How to return to couch to 5k after illness? - Couch to 5K

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How to return to couch to 5k after illness?


So I’ve complete 2 out of 3 sessions of week 5 this week, but have been struck down with a nasty virus. Session 3 was going to be my 20-min run.

I’m not ready to return to training yet, but I’m planning for when I do (hopefully middle of next week). So I’m thinking I should repeat the whole of week 5.

What have others done about returning to training after illness?

15 Replies

It’s up to you how you feel, but they say you don’t lose fitness until 14 days of no running.

indigo_runner in reply to Dexy5

Hmm interesting...and good news if it’s true...


Assuming you’re out for less than two weeks... dial up that 20... don’t have the expectation of anything... go nice and gentle and just run. You’ll either run 20 and be ecstatic, or you’ll have a nice relaxed comeback run and can assess where you’re at better.

Thanks I may do that

It helps to start with a fast paced walk first. That helps to let you know if you are really ready to start back again as our brain often tells us we are ready before our body is. Do a 20 min fast walk. If you have no relapses in the next 24 hours then you are ready for your first run back and you will have some indication if you need to go back to intervals or try wk5 Run 3. Take care. Rfc x

Great I think I’ll try that. Probably a good idea seeing as I’ve not even been for a walk or out of the house for several days!


I've has to stop the process twice for illness - once for 2.1 weeks (7 runs) and once for 3 weeks (9 runs). I've gone back one week for every week missed, and in both cases it was tough starting again. I think it probably depends on your base level of fitness - mine is pretty poor! I've posted on W5R3 a couple of times before - due to illnesses and restarting I've done it 3 times now and consider myself an expert! You can look up my advice by clicking on my name. You know you're body best - but if it were me, after a break of a week (3 runs) I would go back three runs and recommence.

I’m sorry that you’ve had to restart so many times. But I admire your perserverance and determination to keep going! I’ve only missed one run, four days so far but think it might be almost a week and two runs by the time I feel up to returning. That and the run that I missed being a big step up are why I was thinking of going back a week in the programme. Thanks for sharing your “expert” experience :-)


The most important thing is to make sure you are fully recovered. Then, as others have said, you may well be able to pick up from where you left off if you've been off a fortnight or less. But DO NOT rush back before you're properly better.

I’m desperate to get back to it but I’m aware not to rush it. Hoping for Tuesday...

ArthurJGGraduate in reply to indigo_runner

Here's hoping. Not running when you shouldn't is just as much a part of running discipline as running when you should :)

Yes you’re right.

So I’m not yet up to running again but if I keep improving healthwise as I anticipate, I will attempt to return to C25K on Tuesday. I will let you know how my first session back goes!

That’s a good plan - the time taken to achieve goal is fluid. Good luck x

Thanks. Unfortunately I’m still unwell, and off work. Really unusual for me. Am running out of patience and so anxious to get back to C25K!

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