Couch to 5K

My c25k journey

Today I graduated after 5 and a half months. I always love reading about other's journeys, so here is mine...

Throughout 2013, I'd been swimming reguarly (2 or 3 times a week) But in August my local pool closed for 2 months for maintenance. For several weeks I had been reading posts on a weightloss club's message board from people doing c25k.

I was curious. I had never been able to run in my life. At school I was always the kid picked last for teams. But I needed to find something to do while the pool was shut. So one day I dug a pair of trainers out from under my daughter's bed, put the podcast on my phone, and gave it a go.

Well I really thought that r1w1 was going to kill me. The second 60s "run" was the longest minute of my life - and I include unmedicated childbirth in that ! But I made it through, and the next day I went to the shop and bought myself some new trainers. Finished week 1, finished week 2. I thought I was on a roll. On w2r3 my knee hurt a bit - but I ignored it

and moved on to w3r1. BIG mistake. I completed the run (BIGGER mistake) but my knee was really painful. Spent the next few days wearing my husband's knee support under my clothes, and went to see my GP.

He thought I'd probably bruised my meniscus and that it would sort itself out eventually. But sent me for an x-ray "just in case there is an underlying problem". Well, there was. I have misaligned kneecaps - so instead of moving back and forward in the v-shaped groove

that is there for that purpose, they scrape along the bone, causing moderate osteo-arthritis. My GP started muttering about surgery. I started thinking that running wasn't for me. But the GP also sent me to see a podiatrist - who fitted me for insoles, designed to realign my legs - which in turn realigned my knees. I wear them pretty much all the time, and they really work! After a couple of weeks my knees no longer hurt so I decided to give the programme a very cautious second go. (The idea being that if it caused my knees to hurt again, I would go back to swimming). But amazingly, my knees didn't start hurting again. I made it through the week 3 barrier while we were on holiday in Rome early November and kept working though the programme. Weeks 4, w5r3 and even w6r3 went well. I started thinking I could do this running lark. Completed week 7 and downloaded week 8, then woke up one morning feeling dizzy.

The dizziness turned into an on-off (but mostly on) feeling of seasickness. Several visits to the doctor followed throughout December while he tried to work out what the heck was causing it. By Christmas I'd been signed off work for 2 weeks and was a very unhappy bunny as I still didn't have a diagnosis, but felt crap. Fortunately we spent Christmas at home and had a very relaxed day with friends. However my ears also started feeling

"funny". This led to an ENT referral and FINALLY a diagnosis - inner ear problem, probably caused by a virus - and also a referral for vestibular therapy to fix it. This co-incided with me starting to feel better (I suspect that the virus was wearing off - also I think that knowing what the problem was helped). I had been managing to go out for walks several times a week more or less throughout, and found it even relieved the dizziness (ENT said this was plausible).

So, early January I tried to give it another go. Tried week7 and really it was too much. So 2 days later tried w5r3 - and managed it. I was so happy. Grinned thougout. Started working through the programme again, repeating runs, and taking 2 or 3 rest days sometimes (I still have dizzy days - I don't run when I feel dizzy, I walk instead) and finally this morning I completed w9r3. I am so chuffed that I managed it - and so please with myself for not giving up when I got sick! I guess I have a big stubborn streak.

My distance is only 3.5k, and I'm doing jantastic, so I've set 4k as my February goal and may set 5k for March (though I don't expect it will be in 30 minutes).

Some useful things I've learned along the way:

don't ignore niggles, get them checked, but there is probably a solution

don't ignore the rest days - and take more if you need them

tena ladies !

this isn't a competition - no-one says you have to complete the programme in 9 weeks!

If I can do it, really anyone can !

12 Replies

Hey ajwyld, congratulations Re your graduation. It's always interesting to read about people's journeys and I'm definately amazed at your persistence, dedication and determination. Lesser people may have given up long before and I congratulate you on your endeavours. It must be extremely satisfying knowing you have jumped many a hurdle to complete the programme. You also sound very very sensible with some of the challenges you faced. You give extremely sage advice and I'm sure all of us have probably experienced a niggle here or their. I can foresee you making great improvements now you have graduated. You should be delighted with your achievements and has been accomplished through your own hard work, perserverance and having the desire to succeed. Fantastic post and best wishes. M

1 like

Congratulations! - now go and get that shiny graduate badge. You've certainly earned it!


Well done on your perseverance and conquering all the problems thrown at you during your journey. It is truly amazing how this programme works for everyone. It sounds like you have become as addicted as the rest of us.

Enjoy your running and do not get concerned about distance!




Well done you! Hanging in there against all odds. I take my hat off to you

Happy running


An inspiration!!! Thanks and well done x


Well done! (I'm quite impressed at the way the NHS has worked to help keep you running, and get you feeling better ) Lots of practical rather than 'positive' thinking. You're a brilliant example. Enjoy your running!


Huge congratulations.....that was a great post. Well done for your perseverance and determination in seeing the programme through to the end.

Anyone just starting out couldn't fail to be inspired by what you've written.

Well done and Happy Running :)


I second all the previous replies . You're a star.

Thank you for sharing. :)


My goodness, what a few horrid months you've been through! But you've come out of the other end smiling and victorious - fair play to you!

I think you're absolutely right to say this isn't a competition, we are all here with the same goal but I think sometimes we tend to get hung up on the statistics - what's most important that we are doing the activity and not how far or how fast we are doing it! And, what's lovely about this forum, is that there are people genuinely supporting each other regardless of what level they are at, which I think is awesome!


What a great post. Thank you for sharing your story :) and congratulations!!!


It took me two attempts and seven months, well done for seeing it through to the end and best of luck with your continued journey!


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