Couch to 5K

Help - I'm more unfit than I'd thought!

Me = I have had a battle with my weight for years, but last year when I gave up smoking, I ended up comfort eating instead! And I was made redundant, so ended up sat on my bum all day!! So now I'm about a stone over weight, and I can't do anything without getting out of breath :(


Today I tried the first session of the C25K podcast, and I failed. Ended up doing 2 lots of the jogging before I gave up and walked home. I was out of breath, I felt a little sick, legs were wobbly, but mostly I felt so depressed that I couldn't even manage the first session. I don't have anywhere private to run, and I am so embarrassed to be seen in public, so failing today was a real set back.

I am planning to go for daily walks before I attempt this again, but can anyone tell me, have they had this problem or am I too unfit/fat to run?

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Oh JoJo, don't give up! Well done for giving up smoking, if you can do that you can do anything. I stopped smoking last September & can't believe how far I have come. Guess I started c25k around April, partly to see if I could run more than 2 minutes in a go...partly to lose the extra couple of stone that had crept on. At week 5, when I was beginning to feel like a runner I also joined slimming world, now a stone lighter & a graduate of c25k, I know this route will continue.

Walk normally to a local park to do your run, there are so many others @ all stages to motivate you. Go at dawn or dusk to start with, wear running glasses, a baseball cap (all my tactics) until you don't care & are so proud of yourself. You CAN do this. Good luck!

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It doesn't sound like you failed to me! You did "2 lots of the jogging". Next session, you might manage "3 lots of the jogging", next session "4 lots of the jogging", etc. The road to fitness can take a bit longer than we wish, keep going though, it is the only way if you want to get there!


Hi JoJo, don't give up, you can do this! I found I was running too fast at the start of this programme and have slowed right down. Maybe try again taking the 'running' bits really slow. I know what you mean about being embarrassed, but everyone has to start somewhere. I personally like to find a quiet residential area to run - people may find that boring, but I like looking at the houses and gardens as I go! Plus, less people to stare - sure the majority of people are glued to their tv on the couch!


That was not failing. Failing would be not going out and staying at home on the couch. As Viam says, you succeeded with the first 2 parts of the session. That is your start point. Have a rest day, then get out and do it again. Do the 2 bits you can run and then walk the rest. See if you can walk the other sections at a slightly faster pace. Do that for a week and then add another run part. And so on. If you do it consistently you will get better over time and will be able to do all of it. And then move on to the next week. It doesn't natter ho long it takes you and it doesnt matter what poit you start from, only that you start and stick at it.


No way did you fail. You got up and went out.

Try slowing your pace. It may seem weird, but you should try a pace almost the same as your walking pace while you deal with the objections raised by your body.

I started at 5 stone over my ideal weight and have lost 1st during the program. So 4 to go.

Once I realised I was running for me, the opinions of others faded into the distance. Don't care what others think. You are on your way to a fit and happy future.


We are funny on This sight we never use the word fail, anytime you go out and try you derseve a pat on the back. I agree with doing a few weeks of walking. You will probably find out of the blue on one of those walks you will just try a little jog, then you will be ready to try again. When you do remember that not everyone does the full podcast the first time out. Believe me you we're built to run and you will. A little patience and a lot of perseverance you will get there.

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Slow down Jojo - don't go jumping to conclusions like that!

There is only one real test of a "failed" run: Did you get out of the house and do some exercise? If you did then that's no failure.

Not all runs go to plan, especially when you start out and don't know what your body is ready for, but that doesn't make them failed runs (unless you were actually running away from something that was going to eat you)! You got out. You did two runs. And you did more exercise than you have in a while. That sounds like a considerable success to me!

As for the walking, that's a really good idea.

I run with my cousin once a week . She can run 5k already and that's typically the run that we do. She doesn't like to run alone so she usually only runs once a week. During the summer she has been going out most evenings for a half-hour walk and, even though she can already run 5k, the walking has improved our typical 5k pace from 12m30/mile to nearer 11m/mile. That might not sound a lot but it's a very perceptible difference in pace. Now if a walk a day can make that much difference to a woman who can already run for 30mins+ it will make an immense difference to your readiness for the program.

I would suggest that you take a week just walking for 20-30 mins a day. Then, maybe do alternating 1 min brisk walk, 1 min gentle walk (say another week). Then maybe put one or two 1-min jogs into the mix for a week or two before starting the program again. I reckon by then you will be surprised at how much easier week 1 will be.

You have done the hardest part already - you got out of the house! Don't let this little setback put you off. Take your time and don't be so hard on yourself! Getting off the couch and getting out there is the biggest and hardest part.

Good luck!


Edit: while I was writing that (I got distracted) a half-dozen people have already said this, so anyway: What they ^ all said!

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Its all been said above, but out of interest which of these do you consider failure?

1) Quitting smoking

2) Signing up to this site and the program.

3) getting out there and having a go

4) Having the courage to post to the site your experience.

Ok so now what? First and foremost, welcome, over the next few weeks, months, what ever it takes, you will find this to be an amazing site, but I won't spoil the surprise.

Well done for giving it a go, that is the first and biggest step you will take for a while. You say you have been battling with your weight for years, well so have I and so have an awful lot of people you will meet here. To give you an idea I am the wrong side of 20 stone and reckon I need to be looking at losing 5 stone (at my fittest I was around 17stone) When I first started this I didn't complete the first run either, so I stopped for 2 weeks and went on daily walks, only round the block which was about 1mile. Timed myself and each day tried to walk just that little bit faster! I was amazed how quickly my body got use dot it.

Remember you didn't get overweight and unfit overnight so you can't expect to lose weight and regain your fitness any quicker and it is going to be hard. Your body is going to hurt, it is going to scream at you. Your ankles, calves, knees, hips are all going to hurt or ache at some point. When they do what do you do? You post on here and a dozen people who have been exactly where you are now will come and support you. What amazes me is the number of people that have graduated and stick about to help the likes of you and I.

The members of this site will, dry your brow, wipe away the tears, pick you up when you fall, support you when you need it, advise you when you ask and openly share their stories too. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other a few times a week AND report back how you get on (that last bit is vital)

I have been battling with my weight for 20 plus years, but upon finding this community I am convinced I now have the ability to succeed. 2 months in (roughly) I had a post this morning from a complete stranger that put tears in my eyes, I have actually printed it out so I can easily read it as often as I need.

So well done on your first attempt, take each day as it comes, there are no rules and strict time scales here, if you need 2 days between attempts take 3, but I am willing to bet that as you slowly start to get better you will want to do more, at that stage be careful. Remember the rest days are as important as the exercise days. and the exercise days are individual days, just because you have a good day one day, doesn't mean the next day will be better or even as good. But it will be another day you have done something and moved very so slightly closer to your goal.

Good luck


A beautiful and inspiring reply. I have only been here a couple of weeks and already think it is very special

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A stone to lose is nothing if you can RUN!

Walking is the bees knees and helped me on my road to losing 60 lbs. I borrowed a dog and set off into the wide blue yonder. That was in 2010. I walked him this morning, and have done thousands of times and I thank goodness we found each other.

Once I'd shed some lard I felt springy as if I could run - which I'd never done in my life - but the dog pulls a lot so I wanted to be able to run with him. Someone at WW class mentioned the programme so I borrowed a mp3 player (cheap skate I am) and off I went. It's the bees knees and you can do it! You just go really slowly. If you do get out of puff just walk til you get your breath back and have another go. Just keep going til the end. You'll be amazed at what you're capable of

Believe in yourself and the programme, and if you stick with it you'll do it. It might not be easy but there's no such thing in life as a free lunch. You have to push yourself a bit. The first run is always the hardest but never quit!

I had never worn trainers or lycra and thought I'd look like a whale so I drove myself to a country park and did the programme there where no-one I knew would see me. It was a lovely place to choose and I'm glad I did as there were no distractions, other than dogs and kids. LOL

I don't look like a whale these days cos I stuck with it. You can too. We'll be here when you get back and you can tell us all about it


Every single word said above is right.

The main thing about this program and the mad people on this site is that we do not do "fail" -

Instead of focusing on the parts of the run you have not done, focus on the ones you have done.

Chump pointed his finger in the right direction: look at what you have already achieved.

As for being out of breath, slow down - slower than your walking pace will do.

And remember that you were a smoker - I don't know how much you used to smoke a day, and for how long, but some of the side effects can linger on for a very long time ! stone overweight??? That is not much at all - I lost one just by running - and am trying to lose the remaining 2 by eating a bit less... (on principle I have never done junk - but I love dark chocolate!)

Keep at it, and keep posting - we'll be here, x

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"slow down you run too fast

got to make the breathing last

just jogging down the cobblestones

looking for fun and feeling groovy"

seriously, you need to run really slowly - as slow as you can. W1R1 is probably the worst run of the lot, and it does get easier. Next time you go out you'll get 3 sessions in, or more if you slow down. Make sure you take your rest days.

apologies to S+G


All of the above posts says it all. I have tried my local park early in the morning about 6.30am which is great,a few people about walking dogs etc or running ALL said morning in passing. Before that I run streets by where I live, yuk felt to embarrassed and to many hills.

I am a couple of stone overweight and have began to lose some. Week 1 was okay, week 2 not so easy so co tinued with week 1 then twisted/tweaked my ankle on uneven ground while camping, last weekend. So will restart from week 1.

The advice on this site/posts are brilliant.

PS you got out there that is not a failure but success, keep trying.😃


I walked for 30 mins most days for about 6 weeks before I tried week 1 run 1.

Me - Lates 40's, overweight, stopped smoking last year. Very very very inactive. (work from home too, so not even a walk to the office).

I took several weeks to complete week 1 run 1. When I first started, I could only manage 20 seconds at a time. I slowly built up from there. So managed a few 20 second runs, then next time a few 30 second runs, then more, then a couple of 1 minute runs, then 4 of them, then 6 of them, then finally finished Week 1 run 1.

Friday past there, I ran 10k in 1 hour 27 with no stopping.

It can be done, you can do it, believe in yourself.

I'm still about 2 stone overweight, but it's coming off slowly.

I've got over the embarrassment thing, just had to be done. And yes there's nothing worse than imagining people staring at all the wobbly bits !! Tough. Doesn't bother me any more. Saving my life is more important !!

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Yep , I think everyone who passed me on my w1r1 (yesterday) was taking notes of how badly I was running. Plus the wobble of at least 2 stone of "extras".

I realise that it's me that I'm improving by doing this.

Let them rip up those notes by my week 9 runs - here's hoping!

I'm on my feet most days so that's helped my w1r1. Take it easy and keep at it regular , I'm sure I'll repeat week 1 too rather than going too fast and getting injured

W1 buddy


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Hi. I just started week 2. Of course redo week 1 if it's a huge struggle but if you can do week 1, then trust the programme. I wasn't convinced in advance but everyone here said to just go with it. It is designed to take you slowly on a journey.. I managed week 2 just fine despite really doubting myself in advance. Good luck


Joho.. You are not "too" anything.. I havr many stone to lose and sadly there are few larger role models showing women enjoying exercise. Please try not to feel embarrassed. In my experience rather than laughing at me, my fitness regimes are seen as inspirational, or so people say. A colleague saw me running and made a point of telling me how much she admired me. It wasn't patronising, she just liked the fact that this middle aged overweight woman was out there having a go and having fun.

You can do this..


Don't you just love this Community, I cant say anything that hasn't already been written above.

You are doing brill, you are off the Couch and that's a very big step, a much bigger step than a lot of people.

I took up C25K as a way to exercise after stopping smoking, I am no spring chicken.

I have stopped worrying about what others think of me, just take your time, a friend had been doing the walking for 6 weeks before he even attempted the running bits, but he is now managing the running in between the walks. You can take as long as it takes to complete this prog doesn't have to be 9 weeks.

So listen to this wonderful running community- you are now part of it--even if you are walking!


Don't give up... One much do you walk in a day? If v v little, you need to start walking as much as you can, taking the stairs, never use a lift etc etc.... And when you do the runs take it very is NOT easy, don't expect it to be, but grow your determination and grit as that will serve you well in life 😀


It being a C25k in 9 weeks is a bit of a misnomer - some people (ugh!) do it quicker, lots will take longer.

Week one is the hardest. It is hard because it is physically demanding, making your body do things it probably hasn't done since school but the really hard thing...OMG people seeing you out and about making what you believe to be a fool of yourself.

These 'mind gremlins' will see you stop before you start. They are the ones telling you that you 'failed'.

As some sage-like poster on here said before, how can you fail? Fail what? It is not a test. No-one is timing you. No-one is checking on you. There is no tick list/medal/wooden spoon. Only you.

No-one you pass whilst out really gives two hoots. We imagine that they do, that they think all of these things - but that really is our own negativity seeking a way out. Ignore it and do it anyway. As I have said before, do you think ill of people you see? I doubt it. They are no different.

Why not start the program by slow walking then brisk walking for the 'running' portions. You won't be the first or only one. The key is going really slowly. Doing the exercises for the length of time prescribed is the key NOT how fast you do it.

Repeat week 1 several times? Again, you won't be alone. But a failure. Nope, not a chance. Not possible to fail. Only fail to start changing.


You guys are brilliant, thank you all for your positive comments.

I haven't been on a run since, but I have done some walking, although the weather has put me off a bit as it's been really heavy rain.

I am going to try walking each day to start with (as many of you suggested) and then I will attempt to run later on. I would like a treadmill so I don't have to go out in public but space is an issue and I fear the noise may upset the people living below.

I am determined to do this, even if it takes longer than I'd hoped. And it's great to know that I have support on this site :)

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