First time (overweight) runner!: I’ve never been... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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First time (overweight) runner!

running_noob profile image

I’ve never been able to run. I’m 29 years old and overweight not to mention very unfit!

But I would love to be able to change this.

I’ve completed week 1 and have to say I found it really hard. I do the running parts as a slow jog and find it super tiring on my legs and get out of breath right away.

But I’m pushing through and happy that I’ve been able to push myself so far. Would love to hear a success story from someone also overweight and a beginner for some motivation :)

17 Replies

Welcome to the forum and well done on getting started.

This guide to the plan is essential reading

and includes advice on minimising impact, stretching after every run, hydration and strengthening exercises, all of which will help.

Enjoy your journey.

Sadie-runs profile image

I would say don’t dwell at all on how hard you found it. Dwell on the fact you completed week 1 of the programme and give yourself a round of applause!

Starting to run IS hard. No two ways about it. But it doesn’t stay the same level of hard if you stick with it, because you get fitter with each and every run you complete. 👍 I wasn’t overweight when I started running, but I was incredibly unfit - one minute felt like an hour to me, and I had to fight/pep talk myself to finish every run segment. But...last September I ran a half marathon. Not bragging, just giving you an example of where your running could take you!

I never knew whether this running thing would stick with me or not, but I made a promise to myself, and that was, at the very least, I would complete the whole 9 weeks. That was almost 3 years ago now, and I am still running!

Read the beginner’s guide and treat it like your bible. Rest well, but do something on your rest day - like strength training or walking. Stretch gently after every run and drink plenty of water. Most of all, keep telling yourself you can and will do it! Because you can and you will.

First of all, well done 👍 you kept at it and that’s a fab achievement.

I’m 34, overweight and very unfit. I never thought I could run for 60 secs never mind 28 minutes.

2 years ago I ran 5k thanks to C25k, I felt amazing with what I achieved. But life got in the way and I soon fell out of the routine.

I am now on week 3 and I did run 1 today, it’s hard but like you I kept on going.

It’s amazing how good you feel after your run and with what you achieve each time.

Take care,

Dani 😊

Hi there,

You can and absolutely will do this!

I’ve just started my journey to lose 4st by dieting, doing this programme every other day and going on long walks on the days I don’t run!

You’ve made the hardest leap already which is downloading the app & getting out there!

It’s not meant to be easy... if it was we wouldn’t need the app!

I’m very vocal to all my friends and family about my C25k journey and every run I tell them ‘toughest one yet’ they must be so tired of hearing that expression but I mean it every time! Don’t be scared to be so proud of yourself even though you’re finding it tough.

I finished week 6 today... we can do this together x

I REALLY struggled with my breathing so much I thought I had a medical problem. But people here told me to slow my ‘running’ right down and speed up my 5 minute warm up walk. It worked like magic. I am convinced my walking is actually faster than my running but I don’t care 😂

Snap! 29, overweight and unfit here! I’ve lost 3 stone in the last year, another few stone to go, but still very unfit!

I started C25K on 25th March, and I’m just about to start week 7!

I found the first week and a half the hardest! From doing nothing to something was a struggle, but I persisted! And I wouldn’t say I now love running, but I do enjoy having some time to myself with my headphones in!

I have also always done a slow jog! They say go at a pace that suits you! I find I like to do a slow jog, and then when I’ve got 5 minutes left of the longer runs, I speed up a bit and then run for the last minute! But this is only something I’ve started doing in the last few days!

Find music that you actually enjoy listening to! I found that if I put on the generic running music I wasn’t as motivated as if I put on something cheesey that makes me smile and keeps me going!

I’ve also found that leaving a day between every run doesn’t suit me! Sometimes I do 2, a days rest then the 3rd, sometimes I do 3 in 3 days and have a day or 2 break!

Just do what suits you! It’s a massive achievement to be at where you’ve got to! Just keep at it, and you will notice how much your fitness levels increase!

Great for starting it, don't give up keep to a slow pace jog and power through it will get better and easier...stick with it 👍👍👍you got this😀

Lincolnite profile image

25, overweight (14st), was unfit when I started, and now half way through week 6. It took me 3 weeks (9runs) to finish week 1 as I was so out of breath but I still did it and you will be able to as well!

The app really helps to learn about your form and breathing properly which in turn helped me to run longer, just keep at it and give yourself credit for getting out there. If you need to spend a bit longer on a week, who cares? The main thing is you're getting out there and doing it.

I would agree with Emcg-51. Dont worry about how slowly you’re jogging, it doesn’t matter if it’s practically walking pace. I am new to running (but fairly fit from long dog-walks) and have been so surprised about how slowly you need to go at the start in order for your lungs to adjust. It’s new to the body and breathing that hard is also new, so it’s better to force yourself into a slow pace initially. Also, remember you can always repeat weeks before progressing to the next level. I get the impression a lot of people have done that.

Also, I would say stretching is very important. I hadn’t realised you should stretch after running as well as before. Do quite a lot of stretches not just a quick stretch. I only did a quick stretch one morning before running (week 3) and now have strained a calf muscle as a result! My husband has been running for years and he never does any stretches (though he probably should) and he never gets injured, but I think he’s muscles are so used to it. Running for him is like walking for most people. But it’s especially important to stretch a lot before and after if you are new to running, to warm up probably (ie make sure the walk is VERY brisk) and slow the pace of the first couple of intervals right down to as slow as you can; it’s almost like an extension of the warm up from my experience.

Let us know how you get on. Plenty of support on here.

I am double my body weight, I’ve final completed week 3. After each run you feel stronger , breathing gets easier and have a amazing feel good factor all day 😉

Snodrop profile image

I’d had a heart problem and 3 procedures to try and rectify it( eventually got there) but was so unfit that I couldn’t walk upstairs without puffing. Was so unfit, bad diet and lifestyle.

Since graduating I am still going out 2 to 3 times a week and doing around 4 to 5K, and take the dog with me now so it’s quite good fun!. You have done so, so, so, so, well to even have started and you should give yourself a really big pat on the back for that. What I found was that the slower I ran the more I kind of enjoyed it, and I looked up the Japanese slow running on YouTube which has really helped me. I see that someone else on this thread has said that sometimes it feels like you are going slower than walking, and indeed last week a fast walker came past me while I was running! 🤪Keep on going, you can definitely do it and it doesn’t matter how long it takes you, you’ve done a great job so far by the sounds of it and you must be well motivated to have even taken the first step out the front door so let us know how it keeps going!

Ercolino profile image

Hello! Three stone overweight, total non sports person, last to be picked for school teams etc etc, worked from home and then got plantar fascitis so didn't even go for walks - I did it and you can too!! Repeat weeks if necessary - I think I found weeks 2/3 the most difficult - I'm now doing 30 minutes three times a week in the consolidation phase - I never would have believed it - just keep going, the plan works! Every one you go out to do or even attempt, or repeat, is all getting you ready for the next one - think positively, you are doing it!

Some great experiences here! Similarly I am still overweight (about 3 stone off healthy), completed C25K on January 1st. Before this I had not done any exercise since I was 12, and I'm now 39(!). The past few months have been hard, but I would like to say that the programme is truly transformative. In February I only managed 2 runs, but the fitness lasts a while, and this week I managed to get back to 3x5K runs, aiming for 10K soon (in weekly steps). It really has changed my life, and all you have to do is just keep running! So, keep at it, its totally worth it, and it's still hard to believe that I am fitter now than I was at 18!

Solodad profile image

I started running just a few weeks ago. 45 years old. Overweight. Unfit. The very first run was really hard. But each one that week became slightly easier. You might find, like me, that W2r1 and W3r1 are both really hard too. I feel so proud of myself for completing each run it motivates me to try the next one. Yesterday I completed W5r3. I even sped up with the two minutes left notice... amazing. It was hard but the sense of achievement was wonderful. I could never have done this 30 days ago.

Be proud of yourself for starting and for finishing week one. You found it hard but you've done it!!

Glitter-girl profile image
Glitter-girl in reply to Solodad

Wow, your journey is amazing. Well done. You have motivated me to keep on going 😊 thank you 🙏

Solodad profile image
SolodadGraduate in reply to Glitter-girl

Thank you. Good luck

Wow!!! I didn’t expect so many responses! Seriously thank you all so much for telling me your story ☺️ it certainly helps to know others have been in my position and have seen improvement. Although it’s not easy (and I kind of hate some of it hehe) I’m happy I’ve started this journey.

Thank you everyone for the motivation 🙏🏼

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