How long could you run non-stop for before C25K? - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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How long could you run non-stop for before C25K?


One thing I wish I'd done before worked out how long I could have run non-stop for before it. Just so I had a record and could keep reminding myself of the progress I am making.

Thinking back now I remember feeling like 3 minutes in Week 3 was really hard (and 1 minute in Week 1 was far from easy!). I almost can't believe now that that can really have been the case, seeing as I can run 30 minutes now as my "standard". Is it possible that that really was my limit?! I certainly was very unfit but perhaps it was a mental thing too?

What about you? How long could you run for before C25K?

57 Replies

Hi Sarah,

I'm just embarking on week 7 tomorrow and I remember being exhausted after week 1. I couldn't run at all so each week I've felt I've made progress I'm so happy. To be able to run for 25 minutes solidly if virtually unbelievable for me.

How about you? When did you feel you were 'doing' this!!!!!

Elsie xxx

sarah469Graduate in reply to ElsieW

Hi Elsie,

Well done on getting to Week 7 - I have no doubt you will go all the way if you've made it this far! Once you have Week 6 under your belt I think the rest is history as they say ;) Not to say Weeks 7-9 are easy, but I think by that point you definitely have the belief you can do it. Week 9 for me was just about enjoying the final runs and looking back on how far I had come.

I did the programme a few months ago, June-August, but I remember that Week 5 Run 3 was the tipping point for me - running for 20 minutes and proving to myself that I could was amazing!

Sarah xxx

ElsieWGraduate in reply to sarah469

Yeh I think it was the same for me actually! Running for 20 minutes seems impossible at week 1 but how amazing it feels to get this far! What a great post, thank you!

Elsie xxx


Before starting the programme I could literally not run for more than about 3 feet.

The whole programme felt hard for me but just proved to me that I could do it! ☺

sarah469Graduate in reply to Noaky12

Amazing - well done :)


60 seconds was a veeeery long time for me!

sarah469Graduate in reply to ViaM

I remember Laura talking me through those 60 second bursts - it feels so strange to think I was that tired after such a short time now! But we all start somewhere :) And most of us on here from the same sort of place it seems!


I didn't run at all, I was doing some slow cycling and walking but never ran anywhere!

sarah469Graduate in reply to JoolieB1

I didn't run at all either, but I am more wondering how long I -could- have run before the programme if I tried! And I don't think it was very long at all!


60 seconds in w1r1 were the longest 60 seconds in my life. I walked a lot and could swim a kilometer without stopping but had never ever run before and just couldn't do it for any longer than that. (It was a big shock as I thought that the fact I could swim a km meant I was reasonably fit - but apparently it wasn't transferrable.)

sarah469Graduate in reply to ajwyld

I swam too before, I could swim for ages and not feel tired really, I think I wasn't pushing myself very hard but I could maintain a slow pace for a long time. But I agree it's not at all relateable as running is a whole different ball game for me. I also find running much easier than cycling, out of those 3 cycling is really a struggle for me. Need to make my legs and bum stronger, as my physio says!

ajwyldGraduate in reply to sarah469

I only tried c25k because the pool shut for maintenance for 3 months but I'm so glad I did. I need to get back in the pool, if nothing else to see if the running has had any positive impact on the swimming. (Will have had a 2 year layoff due to viral labrynthitis but planning to start again in Spring.)


See that 60 seconds?

That was it. Thought it would never end :)

I had to lay down for a good 30 mins after my first run. I honestly don't think I had actually tried to run for a good 30 years and the 60 seconds really was just about my limit! Ran for 2 hours today and could have gone on for longer - what was I doing being so sedentary for all those years?! :)

AncientMumGraduate in reply to agedsnailspace

Tis true -all those wasted years before we discovered running. Those school PE teachers of yesteryear have a lot to answer for. If you weren't fast you were a waste of space. It never entered my head before c25k that it was possible to run for fun. :)


To next doors but one. This takes me slightly less than 20 seconds now. I can now also run a non stop 10k in about 1hr and 10 mins !


I couldn't run at all. I can recall thinking I wanted to die even on a 60 second run.

sarah469Graduate in reply to misswobble

I remember gasping for breath after Week 1 Run 1, more than I ever have since!


I can remember being desparate to finish when Laura piped up that I was half way through the session. Whaaaaaaaaaat? 😤

sarah469Graduate in reply to misswobble

There was definitely one week where she said it was the last bit and I did it and then she said "now another walk" or something and I am pretty sure I cursed her under my breath... Sorry, Laura!

HelsbelswhatamIdoingGraduate in reply to sarah469

week 2, 5 out of 6 run! I can still remember it from last week!

Hi Sarah, I used to do low impact aerobic classes a while back but hated jogging. Never did the star jumps. If I had to run for any reason I could manage about 10 paces then collapse and almost wet myself...

So finding i could do the runs when I started c25k was a big surprise. Thanks to Laura I haven't looked back, and 30 mins is my standard run time now too.


It's free too....

Hi Sarah I couldnt run very far before starting c25k but now I feel more energised and can run for longer this plan definatley works :)

Starting week 4 tomorrow and so in awe of you graduates xxx

sarah469Graduate in reply to Snowgoose

I hope you're enjoying it, keep at it. Nothing to be in awe of, we were all where you are now, just X years/months/days ago - as you can see from these replies! and I have a lot of respect for you doing the plan at this time of year, I had it easy in the summer I realise now! X

Snowgoose in reply to sarah469

Its quite good doing it in the winter I think, it forces me to get out into the fresh air on gloomy winter days.... I've joined a lovely friendly running club, so they are one of my three runs a week and are motivation for me xx


not sure that i could even run!!!!! lol

sarah469Graduate in reply to carerof

Haha! :)


The only time I ran before C25k was to the newsagents over the road to get some fags before it closed ! :-) xxx

sarah469Graduate in reply to poppypug

👍🏻 and now you are the mentor of us all :)


I could not run longer than the song Jumping Jack flash on my ipod. Well, actually the first verse.....


I am not sure it would be a good idea to do a test... after all, lots of people try to take up running by just getting out there and running until they can't run any more. It is not particularly pleasant and they are more likely to get injuries. Hence the gradual NHS C25k programme.

I started because I found it too painful (during and after) to sustain a brisk walk for long (20-30 minutes) I still find brisk walking disagrees with me, but have run continuously for over 2 hours. It is a much looser movement.

sarah469Graduate in reply to GoogleMe

Hi GoogleMe, I totally agree that just "running as far as you can" is not the way to go about exercising, but I just thought it would be an interesting topic for us to discuss to see how far we had all come :) and probably one run to test the waters wouldn't hurt - it sounds like it wouldn't have lasted long for most of us anyway :) but you are right!


It's funny because I did the 'test' I ran for about 20 minutes straight before I started the program. However, because I started so fast I absolutely hated it, would stop and collapse and say I couldn't ever run. Usually this is because I went with people who could already run!

So basically the program didn't directly 'improve' my time or even speed right away- but hugely increased my enthusiasm and most importantly my belief I could be a runner and just had to take the time to set realistic goals so I felt good when I did them. And now, ran 9k in an hour yesterday!

sarah469Graduate in reply to beatricerose

Great, interesting to hear your story! Well done on 9K! I haven't gone much further than 6.5K I think

Probably about 2 mins jogging until I would have to stop as my heart rate when through the roof, I couldn't catch my breathe and my legs were burning!

I have ran for 10 mins on a thread mil a few years ago, its amazing how the outside elements can effect your running.

Starting Week 3 tomorrow so it should be interesting to see if these previous weeks have built be up enough to do 3 min runs!

Doodles123Graduate in reply to HybridHayley

Interested in how you get on as I am at the same point & dreading the 3 mins tonight. Don't feel like I can do it.

I think we will be ok, it might take some will power and mental strength to not give in to fatigue.

Just slow right down if you feel like your not going to make it.

I will let you know how I get on tomorrow :) let me know how you do this evening.

I am sure you will be fine.

Doodles123Graduate in reply to HybridHayley

Thank you - all moral support welcome!!!

How did you get on?

Doodles123Graduate in reply to HybridHayley

OMG - it was absolutely fine. Not even a huge struggle. Couldnt believe it. Was so proud of myself last night. How's yours going

That's awesome! Well done.. making me feel a lot better! I am doing mine after work later today. I will let you know how I get on.

Week 3 Run 1 was great! Felt the burn which was encouraging... I doubled the clothing layers as it was freezing, I soon warmed up on the first 3 min run!

Next run Thursday.

sarah469Graduate in reply to HybridHayley

Well done ladies! :D x

Doodles123Graduate in reply to HybridHayley

I've done second tonight. Unbelievable but wanted to keep going & on last 3 mins I just kept going for 6.30 mins. Was stunned but wanted to see what I could do. I know it breaks rules but wanted to push myself. 2 weeks ago I couldn't do minute without turning purple!!!


W1R1 was a real trial. I only got through on willpower, my body gave up half way through. I hadn't run further than 'for a bus' in a long, long time


Last time I ran before I did c25k this year was cross-country at school,1966-1970, didn't do much then, think I opted to do other games.

Never realised the full benefits of running then...

So yes, starting c25k was a killer for me to, but glad I did..😊


Only 1 minute but saying that I'm only just moving onto week 3 tonight and 3 minutes seems like a marathon. Really worried I won't achieve it.

sarah469Graduate in reply to Doodles123

You will! If you can do Weeks 1 and Week 2 you can move to Week 3, trust in the programme :) look at all the people above who were at the stage you are at now and managed it! If they can, you can! Believe in yourself, and well done for sticking with it!


Good to see you are still going ! I struggled in week 1 to do a minute. Im still going now. I dropped my running to 1 run a week and now im paying the price. Im back to 25 minute runs on my treadmill and im off outdoors again this week . Im still determined to do my park run !

sarah469Graduate in reply to rich_wolves

Hi Rich, yes, just about still going! I'm down to run one a week now too but I blame the weather and fully hoping to increase that again in spring. Also having knee pain which is making me a bit wary so trying to do the strengthening exercises my physio gave me. Just find them boring. Well done for keeping at it, in whatever form! Hope you get to parkrun too.

rich_wolvesGraduate in reply to sarah469

Hi Sarah, I get really bad calf pain in one leg which I know is down to technique. I actually have a Gym right next to my office and I mean right next to my offices. So , I'm kind of contemplating joining that as they offer a personal trainer as part of the package... It's funny we both started couch to 5k at the same time and both dropped to one run a week in the winter. I have to say, even though its mega boring, buying a treadmill is helping me. I go straight on it after work now. I will definitely be back to running 5k's by the end of Feb! It's hard to start again so, knee pain aside, don't let it slip too far... even a few weeks off made it hard for me to get back running even 2k!

sarah469Graduate in reply to rich_wolves

Thanks for the encouragement :) I'm seeing a physio to try and sort my technique out too. We'll have to check come spring that we have both kept it up! I have an exercise bike but it is a clothes horse at the moment, just find it SO boring compared to running!


I remember years ago when I used to go to the gym, that I would warm up with a 5 minute jog on the treadmill. In reality, I couldn't manage to run for more than 5 minutes! So it felt so good to get past that part in the plan :)


I couldn't run at all. And always thought of running as the worse experience from my school days.

The buzz of actually making it through that first run, absolutely red faced but so happy, was brilliant. I set the first 20 minute run as a milestone. I ran in old Tshirts and shorts up until then but said if i make it past that race I will buy myself some proper gear; it felt like such a massive treat!

Now I am a few weeks from graduating and looking forward to maybe entering for a run in the summer but, lets not get ahead of ourselves :)


20 seconds was all I could manage of the first 1 minute run on R1 W1 !!!

I ran 10 miles on New Years day (10.5 months later).

I'd walked 30 mins a day 5 times a week for a month prior to starting C25k, and prior to that had been totally inactive for nearly a year, not even leaving the house on many days. eeek !

Before couch to 5k I struggled with a one minute run :-D

I can do the 5k now (and did a 10k a few months back with no problems)....but I am still very slow. I wouldn't call what I do's definitely more of a jog! Xx

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