repeat or move on...c25k: hi, I need some advice... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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repeat or move on...c25k


hi, I need some advice please.

I have completed week five of the couch to 5k programme, which i do on the treadmill at home. only I was only able to run for 8 minutes on the last go and then stopped and started. next week it ups to two 10 minute runs.

i am wondering if i should repeat week 5 until i get the 8 minutes, or do week 6 as much as i can?

do i reduce the speed?

alsfo any tips for breathing techniques and what to focus on other than the timer and burning in the legs?


14 Replies

ok, i read some other posts, and i think iv'e worked out the trick is to go slower and once fitness improves, work on the speed..


Can I ask which c25k program you are doing/following?

Is it this one (which most of us do)?


Breathing well really helps and I have read about counting breaths in and out but I found that confusing. I start breathing slowly and deeply on my warm up walk, focussing on keeping my shoulders and chest relaxed. Then as I run, I sometimes let my arms relax by my side as I am running, relaxed arms and shoulders allow the lungs to expand more effectively. Laura always tells us that as we are running, our speed should allow us to still carry on a conversation with another person. I find slowing down as my run times increased on C25K mad it more possible and comfortable to complete each increasing run time. The programme is designed really well for us to progress through to being able to run non stop for 30 minutes. Other stuff like distance and speed can then be worked on after graduation. This allows our body to improve in stamina and fitness and avoid injury too

Definitely slow your pace down but also no harm in repeating a week if you want to get to grips with it before moving on. If can only help build your strength and stamina so nothing can be lost :)


Slow, slower and slower still!

It is the only way. At this stage, just take it very very steadily...

The breathing should, then just settle... you breathe how it works for you...trick is, just breathe:)

Many of us have had a few blips with this, though; outdoor runners, struggle sometimes with cold air for example... some of us starting the C25K programme, used to hold our breath on the running intervals, ( until the runs got too long )!!!

If you are at home.. try watching some virtual runs on TV or yr phone.. loads of great ones on you tube...

I used this one when I was having to use my cross trainer over a period on the IC, when I could not run outdoors..I loved this one, and there are loads. They help pass the time wonderfully if you are struggling.. with me, it was the frustration of not being outside


Also, think of other things, plan your evening dinner menu, make up poems, sing all the nursery rhymes you remember from being small.. :)

Maybe, try outside.. it is wonderful...if you have read any of my looooong rambles or other folks great posts, you will see exactly what the attraction is :)

But... my advice, persevere with moving on, you should be ready for it... and really keep it slow, :)

"Slow progress is much, much better than no progress". :)

Let us know how you go on, we are right behind you :)

selfdoubter in reply to Oldfloss

Great advice Oldfloss - thank you! I'm at Wk 6 R2 (10r, 3w, 10r), with the next one being the 25r nonstop. I attempted it today, but took an 'executive decision' during the run to repeat the previous step as it was really hot. I'm glad I did, as rather than feeling like I failed/gave up I actually feel quite good at repeating the last step (ie consolidating).

I will attempt the 25r next time out, and mentally feel in a better place for it I think (hope!).

But, your advice to go sloooowww seems very sensible.


Generally the advice for the programme is that if you can't complete a run then you repeat it until you do complete it then move on to the next one. If you've been running more quickly than you need to though you will probably be ok on Week 6 if you slow right down. Give it a go if you like and see.

If you do get a chance to run outside, I do really recommend it! I completed the first 6 weeks of the programme on the treadmill but once I ran outside I have never gone back to the treadmill since!

Thanks everyone!

I did it! Woo hoo! I am so relieved! Week 6 r1 (10r5w10r)

I lowered my speed from 6.0mph to 5.5mph . ( At the start I was running 7.5mph, but that wasn’t sustainable.) I still found the run a challenge, however, this time it was manageable and I completed both 10 min runs without a hitch. I have found that in order not to focus on the time, and to pass the time, I count my strides (left and right =1). Usually 1 minute is about 70-80 strides. The first 10 minute run I got to about 850 so the second run I counted backwards…and I was still running when Laura said to “slow down and walk”… ( I think I have the right app…I’m sure I got the link off here, the first 10 runs were free and then I had to do a one off payment for the rest but for me it was worth it!)

It would be great if I could run out doors. The treadmill is my answer to having hardly any time. Maybe now that I am committed I can muster up the energy to try an evening run. I found that I would just be too tired to try. My evenings are generally busy with supper, bath and bed times, homework, then clean up and laundry….so eventually out of desperation I came up with the great idea to do it on my lunch break and so far it’s worked. I am a teacher and school is a block away so I dash home, do my thing, jump into the shower and head back to work, all within an hour! The best thing is that I know it’s done for the day and out of the way and I can concentrate on the family etc. in the evening. Perhaps when the days get a bit longer I will muster the energy to do an evening out door run😊

GoogleMeGraduate in reply to Dmason

The NHS Couch to 5K programme is free (and I've never heard of anyone having to pay for it, even if they are not in the UK), so it sounds as though you are using a different one. You get Laura (and music) with the podcast version - which is the classic - and a choice of UK celebrity coaching voice with the latest version of app (I think the branding on that is now OneYou)

Dmason in reply to GoogleMe

i got it as an app? how do you get the free version as i want to get my husband onto it? am i doing the incorrect one?

Dmason in reply to Dmason

ah, so the one im following is called 5k that im used to it , it feels simpler than the one provided by the nhs on here. the voice and accent is american but its alright. and i think the runs are pretty similar. the app is easier to use in and of itself, in that you can scroll thru the runs and weeks to see what they each consist of....

Dmason in reply to Dmason

wow, i just compared it and the nhs one seems harder in that they expect you to do longer runs already from week 5! week 5 on the pro is only 8 min, 5min walk, 8 min runs. and then week 6 is the 10 min runs, day 3 a 15 min run, week 7 is a 20 minute run, no walk and third run is 25 mins ...week 8 28 min runs ending in 30 min the jump is bigger I guess.

GoogleMeGraduate in reply to Dmason

There are lots of different presentations of Couch to 5K and all have the same principle of intervals. Some are only 8 weeks long and some really come from a background of running, of getting to the 5K, of taking part in an event.

This forum now has a link to the podcasts (the most robust and simplest format with coaching from Laura (an ordinary beginner who used to be a member here) and music - so you just download and go) and the app. It usually appears after the first few posts.

The NHS version does go quite interesting in the middle - most people find it a useful learning experience.

And most of us would say that it is better to just focus on the run you are doing - it rarely seems to help anyone to look ahead!

It reminds me of a saying that keeps popping up in various programmes my kids watch "slow and steady wins the race" and "slowlly, slowly, good things come to those who wait!" meaning the slowly bit, not the waiting bit!

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