Newbie stupid questions

I'm 52 and have never run, ever, even for a bus. I had knee surgery in my teens which has provided a plausible excuse my whole life. So I'd be grateful for answers to what may seem (to normal people) like some very stupid questions about this programme.

1) how do you know when you're ready to go on to the next week? Or should I assume I move on if I've managed the previous session? - I've done 2 sessions of week one...once I've done my third do I go on to week two even if it's still really hard?

2) can I do a session indoors? I work away from home a lot, for example next week I'm in a hotel in central Birmingham. I'm not confident about going out in the city centre, I don't think the middle of town would be a pleasant experience but I don't want to miss the session, there's no gym at the hotel (and I'm not ready for that in any case) can I run on the spot in my room and get benefit from it...does it count?

3) if I go out in the morning, should I eat/drink something first?

4) I'm currently full of enthusiasm, how do I keep that going when I'm in a miserable hotel room on a gloomy February night?

Thanks all



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17 Replies

  • Hi MotwCoop and well done for doing the first two runs. I thought they were mentally the hardest, just running in front of other people can be a big barrier so well done for knocking that one down.

    I can only speak personally, but once I finished one week I just moved onto the next. I know some people repeat weeks but the programme says that if you have completed one week, you're ready for the next. I've found that to be true.

    I do a lot of travelling too but don't run when I'm away, or use hotel gyms. I regularly get lost and getting lost in lycra is not my idea of fun! Running on the spot doesn't sound like fun either. When the programme refers to "week" I took that to just loosely refer to a calendar week. Sometimes a "week" took me two calendar weeks due to travelling. It didn't have a detrimental effect at all, the programme just took a bit longer to complete. I did calendar my runs a few at a time. That really helped me plan my time.

    Eating and drinking is personal choice. I try to drink at least a glass of warm water and eat half a banana - a whole banana was too much. In the summer I also carried a small, hand held water bottle with me. I don't now it's cold because even if it's warm when I put it in the bottle, it's cold by the time I want to drink some if it. I've also stopped drinking red wine the night before a run because it makes my legs tired!

    Miserable hotel rooms are... miserable. That said, I get to use Premier Inns which are not that miserable. My advice is treat nights away like a holiday - nothing to do except watch TV, do your emails if you have to, have a bath and eat nice food, read a book, catch up on Facebook etc. I avoid the breakfasts and meals in hotels now. There are Marks and Spencers everywhere and their food is much better, cheaper and healthier. Mug porridge is great for the morning, though I do put it into a bowl :-)

    Keep up the good work and keep remembering the enthusiasm and feel good endorphins you feel right now :-).

  • Thanks for the support, it's good to know that I don't have to beat myself up if I don't get out there while I'm away. I'm also trying to lose weight, so M&S will be my friend rather than eating I just need to resist the temptation to eat all of everything!

  • Well done for getting started!

    So long as you complete the runs in each week you should be fine to move on - it is hard because you are always building up, so no good waiting for it to feel easy! With that said, there is absolutely no shame in repeating runs or weeks if that feels necessary.

    The programme is there to fit around your lifestyle. Try to use nights away as rest days - however, we did have one member who completed the entire programme running round her living room. Any exercise is great.

    I am a morning runner and like to run on empty. Some eat a banana or porridge. You will find what suits you - not too much though as it may give you a stitch.

    if you want to share your triumphs or just need a kick up the backside, come on here. No such thing as a stupid question. There is always someone around to help. I find just reading a few of the posts fires me up if I'm feeling lethargic.

    Good luck!

  • I'm loving the idea of some indoor sessions - I can't procrastinate about the location/weather/dark if that's the case! I've promised myself I'll do a session on Tuesday in Birmingham - I'm in an all day meeting and going out for curry later, so MUST do something to keep on track (pardon the pun).

  • Well done for getting started! I too had not run since the age of 12 due to knee problems so to imagine that I could run now (aged 40 and 5 stones heavier than my ideal weight) was a mad idea!

    However, I've just completed week 5 run 1 in full! I did repeat weeks as I felt so unfit that I needed to improve my confidence and not to feel like I was going to keel over!

    Keep going, remember to slow down when it's tough (I can often walk faster than my running pace) as it's so important to build up the stamina. 😀💪

  • Thanks shelleymoo, it's good to know there are others in the same position. I'm aiming to lose about 2 1/2 stone and get fitter. Funnily when I was out this morning I passed some cyclists (going the other way, I didn't overtake them!!) and they all said "well done, keep it up!" I don't know why it made me feel so much better, but it did and I got to the end of each bit of running, not thinking I was about to pass's the prospect of running for longer that worries me. I just need to take it one session at a time I think.

  • There are no stupid questions on this forum, all questions are valid :) The answers have already been given: if you have finished the run successfully, go on to the next. If you had problems finishing it, do it again until you can move on.

    As far as running on the spot goes, it might be a tad depressing! Why not get onto internet and suss out if there is a park anywhere near? Maybe there are some Birmingham runners on here who can give you pointers - that's what 's great about this forum. If not, I'd wait till you get home.

    As for food, I try to wait two hours after eating before I run - but everyone is different. I find the the most easily digested breakfast for morning running is a small bowl of porridge or half a banana, then I top up after I've showered and dressed.

    As for the enthusiasm bit, easy: get online and read the forum here, or get yourself a copy of "Running like a girl": guaranteed to get you fired up and motivated!

  • I've armed myself with bananas! I'll give it a go.

  • Welcome! Here are my suggestions for your questions.

    1) I moved on if I completed all three runs, no matter how hard, how much gasping I was doing at the end. But if you want to run them more times, do it. Just don't be afraid to advance if you've completed the week. Even if you struggle the next week, you don't have to backslide, just keep at it.

    2) You can. But why not treat yourself? Take a bus to a park and go for your run there. I discovered when I was doing the program that I loved running tourism, it was a really neat way to see new cities and try new routes. If I was worried I'd get lost I'd either run a straight out and back route, or snake along blocks so I wasn't covering much distance as the crow flies.

    3) I eat breakfast or I get lightheaded. Experiment with this. We're all different. You'll definitely know if you've eaten the wrong thing. Less fatty tends to be better for me.

    4) Sign up for a fun run or race in May or June. I had agreed to do a 5k run with colleagues before I even discovered the program and the excitement and fear of running a race ensured that I kept doing my runs. Even better if you commit with other people. It's a great celebration of the hard work you put in as well.

    Most importantly have fun. It's a wild ride, but it's one that I am thankful for every day.

  • Great advice thanks. I've looked on google maps and am planning to try the canal towpath on Tuesday. :)

  • A word of caution about running along canal towpaths - make sure you have music turned down quite low and always try to be aware of others around you, especially cyclists many of whom don't have bells on their bikes and expect you to get out of their way even when there's no room. Always always keep to the inner side of the towpath if you can - never the canal side, unless you're a good swimmer! That said, running along canal towpaths is lovely - no noisy traffic, fumes, roads to cross, etc.

  • Thanks for the advice. As a boater I've seen that a few times, I may end up doing room-running as it'll be dark too...

  • Welcome (and apologies for this very long reply)! C25k is such a great programme. Following it is one of the best decisions you will ever make! Like you, so many of us here had never run before we started the programme. I would have rather waited an hour for another bus than break into a jog to catch one! The very thought of running filled me with dread and I used the excuse that I just wasn't the exercising type. Now, like so many others, I couldn't imaging my life without running! Stick with it, even if it feels hard, and I promise it will be worth it!

    The way the programme works is that once you complete a run you move onto the next. If you can't manage all of the running sections then the suggestion is that you repeat that run again until you can before you move on. The running segments might seem daunting and sometimes the jump from one week to the next feels huge but the programme is magic and if you completed the previous run then you absolutely are ready for the next. Make sure you take at least one rest day between runs (more if you need to) to avoid injury and allow your muscles to recover.

    Some people here have completed parts if not all of the programme in their house, etc, but I would suggest not running on the spot. I understand the fear of being seen - it took me until Week 7 to go outside instead of use the treadmill even though I was being told from the beginning to try it! I was so scared went out at 10pm dressed all in black to not be seen! Once I did I loved it so much I never went back to running inside and I honestly couldn't care less what people think of me now! Non runners don't notice you and other runners appreciate what you're doing. If you could work up the courage to maybe drive somewhere quiet to run I would suggest that?

    I am an afternoon/evening runner (can't even handle the thought of running early) so can't really give advice on breakfast. I always leave at least an hour after eating before a run (more if I've had a big meal) but I can't run on empty. Others can - it's a very personal thing.

    My advice would be go slow (seriously, slow slow slow!), stretch, take your rest days religiously and listen to Laura. You'll be a runner before you know it!

    Finally, to keep the motivation going, use the forum! It really is the best place on the internet and is full of the most amazing, inspirational people. The forum folk here absolutely got me through the programme. Post after your runs to keep us informed of how you're doing and use the collective experiences of everyone here for advice, encouragement and motivation. Let us celebrate your successes with you. We will be with you every step of the way! :)

  • Thank you so much for your considered and thoughtful reply. I'd be lying if I said part of my reluctance to go outside wasn't the thought of people seeing me, but the main thing is that I'm all over the country in city centres mostly and I don't fancy pavement running in the exhaust fumes. I also have zero sense of direction and getting lost would be a very real possibility.

    I'm pleased to hear you're not a morning runner - I'm not good in the morning, so hope to follow your lead on that timing.

    It's so great to hear from people who've been through this from the same starting point. I always assume that everyone else is fitter/faster/stronger than me.

    Thanks again

  • No problem. :) Everyone here is ready and willing to help where they can! There is a website called where you can put in your location and see running routes that other people have logged near your location. If I'm planning on running away from home (I love to run on holiday - I would have thought anyone who said I would do that a year ago was off their rocket!) then I always have a look at that website. If you have access to a car then you could always drive a short way out of the city first.

    I run best late late evening - 9 or 10pm would be my ideal time. It can be hard to fit runs in sometimes but you'll soon learn what's best for you.

    The thing I had to learn on this journey is that there will always be someone faster, fitter, better than me. Similarly, there will always be someone slower, less fit and not as able. This is our own journey, there is no point comparing and that's what is celebrated here on the forum. :)

  • Just as an update - I did room running in Birmingham, as my hotel room turned out to be bigger than average! It worked better than trying to go out, simply because I was worrying about getting lost / falling under a bus or into the canal. Room running might not be wildly exciting but at least it's safe! It also means I can't come up with a plausible excuse.

    I'm working from home this week and completed run 3 of week 2 today. So week 3 is calling me...gulp! But I think I'd do almost anything to have Sanjeev Kholi telling me how well I'm doing....

  • Love the posts on here, such great support. You are doing great. I don't care anymore what people think, at least I am running even if it is slowly. But reading the replies to your post it seems slow is best. So now I am not worried about being slow, after all it's not a race. Relax and enjoy.

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