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Couch to 5K
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A query to our experts

I currently run 3 times a week, generally an intermediate 6.5km, a fast 5k and then a slower paced 8 to 12km at the weekend.

My 14 year old daughter has now decided that she want to run and wants to come out with me (a rare thing indeed as no doubt those with teenagers will atest - normally the only time she would spend time with her parents is when we are driving her here and there!!!).

Now, I do not want to discourage her in anyway but I also do not want to come off my routine as of yet (I am not training for anything in particular - the next distance step up target for me would by a marathon and I don't really have the inclination for that at the mo).

We started off on W1R1 this morning. This would mean I would technically be running 6 times in a week. This isn't an issue just now given the early stage of C25K but will be as her distances increase.

So, my question is, how long can I do the 6 runs without running the risk of injury and when would be the best time to drop my running to align with hers?

Any suggestions welcome.

9 Replies

First of all, congratulations on getting your teenager inspired and to follow through with running with you!

I've struggled to align my running with my teenagers, because we run at such different rates, but hopefully you will manage this better, as you are clearly more advanced.

Keep up the good work and keep us informed of how it works out, because this is surely what we'd all love to be able to achieve!


'how long can I do the 6 runs without running the risk of injury'.

I'd say, as long as you feel able.

As long as there's no pain and your post workout aches are clearing up rather than gradually cumulatively getting worse, then you're OK.

There's no set law when it comes to required recovery time. Some people might need a full week to recover from one workout. Others might be fine within a few hours.

From an evolutionary perspective, we're only supposed to need a few hours after most activities. Our ancient ancestors won't have taken a day off from hunting or tracking the migrating elks or whatever. None of us would be here if they did. It's only the modern lifestyle that's made us weak enough to need more than a day to recover from activity. If you're fit enough to not need a day to recover, then running every day will cause no problem whatsoever.

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Kiddo joined me on week 4 of C25K (age 15) and he was soon running ahead of me. We both continued running after graduation, but not together, as he is miles faster than I am! There may be a possibility that your daughter will gain in confidence and want to run alone at her own pace when the runs get longer, which would solve the problem - at that point you could suggest cycling the same route and waiting for her at strategic points along the way. That way you are with her, but not running, when the runs get longer. And she gets to go it alone for the second half of the programme, without being left to run with no-one to keep an eye on her (my 14 yr old daughter went running alone last year and I was worried... she, of course, wasn't).

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You have been running quite some time now, so that gentle increase in your running is probably going to be possible without huge risk of injury. I suppose it depends how fast your daughter wants to run relative to your speed. If she is quite fast, then by the time you get to the continuous runs, you might find you are following a hard run with a hard run, which is against all received wisdom. Also the cumulative effect on you may take its toll, or the opposite might happen and you just become super fit.

Listening to your body is going to be your main guide. Maybe as you get to the latter weeks you could drop one of your solo runs and just go with her.

What a wonderful problem to have


I ran with a friend who was just starting out while we were on holiday. I ran slowly with him and then did my own thing the next day. I found at the end of 5 runs I was tired though and took a day off. Only to repeat the process again with 5 runs in a row. Your teenage daughter will be faster than my friend and will probably challenge you quite quickly! You may find you will have to adapt your routine quite quickly!

Enjoy the quality time though - it's very precious!


Why not consider running with her your warm up and continue by yourself afterwards. That's what I do when my son wants to run with me. Or at least that's what I used to do - now he runs 7k without stopping and I am beginning to think that it won't be long before he leaves me in the dust.

It is lovely to run with him. I hope you and your daughter find it enjoyable too.


What a fabulous opportunity for you to spend some quality time with your daughter. To be honest, if this was my 14 year old son I'd be cancelling all of my running aspirations and simply doing C25K with him. What's 9 weeks out of my schedule, compared to the joy of sharing my love for running with my son??

I don't think that you will break yourself by adding C25K into your running mix, but why not do C25K with your daughter, and allow yourself the extra long, slow run to make 4 runs in the week?


Thanks folks. Certainly lots to consider here.

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Update: I've decided to drop my faster 5k and move the 6.5 to midweek. My longer weekend run will hopefully be at the upper end of the 8-12k.

I'm planning to keep at this until my daughter gets to around the 5 week mark and then I'll align with her, perhaps extending the friday run a bit further.


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