Couch to 5K

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Instructor57 profile image

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If you haven't done so already then go and claim your well deserved Graduate badge here


This is the place for those who have just graduated to talk about plans, problems, terrors and triumphs.

So lace up your running shoes and come on in !

So you have now successfully completed the 9 week C25k training course, well done. And if you did not repeat any runs then you will still have less than 9 hours of running on your legs.

Whilst this is a great start to a healthier and fitter lifestyle , It IS just the start as a runner and Consolidation is there to help you build on this safely with minimum risk of injury BEFORE you start to increase either pace OR distance.

This period, post graduation, can be tough, without either a programme to follow or the regular satisfaction of achieving a new aim each week. So we bring you the Consolidation Club as your go-to monthly post for all your post-graduation questions and answers!

What do we mean by CONSOLIDATION?

As at any stage in running, when you have increased your running distance or duration over a few weeks, it is good practice to consolidate (work on feeling stronger running for 5k or 30 minutes) for a short period, bedding in all that effort.

Having just finished C25k, it is a good idea to:

Continue to run for 5k or 30 minutes (whichever you achieved during the plan) for a few weeks

Try out different routes

Just enjoy your new found ability!

Without having to increase duration week on week, you can take the pressure off, have fun, run somewhere beautiful and new, forget about pace. While you are consolidating you are also helping to establish the habit of running in your life. It is said to take twelve weeks of changed behaviour to create a new habit, so a three-week consolidation will get you there!

We encourage you to check in here straight after graduation, tell us how you're doing and feeling. Give us your run reports, swap ideas, ask questions and get help formulating plans and targets, knowing that at least one member of the admin team is keeping an eye out, with all the usual advice to offer. There is no need to sign up, just drop in and have your say.

★★ And check out our full GUIDE to post-C25k running: ★★


Consolidation is not compulsory, but is considered good practice for all runners, at any stage, who have increased duration and distance over the preceding weeks and is particularly appropriate for new runners, to reduce risk of burnout and injury. How many runs this takes will be very individual, but it is so much better for you if you feel strong and confident about your 5k or 30 minute runs before starting work on faster times and longer distances.

Most runners discover the importance of having better general fitness and strength than running alone can give you, which is why CBDB has produced this twelve week consolidation and strength training plan that will see you maximising your running ability in just a few weeks.


Are you still looking to reach 5k ?

Check out the 5k plan for after consolidation !


So, over to you new graduates! Who wants to tell us how it is going/feeling? How can we help support you at this stage? Know that we've all been there, and we're HERE, with and for you!

23 Replies
D25K profile image

Hi, I graduated a couple of weeks ago then promptly went away to stay with some relatives (and made the decision not to take my running gear and to have a break...) Back now and have managed a few 30min consolidation runs. Planning to work up to 5k next, in another couple of weeks, when I feel more comfortable with the 30 minute runs. They still feel like enough of a challenge for now! Hoping this will change soon...

Instructor57 profile image
Instructor57Moderator in reply to D25K

Hello !

Sounds like a plan !As you say , 30 minutes can still feel a challenge for a while , but they will start to feel like the norm after a while .

Take a look at the 5k plan mentioned in the post and written by our one and only roseabi .

It's a great plan that will get you to 5k without pushing too soon ,

Keep us posted and enjoy your runs 👍

D25K profile image
D25KGraduate in reply to Instructor57

Thank you I57! I do hope the 30min runs start to feel less challenging soon, I think consistency is the key with me, so I'll bear that in mind when planning my runs.

Yes I did have a look at Roseabi's Bridge to 5k plan - I will use that. I'm at 4.2-4.4km in 30mins atm, so hopefully not too many more minutes to add for 5k! Then onto 10k 😃 (one day at a time..!)

Instructor57 profile image
Instructor57Moderator in reply to D25K

I found consolidation was a good time to work on my running form which definitely helped when getting onto longer runs !

D25K profile image
D25KGraduate in reply to Instructor57

Yes, good plan, I will think about that too. And continue to work on my stretches (as suggested by Iannodatruffe and others!) as they have helped a lot too

Here I am in the September consolidation group after just one post in the August one, having only just graduated.

Feeling a bit deflated TBH 🙄 Still running like a tortoise, still with heavy achy calves, and still not really feeling the running love at all. I'm doing everything by the book now, but (I think largely due to my excess weight) every run is a sore, tiring, drag.

I'm nowhere near ready to quit yet, having just working REALLY hard for eleven weeks to even be able to run for 30 minutes, but I do wish there was even a teeny chink of light at the end of the dark running tunnel to give me some hope!

Off out again for another consolidation run this morning, which was AWFUL! I'm now starting to struggle to run slowly as my legs just don't want to shuffle any more, so I'm trying to find that thin line between stretching out a bit and having agonisingly painful/tight/heavy calves.Sadly that wasn't the case this morning and my calves were so bad very nearly pulled up more than once. Lesson learned, back to EXACTLY what I was doing on my first three Week 9 runs and hope this is less agonising.

Instructor57 profile image
Instructor57Moderator in reply to Over60sRunner

Welcome !And congratulations on your progress !

You certainly shouldn't feel deflated !

You have just graduated!

Think back to the beginning, how did week 1 feel ?

I know how you felt since week 3 as I have just read your posts .

Now you are running for 30 minutes non stop , that's an amazing achievement and you should be so proud of yourself .

You say you started C25k to improve your overall general fitness, and that is exactly what you have already done

Your strength, stamina and aerobic fitness will be far higher now then when you started .

Surely that is some light in what you describe as a "dark running tunnel"

Yes of course carrying excess weight will not help , however, the running you are doing combined with a good diet will certainly help but as we know, these things take time .

Consolidation IS that time !

Up until now you have been increasing your running week on week and yes, it's challenging !

But now with every consolidation run you do your body will start to accept this as the new "Normal"

I'm afraid it's not an instant change but if you stick at it , and I notice from your posts that you have upped your fluid intake and also do the stretches it WILL get easier !

Consolidation is not necessarily a fixed time but may normally be around 3 weeks so I think by then you will probably be feeling a bit better about it .

In the meantime, why not try different routes ?

Sometimes just a change can be as good as a rest .

But stick with it , you will get there

Thanks for your reply Instructor57 🙏

I am hoping I'm just having a bad week. I am going to go back to STRICTLY doing what I was doing in my final graduation week and stop reading posts from folk on the forum who are steaming ahead and leaving me in their dust! I know I shouldn't do it!

I have made an agreement with myself that I am not going to quit, but accept that my consolidation journey might take some time being middle-aged, chubby, hypertensive and having the shortest calf muscles known to mankind (or so it feels!) 🙄 I started wearing Skinz today in the hope it might help - well it clearly didn't help with the pain during the run, but it sure made the recovery a lot more comfy so I shall continue to use them and appreciate any little help I can get.

I started the Strength and Flex programme last night too, but have had to go straight to the second week as the first one wasn't challenging me at all so I guess that's something to celebrate 😀 Hopefully the extra work on my legs will help a bit too. I have three large dogs and walk 4-6 miles daily anyway, but I'm figuring that every little helps...as the advert says!

Once again, thank you and apologies for the moan 😞

Instructor57 profile image

Sounds to me like you are doing all the right things 👍I'm sure you will feel results if you keep at it .

Do let us know !

Runningcat15 profile image

Thank you for the congratulations 🥳 I’m very pleased and proud of myself. I’m going to aim for 30 minutes 3 times a week consolidation runs for the next three weeks now. But I’m going to do as you suggest and try some new routes. I have kept on the flat around our local park during the C25K but might try some of the small (very) hills/grass mounds during the consolidation runs.

Instructor57 profile image

Welcome !

And you are right to feel pleased and proud , it's a great achievement ! 😁

And yes, trying new routes is a good way to help keep things interesting during consolidation.

It's also a good time to work on your form before thinking of increasing duration or distance .

Stick with it , once the 30 minutes are feeling comfortable and normal you will then be in a good position if you want to increase your running time or distance 👍

D25K profile image

Enjoyed the next run in my consolidation plan this morning. A gorgeous sunny morning here, although the warmth took me by surprise after so many miserable grey weeks!

Definitely felt like some good miles in the bank this morning and Garmin awarded me my 'Fastest Mile' 🏅 which was a bonus and a surprise as I'm still keeping to a slow and comfortable pace 👍🏼 Onwards! 😊

Instructor57 profile image
Instructor57Moderator in reply to D25K

Well done !If your keeping that comfortable pace and still getting a PB that's great 😬👍

Well, what a difference a run makes! I'm not saying it was easy, but my run this morning couldn't have been any different to Thursday if it had tried. Funnily enough I felt slow and tired the whole day on Thursday and even virtually fell asleep at my desk in the afternoon, so I was definitely having an off one 😔

I'm so pleased this run went so much better as I needed that boost! Strength and Flex tomorrow then back to early morning runs before work on Monday. Fingers crossed there's a wee chink at the end of the tunnel 👍🏃👍

D25K profile image
D25KGraduate in reply to Over60sRunner

Brilliant news! A good run really does spur you on doesn't it! Fingers crossed for many more of those 🤞🏼😊

Instructor57 profile image
Instructor57Moderator in reply to Over60sRunner

It's so strange how one run can differ from another !A good sign 😬👍

I had a look at the Couch5+ programme last night, but I can't honestly say it's going to float my boat. The music is definitely not up my street (I'm a blues and rock & roll kinda girl) and there's far too much of Laura's commentary which, frankly, after 12 weeks of listening to her repeating herself 3/4 times a week is starting to grate on me just a tad!

I started on the consolidation programme on here that involves the Strength and Flex programme alongside 30 minute runs and the first week has gone OK. However, I would like to know if there's an alternative when to comes to starting the stepping/stamina/speed part further down the line.? Just listening to Laura repeating herself ad infinitum during the exercise sections is driving me bonkers - couple that with the 'high energy running music' and I think I might lose the will to live!

Any suggestions from our more experienced supporters would be absolutely appreciated.

By the way, I run on a treadmill (don't know what everyone seems to call it a dreadmill on here as I really don't mind using it at all!). Could I somehow use the functions on that to facilitate the stepping/stamina/speed sections when I come to them in around 5 weeks? I'm hoping my stride count will improve somewhat by then as it's currently only 138/minute and the apps I listened to expect far higher than that😳

Instructor57 profile image
Instructor57Moderator in reply to Over60sRunner

I also did not take to the coach5+ program !And I'm definitely more into prog rock 😁

I did my first 25 minute run listening to pink Floyd's 'Echoes' a 24 minute track 😁

Are you familiar with the NRC (Nike run club ) app ?

It has guided runs with treadmill runs , also Fartlek runs, Speed runs and many other runs for either set distances or times .

I personally am not familiar with treadmills, but I do know that most would have interval training programs in the software.

Over60sRunner profile image
Over60sRunnerGraduate in reply to Instructor57

Oh, I love a bit of Floyd too! Echoes is a great album - Dark side Of The Moon is my favourite

I've heard folks mention the NRC, but haven't looked into it (yet), perhaps a visit would be in order. I am going to ask the trainers next time I'm in if I can programme the treadmill. The only thing I was told about is the facility to run with someone else in another gym, but I don't have a competitive bone in my body so that really doesn't appeal to me at all! There has to be more................

Thanks for the input and support 🙏 My run this morning was actually not too bad you'll be pleased to hear - more of an ache than a pain in the calves, so maybe the consulidation is starting to happen. I will, however, be mindful, not to get carried away again!!

LateStart profile image

Hi I just graduated today and I am still in utter disbelief: used to do a lot of weights but have always hated cardio and esp running as I am completely flat footed and have no stamina despite going to the gym for years. So it is inconceivable to me that at 55 and not having been near a gym for 4 years now, I finished this in 9 weeks straight. I tried once before back in 2017 when I was still quite fit but got such awful knee pain that I had to stop both running and the gym. This time I decided to go very slow and managed to overcome the return of runner's knee through lots of stretching, glutes work, cold compresses and really really pacing myself. I am now pain free and through C25k I discovered that all my life I had never learnt to walk properly, never using my glutes much, straining my quads and causing myself a lot of pain. So these nine weeks have been a revelation: not only can I now run for 30 mins straight but the way I use my lower body has completely changed. I know that this is only the beginning and now comes the hard part: how to keep motivating myself as the cold and dark sets in and I have to start commuting. But for now I just wanted to celebrate and tell people not to give up as this journey may surprise you

Instructor57 profile image
Instructor57Moderator in reply to LateStart

A great story and fantastic achievement !I was actually 63 when I started this , and like you , never thought it would be possible !

And it's amazing what we learn along the way !

Keep up the great work !

Consolidating at this stage is so important for future injury free development.

Enjoy your new found freedom 😁👍

Hi there folks

Well, I've not been on the forum for a week or so, but I have been keeping up with my 3/4 x 30 minute weekly runs and I am now adding TINY speed increments into said runs. Only 0.1 or 0.2 every week, but I'm now doing the running part of the 40 minutes at 6kph and the walking at 4.5kph, which is 0.5kph faster than when I first started and 0.3kph faster than when I graduated around 4 weeks ago.Little baby steps, but I am keeping up with the programme.

I've also added in the Strength and Flex programme on the non-running days to help with leg strength and also some upper body work too - that's going well. I'm now thinking once I can run at 6kph comfortably (my first run at this speed this morning was doable, but certainly NOT comfortable!), then I am planning to start increasing my running time. I'm not sure if I will increased in 2 minute steps, I might start with 1 minute (31, 32, 33, etc for three runs at each level) and see how I go on then decide if I can up my game a bit more and go for 2 minute jumps.

I'm never going to be a marathon runner, and I may not even ever manage 5k in 30 minutes, but I am finding the whole process has made me feel so much better on so many levels that I am definitely starting to form that "running habit" I heard so much about in June when this journey began, but never thought I would achieve.

It's a good day today😀🏃‍♀️😃

Instructor57 profile image
Instructor57Moderator in reply to Over60sRunner

Good to hear consolidation is going to plan !Too many overlook this stage .

It will certainly pay dividends in the long run ! (Yes, pun intended 😁)

Keep up your great work 👍

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