Couch to 5K
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Hi all,

I have decided to do the Couch to 5k and started tonight.  I am very unfit, so decided to do the 5 minute walk as suggested, and then did 1 minute runs (as suggested) and 2 minute walking gaps in between (so slightly longer intervals).

I was okay, but my groin started to hurt a bit after about 4 runs.  Not sure what to do, but I think the week 1 set is too much for my body which is pretty bad *sighs*

Any suggestions to help running without causing injury?  I did a good long warm down.


12 Replies

Welcome, and well done for making the difficult first step and starting! I'm also a newbie, will hopefully (weather dependent, as I'm not going out in storm Katy, no matter how keen I am!) do my W1R3 tomorrow.

Not sure about the injury, although is there any possibility you have been trying to go too fast on the runs, knowing it's only 60 seconds? Did you include any stretches on your warm down? After my first 2 runs I've done the stretches as shown on the NHS choices couch to 5K website. No idea if they do any good, but makes me feel like I'm doing something right! 

Keep posting on here, there's loads of really helpful supportive people. I'm sure someone with more experience than me will be able to answer your question about staying injury free.



Hi there- it's excellent that you are getting stuck in. Well done! Slow is the name of the game in the early weeks. Some of us even commented that during the first few runs we could probably have walked faster than we ran! For run 2 make sure any pain in your groin is gone before you start and take those running sections really slowly. Have you got running shoes? If not, get some as this will help with reducing impact etc. Good luck and keep going! 


Well done... You have taken a brave leap. A few suggestions: 1. run v v v slowly, when you have finished the programme you can work on speed. 2. Invest in some proper shoes- go and get your gait analysed, it will make a big difference. 3. Do each week twice or 3 times until you feel confidant to move on. 4. Have you seen your GP prior to starting? It's a good idea, especially if you are new to exercise, just to give you the OK. 5. Good luck 😎


Please just do the programme... don't fiddle with it! Is this the NHS Couch to 5K programme  (via podcast or app)? Because there are others, similar but some are a bit shorter in terms of weeks and slightly different goals. It sounds as though you are trying to do this 'by yourself' - which is possible but harder.

It took me a minimum of 12 attempts (anything up to 18, I lost count!) to complete 3 Week 1 runs successfully... but after that I didn't have to do an extra repetition of any run. 60 seconds sounds do-able which is why we try in the first place... and it is do-able but it is so easy to go too fast... not necessarily 'fast' but too fast for our purpose and current state of fitness given that the object of the exercise is to learn to *sustain* running not sprint 100 metres.

I think I'd disagree with JuicyJu about seeing a GP unless you have a known health issue (in you or your family) - which might include being seriously obese (just to check) or are not aware of your blood pressure (could check that at a pharmacy) - unless you have a gut feeling that you should. I also feel there is no real merit in repeating a week you have successfully completed - you can if you want to, after all there is no rush to get to the end. Right now you haven't completed one session as per programme... and I feel you need to get back on the 'horse' within a few days and dispel those negative feelings.

I do agree about checking out footwear given the groin pain you've had, and if there's any possibility of running off road, do take it as it is less hard on your body, especially whilst you are learning to pace yourself.

My strategy for not losing heart during all those Week 1 attempts was that I did the programme and the moment I had to stop running during what should have been the run segment, I walked for the rest of the podcast (still listening to Laura) and did not try to run again that session. That way I had a clear marker for progress the next time. The first attempt I managed 4 runs - which was more than I expected and half way, so a triumph. The next time, 4 again so I had not slipped, another triumph... and worked my way up.

I have had four years to reflect on the experience of Week 1... and it is still a bit of a bugbear of mine and I can run continuously for over 2 hours now. Not only was I trying to run too fast (think different motion not different speed) I was walking too fast (for me) 

Do get out there again - give yourself the best chance of success with podcast, footwear, surface and go slowly - if Laura's counting down but not fast enough for you, take smaller steps, run on the spot if you have to.

For reasons I'll not bore you with, I have a pathological dislike of doing stretches before and after runs, the 5 minute walks before and after are enough for me (and I know they work because if I skip them, then my body screams "Stretch!" at me) Even I though do stretching (in the form of gentle yoga) at other times of my day - 10-15 minutes every morning.

You might want to give yourself an extra day's rest and not go again until Tuesday but then - good luck, you can do this! 


Not much to add to comments. WTG you for starting this programme this a brave step- but potentially life changing. To summarise:

- follow programme- week 1 may take a few attempts to complete as you get into swing of things

- go slowly- Laura gives great advice on breathing and being able to still talk while you run

- Good shoes are essential as you progress

- keep posting - you will get support. This is particularly important when your confidence drops and you feel like you are not succeeding 

-trust the programme- I believed I could do it - because Laura said so

Remember - we all started where you are - week 1 - full of trepidation

BTW- don't expect miracles on weight loss- these short runs don't burn up to many calories- but you will feel great as you make progress:-)

Good luck and hang in there:-)


Hi Son1 and welcome. Think the others have said it all. Basically go as slowly as you can and then slow down a bit more. Speed and distance are immaterial at this point in learning to run- you can work on them after you've graduated, if you choose to.

 Proper shoes aren't a luxury, they're an essential for avoiding injury. Also, if you check out the pinned posts down the right hand side of the page, you'll find the NHS Choices guides to how to run and stretch correctly. Read them carefully, there's lots of good advice on technique, as well as some easy and effective post-run stretches to minimise any aches and pains.

Don't know whether you're using the Podcasts or the app, but the podcast seems to be the more reliable of the two and you do get the 'benefit' of Laura's cheesy music. Very best of luck, Son1. Stick with it and it won't take long until you're hooked 😀


Using C25k app/pocast is a safe way of getting you to run for 30 minutes without stopping. Nothing finer.  You can do it! The warm-up and cool-down walks are essential I'd say.  I never skimp on them. I often do a longer warm-up as I am a slow warmer-upper, and I find it helps me

All you have to do is take your time with this. No rush at all.  

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Thank you all so much for reading my post and taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it.  Having read your comments, I have a feeling I might have been running a bit too fast.

I'm just at the top end of the healthy weight bracket for my height, so not too heavy, but I intend to lose a stone also, so I'm doing the NHS 12 week plan (difficult today)!!  I would just like to be more healthy and tone up a bit, so keen to do this also.

I have some running shoes, but it has been so long since I've done any regular vigorous exercise that I'm a bit cautious and really in no hurry at all.  I just don't want any injuries.  I did a 5 minute walk before and did a walk afterwards (as I stopped early because of the groin pain) and good stretching afterwards.

I can't really use the podcast as I have no way of listening to it while running, but I can see the intervals, so will go with those.  I'm going to go out again on Tuesday, and will see how it goes (groin okay today) :-) 

Thanks again!


Hi. Well done for making the first step. I done w1r1 yesterday. This community is great. I suggest you look at people stories for inspiration, they are fab. I did mange the runs and was flabaghasted that I did! Today I ache, shins and front of feet, but it has eased throughout the day. See how you feel tomorrow. If I still hurt, I plan to take an extra rest day, if not I will do w1r2 tomorrow. I must admit that I was not thinking speed at all, I was more focuses on completing the run. I think I was very slow indeed, but maybe this helped my complete it. I do not have the NHS app or podcasts either, my phone did not want to work it! I am using a fitness 22 app with my own music. I have a very basis phone and it runs it ok. The instruction is good and markers are in the right places. Keep going, but don't cripple yourself. I figure if it takes a bit more time to get there, you will enjoy much more scenery😃

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Haha, yes, I think I'll get plenty of time to enjoy the scenery :-D

I choose not to have a smart phone, will get a little watch with a stopwatch on it to make sure I keep to the times properly.

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All the advice so far is great so I won't repeat about the running more slowly than walking speed comments. My only observation is that I used to get groin pain and mine was caused by tight hip flexor muscles.  Three things helped (and not just for running but for any quick walking I need to do):

(1) Don't - even slightly - thrust your hips forward as you walk/run (keep them 'soft').

(2) Concentrate on relaxing the whole area as you walk or run as I found that I was holding tension throughout the hip area as my 'normal' running style.

(3) Do some regular gentle thigh stretches whenever warmed up, say at the end of a walk/run or after a bath or shower.

I found that when the pain started up, if I immediately thought about the first two and very gently kept moving the pain would wear off.  But of course do check that it's nothing more serious.


Interesting points, thank you for the advice :-)


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