Couch to 5K
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Not for everyone

Just had to say well done to everyone who is succeeding on this program. But the problem is doesn't work for everyone.

I have been trying this now for 3 weeks now and all I've got is sniggers & twisted ankles. I still haven't managed Week 1. I have tried to slow down from a run to a jog & now to a shuffle, but no matter what I do I always end up on my knees gasping for breath.

I think 3 months is long enough to have had SOME progress, but clearly it was a waste of time for me. So I'm calling it a day & giving up. Good luck to anyone still having a go (you may just need it).

13 Replies

I'm sorry you've had a bad experience with this and feel you have to give up.  I have been doing this for six months and still only at week 5 so I think it does take a lot longer for some people, but maybe going into spring things might feel a bit better?  Worth one more try? 


Hi, did you say you have been doing this for 3 weeks or 3 months ?

 Please dont give up, loads of us on here struggled with the start, youre not the only one honestly xxx

I know it is hard , but please take no notice of the " sniggers " You are doing this for YOU no one else xxx


I do agree that this will not work for everyone. I am by no means a seasoned runner I am w1r2 and struggled with the run today. I have gone into this wanting to be able to run for fun and release from my day to day hum drum. I am going to do what my body will be happy with doing. Maybe I won't finish, maybe I will stay on week one, but if I do week 1 over and over again, it will be more than I was doing before. In your position (which I may well be in!) I would carry on with the walking and maybe run for SHORTER periods. Make it up, make it fit you. An app/podcast cannot fit everyone! You have done the hard bit, you have decided to do something and got out there. I found the hardest thing was to get out the door on the first day.


It's not easy. It does depend on weight , age and determination.

The bigger no.s for the first two means more of the latter required, hence we come here to be reminded, cajoled into further foolhardy excersise. 

It sounds as tho you've been trying hard - well done. But have been in a plateau from week 1. That's sad, but not terrible, it shows you've got determination to get out and do something👍. 

I switched from this after injury to a local kung-fu class to keep me from the couch. Best thing ever. Fun and new friendships = bonus.

I intend to restart c25k, when I'm ready. Hope you find something to suit you.


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I agree. Anything is better than nothing even if it means walking for 40mins. I've followed the episodes but stretched the timeframe as it felt too overwhelming. For every week I take a month or until I feel comfortable.

I also remember feeling that maybe running wasn't for me as my 10minute runs didn't seem to be getting any easier. A friend, and experienced runner, then told me that everyone always finds the first 10 mins hard. This was when I started to enjoy my runs. 

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Okay... you've tried it...that is absolutely brilliant.:) Very, very well done.

Question is... would you still like to do it....? Do you want to succeed at this or not? Do you want to feel differently?

If so...

Forget the sniggers.... get ankle supports...Week 1 ... the runs... walk a bit faster..walk.... walk a bit faster. Slow, slow and steady....

Nope, it is not for everyone.... but... I agree, maybe worth one more effort

It hurts..but give it a try...Nobody, but nobody ever fails.... unless they stop trying?


Hi there,

Yours is a really interesting post in my opinion and I'm sorry you feel like giving up. Like Poppy asked, is it 3 weeks or months you've been trying? 

I'm curious to know: what are or were your expectations? What were your motivations? How would you describe your current fitness levels? And why would people be sniggering at you? Screw them I say! Fools! Ignore these idiots.

In the words of Winston Churchill, never give up. Never. I've now seen several people of very different shapes and sizes, who were never in a million years 'runners', who can now jog for 30 minutes.

I firmly believe that unless there's a genuine physical impairment, then *anyone* can complete this program, but motivation and determination are key.

There's more than one way to skin a cat, so listen up ...

Please think about doing 1 of the following:

(A) instead of shuffling or jogging, consider doing the whole C25k as a brisk walking program. So walk/brisk walk. (Where 'brisk' = your fastest walk.) 

This way, you can lay a good solid foundation of fitness before attempting a 'jogging' version of it. Question is though, have you got the patience and determination? 


(B) Why not try a half version of Week 1 and call it Week 0? So walk/shuffle 3 or 4 times instead of 7 or 8.  Do that 3 times in a week and then try Week 1 again.

You say you're "gasping for breath" - that's obviously not a good sign. How do you find climbing stairs normally? 

Interested to know your thoughts,



Is there a running club close by that offers a beginners session? I run one here in Skegness and many of the graduates have tried the c25k on their own without success. If you have the support of a group it makes things so much easier and you get to meet like minded new friends who are all in the same boat. You will also have the help and support of experienced runners who can offer advice on breathing technique, footwear and just general stuff. And no one will snigger. 

Julie x

(ps I don't like running on my own, I find it difficult to maintain a good run alone - much better with company)


Three weeks or three months? A huge difference - many of us took several weeks to achieve week one, and for me the tip really was to go slowly and then slow down even more. I'm only at the start of week three now but I think a lot of this is about pŵrseverence and motivating yourself and not worrying how long it takes. Anything is better than what you did before!  If it really is too much now, why not build up your walking first - I think that would help and it will get you outside and moving too.  Sorry you have had a difficult time though -I do wonder if you are trying to go too fast, my run is a very slow small step jog. 


I agree with old floss reply slow walk the walk fast walk the run . At your own pace  , I had to put up with negative l comments re my age and weight , started on a treadmill , if that's not possible your favourite walk/place . There is no rush , and it's all exercise , do hope you carry on, this group is very supportive, and lot is us thought a30 second run jog shuffle fast walk a real challenge good luck with whatever you decide ,


Hi Lafin, thanks for posting about it. It sounds to me as if you can definitely run as you say yourself you slowed down from a run to a jog to a shuffle. In the beginning you went too fast which is why it didn't work but now we need to figure out why you still feel you are gasping for breath after slowing  right down. 

Is there any medical reason for breathing trouble? We have a number of asthmatics on the forum who have graduated by the way. If there is no medical reason for breathing trouble, you may just need to raise your fitness levels. Your heart is a muscle of course which is being exercised and strengthened after every running attempt just the same as your quads, hamstrings and calf muscles. If you haven't done sport or been very active in a while, this may need working on first. My suggestion is to re-read John_W 's post and do his suggestion A, that is go through the entire C25K programme as a walking programme first. Do your brisk walk to warm up and cool down, brisk walk the running intervals, slowing to a normal walk for the walking intervals where you catch your breath. On your rest days, I'd try to still go for a 30 min walk, brisk is always good but do what you can and add in some exercises to strengthen your legs. Sometimes stomach and back muscles are weak too and it is good to try and work on those too. You can post up here after every walk-walk session and tell us how you are getting on. We're here for you.

Then go back to C25K run-walk and I am absolutely sure you will manage it. You have not mentioned your background in terms of age, weight, health and activity levels but keep in mind people come to C25K from all kinds of starting points and it is adaptable. It is a guideline and you can make it work for you.


There is nothing i can add to what John_W  and poppypug and Oldfloss  and everyone has said , it is and would be a real shame to stop trying , no one said it is easy no one said you don't have put something in to get something back..

This program does work , alas some  don't complete it for many reasons , all I can say is it has changed my life for the better not just physically  but mentally as well, it has changed how I think about things and my attitude to life's challenges ...

I sincerely hope by reading what everyone is saying you will find the strength and determination to carry on and give it a go :D 


After the positive replies I gave this another go. Big mistake.

My ankles are very painfully tender at every step (even with support) & my back feels like it's snapping in 2. And yet I go through this for about 3 months and I still can't get anywhere near completing week 1. (Nearly 6 months trying on & off).

Not only did I do this for fitness & weight loss reasons I was advised to try this to help in treatment for depression. However, far from improving my very low self-esteem, I ended up feeling a lot worse about myself. There is nothing as demoralising as being unable to do something that everyone can do, as this programme claims.

So either C25K is useless or I'm useless. Either way, for both my physical & mental well-being, I've got no choice but to accept defeat.


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