Couch to 5K

Bit of advice after week 9

Hello! I have been on the couch to 5k plan and I have just completed week 9! Absolutely amazed as I could not have been more of a couch potato before. Now I exercise every day and run three times a week. I was able to run for 30 minutes at my own pace with relative ease (pretty exhausted at the end but I got there)

On Saturday I decided that I would try and run for as long as possible as I had discovered that I have never made it to 5 kilometers at the rate I was going and I thought it was time to give it a go. I ran until I was exhausted, and then some and when I got home I measure the distance on google maps and it was about 4.5 km. I was really disappointed because I thought if i really wanted to I could have pushed myself that bit further, but, I realized it was probably the furthest I have ever run in my life so I should just be happy that I am on the right track.

On Sunday, I had a rest day, but this was the laziest of all rest days. I normally try and do a different exercise on my days off but this week I was definitely back to the couch.

So yesterday it was time for me to run again. I walked for abut five minutes up to my usual spot where I normally start running (so that I can measure the distance. I ran to the end of the road (about 2 minutes, maybe less) and my legs and knees just really hurt to the point where I had to stop - feeling kind of guilty I walked back to the start and started running again. This time there was a gradual build up of pain especially in one knee and at about 2km is i had to give up. My legs hurt all the way home and I sat down for about an hour after which it felt fine to the point where I was even able to do a workout dvd and they still feel fine this morning.

I am kind of annoyed because I have been developing really well. I did have alot of leg pain much earlier in the programme and admittedly on the longer runs - when I begin my warm down walk I half expect to fall over, but I have never experienced it like this. The annoying thing is I wasn't actually exhausted or out of breath at all.

This is where I really need some advice.

Am I feeling it more because I missed exercise on Sunday?

Or because I pushed myself to hard on Saturday?

Or is it something else?

Thank you so much If you have spent the time to read all of that! Any tips would be hugely appreciated.

10 Replies

No it's not because you didn't excercise on Sunday . Have you been doing post run stretches because I think it's important now that your running longer & have you got the proper footwear . You can expect quite a few aches & pains when you start this running lark , just take some ibrufen & use the ice packs on achy areas & see how it goes


Oh sorry congratulations too on your graduation well done


Maybe you're pushing yourself too much and your body is rebelling? From going from no exercise to exercise every day is good going but maybe a bit much. I've no idea what's best but if it were me I think I'd give the running a break for a couple of days at least, just do some walking or something else; you won't lose fitness and your legs might love you for it!


Oh yes, and meant to say, remember to do proper stretching!


That's good to hear! I wasn't sure whether to try again tonight but on that advice I may leave it a couple of days. Foot ware is a good point actually. My partener says that my trainers are fine - I think because he suspects I want to but nice ones and he thinks he will have to pay for them. I bought them last year but barely used them until i started c25k but they are pretty cheap ones and I wonder if they are really any good.


Also thank you Rockette - this is basically more satisfying than my uni graduation


Hi. Welcome and well done on finishing the programme. Have you applied for your graduate badge yet? There is a pinned post for this to the right of the page.

Re your problems with pain etc. Oooowwwwwcccchhhh! and many times ouch. It seems to me you have pushed yourself far too hard. If you have gone from no exercise to exercising 7 days a week (and I note you mention doing a workout DVD after that run on Saturday) then no wonder your body is protesting. Very few people manage 5K by the end of the programme - this can be worked on after you've completed the nine weeks and over a period of time. There are three podcasts which follow on from the C25K - Stepping Stones, Speed and Stamina.They will help you improve and at a safe pace all the time. We are only supposed to increase our speed or distance by 10% each week - you pushed yourself much too far on Saturday.

You need to take a good rest now for two or three days and then maybe try the podcasts I've mentioned. You could do some other exercise on your non-running days (make sure you take a non running day between each run day) but I would advise nothing too strenuous or for more than about 30 minutes. On your running days don't do any other sort of exercise. Have one day a week with no exercise at all. Hopefully, this should sort out the problems except for footwear. The trainers you mention are probably knackered by now with all the running you have done and it is probably time to invest in proper running shoes. These are not cheap but will help to avoid the risk of injury. You need to go to a proper running shop and get gait analysis to make sure you end up with the correct shoes for the way your foot strikes the ground. Hopefully, all the foregoing might help prevent problems in the future. Good luck and best wishes.


Difficult to tell but worth getting it checked out.. Congratulations on graduating... One thing I will say is that it takes me a good 2k before my legs and body stop moaning at me!! I hope it improves...


Congratulations on your graduation. Absolutely agree with Fitmo, do get proper gait analysis I did fairly early on - about week 3 and proper running shoes which gave the right kind of support made an enormous difference to how my knees and ankles were feeling. I'm absolutely sure I wouldn't have got to week 9 without them I think you have done amazingly well to have done it in trainers.

I am hoping to graduate by the end of the week and there is no way that I could make 5k at the moment; I'm somewhere around 3.5k,possibly a bit less. Rather than push my self straight away to run,longer ,further, faster I reckon I deserve a few weeks' consolidation, so once the programme is finished I just want to go out for some runs of about 30 minutes and try to get the point where I actively enjoy it whilst running, not just after I have stopped . Just a thought, but might be worth considering


I agree with you Azores, I am going into Week 9 on Sunday and once completed, firstly, I will be so pleased, but also my plan is to keep running 3 times a week for 30 minutes no matter what speed it is and then just see how that goes and settle into it until one day I find myself running for longer without meaning to!!


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