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Couch to 5K
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Week 1...Run 1...and breath

I did it (albeit super slowly!).

I’m a terrible runner, always have been. I’m under no illusions I look graceful or inspiring as I trundle my way round the park. That’s OK though :-)

I have always enjoyed strength training and (now to be big headed) I’m really good at it. I have a PT who I see three times a week and genuinely love it!! Before I had my son (now 20 months) I tried to get into running. I did the devil mud run which was 5k and a lot of obstacles. I say “did it” = I walked a lot, cried a lot and threw (lots) of few strops with my husband encouraging me. The sense of achievement at completing it (and the snickers bar) was amazing. Then pregnancy and baby came and I’ve been scared to try getting into running again....until now. My mum tum makes me want to shift this for my health as well as feel good factor when I look in the mirror!

I am chuffed I just did w1r1 but found it so hard. I can’t quite imagine being ready to move onto more running after only doing that two more times?!?! Reading all these threads it seems realistic, or perhaps I’m just THAT unfit it will take me longer to progress.

For anyone super unfit like me, did it take you longer to progress? Did you feel like I do and that it feels a bit impossible/unrealistic?

Thanks for the advice!!


16 Replies

You will be amazed at how quickly you progress. Really! Just try to stick to the 3 sessions in 7 days, but make sure you take the rest days in between. On the days you're not running, try to do a brisk walk - it does help with muscle aches.

The progression from 60-second runs to 90-second runs is offset by longer rests in between, so it really is very gentle.

Your legs will manage it perfectly well, but you have to manage your thoughts. All those pesky gremlins that tell you you can't do it... they have to be silenced!

You've done the hardest part - you've started. Huge congratulations :)


Doing the programme along with your strength training will be good 💪👍😃. You do C25k very slowly anyway 😃

PT 3 times a week 😃. Lucky you. I had all on to afford it once a week ☹️ My lovely PT has left though and set up shop somewhere else I can get there in the car but I hate driving 🤨😏 🤔


I know I’m lucky. He does me mates rates to make it affordable though!

My legs are fine, they won’t ache (I ski too). It’s my lungs! It’s like they belong to a 90 year old 😂😂😂


Thanks so much. I think you’ve hit the nail on the end...right mind set!! And mostly just getting out and doing it will spur me on I hope.

Thanks :-)



I was completely out of shape. I really thought run one was going to give me a heart attack. I thought about the plan and thought, as I was below even couch potato fitness I’d need an extra week or two. I did, but only because of injury. Each run sets you up nicely for the next, keep it slow, trust the programme and believe in yourself. Very well done on run one, it’s the hardest one.

If you’re “super unfit” then I’d sack the PT 😂


Hahaha!! I really am unfit. I’m strong though! I started on 2kg weights and now do 15kg comfortably. On a bad day I drop to 12.5kg....but my lungs are that of an old persons. I don’t know how to breathe when I run (if that even makes any sense!?).

Run 2 will hopefully be better. I’m motivated! I’m also somewhat impatient.

I’ve run once, why don’t I look like a model yet? Haha 😂


What injuries did you have? I also have some injuries which put me off running. I partially ruptured my ACL skiing a few years back so I’m hoping if I avoid pavements it won’t ache so much.


I have dodgy knees from an old hockey injury.

Run 2 should be easier... slow and steady is the key. Breathing is something you manage to do all day without thinking about it... do it the same while you’re running, you won’t suffocate honest! Try thinking of something else other than running, I used a podcast instead of music so I had to concentrate on it.


Podcast - great idea!! Thanks!

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Podcasts are great. If you like QI you’ll like ‘No such thing as a fish’. I sometimes look as if I’m enjoying running because of it! Sweaty but smiling!!


Well done for getting of the proverbial couch, though it sounds tome like you were already off it. If you've been doing weights, then I would have thought that will stand you in very good stead for avoiding injuries, as your core should be strong enough to support the flailing appendages beneath :P

You can do this and I'm sure you will do this, and I'm willing to bet that you will see an improvenent in performance with the weights too as you improve as a runner.

I know week 1 can seem daunting, especially as you think about how on earth you will manage to run for 30 minutes, but if I can do it (and I did / still do!) then I'm certain you can. The trick is not to think about the 30 minutes, but the next run.

A couple of things which helped me through the programme:

Firstly - if you find it hard work and struggle for breath, slow down. It's fine if your run is no faster than your walk at first, it's about the running action rather than the pace. In fact Couch to 5K is not at all about speed, it's simply about how long you run for. The speed will come later, don't worry about that.

Secondly - take notice of the other little improvements in your fitness that you will see. Maybe you won't be as out of breath walking up hills, or when you complete a run you might recover your breath quicker. I noticed that one at around week 3 or 4 I think.

Thirdly - ok, it's an extra one, use this forum! The people on here are brilliant, everyone has the same experience, no-one is going to come and tell you you're being too slow or anything like that, and many people have very valuable experience to share.

So go for it, and tell us how you got on :)


Thanks for the tips!

Really good and something to think about re: speed. I am really short and so my natural ‘speed’ is somewhat slower than many. Thinking about it that’s perhaps why I’ve never enjoyed running with anyone. I feel they’re jogging and I’m sprinting to keep up! My little legs simply don’t cover the same ground.

I was going to try it with a friend but on second thoughts may carry on by myself so I can go as slow paced (or fast to me!) as I’m comfortable with.

Good idea!!

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Welcome to the forum and well done on getting started.

This guide to the plan is essential reading healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

I don't suppose you are super unfit compared to the average on this forum, you were more than likely trying too hard. Read the guide and follow the pacing advice and it will be easier and you will still develop your stamina.

Enjoy your journey.

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Thanks so much for the encouragement


Brilliant that you've started C25K and completed the first session. Just follow the programme and you will be running for 30 minutes in 9 weeks' time. I'm no natural runner either and if I did it, so can you! Look forward to seeing your progress ☺☺☺


Here’s some numbers - warning, they’re big ones! Im 63, had never run at school (bear in mind left that 2in 1972!!) -or for that matter after. However had a senior moment in April, started this amazing programme and graduated in July. Still go out 3 times a week (that’s a small number but I’ve kept it up!). Just believe in yourself.


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