Couch to 5K

App timing has messed me up…help!

So I’ve got myself in a bit of a tiz during this run and quite annoyed/upset but possibly unnecessarily. Opinions/advice appreciated. Sorry this is long but I’m on a bit of a rant.

I’ve been sort of thinking for a while that the timing on the NHS C25K app isn’t quite exact - sometimes I feel I walk a lot longer in the warm-up walks than other days. But for some reason it’s never occurred to me before that that might feed into the actual runs, I’ve always just thoughts I was walking quicker on some days.

Today my session was W5R2 - 5 mins walking, 8 mins running, 5 mins walking, 8 mins running, 5 mins walking.

31 minutes total right? Except my Fitbit app which I was also using to track exercise says the session was 47 minutes.

The first walk felt ages - I remember looking at my watch at about 7:55pm not too long before the first run, and then I set off running, quite apprehensive about whether or not I could do it. Well I run about a third of my normal route, start flagging and then start feeling that it really must be over… keep waiting for Laura to say “You have one minute left, keep going!” but it doesn’t happen. Well I start walking, thinking something must be wrong look at my watch and it’s something like 8:11! And the app still says I have over half of the running left!

It sounds a bit silly but I sort of panicked because I’ve been so enjoying using the app and ticking my achievements off, and suddenly I didn’t know what to do. I stopped for a few seconds, thought seriously about giving up, but decided I might as well do the second 8 mins. I think I walked a few minutes (not the full 5 though) skipped a couple of tracks on the app, and got to the start of run 2. Timed it this time - started at 8:15, finished at 8:24 - look at app and it still says I have 4:50 to go…what!

Same thing happened on the final walk, timings all messed up.

Now I’ve got all sorts of thoughts running through my head - has this been happening the whole time?! What do I do now? Did I complete W5R2, I’m annoyed with myself for stopping in a panic after the first run as it's the first time I've ever stopped when Laura hasn't told me to, but at the same time I think I ran for about 10 minutes beforehand…maybe more! At least I kept going and did the second run!

Has anyone else had this problem? I’m wondering if it’s because I had the Fitbit app timer and the C25K app times going at the same time? I guess I should use the podcast but I was really enjoying using my own music with the app?

I was just enjoying the structure of the intervals and now I feel like that’s all gone to pieces!


My main question is should I go straight on to W5R3 (the big 20 mins...!) or should I repeat this run?

EDIT: Thanks to those who have replied, I've had a shower and recovered from the run now so thinking more clearly - taken everyone's advice, full steam ahead for W5R3 on Thursday with the podcast!

(If anyone's interested, I'm doing a podcast v. app timing comparison of W5R2 - and app is currently 7 mins behind podcast!)

12 Replies

Sarah, this is all a smokescreen to get out of W5r3, isn't it?? :-)

Please DO go onto W5r3 next time: you are ready.

The App is famously flaky in regard to its timing. We hear this all the time.

2 suggestions:

-1: Use the podcast instead and enjoy?? the eclectic music

-2: Before using the app on a run, terminate all other apps that are open. I don't know how to do this on Windows phone or Android, but with iOS, double-click the home button and swipe up each app, one by one. This removes them from memory and may make the C25K app more reliable.

Well done for getting this far. Everyone who's graduated and used the app has had some dodgily-timed runs, so don't worry.


Oh gosh, thank you for the reassurance! I had no idea it was a known thing - there should be a neon sign somewhere!

I'm mostly kicking myself for stopping when I realised the problem and not at least carrying on walking which is where my doubts are coming from, but if everything had been alright with the times I am pretty sure I would have been able to do it all no problem.


I always used the podcasts and never had any issues with the timing. Maybe it is the app that has the problem ?

By all means go onto run 3. Listen to your body. You'll know you are ready and will be so chuffed when you've done it.


Thank you! Feeling better now I've recovered from the run - W5R3 with podcast, here I come!


Hi Sarah, I had issues with the app way back at the start of the programme and got myself into a right tizz, repeating runs and walks just to make sure I covered that weeks run. To this day I have no idea how long I ran for during that session ;-)

My advice would personally be to move on and put the experience behind you. I would however recommend downloading the podcasts, which is what I've been doing ever since. If you click this link, they're at the top of the page I just download them session by session and I've had no issues with them, in fact I prefer them.

Ps, i've just come back from w4 r3, can't believe I start w5 on friday!!!!! (Agh).


Podcasts downloading now, thanks for the link! I'm playing through W5R2 - the music is...interesting...but it's something different! On to Run 3 on Thursday!

Well done for completing Week 4 - so far I think Week 5 is all about pace and mentality! You can do it!

1 like

Hi Sarah,

Yes, the app has a tendency to be a bit flaky, to say the least. A lot of people have given up on it and downloaded the podcasts from itunes and use those instead. The disadvantage is that you can't use your own music with them, but at least you know the timings are right.

As for whether or not you should repeat the run, well from what you say you've done more than required for the run. So personally I would go on to W5R3 and see how you get on.

1 like

Thank you - I'm feeling better now and will try W5R3 on Thursday!


I had this problem. Just relieved I was doing more and not less! I started to wear a watch so I had s bit of an idea myself!

1 like

Using split timer on suunto watch. The app is so far keeping close but I'm only on week 2.

Thanks for the heads up . I'll not be confused if it departs from my watch!



To reiterate what the others have said - download the podcasts. They run nicely with the Fitbit app also running in the background (which I use). At least then you know that they are running to time! (Apart from that one time when the other half used my iPhone and set the time to 1.5x and was then gutted he'd not run for long enough, but meh, he'll live)


I use the C25k app by Zen Labs not the NHS. It doesn't include a voice coach (laura?) but it seems to run accurately and you can play your own music over it too!


You may also like...