Couch to 5K


I have tried a variety of interval approaches as part of my efforts to improve both stamina and pace. I have tried short sharp intervals - running as fast as I can for a minute, slower for a minute, repeated multiple times. Today I tried what I think gets called the 1/1 method, i.e. run 1k fairly fast, walk a minute, repeat multiple times (in this morning's case I did 4 sets). I have to say it seemed quite effective. What have others done and what has worked best?

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Was thinking about trying this method that someone put up. Heading back to Week 1 or 2 but using the run time to really put speed up and see if I can get anywhere with improving speed performance.


I started using the C25k+ Speed podcast, as recommended by runningnearbeirut on this forum and am gradually working my way through the Run Faster ones from

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I've been using two different sets of intervals:

The one focused on sustained speed: Warm up by Jogging 1 km slowly, run 1 km fast, jog 1 km slowly, run 1 km fast, coold down by jogging 1 km slowly again.

The one focused on pure speed: Warm up by jogging 6 minutes slowly, then 1 minute fast, 2 minutes slow, 1 minute fast, 2 minutes slow (repeat as many times as you like) and jog slowly for a short while to cool down.

I think they both work well, but the one that is hardest (and therefore possibly "best"?) is the first of them.


I more or less do the second. Also I do it a little slower with an incline, which hurts.


I don't enjoy running fast, but I appreciate it helps get my speed up for my distance runs a bit too. I have tried all sorts, but I have decided that, for me, I just run as fast as I can for as long as I can (which isn't that long, though I did keep it up for 1k last week) and then walk till my strength comes back again, usually 1-2 mins. No defined intervals, just hell for leather then recover and repeat for a few k. It seems to work, as my longer runs are quicker these days, though I won't be breaking any records any time soon. It's just for my own amusement really.


Can't be much help here I'm afraid. I am proud to have upped my number of speeds from "stop" and "walk" four months ago to "stop", "walk" and "run". I'm happy with that for the moment; I sneak a peak at the C25K + podcasts from time to time, but I'm scared they bite.

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Hello Coddfish!

We're on the same mission!

However, i think i'm guilty of trying too many things without the patience to wait to see an effect!

I'm certainly no expert but from the little i've read stamina and pace are two different things in training terms... two specific types of interval form SO:

CARDIO (stamina)

is all totally manageable ... shouldn't feel murderous but changes work demand, for example, 60-70% effort for ONE and recover at 50% effort for TWO.

ONE and TWO can be 30 seconds with 1 minute, 1 minute with 2 minutes, 90 seconds with 3 mins etc but the ratio should be 1 : 2 for a max of 8 repetitions depending how long your ONES and TWOS are .... and the whole exercise episode should be max 45 mins say including warm-up 10 mins EASY RUN and 10 mins warm-down EASY RUN.

I also really like the kind where you go up the clock so to speak so 1 min faster 1 min easy; 2 mins faster 2 mins easy; 3 mins faster 3 mins easy; 4 mins faster 4 mins easy 5 mins faster 5 mins easy et al til el collapso :-)

Both of those combos sound much easier than what you've been doing!


these should be dreadful! Typically 70-80% (as you get better, 80-90%) effort for ONE and 60-70% for FOUR (as you get better,THREE).

Suggested in this case your ONE stays at 30 seconds and your FOUR therefore 2 minutes with a maximum of 5 repeats and including a longer warm up and down EASY run of 10 - 20 mins each!

As i've understood things, interval sessions aren't supposed to be long-winded affairs, time-wise, just intense and effective. Hmmmmm, i'm taking the long-term view and giving myself the job of sticking with it for enough time to see changes (that may be years for all i know, never mind hey!)

Also, my information was largely robbed over time from "Women's Running" which cruises by my Twitter feed now and then ...

All the best on your mission!


I've just started the Speed podcast one and i really enjoy it.

I've only done it twice though, so can't say if it is having any effect yet.

I prefer 'time' based intervals rather than 'distance' based, as I don't have any fancy gizmo to measure distance and I'm not running on a treadmill, just out and about.


Thanks everyone


I do a swimming training programme in which the 25 length sprint section goes sprint a length, rest 10 seconds, sprint 2 lengths, rest 15 seconds, sprint 3 lengths, rest 20 seconds, sprint 4 lengths, rest 30 seconds, sprint 5 lengths, rest 45 seconds, then unwind the 4, 3, 2, 1 in the same pattern. It is hard but doable. I can see something similar working for running.


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