Couch to 5K
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Its been 12 months since I completed C25K, here are some things I've learned to help others


So just a quick bit of background in what could be a MEGA POST! I'm 42, I was around 100kg (about 16 stone), and I had done no proper exercise for about 17 years.

I've read a lot of posts on here about bad runs (as well as good), and of course the community response has been its usual excellent, supportive self.

My goal had always been to COMPLETE the run. I seem to remember Laura kept telling me that time wasn't important, it was the confidence I would get from completing that would really help, and I found that to be the case.

I only had to re-run one of the week 5's (run 1 or 2), and although I remember being very daunted by the big jump in minutes at Week 5 run 3, I think this was the run that really helped me to believe that I could do it!

Psssst - want to know a secret? I STILL can't run 5k in 30 minutes! My best is 33 minutes and 45 seconds. It took me quite a long time to accept that the time/speed wasn't the purpose of the plan, the improvement in fitness/well-being was.

In the interests of brevity, I have a couple of final observations to make: (1) I wish I had stuck with the speed/stamina podcasts after I graduated - in fact, SPEED was the only other podcast I couldn't complete on my first try (and I was trying to make sure I did by running a bit within myself). I've found that my steps per minute/cadence is around 144, and I think that if I had stuck with the podcasts for longer, I would have trained myself towards a faster foot fall and in turn a better time. I'm now moving towards 10k, so I'm more interested in stamina first, but will then look to improve this again as its possible that is what is stopping me breaking 30 minutes; (2) James Corden once said "If you don't give up, you can't fail" - I've not always been able to stick to a rigid 3 x per week (illness, holiday, picking pesky kids up), but we all have real lives, and I've never considered it failure to only get two runs in. I've seen posts where there appears to be depression setting in over a missed run, but remember professional athletes do tapering before putting in championship performances - try to think about the long term and not beat yourself up in the short term.

That's it - blimey, that last bit was meant to be brief!



6 Replies

What a great post! :)

So right about the whole point being to improve and maintain our fitness. Just occasionally someone might start running to get fit and end up in the commonwealth games, but for most of us, most of the time, it's just about getting out there as and when we can and enjoying the moment.

Happy anniversary, and keep us posted about where the next 12 months takes you!


G'day Andy,

Great post. Where have you been good sir? That's some BRILLIANT advice right there... we're in the same age group and I was once almost the same weight as well... Our pace is also about the same on average so we could be running mates! :)

Great write up mate - you should write more about the fitness/wellness thing. I bet you feel a million times better than you did before you started...

Good luck with the 10Ks... endurance is very rewarding...


Andrew (ha! that's something else we share)... :)


Very timely advice Andy, for which thanks. I finished c25k last week and am somewhere between wanting to do B210k but advice seems to be do the speed/stamina/stepping stones podcasts first. As a newbie graduate (YIPPEE) the most important point I think you make is not to consider it a failure if things don't go to plan.

This programme brings such dramatic improvement in a relatively short time which is fantastic. But it also means expectations are raised for similar dramatic leaps in improvement after c25k. I have to be careful not to get into a self-demoralising competition with myself by setting the bar too high and then failing.

Today I ran outside, which I have only just started doing this week and it was just the best. Beautiful day, lovely countryside and any thought of time, distance and how I appear to others just melted away. James Corden and Laura are cool (even tho I hadn't heard of Corden until just now): not giving up and knowing this is now possible not impossible took me around this lovely run.

Keep posting!


Andy, this is a great post with pertinent advice. We do sometimes lose sight of the fact that most of us couldn't run for toffee before c25k and then we get all hung up about our time or distance or whatever. I guess us humans are naturally competitive, if not with others then definitely, with ourselves.

Thanks for posting.

PS where's your badge?


Excellent post Andy, puting things into perspective. Thank you


Many good points, thank you for sharing and congratulations on your journey


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