Couch to 5K
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This is one of what is planned to be a series of posts giving answers to some of the most commonly asked questions and also giving advice and links that may be useful for any new runner. They will be accessible in future through the FAQ POSTS posting in the PINNED POSTS column.These posts are not expected to be definitive nor to answer all queries, so feel free to post a new question on the forum, but if you browse through this resource at your leisure, you may learn quite a considerable amount. If you spot any glaring errors or omissions, please send a personal message to the original poster, since these posts will eventually be locked and will not be able to be directly replied to.


Health Unlocked is the umbrella organisation that hosts the NHS Couch to 5k community and this site, as well as a vast range of different communities based around specific health issues. You only need to sign up once to have a profile which you can then use across all the other communities.

This forum was set up primarily to support those undertaking the NHS Couch to 5k training plan but welcomes any new runner over the age of 16. Over the years this has become a very active, non judgemental and vibrantly positive support community with many graduates of the scheme staying on to cheer those just starting out.There are two other sister groups to do with running, namely the Bridge to 10k and Marathon Running and Race Support communities.


The Home page healthunlocked.com/couchto5k is where you most likely land when you first come here. The following description is based on using a Windows 10 based PC and there may be variations if you are using other equipment or operating systems, especially phones or tablets.

Across the top of the page, on the left, is the 'Home' tab (house icon), which will take you to your personal feed which shows all the latest posts from the communities to which you signed up. Next is 'My hub' (nine little dots icon) which will bring up a drop-down list of all the communities you have joined. Then there is 'Chat' which is where you can send or receive private messages. Next to that is the notifications icon (a bell) which, if you have any notifications will have a number highlighted in yellow next to it. Tap/click on this to bring up a drop-down list of notifications. In the middle (on desktop) is the green HealthUnlocked logo, which will also take you to your 'Home' feed. Next to this is the 'Search' magnifying glass icon, where you can search the entire site using keywords. Alongside this are the LOG IN and SIGN UP buttons, which do not appear if you are logged in.


On the Home page healthunlocked.com/couchto5k click on the green SIGN UP button, create a forum name, which you will be happy with, even when your life has changed beyond all recognition, along with your email address and password. You might well find calling yourself Lazyfatgit, or similar, is something you want to reconsider once you become a lean, mean running machine, so choose carefully, for your own sake and so that you do not offend others. It is possible to change your name twice, but makes sense to get it right first time.

You can alternatively sign up with Facebook or Google. Click the appropriate button and enter a username in the box, then click the SIGN UP button.

You will now be guided through creating your Health Unlocked profile, which will follow you to any community you join. When completed you will be presented with suggestions of others you can connect to or follow. You will also see on the top bar, your chosen username with an avatar face and an orange disc with 1 in it, your MESSAGE NOTIFICATION. Click this circle to see a welcome message. Click the NEW icon to read the message.


Click on your user icon at top right of the screen and a box appears. Select PROFILE. This opens your profile page in which you can tell people a bit about yourself, upload a profile picture to replace the avatar face, and upload a background image to the profile banner. To do any of these things just click the EDIT PROFILE button to the right.

To change your profile picture (avatar) click on the UPLOAD button on the face and select your new picture from your files and click OPEN. The image will centralise on loading, then you can click SAVE. Some people have problems with these images coming in sideways, because they have been taken in portrait mode on a phone or tablet. To correct this, open the file in an image editor and rotate it until it is the correct orientation, save it, then insert it by the method above.

The banner image is handled in a similar way. Click UPLOAD IMAGE, wait for it to load and click SAVE.

You can enter any information you want to share with others in the central text box. Remember anyone can see this. Below are opportunities to add information about your specific health condition,symptoms and treatments, which you can make private if you wish. Once completed, scroll to the bottom the page and click SAVE CHANGES. All this information can be edited by you at any time by clicking the EDIT PROFILE button.

Your profile page is public, any person signed up to Health Unlocked can see it.


Once signed in you can browse or respond to posts from the POSTS page. At the top of the POSTS page is your profile picture and a blue hyperlink saying “Click to write your post”, which when clicked, will take you to a post composition page.

You can type directly into the TITLE and POST boxes, or if you prefer can paste into here something copied from any text editing software. Add a photograph if you want; the same procedure for correcting orientation of photos as mentioned regarding profile pictures above. Choose a topic from the list if you wish. Decide whether you want only members of the C25k community, or everyone on Health Unlocked to be able to see your post, by selecting appropriately. It has been pointed out to me that if you choose "only followers in my community", it still means that everyone can see the title, forum, and first 247 characters of the message. Then press POST.

This is a supportive and non judgemental community and we do not tolerate any abuse, foul language, flaming or trolling. Any posts considered to be against the ethos of the community may be deleted by admin and in extreme cases individuals may have their accounts deleted. We are here to help one another. Please report any infringement of the above to the ADMIN team (see below)

All your posts and responses are stored on your profile page and are open to public viewing. This means you can look back on other people’s posting history too, which can be very informative.

If you click your account name or profile picture on the top banner, there are several options.


As we have seen is where all your profile information is stored.


This feature has to be opted out of. It shows an approximate distance from you to others in the community. If you decide to contact anyone, having seen they are in your vicinity, please take all sensible precautions if meeting up with them.


This is an opportunity for you to take part in a survey and assessment of some aspects of your life that Health Unlocked may be able to help with. Click the button to take the survey.


From here you can set up your Contact Preferences, which you will need to do if you want to follow individuals or posts. Language and Privacy settings. This is also where you can change your Username, email address and password and where you can delete your account


Click/tap for help


Click/tap to log out


You can follow an individual by going to their profile page, by clicking their forum name below a post title, or by clicking a blue hyperlink in the body of a post or reply. Once on their page, click the green box with “+Follow” written on it. If you have set your Contact Preferences, you will be notified every time they post.

You can follow an individual post by clicking the “Save” box next to the Like button, underneath the body of the post. If you have set your Contact Preferences, you will be notified every time a new response is added to that post.

Hints and tips

DATES Under the title of each post, next to the name of the poster is an indicator of when the post was made, eg. “4 minutes ago” or “2 years ago”. On a PC, if you hover your mouse over this time indicator for a few seconds, a pop up will appear with the time and date on which the post was made. This does not work on an Android tablet.

MENTIONS To add the blue hyperlink of someone’s forum name in your post or response, such as Oldfloss just type @ followed with no gaps by the name. Suggestions will pop up below and when you see the name you want, select it and it will turn into a clickable blue hyperlink enabling someone to go directly to that individual’s profile page. It also means that the individual will get a notification that they have been mentioned in a post. This feature is somewhat unreliable on Android devices.

NOTIFICATIONS The bell symbol on the top bar of the page is your notification indicator. Any new notifications will be indicated by an orange disc containing the number of notifications. By clicking on it you can see if anyone has liked or responded to your posts or responses.

HELP To the right of the notifications indicator is the HELP button. Clicking this takes you to the Health Unlocked HELP CENTRE, where you can search for help on many topics and also report any technical issues with the web site to the HU support team, which is not the same as the C25k forum admin team.

CONTACT ADMIN If you want to contact any of the admin team, click on the ABOUT button on the middle bar. A window opens, showing all the current admin team. By clicking on an individual’s name you will be taken to their profile page. On the right hand side is a MESSAGE button which will open the message editor, allowing you to privately message them. You can use this to report any posts or individuals that you have concerns about.

PINNED POSTS This area, on the right hand column of the HOME and POSTS pages is where important posts are pinned to prevent them just slipping under all the other posts and disappearing. It is worth scrolling through the PINNED POSTS occasionally to see if anything important has been added.

TOPICS When a post is made, it is possible to put it into a TOPIC category based on weeks of C25k. These posts can then be searched via the TOPICS tab, below PINNED POSTS.

POLLS On an occasional basis polls are conducted amongst the membership to gauge opinions and experiences about different aspects related to running. Clicking on the POLLS tab will take you to all the polls which are still open to you to add your input.

MEMBERS This tab takes you to a page where you can search for any member of the community by their forum name.

BADGES When you complete three thirty minute runs in W9 of the plan, you have graduated and are entitled to have a little grey smudge with Graduate written on it next to your name. To proudly claim your hard won badge, go to the PINNED POSTS and look for a post with the current month and GRADUATE BADGE as its title. Add your name to this post and by a magical process the badge fairy will add your badge.

Last revised July 2020

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1 Reply

Great intro, IdaT, thank you.

A comment I would make (not necessarily something that needs to be added) is that when you post to the forum and lovely, supportive people respond to you, it's nice to reply to them individually. When you reply to your own post as a global response, the people who replied directly to you don't get the notification so they may not realise that you have commented. I know that many of us are busy, and answering twelve people can take time so it's easier to reply once to those twelve, but actually, it can leave the 12 wondering if you bothered to respond.

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