to keep in time with her (I was surprised at this as I think I run slowly and The Guardian put me in the slowest 30% when I put my times on their website - thanks for that guys !!)

So... should Stepping Stone cover 5K? Could it be that Runkeeper is wrong and I've been doing 5 K for ages (Oh I wish!) or is Stepping Stone not the right podcast to get me to the magic 5K in 30?

Any tips would be appreciated, thanks.

7 Replies

I'm not sure what it's meant to cover but I've done it a few times and only covered 3.7K, which is the same that I was covering on W9 running for 30 minutes. I think the distance covered also depends on your height, leg length and running stride (I'm a shorty with little legs!).


I also cover less with Stepping Stones than without the podcast. I only used it three times. The first time (2 weeks after my graduation in June), I covered only 3.7km which was pretty weird as I always covered between 4.2 and 4.6km with the week 9 podcast. I decided it was because of my tiny steps I made in order to stay on the beat. A few days later, I tried it again (larger steps now) and failed miserably for the first time in my "running career". I simply gave up after seven and a half minutes.

I was pretty annoyed and didn't try it again until last Saturday and it worked pretty good. I stumbled a few times as I think Laura is not exactly on the beat as she should be and I tried to get her beat while she was counting but it worked pretty good. I covered around 4.4km but I didn't try to make larger steps so the distance could probably be increased by this. It was just important to me to "beat that monster" Stepping Stones and not to give up again.

I plan to use stepping stones now once a week to work on my speed. The other two runs will be listening to talk podcasts and trying to run 5k as I have done for the last one and a half months. Interestingly, my 30 minute distances get worse (during the last week of the programm I did 4.6-4.8km) while my 5k time improves a tiny bit.

Don't think or worry too much about speed. I'd also like to get my time down but I'm pretty sure it will some day. I did my best 5k when I was not intending to do so. I just got out there, enjoyed running, came home and found out it was the fastest I've ever run. Relax and enjoy your new ability to run for so long!


I've done Stepping Stones only once or twice and found that I covered less distance using it than when I run at my own speed.

Also, I have found Runkeeper to be very variable - the distance it says you've run changes depending on how large you size the map when you map it...the larger the map, the further you've run (presumably because it's more accurate?). I plotted the same run twice the other day, small and large scale and over 3 miles it varied by 0.2 you could easily be running 5k in 30 minutes. :-)


I don't know about Stepping Stones, but Runkeeper was all over the shop yesterday morning, failing to register half my run distance and somehow even getting the timing wrong. I think the satellites were on a go slow. When I uploaded it to the website the time was different again. I ran my usual route and by my watch I did it in a pretty good time but I have no stats to prove it. I have decided not to worry too much about speed and just to start extending the lengths of one run each week with the aim of reaching 10k by the end of September.(oops I've let it out of the bag now)

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I was set on improving my 5k time after graduation and ended up getting a bit bored and frustrated with it. Things improved after I set my sights on working towards 10k and have been using the b210k podcasts (I found the link on here) which are quite good and give some variety to my runs because of the different music.

I'm now doing two shorter runs in a week and then a longer run at weekends. I'm hoping this will by default improve my 5k time but at least it is keeping things a bit more interesting.

Might be worth a try.


The Speed podcast is the one to help improve your speed if that's your aim.

It's interval training with some sprints followed by recovery period then repeated.

Give it a try.


Thanks for the responses everyone.

I set out on Saturday with a really positive attitude thinking I would just run and enjoy it. I don't know what Runkeeper was doing but this time it had me doing 5K in 27.3 mins, although the distance was less than previous "5K" runs so goodness knows what distance I'm really covering. I guess the important thing is I felt I'd had a really good run and I was definitely faster than usual (have to confess that I don't think I could manage to run like that every time though, I could feel a stitch threatening quite frequently)

I have tried Speed and enjoyed it but it seemed a bit short and I wanted to keep running for another 5/10 mins. Maybe that's an indication of how good c25K really is as it's not that long ago that I was desperate for the 20 minute runs to end, now I don't want to stop! I'm going to try Stamina next just to see what it's like then I'll probably do a mix of podcasts and my own music. I've had the summer off and it's been lovely going running at 7.00/7.30 in the morning instead of trying to fit it in around work and family stuff, back to all the rushing around tomorrow...


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