Can I do c25k in nine weeks?: Hi all, second... - Couch to 5K

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Can I do c25k in nine weeks?


Hi all, second attempt at c25k and just finished wk 3. I failed last time with gremlins, aches pains sprains and working away. Lots of excuses! And I'm thinking now that in two weeks I will reach where I was beforehand, will the gremlins get me again? I am 49, overweight and fairly sedentary. Is it realistic to go through the program without problems or should I take longer? How many graduate in nine weeks? Any words of motivation appreciated!

19 Replies

It might take more than nine weeks (or might not) but it really doesn't matter. Every time you get yourself out there you will be adding a little bit of leg strength and improving heart and lung function (aerobic fitness) and as such there is no problem in repeating a run or an entire week.

Putting pressure on yourself to do it in nine weeks gives the gremlins ammunition, it would help just take it one run at a time and see how it goes.

All the best.


It took me 12 weeks to complete the programme. I took extra rest days all over the place because my body wasn't always ready to run after just a day off. Today I can run 5k. Trust the programme, go slow and steady, listen to your body. Good luck!


I didn't have to repeat a run or add rest days - but I had been doing a lot of walking in the year beforehand and had lost 3 stone. Running was a natural progression. Listen to your body, take extra rest days if necessary. Don't overdo it or you may get injured. The programme builds up stamina, but we are all different and we're not in a competition!


Repeat runs if you need to or an entire week, it doesn't matter. If the gremlins get you just go out there next time and try again. Every run is exercise and helps build your fitness. Take it slow and listen to your body, soon you'll be doing 5k even if you have to run really slow to begin with.

I did c25k at 44 and I had a BMI of 27 when I started. I didn't have to repeat runs but we are all different. Don't beat yourself up about it if you have to repeat a run or a week, it does not matter. If everything turns out the way you want it to (I presume), you'll be running for many years to come, so why worry about a few runs more with Laura?


It is a totally unpredictable thing - and frankly it isn't the candidates who seem to have the biggest challenges in the first place who seem to struggle. Often it is the ones who think they are fit and try to second guess the programme.

I took 3 calendar months... but the 'delay', if you want to call it that, was all in taking 6 weeks to crack Week 1. After that I pretty much did a session every other day and did not need to do any extra sessions because one had been unsuccessful. I was quite shocked at myself (and still am, looking back) As PippiRuns says, the idea is not to tick this off but to acquire a running skill and habit so it really doesn't matter.


It will take as long as it takes! The main thing is to trust the program and complete the required number of successful runs each week - and if it takes a few attempts to do That, then fine. Keep going- what have you got to lose? ☺


Don't be afraid to take an extra rest day, it's not a race to complete the programme. Just think how defeated those gremlins must already be feeling seeing you start the programme again! Many of us start this programme from a point of low fitness. I am 58 and I had never run before, if I can do it, I'm sure you can! You've made the hardest step of all, getting off the couch!


I am 43 and did it in nine weeks but I did four weeks of walking first and I am sure this helped me as it seems I was pretty much in your shoes.

This is the way I approached it... I have been a couch potato for years... so even if it takes me 16 weeks that is all in the right direction. It is not a race. Better to get to the end with no injuries and lots of self confidence than fall at the first hurdle .

I am taking a few days off as I have pushed a bit too hard and have a tender hip - lesson well learned for me. Listen to your body.

Good luck!


If you run every other day it is possible to complete C25k in eight weeks, but most people find that life gets in the way, however determined they are. Whether you take nine weeks or nine months to complete is neither here nor there. The important thing is to create the habit of regular strenuous exercise, which you will maintain for life. We are all different, mentally and physicallyand once you become a runner you have to accept that you are where you are on your running journey, which may be fast or may be slow.

All I would say is that C25k puts you in control. If you want to succeed then you will. Good luck.


It took me ages. I fell off a ladder and hurt my back. Fell down my new stairs to my loft conversion and skinned my back. I sprained my ankle too 🙄 I loved the programme from the off so was ultra keen to finish it.

The 9 weeks is not critical. If you stick with it, and go really steadily, there is no reason not to do it in nine weeks

Give it a whirl and you'll find out 🙂

in reply to misswobble

I should point out that it is not essential to sustain quite as many injuries as misswobble to become a runner! But she is very good at both running and sustaining injuries.


I managed it in nine weeks - after 50 years on the couch! I didn't have to repeat any sessions. That being said, I did find every single session very hard. I think I was hugely helped by being part of a wee group of us who were doing it and I didn't want to fall behind. I didn't know about this forum then but I know it gives many C25kers an equivalent sort of accountability as they go through the program with their "cyber-friends". :)

in reply to AnneDroid

That's a good point that a session that is hard is still a session completed.


Took me more than nine weeks - twisted ankle (nothing to do with running) which held me back by about 4 weeks, so I dropped back a week to make sure I could still do it at all before finishing wks 8 & 9 - but even without that I had to re-run a couple of runs, and a couple of times I took three rest days (work/life/tube strikes/generally feeling a bit fatigued).

It's great when you whizz through a week "straight" - but going back a bit is fine, too. Someone very wise on here said "you are doing so much better than the people sitting on the couch". So every single time you go out, practice run dreadful horriblest run or the best run since they invented the full monty, deserves a celebration and a mental "well done me!"

The other thing to remember is that if you're struggling a bit, go slower. People say it on here a lot but it took me a while to really listen to that excellent advice.

Part of my trouble early on was I RAN the first few minutes - exhausting myself by about minute 3. Now if I get tired I give myself permission to slow up and just run slowly. (And occasionally I have even given up and walked instead!) But I still enjoy that I'm out and not on that couch. There is nothing wrong with a bit of a practice run every now and again - sometimes you're just a bit tired or coming down with a lurg of some sort. Don't beat yourself up for it - be patient and kind to yourself instead and you'll get there.


I've graduated twice before - first time took me 10 weeks, I think. Second time might have been straight through in 9. This time round, I started on April 10 last year, and have just done Week 9 run 2! There've been ups and downs along the way, but I'm hanging in there. If nothing else, this is helping me embed the three running slots in my week and build up the habit!

Don't let the gremlins get you - they might try, but we'll all help you shout them down ;)


It really doesn't matter how long it takes. You might get through exactly to plan or you might be unlucky enough to pick up a little niggle here and there which requires a couple of extra rest days. I was taking two rest days between runs from Week 7 onwards just to allow my body to recover. Some people need to repeat the odd run, some take weeks to complete one 'C25k Week'. This is your running journey and the only person you are in competition with is those gremlins. Stick with it and you'll graduate in a couple of months (or there abouts). :)


It took me 13 weeks or so to complete due to getting a bug then having lots of doubts. but I did it and I am so glad I stuck at it. it doesn't matter how long it takes, just enjoy doing it and do what's right for you and your body. x x good luck, keep posting x x


Thank you all for the wisdom great advice and fantastic encouragement!!

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