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Couch to 5K
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Very Very late Starter

Hi all.I am a bit late in starting as I am 70 years old in 2 months!! Like most on forum when I was younger many many years ago I was a lot fitter. Male, 179.49 cm (5 feet 7.5") 71.1Kilos which is about 11 stone 2.5 lb thereabouts.

I needed to loose some weight and get fitter so started out with walking on a treadmill.

I could walk at a leisurely 3.7 mph for 30 mins or so no problem but try to jog at that speed and I could only last for about 1 minute before gasping for breath & legs dropping off. I realised then there is a vast difference in walking & jogging at same speed and needed something to aim for as I seemed to be stuck in a rut.

I then came across C25K and what an inspiration it was to read of all the people who like me cannot run/jog/shuffle for a couple of mins, I had to have a go but boy did not realise how hard it would be for my old legs and breathing.

I have to admit somewhat reluctant to join forum at 1st as the speed I was jogging /shuffling at was nowhere the speeds that other found easy,5-6 mph & faster. Only through reading posts on the forum have I come to realise (at last) it is more about duration than speed. No way could match speed of someone half my age. I have to give credit to my wife who until injury started to run for her county (50 years ago) until injury. She would come into garage and see I was struggling and would encourage me by saying “Look you can see the finish line, you are nearly there keep going”, it worked.

Week 1-3 not too bad even though I struggled at jog for 3 mins at 4 mph.Like a lot of people I was dreading W4 with a 5 min run The 1st run I did the 5 mins at 4 mph but I was gasping for breath and staggering all over the treadmill. My heart max is 150 and I was getting up to 139 HB and I thought that is not good. I slowed down to 3.7 mph and I was able to complete the week ok.

I decided to do W4 again and even though I still was training at 3.7 mph I felt stronger and my breathing was getting a lot better with a slightly slower heartbeat.

Now onto this week and W5!!!! How am I going to do 3 x 8 mins when I struggled at 5 mins. At 1st I thought I would do W4 again but decided against it and go for W5. W5D1 went ok ,3 x 5 mins .

Today was D2 at 2 x 8 mins and I knew I would be struggling so I went for 3.5 mph and done the 2 x 8 mins. What I did was the last 30 seconds put speed up to 4.5 mph and it felt good(-:.

Now I have got over my feeling of failure of dropping speed from what was a slow 4mph to 3.5 mph I can at least do the required time and keep heart rate down+ I feel good as no longer gasping for breath.

Looking forward to D3 with a 20 min run as I know at 3.5mph I will complete it.

Yes I am as slow as a snail but I am enjoying it and I am definitely getting fitter & better at jogging. My aim is to complete the course and then let the speed take care of its self.

My other aim is to complete a Kate/Rachel jog/run route on WalkJogRun website which goes right past my house and is 1.6miles. Since I can only jog/shuffle for 8 mins at a time I am delaying going outside till I am more confident.

What also made a big difference were my trainers. I had an old pair I paid about £10 for around 15 years ago and basically a plank of wood has more give in it. My heels used to hurt on treadmill so I decided to go to the shop in Swindon called Run. They gave me a gait test and I purchased a pair of Brooks Ghost 10 trainers. True they had to pick me up off the floor and give me oxygen after telling me the price (-: but they have made all the difference and worth every penny or should I say pound.

10 Replies

Brooks Ghost 10....I got a pair of them th eother week and ran in them for the first time last night. Great choice. You will notice SO much difference.

And dont worry about the pace. this is for you so you do your own pace. I'm just in awe that you are out there doing at as a sprightly 69 year old. That in itself is motivation for the rest of us.

Welcome and enjoy.

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It sounds like you are enjoying the challenge and that above all, is the most important thing.

Keep us posted with your progress.


well done you're doing great and snails pace is not a problem, pace does not matter it's achieving the time and you are doing that

Great attitude


Well done you. As you say, it's just the speed at which we run/jog that varies. I'm nearly 72 (in Dec) and am on week 7. My running is pretty slow but I feel so much better now than 2 months ago.


scotinexile, 72 and on W7, well done. Like ejvcruns said the lung capacity comes 1st b4 speed. Even after 4 weeks my breathing is improving.

Do you find that even running/jog is slow your breathing has improved over the 7 weeks?


Well done ,keep up the good work


I reckon the first thing is getting the lung capacity. THEN you can work on speed, although of course the 20 year olds will have a natural advantage. But who cares about them and their speed after all. Great job spending money on the new trainers, I got some Nike Free running shoes and i LOVE them. Glad you like yours.


Well I completed W5D3 this morning (-: Last night my wife gave me a rollicking as I was walking around being negative saying how long I have to jog for. She said either do not think about it or be positive,which is hard to do.

Anyway went out with positive thoughts and started the jog. I was surprised when 5 mins was up as 2 weeks ago I struggled to do 5 mins. Next time it was 9 mins and I again though how only a couple of days ago I was dreading the 8 min run.

From roughly 5-10 mins my calves were burning but breathing was ok. The burning went away as I expected then it was really down to endurance.I try not to look at the time too often as it is like watching a kettle boil,it goes so slow.

Any way a bonus as when I checked the time I got it wrong,I thought it said 25:00 mins but it was in fact 26:00 so I had run for 21 mins (-: I was really pleased that I had completed W5 and was not gasping for breath. I am fully expecting to be a bit stiff later in day but that is to be expected and I know it will go away.


Thanks for this post, I am so early on in the programme I need all the positives I can get. I am (or thought I was) quite fit as I do lots of exercise - Badminton yoga pilates etc etc - but as for running yikes now that’s a test. How can I slow down from a shuffling gait I’d like to know! Your story inspires me to know I can crack this , the bonus being it is free and not bound by time or venue.

Well done , my aim is to be a runner at 70 too so with 3 years to go I guess I have time to graduate 🤔


Hi laurel55. Never tried Pilates but Badminton & Yoga,man are they hard. Too stiff for Yoga and as for Badminton I could never reach the shuttlecock before it hit the floor,I was hit all over the court.

You are no doubt fit but even thought I am only a starter I have come to realise it is about endurance. To be honest I started walking slowly and built it up till I was doing a brisk walk,almost like marching speed,well it seemed like that to me. Like I mentioned going from a 3.7 mph walk to a jog at same speed was impossible.When I started trying to jog I went way down to 3.0 mph which is slower than some people walk.

The point is you may feel like you are only doing a shuffling gait but if you can do the recommended time whatever it is 3,5,8 mins etc you have won. I felt so disappointed having to drop my speed way down but now come to realise the prize is not for how fast you shuffle /jog but completing the minutes.

True even that seems hard and I had to repeat W4 but if you can do the recommended mins at a slow shuffling gait then so what. I bet there are thousands of youngsters who could not even get near what you are doing.

Little Story. This has stuck in my mind for over 30 years!! I used to go fishing and there was one chap around late 20`s who was around 5` 5" ( about 157cm) and quite chubby.

About a year after I saw him on the riverbank he was well I have not really got a word for it as it was not even a shuffle. He was shuffling so so slow by where I lived. I have got to be honest and say I took the mick out of how so slow he was going and it looked like he was about to drop on the ground,he was painfully slow and done in.

The laugh was on me as a few years later he won an ironman triathlon competition!! He may of won even more than one ,he eventually opened a successful cycle shop. I came to realise how he had stuck it out despite being the slowest dude around to becoming the best dude around,I salute him.

My latest inspiration and I do NOT mean to follow him is someone in my town who started shuffling at 70 and 12 years later at 82 run his 1st marathon last year!! Never met him but I bet he has lots of advice & tips for the older generation.


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