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Couch to 5K
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I want my friend to start c25k, but she can't run for 60 seconds. What should we do?

She is 30, and claims she needs to 'get fitter' to start this programme. However, I am trying to convince her this is the program that will get her fit! I have not seen her run, but do believe she would genuinely struggle to run for a minute. do you think starting at 30 seconds run with 1 minute walk between would be a good'pre-week 1' place to start?

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I started by running 30 seconds, walking for 2 minutes, week 2 ran 45 seconds walked 2 minutes (think I repeated both) switched to (more or less) standard program after that, but adjusted to match my bus route.

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she may be trying to go too fast; we get this idea in our heads that running = fast as you can go, but that's not sustainable... offer to go with her to help her keep a slow pace (and really be willing to do this, run very slowly helping monitor her stamina, breathing, etc. so you can tell her to slow down even more if needed).

alternatively, there's a Strength and Flex program on NHS Choices, which I think is 5 or 6 weeks of podcasts for some basic and very do-able no-equipment weight training (wall-pushups, squats, etc.) and stretching... it includes scheduled walking too... completing or even starting that program might give her the confidence to try the c25k


Walk for longer as crox suggested. (as well as run less) That way she'll be thinking that it's not too bad, not unachievable. It's the motivation that matters in the early days.


I have a pal who's now in her 60's like me, and she too wants to start running. Her physio has even recommended it as she's had dodgy knees which have become stronger by walking and regular physio sessions. So, we've been out together often. She listens to the early podcasts with me and when it comes to running sections she lifts her feet a little further off the ground and swings her arms a bit more too. Little by little (very little and very slowly!) she's changing her brisk walk to a gentle jog :D It can certainly be done! As Diamondwitch just said, keep up the encouragement, (plus incredibly slow running alongside) and the improvement in motivation will happen a little bit more with each outing. Good luck to you both - getting butts off the couch is almost there, now put on the big silly, friendly grins and get out there together. Enjoy it all. Cheers, Linda :)


Aside from doing 30 minute brisk-ish walks (ie not strolls), I suspect that the only way to do this is to do it. As others have said, you don't need to run like Mo Farah for 60 seconds - it only needs to be a different movement from walking. Doesn't have to be faster and might even be slower. Smaller steps if it is getting tough, run on the spot even. You do not have to be 'fit' to start C25K and I say that as someone who has had to spend most of the last 3 decades in bed and still graduated. The Week 1 podcast was hard, no mistake but it is great the way you can work up to completing all the runs. I was thrilled to manage 4 the first time out and 4 the second (walked the rest of the podcast)

BUT you say you want her to do it... she has to want to do it herself and it is possible she will be better doing it by herself than with someone by her side (others find it very helpful to have a partner)


Times don't really matter that much. The important thing is that she is out ddoing something, and that can only be a good thing.

If she can't do the 60 seconds, do 30 and slowly build on that. It has been done by so many in the past. There are no prizes for doing 60 straight off. Better to do something she is comforable with, than to put her off.

If you can, watch 'Running for my existence' on Youtube. Possibly the most inspiring running video out there.


All of the above is so very helpful to me. Thank you all. What a wonderful community to be part of. J


Yes, I quite agree that she needs to do it for herself. But the difficulty is getting her to believe she could achieve this!


The first time I tried c25K I managed 2 of the 8 one minute runs and couldn't go on. I went home in a sulk, threw my shoes in the cupboard and didn't even look at them for another 3 months, after a friend of mine berated me for believing that I couldn't do it. He showed me the pace I should be doing, and how to run properly (he has done several marathons). I went out and tried again, and here I am training for a 10k next year. If I had've listened to my demons instead of the voice of reason, I would still be unable to run, and believing that I didn't have a runner's build.

I even went out last night in a pair of runner's leggings, which I would never have had the confidence to do back in April!!! I can't claim that I looked good, I just didn't care, which is a direct result of the confidence in myself I have gained from this process.


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