Couch to 5K
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I only run twice a week... next podcast is Week 5

Hi all,

I have just joined the forum and wanted to know if anyone else only runs twice a week?

I have a weak vastus medialis (teardrop muscle) on my right leg. This means my knee can get a bit sore. I tried running 3 times one week and my knee told me off the next day! I am working on some strengthening exercises for my knees on rest days.

I am managing well doing twice a week (I do each podcast 4 times before moving on, so two weeks for each Week's podcast) but am about to start week 5 podcasts. I was thinking of doing Week 5, 1 & 2 this week, and 2 & 3 next week, but wondered if anyone else has a similar routine and has any tips/experiences to share.

I get the impression that Weeks 5 and 6 are key to progression and don't want to get this wrong!

9 Replies

Hi Ruthie, I run twice a week. I found 3 runs a week too much and got overuse injuries whilst following the programme, hence it took me ages to graduate, nearly a year. I now run happily twice a week, 5 to 10k and am tickety boo.

You're doing great, listen to your body, the programme is a guide, take it steady, you will make it!


1 like

Hi Ruthie, sounds like you are being really sensible about this and have a good idea what your knee can take. Best to make steady, achievable progress rather than forcing yourself on to the injury couch.

You are doing great so far so suggest you have confidence in what your knee is telling you.

Will that weak muscle strengthen up eventually? In the meantime, a few extra weeks on the programme has to be better than time out due to injury.


Thanks for your advice, both. I run on a Monday and Wednesday and by Wednesday my knee feels slightly uncomfortable, but is fine again after 4 days rest.

I am thinking of trying Sunday/Wednesday to see if the extra day in between helps, but after a couple of false starts right at the beginning, I have been through podcasts 1 - 4 over 8 weeks with no real issues.

I hope the muscle will strengthen over time, but with a family history of knee trouble, I think it may always be a weak spot. My problem is that because this muscle doesn't take it's fair share of the load, I then place too much strain on the bottom of my hamstring and my knee cap/hamstring aches afterwards.

I had to give up learning badminton because the twisting and turning was too much for it to take, but was hoping the running would be less of a problem.

Didn't think I'd make it this far tbh, so I'm chuffed with my progress. Week 5 looks to be make or break, though...


Hi Ruthie,

i think everyone expects week 5 to be really difficult, but with the preparation you have undertaken, it is more of a continuation of progress rather than a big step.

Are there exercises you do to target the weak muscle specifically? that way you could develop it rather than use other muscles to compensate?

Let us know how you get on and best wishes.


I have found this exercise very good for targetting the right area: but have only been doing it for a couple of weeks, so a bit early to see any improvements.

I may also try leg raises from a seated position, as I have ankle weights I can use.

My concern about week 5 is more the stress on the knee than the fear I can't physically do it. I agree that each week prepares you for a significant improvement the week after. I didn't think on week 2 that I would be able to run for 5 minutes by week 4, but look at me now! :-)


I only ran twice a week during the programme as I was swimming as well. I just did the podcasts in order, sometimes I had a longer rest between them. Why not give that a go, your body will soon tell you if you're doing too much x


I just did the runs sequentially with no regard at all to actual weeks. I mostly did a couple of runs per week at first and later on just missed the occasional run.


Hi! I originally started couch to 5k last year but running 3 times a week was too much for my shins, so had to give up at the end of week 2. Since then I have been building very slowly back up to the timed runs and am now managing 6 minutes of running interspersed with walking. I'm going to start the podcasts again soon and think your idea of doing each one 4 times over 2 weeks might work so much better for me too! Excellent suggestion, thank you! Happy running!


Just thought I would post an update.

I did W5R1 and W5R2 on Monday and Wednesday last week. After R2, I was limping due to getting pains in the ball of my left foot. So I iced it, took Ibruprofen and wore a good pair of walking shoes for a couple of days. All gone by Saturday...

So, back on plan to do W5R2 again today before moving on to R3 on Wednesday. I was on a treadmill for a change, which seems much kinder on my knee and... got to 8 minutes jogging, felt so good I carried on... and on... and completed 20 minutes non stop! R3 completed with no knee worries! Go me! :-)


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