Couch to 5K

A giant step forward .....and then back to teeny weeny ones!

Ok so I have been using the Zenlabs app and finished on Friday of last week on a treadmill. Over the last few weeks I have made a couple of disastrous attempts to run outside. Its like my body has no idea what it is I'm trying to make it do! I can't breathe, I feel like gravity has been turned right up - just horrible! I tried to go as slow as possible but didn't really manage more than a minute before I went back home with my tail between my legs.

I had decided that perhaps I should finish the program on the treadmill and then start all over again outside - and as a bonus have found somebody else who wants to start with me. My question/problem is this. Am I going to lose the stamina that I have already built up and should I do a run on the treadmill afterwards or something?

I tried the W1R1 on my own outside this morning just to see how it feels. I managed it but boy was it a struggle!! Feels a bit like I have wasted the last 8 weeks!! I don't start proper with this for two weeks as there is a holiday and we both wanted to stick to the program without a gap. During that time I intend to go back to the treadmill and consolidate my 30 minutes a few times (partly so I can get a graduation badge!!) but has any body else done this or got suggestions on how to carry on?

3 Replies

First of all, well done in getting this far. Running is running and it doesn't matter where you do it. You haven't wasted the last 8 weeks but you will use slightly different muscles running outside.

Most people run too fast outside when making the transition from the treadmill. I know you say you ran slowly but you need to take it down a notch and run even slower. On the treadmill it's easy to set your pace as you just push a button and away you go but outside you have to judge that by yourself and it takes a little practice to get it right. This weather doesn't help either as the humidity saps your energy a bit. But try to persevere with running outside as it is much nicer surroundings, there's more to see and once this humidity goes then it's cooler.

Apart from the first three weeks I did the programme on the treadmill and when I transitioned outside I did it gradually with one run outside and two runs on the treadmill and then increased the outside running week by week.

Just slow down, revel in the big outdoors and enjoy the new experience!


The past 8 weeks have definitely not been wasted! When you started the plan 8 weeks ago, could you have run for 30 mins on the treadmill? Everything you've done so far has built up fitness, strength, stamina and mental resilience.

Running outside is a very different experience to running on a treadmill, and most people do find it much harder. Definitely do keep using the treadmill for the next few weeks until you start running outside with your friend. After that, could you change to using a cross-trainer to give you a different kind of exercise to supplement the running?


I echo the others who have responded, not a waste at all! I think Irish Princess' idea of doing one run a week outside and two on the treadmill is a good plan. Starting at the beginning of the programme outside might be good to get your confidence up but once you manage to pace yourself and strengthen those muscles needed to push off and forward which you don't use so much on a treadmill, then you will be fine. Remember, slow down and be aware off hills and sloped or uneven floor as these will make things all the more difficult. You can do it, just like you're managed to complete eight weeks of the programme! :)


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