Advice needed please : Hi! I’m overweight at... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Advice needed please

Katierayray profile image


I’m overweight at the moment and although I have lost 4 stone I am still too heavy. I started the couch to 5k and after week two I must say I love it but I can only run for a minute and a half and I am very embarrassed. I have a bleep test in 5 weeks and and advice to get quicker will be much appreciated xxx

79 Replies

Welcome to the forum and well done on getting started.

This guide to the plan is essential reading

This plan is not about speed, it is about stamina and strength, so we will not tell you how to get faster at this stage, because that is the route to injury.

I would suggest following the advice on pacing in the guide, which will mean that you will be able to run for much longer than 90 seconds, but at a slower and sustainable pace.

Rushing to be speedy before your body is used to running slowly is not going to help.

Be patient, there are no safe quick fixes.

Enjoy your journey.

dieOR5k profile image

Hi Katie Ray Ray. Don’t sweat that you are heavy or slow. That is why you’re here, to work on it. We are an array of age, weights, heights, fitness levels etc here. This is a no embarrassment zone. Do what you can, and repeat any run you are unable to complete. It took 5+ runs for me to finish week 1 of the program. Just keep at it. I also recommend the post run stretches. I’m on week 5 now and I’m 50+, overweight, etc etc. We all have a story on why we’re here. Ask for help every time you need it.

Seaside22 profile image

Four stone is epic - well done you!

And as for "only" being able to run for one and a half minutes, isn't that right on target for Week Two? It was a rhetorical question - yes, it is spot on.

So you're doing absolutely fine. It's great that you love it - means you'll be very likely to push on to the end of the nine weeks. Just keep going slowly and surely, and trust the plan to get you to 30 mins.

As for feeling embarrassed, yes, lots of us can relate to that. But after a few weeks you get to realise other people are really not paying any attention to the runner jogging past - I think the trainers make us invisible to them.

sTrongFuse profile image
sTrongFuseGraduate in reply to Seaside22

I agree. The more garish the running gear, the less people tend to notice us (says the guy who is almost never seen running in anything other than his day-glo fluorescent pink refereeing top).

Powerhoopfan profile image

Couch to 5k isn’t about running fast, it’s about being able to run for 30 minutes by the end of the programme. Why are you embarrassed that you can only run for a minute and a half? Week two only expects you to run for a minute and a half at a time so you are on track

I feel like a fat twit who breathes like a donkey. Like I’m completely rubbish. I have to run for three and a half minutes to complete my bleep test and it’s in 5 weeks! I really hope I can do this :(

Powerhoopfan profile image
PowerhoopfanGraduate in reply to Katierayray

Not a fat twit at all and not completely rubbish. You are getting out there and doing it and that takes courage. You will be able to run for three and a half minutes in 5 weeks time, just wait and see. I’ve just finished week three and at the beginning thought there was no way I would manage to run for three minutes at a time, but I did

That’s great!!!! Thanks, I shouldn’t put myself down. I can jog for a minute and a half and I try push myself at the end before I can’t breathe. I will keep doing it for another 5 weeks (well, forever) as I want to pass this bleep test. I really hope I’ll smash it xxxx

Powerhoopfan profile image
PowerhoopfanGraduate in reply to Katierayray

Just follow the programme and you’ll get there. You’re already jogging for a minute and a half so you can and will do it. Good luck 😊

Thanks hun. Xxx

MotherPip profile image
MotherPipGraduate in reply to Katierayray

No you shouldn't out yourself've completely got this. I finished C25k and never thought I'd get past Week 1 Run 1... Trust the programme... Don't worry about distance either... many people "graduate" after the 30 minute runs and are still quite a bit off 5k. I can certainly relate to embarrassment tho... I feel a right fraud putting on my running gear and rocking up at parkrun then getting all anxious after about 2 minutes jogging... I jog and walk the rest of it after that... Yet I can go out late at night, hidden away and can jog slowly for 30 lplus minutes ( still no where near5 k tho lol) --- but if I hadn't plodded my way through Cto5k I wouldn't still be getting out now and having a go. You have got this, just keep going up and don't give up! Take it steady and keep off the injury list

Speedy60 profile image
Speedy60Graduate in reply to Katierayray

You really need to be kind to yourself. You've lost 4 stone - that's amazing! Totally awesome, in fact. Not many of us here could do that.

Everybody is right; there are no shortcuts. Do not panic, follow the programme and take it slowly. Remember, you will not complete the programme quicker by skipping rest days, they are as vital as your running days. They are the days when your body adapts and becomes fitter.

That doesn't mean do nothing on your rest days. You can still walk. 10000 steps a day will help. As would swimming or cross training.

You'd be surprised what you can achieve in five weeks, but none of us is superhuman - your best is good enough! Post here as much as you need to for encouragement and support. Its a safe and very friendly forum.

Good luck!

Katierayray profile image
Katierayray in reply to Speedy60

Thanks so much! I was going to run three times a week and cross train as well. I do feel better so I’ll keep going ;). Xx

Speedy60 profile image
Speedy60Graduate in reply to Katierayray

Sounds like a plan. 👍

Cakerunner profile image
CakerunnerGraduate in reply to Katierayray

Hi there Katierayray! First of all, FOUR STONE!!! You are a super star!!🤩 And ,ONLY able to run for one and a half minutes??....🤔 lady you rock! You got off the couch, you lost FOUR STONE, you can run for a whole minute and a half, we all know how long that can feel believe me! And, best if all , you're sticking at it, you've found something you love, you've got this, you really have! Best advice I can offer is to just keep following the program like you have. As others have said, most people dont give a first look, let alone a second one, to people running........some of em look and they are jealous......some if em look and they're silently fist bumping you, for getting out there......for doing that for you.....honestly I know how it feels to think you can't do it feel like you are rubbish at it......and to be embarrassed......but please know, you should have only pride in your achievements so far, and hopefully determination to keep going 😊 for the bleep test? You will gradually get quicker over time, there is no quick fix, but I wish all the luck in the world with it. I salute you from the injury couch.....and I confess I'm a bit envious that you're out there doing what you love.....and I'm stuck here, but that's just me.🥰🥰

Enxo profile image
EnxoGraduate in reply to Katierayray

Sounds like me! Though I'm more of an arthritic donkey! Go slowwww! Take tiny steps! It can be done! Well done you for just getting out there! Huzzar!

If you stick to the programme you will manage 3.5 mins within the next 5 on week 4 and that has 5 Mon runs which was impossible 2 weeks ago. You're doing great!

Fionamags profile image

I remember quite a long time ago i was cycling home and i saw a very large woman jogging with grim determination up the hill i was cycling. I reckon i was at least 10 yrs younger than her and i always remember a massive feeling of support abd respect for her. You go girl - everybody- and I mean EVERYBODY is cheering you on!!!!

Awww thanks my doll cxxxxx

Tiggercnk profile image
TiggercnkGraduate in reply to Katierayray

Whenever I see anyone running (but especially those who look like they are not natural gazelles) I always want to wind my window down and shout “keep going you’re doing great”.

I think you’re doing great but just follow the plan (don’t overdo it or you’ll burn out) and trust that it works.

And slow down. Don’t feel you have to push yourself at the end just keep a nice rhythm.

It really is all about speed. I bet you quite comfortably walk for 3.5 minutes right? The warm up isn’t an issue is it? So let’s say your walk speed is 3mph and you’re running at say 5mph but its hard and you’re struggling to breathe. Somewhere between those 2 speeds is YOUR pace, you just have to find it and it is what ever suits you but it IS there.

karen50plus profile image

If you can run for 90 secs on week 2 then you are on plan 👍. Don’t skip rest days . Don’t push yourself into doing more than “ Laura” asks of you or You might end up with an injury and that will put pay to your beep test in 5 weeks time . You re already on a better start than me . You say you re loving it after only 2 weeks , I m on week 7 and not sure I would say I m loving it - more surviving it .🤣. You ve lost 4 stone all by yourself . .... 3 1/2 minutes will be a doddle in 5 weeks 👍.

dieOR5k profile image
dieOR5kGraduate in reply to karen50plus

Thanks for saying it. I also survive more than love it.

I agree with all the other replies here. Its definitely not about speed. And running for a minute and a half is amazing! I have a lot of skinny young workfriends who can't do that, so celebrate every success, however small. I am also overweight, in my 50s and pee myself every time I run! Its embarrassing as I go past people on the pavement, but I just look ahead and think, Ill probably never see them again!

You’ve got 5 weeks which is a long time in couch to 5k. Take a peak ahead in the forums at people posting about their week 7 runs and see where you’ll be in 5 weeks - there are lots of ‘I can’t believe I ran for 20 minutes!’ posts. Look at the previous posts for those same people - they were stressing over week 1 and 2 just like you. And me for that matter!

It’s actually great that you’ve got a goal to work towards, a little motivation will help you take that first step out the door on a cold, windy morning. But don’t worry about whether you’ll be able to do it, 3 runs per week and that 3 1/2 minutes will be easy.

Just stuck to running the 90 second phase until you are comfortable. Just use the programme as you feel. I am in awe of your weight loss so far just keep doing g what you have been.

Good luck

in reply to Selki

Hi Selki do you mean 90 sec phase? If not what’s the 90 min phase? 🤗🤗

Selki profile image
Selki in reply to

Sorry yes I meant 90 second phase I don’t know how I managed to type that lol

in reply to Selki

No problem. 👍At the bottom of your post there’s a pop up with More written . You can always edit your post that way. I’m always doing it. I think I try and type too quick🤣🤣🤣


Selki profile image
Selki in reply to

Thanks for the tip I have changed it now, I wasn’t aware of that feature. We learn every day lol.

in reply to Selki

🤣🤣 I wasn’t either until some kind person on here told me too. It’s good to know.

Many the times I’ve sent posts only to find that I wrote a load of gobbledygook !🤣🤣🤣

Happy running🏃‍♂️🤗🤗

Rigpig profile image

This program is at least 50% mental attitude, you have lost the weight and you have come here for advice so I absolutely know that you can do this because you have the right mindset. It’s not easy but it really isn’t that difficult either and every single person who goes into it with a positive attitude will succeed and change their life. I know because I did it and I was full of doubt but the wonderful people here helped me every step of the way. There is no pressure and if you persevere you will absolutely succeed 😊

Hi when I first started I was the same and I found the first two weeks the hardest I was so out of breath but I followed it as it is and it worked so just keep following it and you will be fine and you will get there as that’s what the plan does . The fact you enjoy it is good too . Keep going !!

Phdgranny profile image

Katierayray your bleep test is some way off so for now I would take the advice to build up slowly. Do the strength and flex exercises on rest days if you can as they help to protect you from injury. In 2-3 weeks if your bleep test is fixed in time and very important to you you might want to consult a personal trainer. But I can’t stress too strongly that at this stage you need to take it slowly and build your stamina and gradually get your body used to running , all the very best to you and your goals. Keep us posted!!

Dear Katie. You are not alone.

I started C25K in Jan 2019 aged 56. If you believe in BMI I was nearly 7 stone overweight. I could barely run for 30 seconds which was deeply humiliating. I stuck to the C25K but it took me 5 months to complete it rather than 8 weeks - again very frustrating. But I had a Fitbit which measures heart rate and it showed that the regular exercise was helping as resting heart rate fell; I was getting fitter even if I couldn’t manage the programme.

Actually doing my first 5k unlocked something in my head. It was my head telling me I couldn’t do it and had no business pretending. After that I managed to get to 10k two months later. I finally got under 30 mins for 5k nearly a year after starting and entered a 10k race on Boxing Day which I finished in 64 mins. I lost 4 stone over the year just by running.

There is nothing special about this - far from it. If I can do it anyone can. All I would say to you is stick with it, get a fitness watch to keep track of your progress, listen to excellent music so you enjoy the running (but always shuffle or you end up with a track you associate with 4K pain!) and find some trusted people to run with, or connect with on here or through apps like Strava. The running community, I’ve found, is incredibly supportive and helpful.

So, keep going!

Mummy23 profile image
Mummy23Graduate in reply to Headmaster5

You, Sir, are an inspiration. What a fantastic post....congratulations on all those achievements and on all those I’m sure are yet to come. 🤩

I sincerely hope you are very proud. 🥳

Headmaster5 profile image
Headmaster5 in reply to Mummy23

Nothing inspirational about me mummy23- just hopefully to indicate that anyone can do this just by keeping at it. Thank you though!

Moosey60 profile image
Moosey60 in reply to Headmaster5

Amazing achievement s Headmaster. 5 , you are inspiring. Thank you for sharing ☺️

Roxdog profile image
RoxdogGraduate in reply to Headmaster5

Amazing story!

karen50plus profile image
karen50plusGraduate in reply to Headmaster5

Mummy 23 is right , you are an inspiration. I m 54 and I ve been wanting to try this couch thing for a couple of years but i kept telling myself I m too old to start this and too overweight. But like you I started in January ( albeit 2020) . So for you to say you kept at it and kept going for 5 months gives me hope ! I don’t HAVE to do it in 9 weeks and it doesn’t matter if i take longer . If I keep trying I will succeed . Thank you for posting 🤗.

And many congratulations on your weight loss and completing 10k s .☺️👍

Rigpig profile image
RigpigGraduate in reply to karen50plus

I'm 54 and was about 4 stone overweight, I started in November 19 and Graduated in January 20. I've lost a stone so far but a lot of inches as well. I'm on the Magic 10 plan now and run for 50 minutes this Saturday. I did my first full 5k last Saturday and will definitely keep improving and knocking down the targets. If you had said this to me last October when I took those first steps I would have been very dubious but here we are in the blink of an eye and I'm fitter, happier and a lot more confident. Keep it up, it's the best thing you could ever give yourself :-)

karen50plus profile image
karen50plusGraduate in reply to Rigpig

Congratulations 🥳. Good to know us 1966 babies still have a trick or two up our sleeves 😂. I know I m only starting on week 7 tomorrow but what is Magic 10 ? And I ve read a few statements talking about consolidation runs 🤔. What s a consolation run 🤷‍♀️

Rigpig profile image
RigpigGraduate in reply to karen50plus

Magic 10 is the next step which is not compulsory! It's to get you running for either an hour or 10KM. Consolidation runs are what most people do after graduating and really it's just running for 30 minutes for however long you need to while you decide what, if anything, you would like to do next. Personally I just used the week 9 run a few times and then found the Nike Running Club app which has a big variety of coached runs to try.

karen50plus profile image
karen50plusGraduate in reply to Rigpig

Dear God , sorry I asked 🤣. I m just about doing 20-25 minutes ........ the thought of keeping going for an hour 😱. I m only doing about 2:5k at the moment so still have a long way to go 🤷‍♀️. Thank you for explaining 👍

Rigpig profile image
RigpigGraduate in reply to karen50plus

You're very welcome :-)

I think I'll settle on an hour once I get there and then just see how I improve as my weight drops and my fitness improves.

sTrongFuse profile image
sTrongFuseGraduate in reply to Rigpig

I remember saying that when I graduated, then somehow after getting to 10k, I talked myself up to running 10 miles, and then I only needed to add the equivalent of a parkrun to that to take me to HM...

My friends and family have now all been given the "permission to shoot me" talk if I even joke about aiming for a full marathon...

Rigpig profile image
RigpigGraduate in reply to sTrongFuse

You may be right, I used to think that running for 30 minutes three times a week was going to be more than enough 😁

Speedy60 profile image
Speedy60Graduate in reply to Headmaster5

There's nothing special about this because almost everyone could achieve it if they put their mind to it.

There is EVERYTHING special about this because most people simply don't.

You are a star and a true inspiration. High five!🤚

Headmaster5 profile image
Headmaster5 in reply to Speedy60

Thank you. Not true, but thank you!

Smelliepoo profile image
SmelliepooGraduate in reply to Headmaster5

You don't get to decide if you are an inspiration or not. If other people are inspired by you then you ARE one! Simple fact!! Take it with Grace and keep on being fabulous, because I am inspired, and YOU have done that. 😊

Good point, well made. Thank you!

Rigpig profile image
RigpigGraduate in reply to Headmaster5

Great post and well put. I couldn't agree more with the sentiment as I'm a long way down the same path as you.

Zebadee1 profile image

Running for 90 seconds is a huge achievement when you are starting out. I remember thinking it would be impossible when 1 minute in week 1 seemed hard enough. Trust the plan and yourself. You have the determination, you will do it!....and don't be embarrassed, be proud. I run on a seafront in the summer and pass all different kinds of people and I honestly believe that the only ones who noticed me where other runners, who gave a little nod or an encouraging go for it ! 💪🏃‍♀️

Hi Katierayray, losing 4 stone is pretty incredible. You have the right attitude, you have a goal and you are a very courageous woman so don't be hard on yourself. As lots of lovely people here said, take it slow, repeat runs if necessary, follow the programme, stretch and you will get fitter by the day. Keep it up, you are an inspiration 😄

Well done for your weight loss. This running plan is not to do with speed. It's to do with pacing yourself and building stamina. Follow the plan, don't worry if you struggle at times. Most important is to try and run as slowly as possible and relax and enjoy the journey.

sigasiga profile image

Four stone? That's fantastic!!! You've done the hardest bit of C25K, which is starting it, and a minute and a half is spot on for week 2 so you're right on track. It's all about how long you run for, not how fast, so no need to worry about that. Also no need to feel embarrassed - it might feel as if people are looking at you, but they really aren't, and anyway runners come in all shapes and sizes. Keep going and you will do this - keep us updated!

kindarunnin profile image

As lots of others have said 4 stone weight loss is pretty BLOOMIN AMAZING!! You should be very proud of that and the fact that you've completed week 2, I gave up on week 1 twice before I got to the point you're at. With the grit + determination you've shown already just stick to the plan and you'll do great, 5 weeks is a long time, think how far you've come already, you've got this!

If you dont mind me asking, what's the bleep test?

The test is a shuttle run 15 metres apart you start off lightly and then it gets harder. The test lasts for three and a half minutes in total.

Allbarron profile image

Hi Katie well done on the weight loss! You've done amazing. I know it can be daunting when you start the program but the forum is great for support. I've just lost 4 stone too but am still classed as overweight. I've stopped thinking about it. I feel great and friends and family are so supportive. Take it slow, follow advice and it will come. Just don't give up you're already taking control! 😍

Hi! I started C25K 7 weeks ago but I'm doing it on a treadmill at home. I've lost 1.5 stone but I'm still overweight. I'm now on week 7 so I've managed to jog for 25 minutes non stop at 8.5 kph. When I was struggling on week 2 like you are I would never have thought it possible. I think slow and steady is the answer and the treadmill works better for me as I find it easier to pace myself to what's achievable. I think if you follow the programme exactly at a speed that is comfortable you'll be surprised how much you improve as the weeks go by.

If I can do it then I'm sure you'll be absolutely fine. I'm looking forward to hearing about your progress

Good luck!

Well done,It’s great what you have achieved so far give yourself time and take it the right pace, you don’t want to injure yourself, keep motivated and you will get there 👍

johnm12 profile image

Hello Katie,

Firstly huge congratulations for deciding to and then actually taking control. We all run for many different reasons and it can be hard to make any change. Youve taken that enormouse step.

Must say that whenever I see anyone out running who doesnt look like a super athlete ( ie most of us), I now think "Well done you. If you keep it up there will be so many benefits."

This is what all of have found, some of us have lost weight, some of us sleep better, some of us have more energy and all of us feel better about ourselves. Minor problems that were looming large turn into minor problems that can be fixed.

Do follow the guidance though as thats the best way of avoiding injury. Keep posting and remember we have all been there.



Manicmum63 profile image

Hey Katierayray

I am soo impressed at your fantastic success with weight loss - you have all the discipline you need to knock Couch 25k based on that..

I graduated a while ago November last year and it was my second attempt at the programme. you can totally trust the programme to get you there. When first started I had to redo weeks because I totally lacked confidence to move on.

I have never been able to run in my life and now I can - OK its slow and not beautiful but I can keep going..

The embarrassment thing I am sure we all feel - I go out in the dark so that I can be sure of as few people seeing me as possible... My husband pointed out that this might have something to do with why I am so slow - can't see where I am going!!!

The bleep test will be OK - and all the advice on this site about taking all the time you need to get there is bang on.. Be kind to yourself - you're on it after all!

Haha I run in a basketball court that no one uses at night! I do circles in there and although I don’t 100% feel safe, I try my best. I guess I’m so embarrassed about my fitness I refuse to run in public yet! X

Manicmum63 profile image

Gotcha.. I am getting a tiny bit better even when as I jog slowly I am overtaken by young men walking... ugggghhh... I am doing it for me..

sTrongFuse profile image
sTrongFuseGraduate in reply to Manicmum63

If it's any consolation, 10 months on from my first parkrun and there is still one very athletic young guy (well, about 20 years younger than me, at least) who insists on overtaking me while pushing his child in a buggy. We've even got to the stage of having a bit of friendly competition to see how far round I can get before he eventually catches me...

Hi Katierayray, looks like you're bang on schedule to me. This time last year I began Cto5k in the same position as you believing I couldn't run and was out of breath on the walking legs never mind the running ones. You just have to believe in the programme, and around 30 weeks after wk 1 run 1, I completed a 10k run for all. If I can do it you can too! I believe in the plan that much that I'm doing another 10k in a few months and I'm following c to 5k again to get me there. Just follow the plan and believe me you will achieve your goals.

First hearty congratulations on excellent progress so far. I don't know what your program says but heed the advice on warm up and down and stretching.

You could find a very gentle slope to run up during your run or you could find a gentle one of about 50 m to run up up or down repeat till you're pooped. Or start by turning round at say 25m.

As you get fitter you can use the number of repeats or length you go as a progress indicator.

You'll get there but whatever happens even if you don't hit target don't give up.

Legsy0714 profile image
Legsy0714 in reply to Legsy0714

Run up and down. My guess is the programme is a template. Don't worry if you don't fit it exactly. Remember it's only yourself you have to answer to.

mbardon profile image

Stick with it. Just remember that you can run 1 and a half minutes which is more than what you could have done a few weeks back. Running is not for everyone either. Some people dont like it and others do. The bleep test (while it is based on a running activity) is actually around anaerobic exercise (so circuit training etc). Are you only doing the Couch to 5K, or are you including other exercises in there too?

Katierayray profile image
Katierayray in reply to mbardon

I am cross training as well as running. I hope this is okay! 4 times a week is good enough for me I hope

I completed C25K and was in the consolidation period where I was attempting to get faster and pulled a muscle, which has set me back probably a few months.

You are a role model for persisting and losing so much weight.

Don't try to go too fast, as many people are not ready for the extra strain on their body. Be proud of your progress but also be wise with the future - look after yourself. There are no prizes for speed.

Well done for making such a good start. It takes time for muscles to adapt to running. My advice is to complete the couch25k before trying to increase speed.

I tried too early a suffered aches and pains every week. It's much better to keep going until you can complete 30 mins at a modest speed. You may need to repeat weeks of the course. Probably not what's on your mind but believe me it's better to go for regular exercise and gradually you will see an improvement. Don't give up.

Good luck

Katierayray profile image
Katierayray in reply to

Thanks! I’m in week 3 but will repeat week 2 as I don’t feel ready for a longer run yet, I feel myself getting stronger! I even ran for the bus and surprised myself that for once, I made it before the bus left!!!!

in reply to Katierayray

That's the way to go. Regular exercise and gradually growing stronger. Keep going.

Good luck

Katierayray profile image
Katierayray in reply to

Thank you! :)

I found this really helpful It shows that it's about stamina not speed. Better for your joints if you poddle along rather than sprint. Good luck you are doing amazingly. You might want to read Pianism's posts. Every time I see him he's got smaller and to give his clothes away and buy smaller ones!

thank you!!! I will check this out xxx

Pianism profile image
PianismGraduate in reply to BaddieThePirate

Ooh, thank you for the mention. I found that running regularly gave me just enough extra calories to have the food I crave whilst still losing. Have reached a plateau now but at least I'm not putting anything on, despite poor food choices. :) All the very best of luck with it! X

Well done katierayray 😉

Just do what you can until you feel fit enough to move on ! Anything is better then nothing 😇I’m on my 3rd week and I still get tierd but I do enjoy been out 😀

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