Couch to 5K
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Does the distance matter?

As I've previously posted elsewhere, I run indoors at present on circuits round my sitting room and kitchen. I've measured the distance and count one lap as from the cooker back to the cooker. Today (Wk5r1) I managed a total of 1.2k in the 15 minutes of running. My walked sections are further - around 2k - because of the longer stride.

Does the distance matter? I find the runs fairly easy - not really out of breath, but boy my calf muscles burn - and try to keep to Laura's image of somone on a hedge the other side of me not knowing whether I was running or walking. At this rate, however, 5k would take me over an hour and I thought the idea was to run it in around 30 minutes...

I'm hoping that fretting over the distance will distract me from the looming 'run for 20 minutes without stopping' phase.

Any feedback gratefully received.

14 Replies

To be honest, it would drive me potty running round and round inside. I would also imagine that you have to negotiate corners and presumably avoid furniture, and even if your house is BIG, your circuit is not very big. In all honesty, how many strides do you get in before you have to go round a corner? If you took the plunge and went outside I think you'd go further when you're running because you would be able to get into your stride more. Why not try it?


Hi gh_b_mum I can't begin to imagine how frustrating your laps must have become, you must feel like you are tethered to a leash. You must have built up some stamina and also fitness so bite the bullet and get outside you really will be amazed at how wonderfully free you will feel. Don't worry about people looking at you most will probably be thinking "I wish I could run too" I don't know where you live but have a look at your area and map out a route for yourself, you can make it a circular route from your own front door, or do an A to B and then return the same way. But be kind to yourself and change your kitchen and sitting room for fresh air and garden views, after all we women spent too much time in the home and running is for fun and fitness ;)


Thank you both. I would run outside, if I could. Unfortunately, I can only run between 05:30 and 06:30 due to other commitments and I live in a very rural area, but on a main through road, with no pavements and no lighting. The surrounding woodland is too wet to run in and the nearest park is four miles away - I don't drive. I don't have (can't afford) a treadmill, so I do the best I can. Once the days are longer and the weather improves, I do hope to move outside - I'm not bothered about what others think if they see me - at the end of the day my health is more important - but do need to be safe. The eye condition that prevents me driving also means that I have very poor (almost non-existant) low-light vision so I would be a danger to myself and others - especially those drivers that come out of the woodland at around 80mph because it's a rural road!

I must also admit that I don't find it at all frustrating or boring, perhaps because I know there is not really any alternative at present, or perhaps because I'm just a boring person. I am so thrilled each time I can actually complete a run that that more than compensates for anything else. Also, because I don't have to be careful of surroundings, I can fully concentrate on my breathing and technique, so there are some compensations.

The circuit is small, 17.5M, but only only four corners so not too bad.


I don't think you are a boring person at all: you have the chutzpah to make the best out of your circumstances. I'd rather know you than some people I know. Keep on running. What you are gaining in terms of concentrating on breathing and technique will help in the long term.


I'm really impressed by your commitment! I think you're doing a great job under the circumstances, and I'm sure I'd have given up by now with such a limit to what you can do. Hope you get some light mornings and suitable weather soon so you can get out and I'm sure you'll love it once you can. Of course your safety has to come first, and I hope we haven't planted any seeds of doubt in your mind about how fulfilling your current routine is.

As a matter of interest, do you change which way round you run (between running intervals/days, not at the end of every lap)? Presumably if you run clockwise, your left leg/foot is doing more work than your right so that you get round the corners (very impressed there are only 4!)

To go back to your original question - it doesn't actually matter about the distance. You're working on increasing your fitness and stamina by increasing the time you spend running. Many people don't run 5km in 30 minutes when they graduate, but they graduate because they can run for 30 minutes without stopping. If you run through woodland you will probably find that you're not super-speedy then either (not that many of us can be described as super-speedy), because of the care you need to take with your footing. Others on here may be able to give some advice about "trail shoes" which might help you feel more confident about your footing when the time comes.

In the meantime, keep going and enjoy your running!


Good for you for having a go but I suspect you will find you will cover twice the distance when you get outside & can run in a straight line. You cannot possibly get up to full speed in a 4.5m straight - that's only about 4 or 5 paces...


gh_b_m I admire your determination and only hope that the surrounding countryside dries out soon so that you are able to get out side. You are absolutely right, you need to be safe. If you have any fields close by perhaps a friendly farmer would let you run around the perimeter once its drier, so long as there are no animals in the field to be frightened by you, or indeed you by them. Have you thought about trying to buy a treadmill off Ebay you never know you may be lucky enough to pick one up for a song!?! Good luck with the program and do keep in touch and let us know how you are getting on.


Good for you! Lighter mornings are on their way and you'll really enjoy getting outside then and will already have some fitness and confidence to build on. I would say there's no such thing as a too wet woodland IMHO - at least I really enjoy sloshing along knee deep in water, it is the fallen trees that present more of a challenge.

No the distance doesn't matter at this point. I'm still a long way off a 30m 5K, and even with the whizzy 'when I've lost all the rest of the weight I need to' calculation someone popped up here recently I won't be quite there.


You are a trailblazer!!! Like the other posters, I admire your determination, but your adaptation of C25k is so far from most people's experience that we are unlikely to be able give much useful advice. I live on the edge of a country town and loathe running on the roads, especially in the dark, but also find that my footpath routes are waterlogged, so I totally understand your situation. Keep it up, don't worry about the distance and look forward to getting outdoors. You may need to adjust your position in the C25k scheme when you get outdoors, because you will find it very different but I am sure very rewarding.

Keep running, keep smiling.

1 like

IannodaTruffle. Just a very quick note - I always love reading your posts because you always give so much encouragement and support. Thank you for taking the time to post and give your advice.

gh_big_mum - best of luck to you in your running programme. You have made the best of what must be very difficult circumstances. I could well imagine another person in your situation might well say that they wouldn't bother with running. Your attitude has shown that you don't need any fancy gym memberships, equipment or clothes to get moving. Like the other posters here, I agree that once you get outside, I think you will find things are different. I would reccomend that you do get something like a hi-vis vest for when you start running outside. I live in a rural location like you, and find that when I go running (5:30am), generally things are quiet. However, a hi-vis vest is a must, for your safety as much as anything else. You can get some for as little as £10. Also, when I run on the roads, I only keep one of my headphones in, so that I have a better chance for listening out for traffic and getting out the way if necessary. In the mean time, please keep going. As you will hear in the podcasts, the aim of the programme is not to run 5k in 30 minutes, but to get you running continuously for 30 minutes. I completed week 7 (25 mins) before stopping due to injury and then restarting the programme. I was covering 3.5km on average when running for 25 minutes. That equates to about 4.2km if I had managed to get to 30 minutes. Not far off being able to do 5km in 30 minutes but not brilliant either. The key thing is just to keep going and have faith in yourself. I think you are an inspiration for doing the best you can, no matter what the constraints.


Thank you all so much for the encouragement - you are a fantastic bunch of people.

oldgirl - thanks for the pm - next on my list to reply to.

IannodaTruffe - don't think I've ever been called a trailblazer before! Thank you

Tanyag163 - thank you too. i do have Hivis which I use when walking so that's not a problem. One earphone is the norm anyway as I am deaf in the other ear, but because of my visual and audio challenges I have pretty good surround awareness. I don't intend to use the road unless I can help it - I am surrounded by the beauty of God's creation and so will use the woodland as much as possible. Just about two metres of road from house to footpath.

Again, thank you all so much for the support and encouragement. I shall keep going and look forward to running my first parkrun in the late spring.


Just a thought, but didn't someone mention running on a mini trampoline recently ? Lots less expensive than a treadmill, and could make a change for you ! Also maybe in the longer term you could find a running buddy for outdoors ? A friend of mine is legally blind (he has some sight but below legal definition) anyway, my hubby is one of a number of people who have learned how to run with him as a guide. Your sight might not be at this point, but having someone with you to spot hidden obstacles could help. (My friend has several guides as he tends to wear them out !)


ooh like the running on a mini trampoline idea - I saw one in a charity shop recently too. Buddy idea is great too, but 05:30 starts might be a bit early for some and those of my friends who are already runners are too fast for me. Still it is something to aim for, so thank you.

runningnearbeirut - yes, i do switch things around a bit and sometimes, if I'm not counting laps, I even run in 'element' pattern in the sitting room, although this does involve more turning.

I'm just trying to get myself going and have always believed that what some see as obstacles are actually challenges we can choose to overcome or give in to. I like to think I am creative in the way I approach challenges. I will also pick up on the tip about trail shoes. I currently run in my walking shoes since I am indoors and I know they are comfortable and don't pinch/rub etc.

Thank you all again for the support and encouragement. Wk5r2 tomorrow - I'll let you know how I get on and then r3 - which I am now facing with much more optimism.


You are an example to us all. Enjoy your running, however and wherever you may do it. My very best wishes to you.


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