Couch to 5K
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Hi folks, first-time-poster here :)

I've nearly completed - just did run 9.2 today. I've always used Map My Run to check my pace and distance etc. I have been worrying a bit that I would not reach 5k by the end of the program, but I decided to trust Laura & focus on finishing each run, and not on going fast.

However on my 9.1 run I only went 4.6km (including the warm-up & -down walks). Today I decided to just keep going until I reached 5k, because after last run I did feel like I could keep going. Well I ran 4.65 km before I was too exhausted & had to stop, which took me 42 mins. I feel a bit disappointed that I'm obviously going so slowly & it's making me not want to graduate while I still can't do the full 5k. I feel like I should just keep running until I can do 5k in 30 mins, and then do the 9.3 run, so I don't feel like a fraud :p

Any advice? Has anyone else not made it to 5k by the end of the program? I was so looking forward to doing my first Park run, that's what I've been focusing on throughout the whole thing, so am quite disappointed that I still can't do 5k...

17 Replies

Welcome to the Forum, Softkitty. I only graduated yesterday so treat everything I say as total piffle BUT... Do not worry about the distance, it is how long you run for which is important. I became obsessed with distance rather than time and started running far too fast for my fitness level which resulted in my not finishing a couple of runs. SO run for 30 mins - graduate and then start aiming at the 5K. Our bodies are going through major physiological changes which only scientists with very big brains (and me) can understand. Some of these changes happen best when we are not pushing ourselves to the absolute limit but taking it relatively easy. The speed will come with time. THAT IS ALL. :) Well done getting to Week 9 - Isn't it fantastic ?


I am a couple of weeks behind you and have been using Map My Run too. I ran the first run of Week 7 on Sunday and covered a slightly shorter distance than you, but I was shattered by the end of it! I have run today and taken my pace down. Ok, I didn't run as far, but I felt much better than I did on Sunday. I think there is plenty of time for us to get to 5k. I am like you and wanting to do a parkrun, but we will get there :0)


Don't worry. You are not slow. Most of us don't manage 5k in 30 mins when we graduate, the goal of the programme is actually to run continuously for 30 minutes, whatever that distance may be. If that's 5k then it's a bonus. Some of the younger chaps do it (damn them!) but not many of us ladies.

I was also running around 4.6k in my week 9 runs last year. Keep at it, don't try and race yourself and you will speed up naturally over the next weeks and months almost without noticing it. And try a parkrun anyway, they are a lot of fun and there is no time limit to finish. Happy graduation!


Most people don't reach 5k by the end of the programme (including myself!) But the aim of it is to get you running for 30 minutes... the distance can come later!

Don't be so hard on yourself - look at how far you've come! x


I wanted and was determined to do 5k by the end of the programme. I did the 5k for my graduation run, which I was inordinately pleased with but it did take a lot longer than 30 mins. I have completed 6 park runs now and the fastest I have managed is 34 mins but I can do 5k. Don't put 5k and 30 mins together, go for one or the other and work on getting them together after you have graduated. If you are worried about doing the 5k as a distance, slow down from the pace you are currently running at....and do the park run anyway...lots of people run, then walk, it really doesn't matter. The important thing is to give it a go then you'll have something to base your post grad running on. Very best of luck and don't be disheartened, you're doing amazingly well to have got this far...


tsk, tsk, tsk, softkitty. Sounds like "soft" part of your name is very suitable. That is a HORRIBLE pace, young lady. Horrible! Sloppy, even. Can't even run 5 km in 30 minutes, and you call yourself a runner? Pffft!!! I seem to recall there was a chap last year who also didn't make the mark. We all laughed so hard that he never dared show his face here again!

That, obviously, was incredibly tongue-in-cheek. You're doing amazing if you can run for 42 minutes when you're just about finishing a program that focuses on teaching you to run for 30 minutes. Amazing. you should be totally proud of yourself. Don't worry about the distance, it will come with time.


Very few people are doing 5km at graduation, the name of the programme is misleading. The object is to run for 30 minutes, which if you do 3 times as week 9, you've graduated fair and square. I only got to 5k in 30 minutes months after week 9. It'll come.


Have a look at this and do stop beating yourself up about not reaching 5k. Some do, some don't and it really doesn't matter. You are running for 30 minutes.....brilliant and well done.

As for Parkrun, plenty of people walk part of the course and they are still cheered across the finish line, so please do go and take part in one of the most inspirational movements you can find anywhere in the world.

There is nothing wrong with setting yourself targets, but with running you have to constantly reappraise your targets to match with reality. At present I am injured and am preparing to go for a 5k walk, just to see how my leg copes. If that is a success, then I set another target to gently get myself back out running.

Good luck with your graduation run. We look forward to your report.


I reached 5k a couple of weeks after graduating and now do it weekly - it's all about the 30mins 3 times a week not about 5k - the graduation badge is awarded for 30mins W9R3 completion so no need to feel fraudulent :)

Good luck with your graduation run :)


I wonder if there is some way we could have a sticky on this subject as this 5k in 30 mins misconception is by far the most FA's Q on here.



It is on the front page in the top right-hand corner.

1 like

Very sensible advice from all those above.

"Couch to 30 minutes" was not as catchy as "Couch to 5k". The the aim of the program has been, is and always will be to get you running for 30 minutes, 3 times a week. You could listen again to W1r1 podcast when Laura sets out the objectives "to run for 30 minutes or 5km".

Running attracts all ages and all abilities: we can't all run at the same fast pace. The pace really does not matter at all. If you gradually get faster, great. But I'm never going to be as fast as JuicyJu, or Mo, or Aftabs. I'm happy plodding on.


This has been debated a number of times. Official line is 30 mins OR 5K. Sticky link in earlier post by IannodaTruffe. Onwards!


Yes, I was covering about the same distance as you, now I've graduated I have done 5K non stop exactly twice....46 mins and 42 mins....most days I don't have enough energy to go that far...30 mins is all you need to at this stage, don't wear yourself out. You'll have your shiny badge very soon!


Much as I love my own choice of activity recording programme (Runkeeper), I feel they are a b***** menace when you are doing the programme. You absolutely do not need to know how far you have run or at what pace, you just need to listen to Laura.

My first 5k took me over an hour as I recall.


As with many hundreds on here, I too didn't manage 5km at graduation. That was back in March.

However, yesterday I ran 16.2km (1h40 ish) and even though I have cracked the 5km in under 30 minutes many times since, there are many times when I don't either - yesterday being one again.

Give yourself a pat on the back and go get that graduation badge. You totally deserve it !!!


Thanks for all the kind and helpful comments. I had read the post on the official graduation requirements, but my query was more that I seemed so far off 5k I worried that I was running far too slowly. I had a look through previous topics but couldn't see any around speed and thus thought oh no, I must be the only one :p

Anyway, I graduated on Sunday :D Didn't run 5k - didn't care :) I am so proud to be able to run 30 mins. I previously had severe insomnia for 10 years and was too tired to even walk for 15 mins. Once I recovered, I had lots of physiotherapy and daily excercises just to be able to walk again, but I never thought I'd be able to run. This programme is so amazing and I have already got a couple of friends who have started it. I'd recommend it to anyone - it really does work!

And thanks to all you forum folk. I never posted before but I checked in a lot (especially when I was finding it tough) and found the encouragement on these boards essential to completing, so thanks!


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