Couch to 5K
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Week 5, run 1, road vs treadmill

Other than a couple of runs in the early weeks, I have been mostly running at the gym on the treadmill, doing fine, recovering well, all great, no problems and not feeling too pysically stressed ( have been doing some light gym work for a while). However, I was concerned as my treadmill speed was slow when running/jogging (just 3.6mph, walking at 3.0, I am 5ft 6in) and also using an incline of 0.5 or 1.0 at the end of each week if I was doing well. So those nagging gremlins in my head saying " the treadmill is artificial, run outside like a proper c25k participant). So I repeated week 5 run 1 outside and had a horrendous first 5 minute run - really short of breath, heart beat all over the place, even though I had tried to run slow and I neede extra 45 seconds to recover before next run. Runs 2 and 3 were run very slow , almost felt like I was jogging on spot, but I completed them. Felt stressed and anxious for a few hours after . So what next, repeat w5r1 and road run to get more comfortable or go back to gym and increase incline and running speed to improve cardiovascular fitness? Not sure what to do next, don't really know what settings on the treadmill should give a realistic running experience. This is a setback but I shall work through it and get back on track. Great to see everyone else's post and the hurdles that are got over

8 Replies

road road road... the great outdoors is a beautiful place, go and enjoy it ( I hate treadmills!!!)... and huge well done, you are well. Seriously do whatever suits you best but try and relax about it all... :)

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Another vote here for the road. Well done you, though, for getting so far with the dreadmill. You haven't taken a step back by moving to the road. It's just that it's different to start with. However, the benefits of running on road and trail far outweigh the supposed convenience (and boredom?) of running in the gym.

Once you've made that switch you'll never want to move back inside ;)

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Hi there,

First of all don't worry about your speed at this stage---it is not important. Your body needs to build a sound aerobic base and this is done with slow running.

Run wherever it is convenient for you.-----Outdoors there are lots of factors that make it seem different---uneven surface,weather, wind and other factors. It is much easier to pace yourself on the treadmill because you can set the speed---outdoors you are relying on your senses and it is different.

Some people swear by outdoors and others (like me) use both.

If you feel like it do a mix of both and then you will get used to both. It does not matter where you run as long as you enjoy it. You could do alternate runs outdoors---whatever you feel like.

Wherever you are---run slowly---even if the running feels like slow motion. You will gradually get fitter.

Most of all---don't worry about speed or feel under pressure. This is your running journey----do what feels comfortable for you. Some runs will feel hard because fitness does not happen in a straight line.

You could try going on to week 6 and see how you go. If it feels too hard you can repeat the week-----many people on the program repeat weeks.

Good luck and let us know how you get on. :)


Thanks for your support and advice graduate guys. I think I must get some confidence back by running on the road, even if it means repeating sessions before moving on. Tortoise speed it is.


Embrace the tortoise, I have :-)


Yip my run thismorning..the paths were dotted with black snails... at one point I'm sure the one I spotted at the last corner had passed me :p

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I vote road! Don't be freaked out by your heartbeat or breath - it's just your body readjusting and it knows what it's doing even if you don't. If there's one thing I've learnt on this programme it's that my mind should just let my body just get on with it and stop interfering! Slow and steady is always good. Personally, I'd get comfy(ish!) outdoors then progress through as opposed to sticking with the treadmill and having to do the adjustment on a longer run or even after graduation. Good luck, you can do it :D


I completely understand your dilemma! I did the first two weeks outdoors and then our little village community gym opened, which was brilliant because it coincided with our wild January weather! Using the treadmill enabled me to continue the programme and my fitness improved. When the weather got better I was drawn more and more to the great outdoors! I definitely found it harder (wind, uneven ground etc) but it is certainly more interesting! I agree with others - take it steady and do whatever feels best for you. Best of luck!


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