Attempting c25k after many years of inactivity - am I expecting too much?

I'm attempting at the age of 56 (and 107kg) to get fit(ish). I've been going to the gym 3 times a week (including one 45 minute session of aqua running) for about 3 months, and this morning attempted my first day of c25k.

I probably haven't run more than 100 yards since I stopped playing rugby 25 years ago and this morning nearly finished me off - I only managed 4 of the 8 "60 second runs", and I expected more of myself - I have no problem walking 12 or 13 mil;es about once every 10 days, and I expected to be better than this.

Am I expecting too much, and should I keep at week 1 until I can do it three times in 7 days

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24 Replies

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  • Hi, I know how it feels , and I don't think its abnormal what you are experiencing. It seems more than frustrating I know. You will get a lot of good advice on here so stick at it, if you are getting out of breath run slower even if you think you are so slow you are running on the spot. I liked walking and fast walking at that but there is no comparison. Personally I was aided in my pretty poor endurance by doing 6 months of pretty intensive exercise biking before I started jogging (I'm on week 8) . It didn't help with my legs (calves) hurting like hell though. You can do they cycling on your rest days, I find I run much easier the day after I have gone on the bike.

    The thing with this is gradual increase in time of runs . You will improve. PS You don't say how tall you are so you could be carrying a lot of extra weight on your knees so listen to your body, there is no harm in walking parts you didn't intend to . Even the experience runners walk now and again in the middle of the longer runs. I know this doesn't help you so much in just starting out but you will get past this stage. I'd keep at week 1 till you are happy you can do it all then move on.

  • 5' 9", but very wide :)

    I do understand that I'm currently around 17 stone, but anything under 14 has always been to difficult to manage since I was 17 or 18 (and I'm no heavier now than when I was playing rugby (sometimes twice a week) 35 years ago), It's not about stamina or breathing it's about legs like lead.

  • My wife and I have just completed the C25K programme and we are both in our 70th year. WE may have taken a few week more than in the planned 9 weeks but e have got there, so can you, just believe. Good Luck.

  • Firstly, welcome and well done for getting out there! You have done the hardest thing already which is getting off the couch and starting.

    My immediate thought on your concern is; did you sprint or did you do a very slow jog? Because the 60 second "runs" are actually 60 second very slow jogs. So keep that pace really really slow.

    Secondly, don't worry about the nine week thing, it's as many times as it takes you. I'm on week 7 but it's taken me 9 weeks to get here. So you're doing fine. I would move on to run 2 next time and run 3 the time after that but if you get to run 3 and you haven't managed to do all 8 60 second slow jogs, stay on week 1 until you have managed it once. When you have, move on to week 2. It's a cumulative programme so moving on before you're ready might risk an injury or worse, make you think you can't do it (which you totally can).

    You are doing brilliantly just by starting so just enjoy the sunshine! Best of luck! Xxx

  • That's really what I meant - continue with the week one regime until I can do it three times in 7 days.

  • Doesn't have to be in 7 days, or even consecutive. Just three times total.

  • Yeah, I just don't think you have to complete the feat three times. As long as you got out there three times and managed to complete it once, if you're happy to move on, move on. If you're not, don't.

    The rest days are essential and some people need more than others too. I'm ok with one rest day so some weeks I go out three times and some weeks it's four but some people need two or three rest days so their weeks are longer. You'll find your rhythm soon enough! 😁

  • Don't worry - the first run is a shock to the system.

    Do your​ jogging sessions much slower. The point is completion, not speed. Take a day off, and go out and repeat the run. Don't move on to week 2 until you've completed three runs off week 1 successfully. If it takes you 1 week or 10, that's fine. We modify as we need. I'm coming back from injury and currently running less than week .

    You'll be totally fine. There's a learning curve of pace, terrain, movement etc.

    Happy running!

  • Tomorrow is 45 mins circuit training at 09h30, and it's a 20 minute walk each way to the gym so I had no intentions of running tomorrow anyway. :)

  • Ha. No kidding. It's worth mentioning that when I was doing some weight training at the gym, if I did a lot with my legs running was tough the next day. If you do a lot of leg heavy working out, tinkering with the timing could help.

  • No it's a very varied session

  • Not only was it varied (included a team 6k row - three to a team) it was also brutal ... always an issue when it's a small group of people. My thighs probably won't stand any running tomorrow :)

    I'll have another bash at the running on Sunday

  • Well done Soupdraggon. Also, keep popping in here. We are really good cheerleaders and there some very experienced runners with oodles of knowledge which they kindly share.

    The advice that really helped me was to GO SLOW. Slow and then slow down a bit more 😊

    Also committing on the forum might make it difficult to duck out of a run when you don't feel like it. 😁

  • No you can't use that as an excuse.

    Well done for starting. This programme really works and you​ will never regret it. I was 57 when I started four years ago and have never been as fit as I am now.

    You can do it.

  • I bet you are going too fast. If you are used to doing that amount of activity then it's probably hard to slow down enough for the programme.

  • Lots of good encouragement and advice (especially about going slow). This is preparation and training for longer runs, so pace yourself accordingly, i.e.no sprinting. The program is about building your stamina and endurance through regularly training 3X per week. You must ensure you have 'at least' one days rest between runs.

    Rest meaning not running, so cross training through: swimming, cycling, walking, yoga, resistance training etc being fine, and even beneficial to the running.

    I ran the program to a strict 7 day week, so I always had an option of a second rest day between runs - most often being, Sun(R1), Tues(R2), Fri(R3) , for example. However, some run every other day for the whole program.

    If your struggling with the runs, then slow down. If you are getting sore or tired, then add in extra rest days. Trust the program and you will do fine!

  • It's not tiredness as such - it's the leaden legs when running.

    I have plenty of energy in general terms - I can, and do, walk a lot (I average around 3.5 mph) - I've been averaging between 30 and 40 miles a week for ages.

    That said, other personal considerations mean that I can't have a strict schedule of running on particular days, or only having one day off.

  • Yep, I know it well. It will get easier. Your legs will get stronger. Walking and running are two different things. Running is high impact, and your bones and joints are taking much more of a pounding from running then they will through walking.

    Pace your 60 second runs nice and slow - run means jog.

  • Very well done and welcome... slow and steady and there is no reason why you should not do this..

    This your C25K journey.. do it in your own steady time... take an extra rest day if you need to.. do some core strength exercises on rest days too ... walking in rest days ( not necessarily 12 miles...)will help too:)

    If this 67 year old can.. then you can.. go for it:)

  • "Rest days" will be swimming/gym days - apart from working obviously :)

  • Hello! I'm 49, 5'11 and about 100kg. Hated running at school and haven't done much exercise the past couple of years apart from Pilates, a bit of yoga and a bit of cycling. My first run sounds like yours - manged first couple of the running sections, couldn't finish the middle few then managed to finish the last couple. Then somehow by the 3rd run that week I ran through all of the sections so I decided to go to week 2. Similar pattern - struggled with the increase then by the end of the week it was fine. I've just this morning finished week 3 fairly easily - in fact easier than my very first run in week 1.

    So from my (limited) experience - each week may be tough to start, but if you can manage it by the end of the week, move on to the next week.

    I actually enjoyed it his morning!!

  • Can sympathise with the legs like lead feeling. But as others have said just go really really slowly but try to keep running. And it gets easier so much quicker than you think it will :)

  • Lead legs : hydrate more (I sound like a stuck record). 3 to 4 litres of water a day given your gym work etc. And make sure you are getting enough protein for recovery.

    One of my Crossfit coaches is 57 and regularly trounces everyone else during the metcon workouts. Age is no ceiling to fitness. Just remember its a marathon not a sprint hough and it takes us 'mature athletes' longer to build and recover.

  • Indeed, age is no barrier to being fit. Hydration, rest between runs, pace are definitely important but so is breathing. Your muscles need oxygen. I find that if I think about breathing while I'm running rather than any niggling aches then I am much more successful. And I am 70 so breathe and enjoy. And think about all the good it's doing you. 😀

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