Please help, I can only jog for 30 seconds bef... - Couch to 5K

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Please help, I can only jog for 30 seconds before I'm exhausted

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I've signed up for a 10 week C25K with a running club so very proud of myself. I start my journey being very overweight and very unfit.... I can jog for only 30 seconds before I'm gasping and needing to stop for a drink.

I'm off the couch and that is a start but I don't want to keep everyone waiting, next week is week 2 and the jogging increases from 60 to 90 seconds.

Any advice anyone can offer is gratefully received.

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Welcome aboard C25k allieaddey

You're not the first person to feel like you are and you really can still get through the program. How many of Week One's runs have you done?

The C25k plan asks that you do three sessions in each week. So it may be that if you found Week One Run One hard, that by Week One Run Three you'll be coping and will be able to move on to Week Two with everyone else.

If you've already done three sessions of Week One and still can't do the sixty second runs then I think you might need to consider repeating the week until you can.

Lots and lots of people repeat weeks and there is absolutely no shame in doing so.

It MAY mean that you have to do the sessions alone or with a kind friend rather than with the group you have joined, if they are progressing at a rate you are not comfortable with.

But The Important Thing is this: you get through the plan! This isn't about socializing with a group; it's about your own health and fitness and the start of a wonderful new healthier happier you.

(And we can be your cyber group supporting you from here...)

in reply to AnneDroid

The club is offering C25k over 10 weeks so that's what you will be doing! Starting from Ground Zero.

You will all be starting from the same place as everyone else as it's a specific programme for absolute beginners. You will only be doing very short jogs with longer walks. Don't worry it's going to be great. The great thing about C25k is that the slower you do it the better

Have fun!

in reply to AnneDroid

Bit at a time! I might have a go myself


Hi, well done on beginning your journey.

The running club have set this up to encourage new runners, and may well be working alongside the local authority to do just that. Either way they will expect the group to have a range of base ability so you should not be so concerned. They will support and help you on the journey otherwise they would not be offering this terrific plan.

Get out there, embrace and enjoy. Slow and steady will get you through the programme. Good luck and let us know how it goes πŸ‘πŸΌ

Hi allieaddey,

You're right to be proud of yourself, well done for getting started. A good percentage of people who start the C25K program probably feel much as you do but have faith, you WILL get there.

This is all about you so if you need to repeat a week so be it, but remember every week is progress. You'll read this on the forum time and time again ... slow is good, always take your rest days and believe YOU CAN DO IT ... go for it! Happy running.


Well done for taking those first steps - that's the hardest bit done! :)

I'm sure the group are prepared for all ability levels - but if you're not sure, then have a chat with the leader. Do they ask you to repeat the run twice on your own between each weekly session, or do they have three sessions each week? The C25k program has three runs a week (or three times at each run, depending on which way you look at it).

You will get loads of virtual support on here too :)


Well done for signing up - you really will be fine. The reason you can only jog for 30 secs is because you're going too fast. Slow down and surprise yourself! Good luck and keep posting!

Is your worry that you have done week 1 and are still struggling to get to the 60 seconds let alone progress to 90?

If so, an option to consider is to just keep repeating W1 until you are comfortable with it. Lots of people do this. Lots of people repeat weeks at various stages of the programme. It is better by far to repeat weeks and progress at your own pace, than to press on when you really aren't managing, and then get discouraged when you can't keep up.

Of course that is all very well if you have the flexibility of doing the programme on your own, and not so straightforward if you are doing it with a group. I would suggest in the first instance discussing it with the group leader - it may turn out that there are others in the group who have the same concern and you could be a splinter group advancing at a different rate.

If not how would you feel about going solo? You wouldn't be on your own exactly - you'd have all of us bunch of reprobates to egg you on.


Slow, slow and slower... it's not a sprint remember... and good luck 😎

I agree with talking your fears over with the leader. Groups leaders are trained to help people in your situation with advice and encouragement. All leaders of beginner running groups have specific training in helping everyone to learn to run injury free. Not everyone can progress at the same level so I am sure they will have a contingency plan for you. You also might totally surprise yourself by being able to do it, so I wouldn't dismiss it completely but cover all your bases by having a conversation before your group starts and they will keep an eye out for you.

Please remember even if you can't do the 90 seconds the key word will be YET. you will be able to when you are ready, so don't give up and keep coming back on here and we will help you progress no matter what happens at your next meeting, but I'm sure it will all be more positive than you imagine.



When I started I couldn't complete week 1 - I was simply going too fast. Now I'm about to do a 10k. The other thing to keep in mind is that you're asking your body to do a lot more than it's used too. With time your muscles become stronger, your lungs more efficient and your endurance greater. Every run you make no matter how short is another step towards being fitter. So stick at it and soon you will be running longer and longer.


Can you run at a slower pace? You're doing just fine, but slowing down can really help.

Lot's of good advice there - good luck.

Thank you everyone for the advice and encouragement. It really is great motivation πŸ˜„

I was like you when I started out & the 60 second runs of week 1 seemed to last for ever. I agree with everyone else that taking is slow is the way to go, sometimes your pace may be a tad faster than a walk but it doesn't matter. We tend to pressurise ourselves to run faster but that will only lead to injury. Talk with your group leader about your concerns, I am sure they will have some advice for you and I would guess that many in your group are feeling the same as you. Well done for starting the C25K, it is a great program & good luck on you next run x


It's really a slightly different thing to the NHS C25K programme if you are moving on regardless. The NHS C25K is predicated on building secure foundations... so if you've had to stop at any stage or walked in a run segment, then you'd not move on to longer runs until you could. As I've said many times as a veteran struggler with Week 1, a useful strategy is to complete as much of the session as you can - take tiny steps if you are struggling, run on the spot if you've got a few seconds to go and are desperate - but as soon as you can't stick with it, just walk the rest. You then have a very clear marker for next time so you will be able to see progress but all the while building a mental attitude to keep going.

I am quite sure you can do this... see if you can walk more slowly and run more slowly within your group setting if you like the atmosphere and if it helps with commitment... but if they are not accommodating, then it is worth considering ditching it for now. Most of us here completed the NHS C25K programme either alone or maybe with a buddy. Well, not alone because there is shedloads of support from other forum users.

You might be astonished to find, as I did, that Week 1 is the hardest of the lot and the rest is a lot more straightforward. It is a lot about finding your pace. *Your* pace.

in reply to GoogleMe

Fab advice from GoogleMe and everyone else, I will be taking this on board.

Well done for having a go at the plan. I couldn't run for a bus before, not actually convinced I could run for one now if I had to.

I never thought I would get to where I am now, this morning I did WK 8 Run 1.

I remember the first few weeks, willing Laura to tell me to slow down to a walking pace, breathing so hard my throat would burn, thinking how am I ever going to run any distance, but it does get easier, you can do it! Have faith in the plan, take it slow and streaky, and you will achieve more than you ever expected.

Each session will become more rewarding and you will start to feel so proud of your achievements. I love telling everyone how well I am doing.

Keep at it, you can do it xx

Well good evening and it has been a good one ...

I listened to the advice, I spoke to the group leaders, I slowed things down and whilst I struggled and walked and jogged and walked I'm on the good side of C25K week 2!!! Again thank you all for the encouragement 😁

in reply to allieaddey

Well done ! Really pleased for you.

I realised running in the park or along the river was less challenging than along the pavement - there are trees and ducks rather than stone and glass, so it's more interesting to look around. Which makes you less focused on the strain so you can keep going! VERY SLOW jogging, but still jogging!

Came back to look at how far I'd come .... Stopped and started a few times but year on still trying and my next outing sees me entering Week 5 Jog 2. Struggling to believe it is achievable and genuinely enjoying the feel good achievement afterwards :)


Well done you! Just goes to show it doesn't matter how long you take - this is your journey, and with your guts and determination you'll get there. And we're all cheering you on!

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