Ancient newbie: I am totally new to this having... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Ancient newbie


I am totally new to this having been a stranger to sport and formal exercise my entire life. On the cusp of 60 and after an existential crisis in a marks and spencer changing room, i have just completed run 2.

Is there anyone else as ancient as me doing this? Any tips on not falling by the wayside for someone of more mature years? Is it acceptable to repeat weeks? I can’t see at the moment how i could go beyond 60 second running intervals...if you can call it running -my walking seems faster...

Any help or advice gratefully recieved. 🙂

36 Replies

Where to start....... Welcome and well done on starting the programme! It is really well designed to keep you going and you will find an incredible amount of advice and support on this forum.

1. Is anyone else ancient doing this? I am 61, haven't run for 40 years before starting C25K, and have just completed Week 7. And there are plenty of us oldies on here, including lots of graduates.

2. Not falling by the wayside: follow the programme - trust in it. Always take the rest day (or days) between runs. Use the forum for advice and support if you have problems and also to report your progress. Follow the advice posted by the C25K experts.

3. Is it acceptable to repeat weeks? Yes, this isn't a race. You can repeat as often as you like.

4. At Week 2 I posted to say I didn't think I could run for more than 90 seconds. This morning I ran for 25 minutes, and I am an exercise phobe.

5. Speed: Slow is good. You will only build up the stamina and running legs if you keep it slow and steady. If you're having problems, slow down, Did I say slow was good??!

There are so many of us on here with similar stories. You will be able to do it!! Good luck and keep posting. 😀👍

PS: I have had many an existential crisi in an M&S changing room - it's those flipping mirrors!!

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to JoP61

Thank yo so much for your supportive message. I did wonder if i must be bonkers to try (have also been an exercise phobe all my life), but knowing that others like me are achieving what, frankly, seems impossible right now offers a glimmer of hope!

I just have to somehow find the mental reserves to keep doing it. Either that or never crossing an M&S threshold again...

JoP61Graduate in reply to Pippayoungart

You're not bonkers. And we're not going to let those M&S mirrors beat us!! xx


Here's a link to loads of expert advice:

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to JoP61

Thank you! That link looks really useful.


There lots on here older than you, me for one, best thing I ever did at 60!... And my wife did it at 61, go on the link, loads of info for starters on there..

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to davelinks

Thanks for that link, and good to hear i’m not the only oldie!


First... a huge welcome to you :)

Second... you are mere babe, compared with many of us... I started this, and Graduated at 65.. I am 68 in three weeks time:) Still running three times a week.. up to just over 10K now.

I am not the oldest.. there are many more seasoned runners on here.. running at all sorts of levels and having a terrific time:) Many of those runners are half Marathon and Marathon runners too:)

Many folk felt like you.. those 60 second runs.. however are we going to move on?

But..this programme is so structured, that we do move works.

The trick is, ( I am infamous for my banging on about slow and steady) but it works.. really it does:)

Yes...repeating weeks is possible, but...if you take this really slowly and I am talking snail on a go slow... you should be fine. Start with a positive outlook..believing you can and will do it:)

Please, check it IannodaTruffe 's post out. It is essential reading for any new runner... tried and tested advice:)

You are amongst good company here.. and friends.. so keep posting all your runs:)

"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. "

Yep... famous for the quotes too.. I love using 'em :)

I love a good quote! Thank you for taking the time to dispense encouragement. Although distinctly neccessary, starting this seemed so out of character that i fear the likelihood of telling myself it is too difficult and seeking solace in the nearest fruit bun!

It is great to know that others like me have done it. And even derive pleasure from it (an unlikely, near impossible thought currently...!) So thank you!


You’ll be fine 😃. I am 61, and like you had never exercised. I had studiously avoided it ☺️ I had to mend my unhealthy ways though, as overweight and dissolute was causing me health issues

I’m a transformed character now thanks to C25k and WW 🙂👍🏃‍♀️

It’s a fab programme as slow really is the best way to tackle it, but we come out the other side with more puff than we ever thought possible

Lots of us keep on running. There really is no limit. You just keep going

Have fun! 😃

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to misswobble

I aspire and yearn to be a transformed character! Thanks for the encouraging words.


'existential crisis in a marks and spencer changing room' haha! We've all had one of those!!! 1) stop shopping in M & S..... (because do their clothes fit anyone properly?).....and 2) you'll be wearing lycra permanently before you know it 3) good luck you CAN do it and there is so much support and good advice and humour on here 4) 2 was a joke (...or was it?!!) :)

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to Fishypieface

Wearing lycra?!! ... seems like an impossible dream...

FishypiefaceGraduate in reply to Pippayoungart

Ah, that impossible dream comes to us all (whether we like it or not!!). It's early days yet though, obsessive lycra thoughts don't usually hit until about week 4 or 5 :)

OldflossAdministrator in reply to Pippayoungart

You just wait :) x

notoutofbreathGraduate in reply to Fishypieface

Drat Fishypieface took the words out of my mouth >> existential crisis in a marks and spencer changing room...We've all had one of those!!!

Now I've had the chance to have them in Sports Direct too... When you get stuck in the tiny things they claim are xxl sports bras. Actually that wasn't so much existential as just plain "crisis". LOL. :D

FishypiefaceGraduate in reply to notoutofbreath

Haha! I had one of those yesterday!! Sussed out a bum covering, baggy XL MEN's top - only to look like an overstuffed sausage back at home. Going back for the 3XL and be done with it. This would have really depressed me in my youth, now I'm just glad to get the top I want! I'm a tall 14 top 16 bottom, and not in the obese weight range - just in SD men's clothes it would seem!!! :)

notoutofbreathGraduate in reply to Fishypieface

I think the sizing in the sports shops are insane, I think they start sizing L at size 8 or something?! :O I tend to go around sport clothes sections ranting on behalf of plus sized ladies, I don't how the hell they cope. It's not right :x I'm not remotely overweight and even I don't find it straightforward.

FishypiefaceGraduate in reply to notoutofbreath

There definitely needs to be a range of flattering, roomy, longer length stuff out there. Not everyone wants to be flashing their nether regions at the slightest forward lean! I'd love to be there with you ranting, seems to be my sole calling in life at the moment! :)


Welcome Pippayoungart! You will have realised by now that there are plenty of us in your age group - I’m 58 - happily enjoying running (however slow - doesn’t matter) and all it’s many benefits. 😃 I had never run before & only started the program after a chance comment from my daughter. I genuinely thought I would be doing week one all winter! - I was astonished and delighted to be wrong. It was also a revelation to me to discover running very slowly, (brisk walking pace), is absolutely fine and still very beneficial. Relax and enjoy your running adventure! 😀

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to Elfe5

Thanks for your supportive message and amazing to see that it can be done even if one is an exercise dodger... did you ever repeat weeks? Right now i can’t see how i’m going to get past week 1 without expiring.

Elfe5Graduate in reply to Pippayoungart

No I didn’t, much to my surprise. The conversation in my head went something like:

“ I’ll do W1 all winter. Oh goodness, I’ve managed that I might as well try W2 for the rest of the winter. Astonishing, I manage that too I might as well try W3” - etc!😂 By W4, I had realised that the program truly works even for non-runners like me! I didn’t look ahead - it was too scary and put me off. I downloaded the podcast with Laura‘s voice onto my phone and just went out each time to try the next run. There were a couple of occasions when I said “What!!?” to Laura out there on the pavement and got strange looks from passers by! 😄

Elfe5Graduate in reply to Elfe5

PS If you feel like you are expiring, you need to go slower. Small gentle steps, slow as you need, if you keep your shoulders down and relaxed it helps all of you to relax. 😀

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to Elfe5

Top tip . I’ll try that tomorrow...

notoutofbreathGraduate in reply to Elfe5

This may be why I run at night - it was not "what" that I was exclaiming on hearing Laura! :D Oh I REALLY hated the "You're halfway" No, I don't want to know, tell me when I'm 3/4 through, but not half, never half... Wow, clearly still deeply feeling that trauma!! ROFL


Well done for starting as that’s the hardest bit. There will be days not as easy as others but just keep going at your own pace as it isn’t a race.

I’m a mere youngster at 58 but 3 months ago when I started I felt like 98 now I feel like 38.

I am also due an M&S visit but to get smaller trousers as I’ve lost 2 inches off waist due to c25k. Hopefully in 9 weeks time you can report back on your return to M&S

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to seaspaniel

That’s fantastic. Maybe you should be visiting ‘Trendy-Svelte-Trousers-R-Us’ rather than M&S...? I’m definitely relating to the feeling 98 thing at the moment!

You have certainly come to the right place for advice and support , Amazing bunch of people on here , Who will always be here for you when you need them ,

Just remember that everyone was once a newbie


Age is a tricky number. When I was 26 I traveled the Greek Islands with a beautiful woman I got talking to on the plane to Athens. I 'kinda knew' she had a few years on me, figured she was maybe 32 or 33. Well turned out she was 44. The shock I got was equaled by the shock she got becuase she though I was well into my 30's LOL ( I was pretty battered and bruised back then and was going to Greece for some R&R in fairness to her :) )

Anyway - point is, its not age that determines what we can achieve, its physical health and emotional attitude. I know a Doctor who is in his 80's (Jack Preger - look him up on the Internet :) ) who literally is unstoppable when it comes to his cork in the slums of Calcutta. I also know kids in their early twenties who cannot walk around the 7/10ths of a mile circuit of the local park.

I started this programme with two forms of Asthma, totally screwed up footbones - only a couple of degrees of bilateral clubfoot - only a year or two off a 20+ per day, almost 40 year smoking habit, drank like a fish for far too long in my youth and been crippled with various injuries, illnesses and ailments in wierd and wonderful parts of the world. Never ran more than a hundred paces in my life - but was so bored, almost suicidaly so, that I took up the programme through sheer desperation to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING!.

My 'forlorn hope' was to 'someday' complete W3 - and maybe manage some of W4. My 'impossible dream was to make the distant marker I could see from the start line of the Park path - 3/10ths of a mile away.

Well - doing this programme the way it is supposed to be done, slow and steady and with patience, and with the support and advice of the members here not only did I graduate from the 5K programme but went on to do 10ks in far less than a year :)

So - 'Ancient' is not a factor. :) I was 56 when I started and day one saw me doubled over trying to breathe through both ends at once and with a blue tinge around my eyes and lips. I literally had to stop a passerby from completing her 911 call on my behalf - (those ambulance calls are EXPENSIVE over here if one had arrived!) - and from that to where I am now has been marked by more fun and sense of achievement than a thirty year career in what some would call an 'adventurous' lifestyle and career :)

give it a go - you sure as heck won't be describing yourself as ANYTHING like 'ancient' physically or mentally if you continue to run with us ;)

wishing you many happy miles in your future :)

PippayoungartGraduate in reply to Irish-John

Thank you for such an inspiring message! It’s amazing to find such a supportive and motivational group of people. I now feel like i can’t let anyone down...oh the pressure!!

Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to Pippayoungart


Whole point is to RELAX and take it Slow and steady, at your own pace and enjoy the journey ☺


Welcome to your personal support network.

Age? We had an 83 year old graduate last year, so you can't use that excuse. Stop thinking of yourself as ancient, said the 61 year old.

You are in control with C25k. You will never be asked to run at a pace or a distance that is beyond you. It is duration based and that builds gently and magically to the thirty minutes.

My top tip is to read the guide to the plan and take on board the information about pace.

This training plan changes lives, so be prepared, keep posting and have a ball.

Well JoP61 gave all the advice I would have done! :D So all I have to add is this...

I'm two decades younger than you and I was all "60 seconds, I'm going to die" at the start as well. So you're in perfectly good company and better than plenty of folk younger than you, who never made it to run 2! :)

Also, since I've always been a super fast walker, don't fret about the speed of "running". I 110% could walk faster than I could run for many weeks into the programme. Key thing is to finish, the speed is irrelevant. That's how it works for such disparate age ranges and levels of health/fitness it's set against "Do it for this length of time" rather than "Cover this distance". :)

Much luck!


Well if it helps we are all in the same boat. I’m 43 going on 70 and run like an unfit 90 yr old😂😂

Millsie-JGraduate in reply to Hidden

Ahhh but also running like a getting fitter43 year old are doing great!

Hidden in reply to Millsie-J

Getting there slowly as I’m in no rush. Thank you 😊

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