Couch to 5K
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An easier C25K programme

I am now doing this C25K programme - but when I first looked at it 2 months ago , I decided that for me (at age 68) it was too much for me. So I did this one from the Mayo Clinic instead Designed by the quite famous marathon runner Jeff Galloway, it starts out much more gently - with run/walk periods of only 13seconds/45seconds -- but for 30 minutes instead of this NHS C25K programme of 20 minutes. It was ideal for me and I got right through the 9 weeks easily ( anyone? can run for 15 seconds !) and, I started to do Parkruns with it after a few weeks, averaging around 38 minutes for the 5K, with weekly runs up to 7 K long . I am now up to week 3 of the NHS C25k and finding the longer running periods to be my downfall. But I will try to keep it up and see how I go.

9 Replies

Hi Bazza1234

wow you are doing so well. I started running at 54 and struggled with it at the start but I was put onto a few tips which really helped me with both cardio and leg strength to do the 5k

1 did a mixture of cardio leg strengthening exercises on alternative days

2 went to hot yoga for a 12 week stint

3 went to a sports physio who gave me some hip loosening stretches to do (this helped the most)

I downloaded free exercises from to do at home but there are plenty more websites to go to

keep it up


Hi Paul

Thanks for the encouragement. I did a Parkrun yesterday and struggled with it a bit - have been thinking it through since and firstly it was quite hot and humid( 25C at 80%) - and I also have come to the conclusion that I have been getting a bit too confident /enthusiastic and running too fast, thus getting my heartrate up into the anaerobic zone when I have not yet developed enough cardio fitness. I am going to get my Heart rate Monitor out and get my rate down to training about no more than 114 BPM ( for my age) -- I am not interested in speed over the 5K's - just to be able to do it in a manner such that at the end of it, I can feel like I could do it all again. My ultimate interest is to enter into the 14 Klm Sydney City to Surf race this August


Hi Bazza

im in Brisbane so know what you are talking about. Seriously try out some hot Bikram yoga and they really helped with my cardio fitness. Yoga seems strange but you wouldn't believe how you heart races and you dont even leave the mat. They also show you how to breathe properly and keep your heart under control.

You can join the for $10 and you will get personal workout programs to suit your age, fitness level, goal and available time. Its a annual membership and you get to choose preferred exercises and up the ante as you become fitter

good luck and stay intouch


I know that Galloway advocates alternation of very short running and walking phases right up to marathon level for most people. I've read reports of people doing 60-second alternations, who finish up overtaking loads of people in the last few miles of a marathon, because they are still reasonably fresh while the others are exhausted.


Yes -- this is what I have been doing 60sec/60sec intervals. If I start to get tired, I cut back to 30sec/30sec intervals. I have to admit though that I have almost started to become reliant on this method and have also been taking it a bit fast. So, I have made a pact with myself to stick to the C25K programme for now and also to slow down to try to improve my stamina and endurance.


Bazza1234 you are an inspiration! I am going to think of you whenever I am struggling or feeling my age (I am 54). Also I am sure there are people here who started running this Winter and long for the nice weather but I know from my previous running days that running in the heat is hard, much harder than running in cold weather. I am guessing you might live in Sydney? Lucky you, it's just about my favourite place in the world. Good luck from (not so sunny) England!

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Warm and muggy Brisbane -- although I woke up this morning and it has rained a little - the first I have seen in around 3 months!!


Well, I guess the NHS version C25K is (unsurprisingly) designed for a British climate...

I don't feel that even shorter intervals necessarily help beginners. I found NHS week 1 really difficult because it was so hard to pace myself. I still find Week 1 difficult but I can run 7k (which takes me an hour and 20 minutes) I do also do intervals but what you're trying to do with those is rather different than just learning how to sustain running for 30 minutes and more.


I would say, and I don't know what I'm talking about, if you know what I mean, that if you're managing a 5k in 38 minutes, you're doing pretty well - there are lots of us on here that are completing it in that time and running all the way. Why change what you're doing, if it works for you (and it sounds as though it is) just so that you can say that you are running all the way rather than intervals of running/walking? You are out there exercising your body - hats off to you!


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