Couch to 5K

Completed programme on treadmill - but struggling outside

Hello there, I have completed the programme on the treadmill (using varying incline programmes) about 8 weeeks ago running at average 6.2mph - I normally run for about 5 miles on there now 4 or 5 times a week - I dont struggle at all and if time allowed I'd probalies keep going for a couple of miles more. I decided to go out with a friend last week and I was struggling to find my rythym and even my breathing out and as a result I was struggling after a couple of miles,

so I attempted to go out again on my own (Eeeek!!) and although I had a 4 mile flat easy run planned, I had to walk for a minute or so 4 times on my way round - I felt totally useless!!!! I think I was only going at about 5mph too :(

I am thinking about restarting the plan from say week 3, has anyone else done this for this reason? Many thanks in advance x

5 Replies

Hello. Yes I have made the transition from treadmill to outside and posted about it a few weeks ago. The secret is to run very slowly. It sounds as if you just ran too fast.

Also, your body needs to get used to running outside as it uses different muscles than it does on the treadmill. I'm taking it very slowly by doing just one run a week outside so that my joints get used to the harder surfaces. I'll then increase this as my body allows!

As an example, I was running about 5.5-6K three times a week on the treadmill at 8.2kph speed. My first outside run was about 3.3k and that took me about 39 minutes, so I was going very slowly. The second run was quicker at 3.6 in 23 minutes. So I think the safest way is to take it slowly in terms of speed and distance. Well done in getting out there and good luck!

1 like

Yes I have found this too. Its good in a way as you have done the basics indoors and will do better outside soon. I have managed this only by using a very flat run (the sea front - not such a good idea this weekend I admit) and starting incredibly slowly, jogging at a speed lower than my "train catching" walk speed! Good luck!


I'm making the transition from treadmill to outside (mainly due to the gym being so busy) and agree its tough going. Very hilly where I live so I had to walk a bit this morning too. I agree its best to run slower and allow your body to get used to the great outdoors!


i do a mix of the two out side when its fine treadmill when not, think the tread is easier as you can maintain the speed, i think like me you are probably going to fast to start off outside,


I did most of C25K on the treadmill and finally ventured out at week 7 and strangely found it easier. I think the treadmill is really boring and you are focusing on your speed, watching the time and how far you've run whereas outside there are distractions and the time seems to go more quickly. Just start off really slowly, it's not a race, you can work on speed and distance when you graduate and when Laura let's you know that you are nearly done, you can always sprint to the end if there's anything left in the tank!


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