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Couch to 5K
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Starting out - the struggle is real!

Hi everyone, newbie here - I did my first run as part of the C25K yesterday, and I have to say, my fitness levels are so dire I couldn't even complete that! Anyone else start off the same?!

Last month I stopped taking steroids for asthma after having them almost constantly for 20 years. Aside from the weight that comes with it, asthma has meant I couldn't partake of much physical activity, and it spiralled from there.

If anyone else started from a similar position it would be good to hear from you and your experiences...at the moment I'm wondering if even the C25K programme is beyond my reach!

7 Replies

Hi. On my first day of week one I managed to run for just two and a half of the eight one min runs. It took me two weeks to complete week one and I found weeks one and two the hardest so far. On Friday I ran for 20 min without stopping, completing week 5. I'd have never believed that possible as I shuffled and gasped my way through those first weeks. I do not have any knowledge of asthma so I can't comment on that side. I read lots of posts on here about going slowly and keeping on trying and, for me, they were absolutely right.

Good luck with the program. I'm not a runner yet but I've found this forum is a great place for support and advice and I'm sure you will too. You can do it 😊


Whoa there, if you've completed w5 you are so a runner now 😉


I was exactly like that with my blooming asthma ruining it and feeling like this was going to be too much for me. At one point in week 1 I staggered out of the empty gym so that I could be seen if I collapsed! I never mentioned it to anyone as it was so embarrassing at the time. I’ve only been on steroid tabs when the asthma gets bad but the rest of the time I use a steroidal inhaler. At Week 4 I nearly gave up again and remember sobbing into my gym towel. All that but I kept on, I didn’t give up, I stuck with it. I just had to adjust my pace and expectations. On those bad days I just did core training and elliptical work but when I was ok I went back to the program. Slowly does it honestly. It took much longer but hey, here I am having just run a 5k under 30 minutes and I’ve run a 10K too!

One thing this program has taught me is to listen to my body much more than I used to. If I feel particularly wheezy I just stop and do something else instead. I’m not sure how many other asthmatics feel the same as I do but I have noticed an improvement since graduating and use my blue inhaler much less than I used to.

Finally the support on this forum is the best I have come across in many years and I’m sure others will chip in to support you and offer words of encouragement and advice. I know for a fact that there are other asthma sufferers here.

Don’t give up and don’t let asthma control you. It can be done.


Your situation is not at all uncommon, and most go on to graduate, change their lives for good and often help reduce the impact of medical conditions for the future.

Read this guide to the plan healthunlocked.com/couchto5... It is full of tips.

You can do this and we will cheer you to the finish line.

Keep us posted.


There are a few asthma sufferers on this forum and so I’m sure you’ll soon hear their stories.

A few people have took several weeks to get to the point where they complete W1, and that is absolutely fine, please don’t be disappointed with yourself. Make sure you’re having at least one rest day (and take as many as you need) in between runs. And just keep trying until you can manage it. Another option, if you feel like trying again is too much at the moment, try going out and doing 30 minute brisk walks? As brisk as you can. There’s a couple on here who did a few “pre-week ones”

Please keep trying, and please keep posting. And remember, you’ve already done the hardest part by getting off the couch. Good luck 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️

Liz x

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Take the great advice from IannodaTruffe ... check out the link... there are loads of folk on here with asthma...:)

Take it slow and take it really steadily...there is no such thing as too slow

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I'm not kidding - when I barely finished day one, my appearance was such that a passerby was calling the Paramedics. I was doubled over and had a blue tinge on my face.

I've often joked here that we should have a contest to see who is the "Most Unlikliest Graduate". But in all seriousness, most of us honestly never thought we would be.

This programme is NOT for people who 'can run' - it's for us lot who "never could run"

You have found your People ☺

Welcome and wishing you many happy miles in your future. We are all in this together :)


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