Couch to 5K
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Stepping Stone

Help....having had a week of running to my own music gaily I decided to do the first stepping stone today. It was a shocker no doubts! First the walk warm up bit was about twice as fast as I was expecting then the 150bpm was supposed to be resting speed but nearly finished me off. For the first time ever I gave up after 10 mins....just don't have anywhere near that level of fitness yet. So what do I do now - I need to get my speed up but slowly not immediately doubling like this....anybody got any tips please?

11 Replies

I sometimes do Stepping Stones and my tip is - just walk the slow intervals! You'll pick up speed eventually! You may prefer Stamina


Happy to see I am not the only one!! Tried Stepping Stones on Friday... I got completely out of my normal rythme, my breathing all over the place, and I ended up giving in after about 15 mns (with some walking in between and a change of podcast to try and get back in my run as I had never stopped or given up before!!). No wonder I can't run 5k in 30 minutes!! I have decided I will try it again at a later stage when I feel a bit more like a proper runner!!

Good luck for next time!!


Someone on here suggested doing Week1 again, jogging the walk bits, and upping the pace on the run bits, that may be worth a try. x


My advice is... Stick with it. Take short, small steps. I love stepping stone. It's not easy, but it is structured and that's what I missed after graduating. We have a tendency to slouch forward when we're tired but don't. Consciously stand tall and look ahead. When tiring, take smaller steps. You will improve and your stamina will increase. Don't give up. Easy to say I know, but I know how disheartening it is to go out and have a poor run, especially after graduation. The + podcasts are worth their weight in gold (in my opinion), giving much needed structure. Running is not easy, but perseverance will prevail. Leave bad runs behind where they belong. I'm 3 stone overweight, diabetic and work crappy shifts... If I can stick with it, so can you!! Trust me, it'll start coming together soon enough.

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Hi, I posted some info on fartlek training under week 2 of the Spring to Summer quest which you may find useful.


The link went "404".


Oops, sorry, the post looks like it's been moved.

A fartlek session can be either the easiest or hardest thing you do all week. It’s a Swedish term meaning ‘speed play’, and it basically consists of fast, medium and slow running over a variety of distances.

Here’s how a typical fartlek session would work. After a steady warm-up, simply pick a landmark – for example a tree, lamp-post, or phone box – and run to it hard, then jog until you’ve recovered. Then pick another landmark, run hard to that, recover and so on.

There doesn’t need to be a set structure to the run. For your first quick burst you might choose a target that’s just 100m away and sprint to it flat out. Then for the next hard run you’ll see something 800m away and stride towards it at your 5K race pace.

It’s entirely up to you how hard or easy you make the session. Unlike track intervals, fartlek doesn’t require you to set a distance to run, or a time to recover. A watch isn’t necessary (although in the absence of landmarks you can use one to pick different times for your hard sections), as you listen to your body to determine your recoveries. After a hard spurt, jog until you’ve got your breath back, the lactic acid has drained from your legs, and your heart’s stopped thumping. Then go again.

If you want to add a bit of specificity, short, fast bursts will help you sharpen your pure speed, which is most important for races like 5Ks and 10Ks. Longer periods of speed help to raise your anaerobic threshold, which improves your speed endurance – ideal for 10-milers and half-marathons. In reality, though, both of these components contribute to good race performances at any distance from the mile to the marathon, so it’s best to mix and match the length of the bursts.

If you want to add an unexpected element to fartlek training, run with a friend and take it in turns to call the next fast leg.


Interesting. Thank you.


You probably gave up because you didn't know what to expect and how long you need to do it for. I first listened to speed in my kitchen and did it all on the spot. My next time I went out it felt good as I knew what was expected and it's very short. I now use this first then carry on to complete a 5k - it is surprising how much faster it makes you! Don't be disheartened give it another go and wishing you all the best! :)


Hi Beachy_2014

After graduating I downloaded the C25K+ podcasts and completed the Stepping Stone and Speed sessions once before crashing and burning trying to do the Stamina session. To be fair, I tried a new route that night and ended up at the bottom of hill with another 5 minutes to go and just decided that it was just too much.

After that, I had a succession of bad runs where I had to stop for a couple of mini (100 yard walk) breaks - once just after 5 minutes.

In hindsight, I think the bad runs were, once again, down to me as I'd completed two Parkruns both in 36 minutes and I was really trying to get a little bit nearer to the magical 5k in 30 minutes.

Sadly I got a bit fixated in trying to improve my time rather than just enjoying the benefits completing the programme and generally feeling fitter. Also, I just couldn't see how I could possibly run 5k in 20% less time and considered it a "mission impossible" challenge.

Since then, I returned to the basics and have run for the enjoyment and I have mixed things up with some short sessions, some hills (often with some walks to reach the top) and also some interval sessions - including going back to week 1 and jogging the walking bits - as mentioned before and have not run with a watch or looked at the times. And, last Thursday morning for some unexplained reason I went back to the Stepping Stone podcast and ran 5.1 in just over 33 minutes.

My advice - take it steady, don't push yourself too hard and too fast and just enjoy being out.

If you're anything like me - just a few weeks ago - I was a long term couch potato and now I'm disappointed that I can't run 5k in 30 minutes - how crazy is this!!!



im talish so stepping stone was ok for my stride, but if i was you i would keep doing week 9 of ct5k till your fitness got up better, dont try stepping stones again for another couple weeks, do 2 more weeks of week 9 then maybe try again. keep up good work well done for getting this far.

anita from buxton


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