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Couch to 5K
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Advice from one novice to others

I only joined this board after completing half the programme, but it has been invaluable in motivating and supporting me. I wanted to mention, before I can put Graduate after my username, something that had been useful for me, and that I only discovered very late : it is MUCH easier to run on grass / mud / parkland. I did the first 7 weeks exclusively on tarmac, mistakenly believing that uneven surfaces would be tougher on my sore joints. I had two runs when I didn't finish (7:3 and 8:1, although I completed each of them at the second attempt) and I noticed that running on tarmac was much harder. Today I did W9R1 and I used every possible bit of muddy grass - beside the road, along the edge of the fields, etc - and the hardest part was definitely the gentle climb on the road.

I wanted to post that today, because I sometimes feel I will never be like the "real" runners - so from a pretend runner to anyone else who is doubting their ability, that's my tuppence-worth.

Happy running!

Love Lizz x

5 Replies

Yes. This is good advice. I also do lots of hiking and it is always much easier to walk on unpaved surfaces.

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Running is a voyage of discovery.

You are absolutely right about grass being gentler on the joints than tarmac and the uneven surface means that ankle muscles toughen up more quickly than running on the hard stuff.

It is mentioned in this guide to the plan healthunlocked.com/couchto5... which is hidden away in the FAQ posts which are in the pinned posts column.

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So, reading between the lines - READ THE BLOODY MANUAL!

Thanks :) xx


I run on all kinds of .surfaces, purposely. I want to be able to run anywhere.

My thoughts are that it is easier to run on whatever you have become used to, it becomes ‘ familiar ‘ somehow.

But tarmac/ road running is harder on the joints etc....higher impact. Uneven, grassy or sandy ground can offer more ‘drag’.

It’s like comparing cross country ( uphill/ downhill, mud, puddles, uneven ground to track running....flat, smooth, predictable.

Both are completely different but great for their own reasons! .

Then there are the hills .........😳🤔

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Hi you're dead right. I hate running on pavements although I've little choice just now. I just find street/road running boring and monotonous as well as hard on your joints.

When I first did the programme a couple of years ago, we trained along one of the city's green corridors which went right out from a busy urban environment into the countryside. I just found it easier on all levels. We sometimes ran nearer home if there was no time to get to this spot and I hated it. A long run, nearly 5k, on tarmac from one end to the other and back again. Bleurgh!!

I'm definitely a trail runner rather than roadx

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