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Couch to 5K
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Unsure whether this is for me!

I would like to do C25K but a few weeks ago I tried a park run mostly walking with the odd burst of running. Well you’d have thought I was 90 later that day (I’m 55) and the next few days. My knees hurt but it was my right hip that really gave me jip!! I walk most weekends about 15 miles over the two days so I’m not completely new to exercise. After two or three days things calmed down and I thought I’d give running a miss. I now volunteer for park run but I would still like to be able to participate in it. Sorry for the ramble I guess I am asking if anyone else had the same problems when they first started or should I accept that running isn’t for me? Thanks in advance for any advice 😩🏃🏼‍♀️🚶‍♀️

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I was 54 when I started and finished the day before my 55th birthday am not a natural runner much preferred swimming. Downloaded the NHS podcasts for the 9 week programme followed the instructions to the letter took the rest days religiously never had to redo a run and thoroughly enjoyed it. So the question is it for you yes. You will reap the benefits physically and mentally. Post your runs and never doubt your ability. Others will be along to welcome and advise on what to wear and don't be afraid to ask questions there is no such thing as a daft question.

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Thank you for your reply, I too like swimming and love getting out walking at the weekend and after a long illness which is now managed with the right combination of meds I have now taken these back up. But I felt that I wanted to do more with my fitness to make up for the time out when unwell. I will persevere with this and am going to give this running program a go as I would love to be able to run the park run, although I do like volunteering as well it would be good to do both. I too will never be a natural runner and I’m sure to be very slow and I’m not about to become an athlete but I am going to give it my best shot. Kind regards 😀

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C25K is a structured program to introduce you to running. It assumes that you have not run before, and gently, gradually, carefully gets you running. It does not try to do 'too much too soon' and the program knows that (whilst you may be fit and active), your body is not conditioned for running. So it introduces short jogs interspersed with walking. These are intended to allow your joints, ligaments, muscles to strengthen as you work through the program. And everyone will tell you that you're running too fast. So try C25K, start today and by Christmas you may be running at parkrun.

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Hi MarkyD thank you for your reply and advice. I am not actually that fit and have only been walking weekends since May this year following a long illness, but my fitness has improved dramatically since I started walking. I began slow and worked up to the longer weekend walks and I love being outdoors but I feel I want to take it up a level. I think I maybe expected too much too soon and I fully intend to give C25K a go following the advice on here and hopefully train those running muscles and ligaments. Kind regards 😀

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Hi karen-I was exactly were you are now, last year. I have fibromyalgia and so I’m in constant pain (slightly better with meds)

I so was unsure but here I am week 8 (28min slow running!)

I still feel very nervous about doing it but this wonderful prog trains your body to be ready-I always had 2 days in between each run (usually walked or did yoga in between) and I really have slowly built up my ability (but not always my confidence in my body)

Did C25K Saturday (maybe too soon as I’m actually still hurting) and was at the back with time of 40:33 but I sort of enjoyed it-so so supportive, I was over taken by small children, elderly and a super smiley guy running on a blade but it’s not a race-it’s a fun fitness run. Well done for volunteering, I’m going to do that too but do give C25K a go, it’ll make u feel good about yourself x

ps don’t let your mind tell you that you can’t-your body will slowly be trained if you do this prog-don’t be afraid to run as slow as you can, that’s how you will achieve the distance (lots don’t manage the 5K by end of prog so don’t worry about speed n distance, it’s just training u to get there eventually👍🏼👟)

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Thank you and well done to you for getting out there too. It’s very inspirational to hear other people’s successes. I have had a long illness which took ages to get under control and walking has been my road back to a level of fitness (nowhere near as fit as I was before I became unwell but getting fitter everyday). I think I maybe ran a bit too fast when I tried so maybe the C25K will help. I have marshalled several times at park run and am always amazed at everyone no matter how fast or slow they are. The children look so determined and any encouragement makes them even more so. It is a lovely friendly event and I strongly recommend volunteering. I was the tail walker last week and it was a lovely role. I would be happy with your time 😀😀

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The level of cardiovascular fitness that running will take you to, not to mention the psychological benefits, is way in excess of walking. So I would say, as someone who started running at 57 and is in better general health than ever before, you have a lot to gain.

Footwear is far more crucial for the impact of running than it is for walking. The correct running shoes can alleviate and cure many of the pains felt by new runners, although you have to accept some aches for the first few weeks of any new exercise regime. I would recommend having a gait analysis done at a specialist running shop to find out what sort of shoes are appropriate for you.

Running on grass is much kinder to your joints and that can be done in trail shoes, which are all neutral and don't require gait analysis and can be bought relatively cheaply from places like Sports Direct. Don't use those for sustained periods on hard surfaces though. Leisure trainers are not running shoes and are not advisable beyond the first few weeks.

Nearly all new runners try to run faster than they need to, increasing physical stresses and making breathing difficult. Slow down. Stamina is built by running slowly.

Occasionally running exposes weaknesses, possibly your right hip in your case, which might be a problem or it may be able to be overcome with professional medical advice.

One thing that the overwhelming majority on this forum would agree to, is that the NHS C25K plan is an amazing life changing programme that really works. 95% in a recent poll said they had experienced mental health benefits too, which explains why we are all run junkies.

We would love you to join our happy band.

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Thank you for your reply and advice. I do want to increase my cardiovascular fitness as my ultimate goal is to do the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, and as part of training for that it is recommended that after getting some fitness walking to build up to running to help with building stamina and pace, alongside some hill walking before attempting each peak separately before attempting the challenge which is the three Yorkshire peaks (25 miles) in under 12 hours. I was very disillusioned after my first attempt at running but I think I went too fast for a beginner and maybe gave up too soon thinking I am not a runner!! I am going to follow C25K religiously as i would be more than happy to be able to run for 5k however long it takes. I totally agree with you on the shoe aspect, where would I get my gait analysed? Thank you again for your advice and I look forwarding being part of the C25K family 😀

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Most sports shops offer gait analysis for free some change but take the cost of any running shoes you but however don't be pressured into buy them if you can compare prices online and go with the ones in your price range.

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Thank you I will check this out 😀

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Karen I think it tends to be the smaller independent sport shops-I went to one in York centre on a day out if that’s any help (you mentioned Yorkshire so maybe it’s not too far from you

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I love York and will be going before Xmas. Can you remember the name of the shop? What a good excuse to go shopping!! Thank you 😀

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hi Karen, here you go upandrunning.co.uk/york i hope i don't get into trouble for the link but it was a lovely little shop-they have a treadmill and you do a brief run and they analyse your gait and then show you different trainers to try-i was very impressed

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Thanks that’s great I will check them out 😀

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Gosh - Have you perhaps started at the finish line, by trying the Park Run first? Please do try the C25k to start with. In a couple of months the Park Run will be totally do-able.

I am trying to fend off a knee replacement and thought I would try the C25k. And it has certainly helped my mobility. 10 weeks down the line, I went out this morning and walked for five minutes, ran for 30, then walked for five minutes more. The day of the runs, I am a bit stiff afterwards, but the following day is now a revelation - I can move! Painlessly.

You will see many, many people on this wonderful forum saying 'if I can do it, anyone can'. And it's true. In the last five years I have had three shoulder replacements, one hip replacement and a knee arthroscopy. I am 62.

I realised, after many years of not being able to walk even, and doing no exercise, I had to do something. No-one else could do it for me.

When I started, the thought of running for 30 seconds was horrendous. But you do it. And it's fine. It can be hard some weeks - but repeat a week if you need to - I repeated week 7.

Be kind to yourself. Slow and steady is the mantra. If you find it hard, slow down.

15 miles? Wow! My limit for walking is three miles because of OA in my toes. You must actually be really fit! If I can do it, you certainly can!

Good Luck! x

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Babs, you are my heroine. What a story of the power of exercise.

Keep running, keep smiling.

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Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and for sharing your experiences. You are an inspiration and I think you have done amazingly well. I also have OA of the knee and wonder if that is also the problem with my hip. Have you found your knees hurt less with each run? Mine have got better since I started walking. When I see the positive and supportive comments on here it does make you want to have a go. I am going to wait until payday so I can get some decent trainers from the start as I think that may have been part of my problem. I am not really that fit but I try and get outside every weekend and walk. This time last year I could barely walk down the road without getting out of breath due to illness but my fitness has improved tremendously with walking so I figured the next step is running. Keep up your amazing progress (and I will probably be repeating more than one week!!) but I will take it nice and slow. Kind regards 😀

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If you are going to get new trainers please go to a specialist running shop that can give you a gait analysis, otherwise you will be picking shoes like picking pebbles on a beach.........they all look the same, but they are not and you need to find the ones that suit your running gait. Take your old ones with you and be prepared to run for a couple of minutes.

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I definitely intend to thank you 😀

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I realise we have already had this conversation. Sorry for repetition, but the default forum smiley face avatars are not very personal.

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No worries I repeat myself all the time and it is sound advice!!

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Wow! Thank you. Smiling broadly. x

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Hi Karen. I was totally in the same place as you. Last year, walking sideways with my hip, and grimacing with the pain. Thank God and the NHS we live in these times. C25k certainly helps with the pain and gives me flexibility in my knee.

Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge?? Not fit?? I am in awe.

I bet you anything, in less than three months, you will be one of the ones giving advice. Just check earlier posts from me if you don't believe that. x

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Hi Yorkshire Three Peaks is my ultimate goal but I’m nowhere near fit enough to tackle it yet but I am determined to do it one day. It is quite amazing how fitness returns once you commit to it isn’t it? I am also determined to never get back to where I was last year. Thank you for your lovely comments and keep up your good work...I too am in awe of your remarkable achievements 🏃🏼‍♀️🏃🏼‍♀️x

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Thank you to everyone who has replied and offered advice. This site is highly motivating and everyone is so lovely and friendly. I am definitely going to give the C25K program a go once I have some decent trainers. Roll on payday and I will let you all know how I get on. Many thanks again you are all so inspirational and really make me want to succeed. And for anyone on rest days I can highly recommend volunteering for Park Run, that too is a lovely friendly group of people and very encouraging xx

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Is the NHS Podcast the same as the C25K app?

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