Couch to 5K
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silly question - my Wife and I are about to start the programme, but we're confused. How do you work out a running route?

If you simply set off from point a and follow the podcast instructions, you're going to end up at point b and then walk/run back home! Not too bad on week one, but once the k's stack up it could be. I expected a " you are now halfway through your workout" warning so you could turn around. Is the answer to take your own stopwatch and monitor yourself?

18 Replies

Just listen to Laura. She guides you through out the podcast. She keeps telling you how far into your workout you are, so when she tells you are half way through you can turn back and finish near your starting point.

Good luck on your adventure!


thanks for this. We haven't started yet, but were just listening through the podcast on the Mac. Must have skipped the " you are halfway through" bit :-)


I don't think there is a "halfway point" in the podcast, she only tells you when you only have 2 runs left...


My advice is not to listen to the podcast prior to running. For as you move up into the weeks where you run for longer it can be frightening and it plays on your mind. Before you know it you're doubting yourself that you are able to do it. So that in mind just plug it in follow Laura's instruction and off you guy go. You can do it.


Take a look at your locality on Google maps or an O.S. map. It will let you measure a variety of routes so you can make a choice. Once you are up to a big stack of k's you will be experienced enough to know when you need to be heading back. Laura does tell you where you are up to within each workout as you do them.

Good luck to you, trust the programme - it does work!


Do you have a local park?


I started out running around the local park until it wasn't big enough any more. Then I headed out onto local streets and if I had a bit of an extra walk home at the end I just counted it as useful extra calorie-burning exercise. :-)


Welcome to C25k and this forum. Good luck to both of you.

Although I agree that out and back, turning round halfway is as good a way to start as any, you might find a loop route more interesting. Try different surfaces too. Roads and pavements can be hard on the legs but at this time of year are lit in the evenings. Cycle paths and canal towpaths are an option - and canals don't have hills and cycle paths on old railway lines are never steep either. Gravel paths and forest roads are good to run on too. Look for local parks, school grounds, university campuses, even hospital grounds where there may be paths and scope to do figures of eight and circular routes. There's plenty of scope to explore!

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I agree 100% with wilmacgh, variety in the surfaces can be nothing but a good idea once you are into the program. Google maps are invaluable to planning a route and there are loads of free Apps to download to help you do just that which will measure the distance for you. Good luck to you both with the program and welcome to this very valuable informative friendly site.


Like already said before, you can use google to search for routes. If you search for mapmyrun, you can create your own route, or most locations will already have routes added by others so you could see if there are any routes that would be suitable for you.

For my first run I just went out and went a random route, it was a coincidence that it lead me almost all the way home by the time I'd finished.



I used google maps measuring tool:

Reviewing my runs, weeks 1 to 3 I ran about 2.5 miles and 4 to 5 just over 3 miles. my next run is wk 5 run 3....

Depending on how the run goes I sometimes have to walk past my house for a minute or so and turn back.

Good luck.


All the replies are correct

But if still in doubt do the programme on a treadmill

Good luck


Thanks everyone. I live on a great 5.5 mile circuit, and have another 3 mile circuit very close. I was happily doing both a few years ago, but I'm heavier and out of condition now. My question related to the way you relate the podcast to your own route, especially initially, when you're not sure how far following the instructions is going to get you.


Initially, I used to look at the structure of that week's runs and count how many repetitions there were. When I was half way through the reps, I'd turn around and head for home. One thing that did amaze me was how much ground I actually covered, even in the earliest weeks.


The 3 mile circuit will be longer than you need for first few weeks, but if you've got the time, there's no downside to having a longer walk after the workout. I always have an audiobook on the ipod to switch to after c25k and I just continue a steady walk.

I have a lovely 9km circular route near me (with no possibility of short cut after the first bit). My real goal is to be running the whole thing at a relaxed pace by next summer, so for me it is nice to get out on that route when I have time on my Saturday run. I actually need about 4km for the c25k podcast (I'm on week 5). Then I walk the rest, which takes about an hour.


All the later weeks I think have a "you're halfway through" but the earlier ones are harder as there are 8 reps. Laura does so much preamble that the 5 min warm up is or more sometimes. (I always started when she started rather than when she finally says "let's start with..."

I used a combination of my watch and having a vague inkling of how far I wanted to try for and then turned back. sometimes my warm down was a bit longer than 5, sometimes I had to carry on past the house, but it worked OK.

I used Google earth in later weeks to work out a 5k route.


If this helps, these were the distances that I covered each week (including warm up & cool down):

Week 1 - 3.6 to 3.9km

Week 2 - 4.2km

Week 3 - 3.4 to 4.2km

Week 4 - 4.3 to 4.6km

Week 5 - 4.3, 4.6, 4.4km

Week 6 - 5.0 to 5.1km

Week 7 - 4.6 to 4.5km

Week 8 - 5.9km

Week 9 - 5.9km

Bear in mind this is just what I did and yours may be completely different but it should give you an idea of what to plan for.


Many thanks guys. Did my first session yesterday and got on fine. Judged

it pretty well, but was still warming down in my front room! The sixty seconds go really quickly, but then so do the nineties! Muscle memory from past life running seemed to want to kick in , but I'm going to stick to the programme and take things slowly, so I don't get frustrated and give up.