An old timer needing some feedback from C25Kers

Hi all you budding runners. I graduated about two and a half years ago and had moved on to running hills and trails, but still look back at the C25K programme as setting the foundations for everything. I also lost 1/3 of my body weight at the time, so if you're doing C25K to lose weight, stick in there - it will happen.

To my point though. Way back, a group of us discussed the fact that one of the problems with C25K is that it's a solitary effort - just us and Laura keeping us company through the podcasts. We discussed the idea of setting up local groups where Couchers could come together, working through the programme, supporting and encouraging each other face to face rather than only online. I've persuaded my local running club to set up just such a group in Falkland, Fife. The group is running under the banner of Jog Scotland (the same as the equivalent system in England), and I've done their jog leader training in preparation for it.

The plan is to run 3 x ten week blocks each year, each block taking a group of folk through what is basically the NHS C25K programme. We'll be based in a local estate, well away from the public gaze and will be jogging through woodland. We'll meeting each Saturday morning for a group session (followed by tea and a biscuit), and the Couchers will do their other two runs whenever they like before the next Saturday. I'd be really grateful for any feedback you might have - if you were joining the group, what would your expectations be? What would you want from the group? In fact, would you find any value in being in a group at all - or are you happier running on your own? That kind of stuff.

If you have any thoughts, I'd be grateful to hear them. Thanks in advance, and happy couching!

10 Replies

  • I think this is a fabulous idea... I was also thinking today that we should all do a meet and all do a run together ;-)

  • Hi Malcy - just a quick reply. I think at the very start I would have been too anxious to join a group but after a couple of weeks might have gone back and started at the beginning again with one. I imagine one difficulty would be the very wide range of speeds and abilities, if someone needed to re-do a week or an extra run and so got out of sync would it be more detrimental early on than . Actually I think it is a great idea and probably be very successful so well done and good luck. Glad you are still enjoying your running.


  • I like the idea but thinking back to when I started I was so unsure of my ability to run I'm not sure I would have joined a group. I wonder if you got people in groups of similar ages and stipulate beginners only so that everyone is at a reasonably similar starting point? A local running group has a beginners programme but I see them along the pavements with quite a range of abilities and ages - and stragglers - and have never wanted to join them (it clashes with another commitment anyway), probably because I thought I would be the straggler. It did cross my mind as to whether I could start a group of fiftysomething women who hadn't exercised in quite a while.

    I do like the idea that you will be taking them away from public gaze as I certainly sought out areas I was less likely to have an audience for my puffing beetroot face!

    I don't want this to all sound negative as I think done in a well planned way this could be really good - just giving my perceptions when I first started as I don't care who sees me now.

  • Hi, I think this is a great idea, I think there are likely to be small problems as Linda mentions; people needing to redo a week etc, but the concept is fab.

    I love the idea of being on an estate around woodland.

    Let us know how you get on, I would imagine your local GP's will love to refer people :)

  • Hi Malcy I've often wondered what you were up to! The God of Hell Fire lives! :-)

    I Returned here a short while ago and found it as active, supportive and fun as ever. Your idea sounds great, I suppose as has been said, the main challenge after getting people to join will be keeping the group in synch but with the commitment of a weekly joint run and face-to-face contact that may be easier than doing it ourselves. The area you will be using sounds great.

    Not sure if you've looked around the 'new' site but it hasn't stood still and some of the folk on here got together and produced an approved poster to be put in Drs surgeries to raise awareness of C25K. (Good old joined up NHS means many Drs are not aware of it.) can't do the link at the moment but searching it should bring it up. Maybe an avenue to explore?

  • Good to hear from you Malcy. Your parkrun times were always my targets, you being just a bit older and (dammit) just a bit faster than me. How's it going now?

    For those who would want to run in a group, while completing the programme, your plan is excellent and good on you for getting it sorted. I know that I would not have wanted to run as part of a group at that stage but would have liked to have met others who were going through or had graduated from C25K, for social and motivational reasons and possibly for occasional runs post grad. Personally, I think that the programme is best completed solo, but can understand that some would like a running buddy.

    I would be willing to be a contact for a South West England NHS C25k group, but cannot devote time to leading runs etc. The poster that AnnieW55 refers to, can be found via Please use it in any way you wish. We have approval to make changes without running them past anybody. So if you wanted to change Linda's story to another (now your tale of removing the crap from your diet would be perfect), then feel free.

    Good luck.

  • Following on from AncientRunner and Helen's comments regarding different abilities and stragglers. This will be easier as you go along as you'll be able to recruit from recent graduates, but how about more 'leaders' so you can split into smaller groups if necessary?

    Other than that, I think it's a brilliant scheme to start up.

  • When I did c25 k a joined a beginners group. I eventually stopped going as I was always one of the stragglers and felt everyone was always waiting for me so preferred running on my own. Although everyone is starting together there would be a range of abilities so having two groups would work as people could go in the one they felt would suit them.

    I really enjoyed the social side though so think it is a great idea well done

  • As things get going, it might be fun to have a new group cycle start each week so that those who want to go slower or have an injury or need a repeat can join in wherever they need to be.

  • This happens in my nearest town, Lampeter...and it's free!!

You may also like...