Consolidation question: How many weeks of... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Consolidation question

backintime profile image

How many weeks of consolidation should we do (bear in mind that I LOVE my C25K piece of paper that tells me what to do and when) so I need some specific instructions to follow.

I have been over to the Bridge to 10K forum and will do ju-ju's magic running plan after consolidation but how long should I hover around 30 mins before adding the 10% per week (I really want to get to 5K for some reason, then on to 10k).

I have set a personal goal of getting to 5K in 30 minutes (I really don't care how long that takes me to get there) but I only have 45 mins to 1 hour maximum to exercise during the week and if I want to run further I have to increase my speed, I run on Sunday, so there I can take loads of time, but weekdays are really difficult to carve out time (I am up at 5am on running days to fit it in).

So, someone please tell me what to do and how long for!

15 Replies
ArthurJG profile image

Everyone is different but the usual advice here is to consolidate for about three weeks before looking to progress further. You’ve made huge progress in a relatively short time so it does make sense to let that get bedded in and get your running habit firmly established.

backintime profile image
backintimeGraduate in reply to ArthurJG

Thanks, I don't mind if it's 10 weeks, I just need a plan lol. 3 weeks it is, I will do my little spreadsheet ready for me to tick them off lol

ArthurJG profile image
ArthurJGGraduate in reply to backintime

If you want to get faster try replacing one if your 30 minute runs with a shorter faster run or an interval session. For example 10 minute easy run (well below your normal pace) then [30 seconds FAST run, 2 minutes walk to recover] repeated six times, followed by another ten minutes slow easy running. 35 minutes in total but a totally different experience from a 30 minute even paced run, stops you getting bored, develops different muscles, over time gradually helps you go a bit faster in your longer runs too.

DiscoRunner profile image

My understanding is that you consolidate 3x30 until it becomes comfortable for you. For some that’s 3, for me 6. The idea is that every week for 9 weeks we push ourselves, so the idea of consolidation is to let that duration settle, we gain strength and stamina while doing this before moving towards another goal. We should do this again at other stages of our running. I’m a slow runner so for me it was running for 50 minutes, for you, you’d probably consolidate again at your 5k in 30. The other thing about learning to run faster, is you do a lot of slow running in the mix to build endurance. A key point to remember is that when we’ve completed c25k we’ve run a little over eight hours (great but not that much), so with a month of consolidation you’ll have nearly doubled the amount of running you’ve done. But we still need to think of ourselves as novice runners, and therefore prone to injury. So slow and steady progress at this stage is still important.

Here’s a link to the 10% rule info (with further links within)

Good luck!

backintime profile image
backintimeGraduate in reply to DiscoRunner

Thanks - I had read most of the links in the "what next" post, but some of them said a few weeks and I just wondered how many a few was - I have no time frame to achieve my goals, I just need my plan of action.

I will do a 3 week consolidation plan and evaluate how I feel and then address the next few weeks.

ArthurJG profile image

Also 5k in 30 minutes is two goals not one. It’s best to separate them: focus on the distance goal first and leave the speed goal till afterwards. So first build up to 5k, without worrying about speed. Then when you are covering that distance reasonably comfortably to can shift the balance of your training to focus less on distance and more on speed. In other words, first learn to run 5k at all, and only after that work towards running it in 30 minutes if that’s what you want to do.

backintime profile image
backintimeGraduate in reply to ArthurJG


I have 3 goals, 5K,

then either 10k or 5k in 30 mins, whichever comes first, but I do want to achieve them both, I suspect the pushing to 10k will help me run faster on the 5K, but that's a long term goal, first step is to get through week 9 (2 more runs to go) then consolidation (3 weeks) then I'll start work on the 5K with the 10% rule, and then evaluate how to meet my other goals.

I am the sort of person that needs goals and plans to help me progress, it's how I'm wired. I haven't gotten into running enough yet to run just for the sheer joy of running, I need my plans :D

ArthurJG profile image
ArthurJGGraduate in reply to backintime

The plans help with the joy as well. I’m just finishing an eight week ‘intermediate’ 5k plan. It’s called intermediate because it’s meant for people who can muddle through a 5k already, not complete beginners. I’ve enjoyed it because it’s a different type of challenge and is quite varied as the three runs each week are different: one hill repeats, one speed intervals and one long slow run. I’ve learned a huge amount from it. I’d been running 5k for a few months before I started it though.

316neil profile image
316neilCouch to 5K

I'll start with an apology... I've been off the forum for a while, but rejoined today, so I've missed your journey so far :)

I reckon everyone is different, but you could do worse than use the excellent Couch to 5K+ podcasts a few times each.

There are 3 of them, The Stepping Stone one is a good place to start. I still revisit these every now and then.

The other thing I learned is that EITHER work on speed OR distance, trying to do both at once doesn't tend to end in anything other than frustration and possible injury.

Oh and I can heartily recommend JuJu's Bridge to 10k Plan, only when you're ready of course:

All the best, have fun!


backintime profile image
backintimeGraduate in reply to 316neil

No need for an apology - I only found this forum in week 7 of the C25K - so glad I did.

Thanks for the info, I will look into those podcasts, I currently just run with happy music on

316neil profile image
316neilCouch to 5K in reply to backintime

Do let us all know how you get on. I personally find fixed-tempo running music quite helpful for regulating my pace, so you could try looking up PodRunner too :)

SlowLoris profile image
SlowLoris in reply to 316neil

Welcome back mate!

316neil profile image
316neilCouch to 5K in reply to SlowLoris

Thank you! It's been a while... and I have been running. I'll post somewhere later on :)

If you like a spreadsheet you would love a Garmin Forerunner. More stats than you can shake a geek at.

IannodaTruffe profile image

Consolidation is recommended for all the runners after having increased duration over a period of weeks. The idea is that you become fully comfortable at that distance or duration before pushing long that takes depends on your mindset, the frequency of your running and your fitness levels. It will be different for each individual.

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