Couch to 5K
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Rest days?

So I know that rest days are really important, especially in the beginning. But I wondered exactly what a rest day should entail? Is it fine to do another form of exercise instead i.e. walking, Zumba, swimming etc? Or should it be a full on rest day?

I'm determined to stick to this programme but normally do a lot of other exercise through the week. I don't want to end up burning out 😂

4 Replies

Hi Ruth. Looks like "rest" means "rest the bits you worked" i.e. the muscles and tendons you used on the run. I just started last week, and normal walking doesn't seem to use the same muscles as running (at least walking to my local high street is all uphill and that didn't hurt after run 1, although running DID!) So prob. swimming is fine too. Maybe also biking.


On your rest days you can walk, swim, cycle, dance samba, Zumba, hula hoop or pogo stick, just don't run.

Rignold will be along any minute extolling the virtues of squats, on all days not just your rest days!

You can also be smug and take a sneaky look back at last week, last month or last year when you couldn't do what you can today!

Congrats on getting started and don't let sneaking in three little runs a week stop you doing what you were doing before.

Keeep running, keep posting and keep smiling!👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼😀😀🏃🏼‍♀️🐢


Hi there... :)

Rest the running bit but may other exercises are fine... no/low impact... rest the running muscles:)

Besides the exercises mentioned, don't factor out a hard days gardening, or a heavy housework day...walking is great, ( I walk for miles... even on my running days...small granddaughter) :) ,as is swimming, yoga Pilates.. etc etc.

The NHS Strength and Flex are a great exercise and there are loads of exercises online which are specifically for rest day runners:)

Have fun...


When I first started the c25k, I followed it religiously had a full days rest. I have a desk job and work at home there was no problems with rushing about traveling back and forth. I'd done no heavy housework or any type of exercises sometimes I would rest for two days in a row as the week runs got longer.

It's all depends on your lifestyle and if you have an active life you'll find it easier to do other exercises on your rest day. The podcast gets harder and longer minutes running if it's your first time I would take note and rest as suggested.

Good luck.

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