Meals + other exercise? (Confused): Hi, I've... - Couch to 5K

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Meals + other exercise? (Confused)


Hi, I've just done week 1 and moving on to week 2, just did w2r1 yesterday. However, I've been thinking if my diet is affecting my ability to run and if cutting down is necessary to achieve this with much better ease. I haven't found any difficulty in particular, however would like to know if eating less and cutting out d necessary to this scheme. Also, is other exercise required? I'm just curious cause I dont wanna risk wasting this time running when I should be doing certain things so its less of a chore, and more of an enjoyable activity!

16 Replies

I believe you can follow this plan without changing diet. 30minutes to 2 hours after exercise is a good time to take on protein, but apart from that I don’t think there’s any real rules. Many runners follow healthy eating regimes, but I also know a couple who fuel on fat!

Thanks so much! Just an ignorant newbie passing through, don't mind me :D

in reply to sunny_runner127

I’m a newbie here... I used to be a runner... just had 30 years between runs 😂

Welcome, and don’t pass through, stay.

Some find that after graduation better fuel (food) is needed for longer runs, but going through the program it is a personal choice for what you would like out of the program, some diet some don’t, either is good, depending what your goals are. Please feel free to ask all the questions you want. There is some great advice here and loads of people like to share.


Welcome to the forum.

This guide to the plan is essential reading

Enjoy your journey.


You don't need to diet to complete C25K, but it is a great opportunity to lose some weight. By combining running with a simple diet (no snacks or choc and reduced portion sizes) I lost 16kg over the 9 weeks. Obviously this helps with running!


As you get into running, you may find that you want to change your diet, to make healthier choices, in order to improve your general fitness.

I would ask what your goals are? That might help you to decide on diet and exercise in order to support your plan


Well, a large takeaway half an hour before you set out is generally found to be unhelpful... ditto the thirstier volume of a bottle of wine the night before...

Mostly, anything that might still be a good idea even if you weren't running is probably good for running. Sometimes people aim to do everything at once and cut down on calories a lot, make radical dietary changes, do vigorous other exercise... and often (not always) the boom leads to a bust. But adding in measures gradually and naturally is something that many of us do.

Yeah i'm not dead set although I motivated to graduate at one point. I just want it to be a possible goal not an unrealistic goal if that makes sense. I'll take your advice and make gradual changes because I feel if I made sudden drastic changes it will throw me off and ruin my flow! I don't want that!


Hi, I started to eat more healthily at the same time as beginning the C25K programme at the beginning of April, I think the dieting has helped me lose weight, about a stone so far and C25K and then stepping up to 10k since graduation has helped physical and mental fitness and now the longer runs are also helping with weight loss. As others have said, do what you need to do to achieve what you want to achieve, and please do keep posting

Thank you! This was very helpful. My aim isn't to lose weight, but to become fitter and lead a healthier lifestyle. I'm not dead set and serious about it, but I'm hoping to feel better both mentally and physically as you have experienced. Thanks for this helpful info

I started to ‘diet’ 5 weeks before running and currently drink 2 Ultra Lean Protein shakes. These have everything you need to replace meals and then I have one normal meal at ‘tea time’. The protein in the shakes helps repair your muscles after running.

If you exclude sweets, crisps, chips, sugar and bread from your diet you will see a huge difference.

I like to treat myself once a week otherwise life would be no fun.

Keep us posted on your progress ;)

All the best

I started the couch25k at the same time as The nhs diet programme which is much more about sustainable healthy eating & exercise-


On diet, for the duration of this particular programme you don't need to change your diet unless you needed to change it anyway. If you are eating healthily just keep doing what you're doing (but as others have said, don't run too soon after a big meal.) On the other hand 'you can't outrun a bad diet' so if you needed to change your eating habits then running wouldn't get you out of that!

My personal experience has been that it went the other way round - I'm eating (and especially drinking) just a little bit more healthily BECAUSE of the running. My appetite isn't any less but I find when I crave food it's more likely to be healthy stuff I crave, not comfort food or junk. I didn't decide to make that change and it's nothing drastic, just a small shift I've noticed, but in my honest opinion it was actually caused by the running. I don't know whether that's just me or if others found the same.

For other exercises - I like to walk on my non-running days. I know other people swim or do yoga or other stuff: what's important is it has to be LOW IMPACT exercise because the non-running so-called 'rest days' are there for an important reason, to let your muscles repair because you've been repeatedly dropping your whole body weight on to one foot then the other for half an hour :) (Walking doesn't do that because you never have both feet off the ground at once when you're walking: that's why brisk walking on 'rest' days is OK and running isn't). There is a school of thought that one day's rest (from strenuous exercise) per week is beneficial too. If you go along with that then a week could look like: run/walk/run/walk/run/walk/rest (where instead of 'walk' you can put whatever type of low impact exercise you prefer).

Wow! This was extremely helpful! Thanks so much for all that advice. I've never been into fitness and C25K is where I began. I'm clearly still a newbie (starting w3r1 this fri) and far from graduating, so all this is new to me. thanks for this information, I think I will start eating healthier generally (my diet isn't bad nor is it 'good') and am looking into doing alternative exercise on rest days. again, thanks! :)


Once you are conscious of the need to hydrate and systematically taking on water and other non-alcoholic drinks it can actually help with your diet too, indirectly. I found that by accident in Italy where it was hot and I was ordering a big bottle of water with my meal. I tended to have downed half a litre of water before my meal was served and that was in my stomach so after my lovely Italian meal, with the water as well I was feeling pleasantly full with no room for dessert. No sacrifice or willpower involved, I was actually full and didn't want any more.

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