Run to keep fit or Keep Fit to run?: I hate gyms... - Couch to 5K

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Run to keep fit or Keep Fit to run?


I hate gyms, repetitive exercising blah blah but I LOVE running. I did C25K to improve stamina which has worked a treat. However, I keep reading about need to do strengthening exercises for runners. I just want to run 30 mins 3 times a week - without additional exercising. What is the community's opinion on this? Is it possible to run to keep fit or should I keep fit to run?

19 Replies

Daft question - have you tried spinning classes at the gym? Like you I dislike the repetition of body pump/circuits etc however spin works for me - especially as we have 3 different instructors that each do it very differently so no chance of getting bored. Other things to try: swimming; brisk walking; outdoor cycling ??

Soozc25kGraduate in reply to DiverIzzie

Thanks for your reply. Won't be joining gyms do spinning not an option. I walk a fair bit, tho not briskly I must admit. Have a bike but don't go on it much ( would rather run) but certainly something to think about 👍


It’s possible to just run, but the NHS recommends two strength sessions a week too and flexibility helps with running as well as general mobility. The Strength and Flex programme is good

Cross training will help reduce the chances of a running injury. I did strength and flex and I use Nike Training Club for equipment free exercise... there’s no need to ever visit a gym.

Soozc25kGraduate in reply to UnfitNoMore

Thanks for your reply. I get a bit frustrated when programmes say they are equipment free and then say you require for example a fixed bench and shoulder height railings. Still, food for thought

UnfitNoMoreAdministrator in reply to Soozc25k

NTC has lots of different workouts, some need equipment... but it has 4 plans, one needs a full gym, one needs nothing at all, and the other two you can tell it what you have.

Soozc25kGraduate in reply to UnfitNoMore

I use the NRC app to track runs but I can't find those workouts you mention 😫

UnfitNoMoreAdministrator in reply to Soozc25k

It’s the sister app... Nike+ Training Club


I’m keeping fit to run. I adore Parkrun and enjoy pushing myself to get faster. I’m not really into long distance running. 5-7K is perfect and I run 3 times per week. I’m down to a 26:30 Parkrun PB. I’m going to start interval training again to go towards a 25 minute 5K time. Oh and over the past 6 months of training I’ve also been very mindful of my eating habits and as a result I’ve lost just over 2 stone which has helped greatly with my running.



I just do core exercises whilst watching TV :)

GranspeedGraduate in reply to helenwheels

I like this idea, as I’m right with Soozc25k about not loving all the “extra” stuff.

Soozc25kGraduate in reply to helenwheels

Hi there - I think that is something I could realistically sign up to - can I ask you - are you having no running aches and pains as a consequence do you think??

helenwheelsGraduate in reply to Soozc25k

No, I have never had an ache, a pain or an injury in the two years since I started. I run very regularly, I have run 10 miles (16k) and am 57 years old.

HOWEVER, I run really slowly and do not push myself (except for the distance). If you want to be a fast or accomplished runner, you should probably ignore my advice!

Soozc25kGraduate in reply to helenwheels

Fast and accomplished not really my aim, I like your way 👍 I'm 64 and 3 quarters, just want to enjoy running without all the exercisy stuff I hate. I know myself well enough now to know I won't stick to a regime. How I like running so much is a complete but very welcome surprise. But, I think I could do core and TV at the same time. Wish me luck 🤩

helenwheelsGraduate in reply to Soozc25k

I wish you piles of luck!


While just doing 3 X 30 minutes runs per week and nothing else is a great improvement over sitting on the couch, there can be an issue with runners of leg muscles developing out of kilter with other supporting musculature. This can lead to aches, particularly with back pain.

I had to work on my core, but that was when I completed 10 mile runs.

I have a general workout app, Home Workout, which can be tailored and adjusted and only takes a few minutes every session and the only equipment required is a chair and a wall. This works most of the major muscle groups and is good for general flexibility.

The NHS recommendation is that we should all do 150 minutes of cardio exercise each week.

Soozc25kGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

Thanks for this. I'll have a look at your home app, see if it's something I can take to.


I try to do a few stretches and simple core exercises and the odd plank but know I should probably do more but if you put yourself under too much pressure I’d be in danger of undoing the good work loving the running. I used to do a good 7 minute workout app which was good but not a fan of burpees and mountain climbers but the strength exercises were good .


Your post resonated with my initial thinking. However, I’m loving running so much that I’m now doing the other exercise stuff to keep the niggles and aches as under control as I can in order to keep running. I should have done them sooner, but hey ho, finally I’m learning!

I hate gyms too - and anyway they are closed around here. I cross train by doing yoga at home. I find the stretching really helps my running and the running helps strengthen my yoga - so it's all good

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