New to running and overweight : I would love to... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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New to running and overweight

Blanche29 profile image

I would love to start the Couch to 5k but I am obese and have never run. Am I being silly even thinking about it ? Has anyone else been in the same situation as me and done it ?

19 Replies
Skiddle1 profile image

Absolutely not silly at all! Good luck with it and I hope you do take it up and start to enjoy it. ☺️

John_W profile image

You absolutely NOT being silly thinking about it - not at all. In fact, it's brilliant you're thinking about it.

But if you are obese (is that diagnosed?) then you should seriously consider losing weight before starting C25K - the impact could damage your joints otherwise.

What about doing C25K as a walking program?

Instructor57 profile image

Not being silly at all !It's great that you want to start !

It would be good if you can walk briskly for 30 minutes before starting the program though ?

And if you could get the weight down a bit before starting then it would certainly help reduce the risk of injury

quirkybee profile image

Hello there 😊

You are definitely not silly in any way or form to start with and for thinking about running. It's a positive decision as I for one know how my mind works when making efforts to do things.

I understand ref you saying about being obese, I even think I'm in that section on the bmi chart, but as a member said previously, just take caution regarding your joints as running does put pressure on our legs, knees, joints etc, but it may be worth you doing some gentle walking first, depending on how much you can do, but there are many, many over weight individuals that run, just make sure you feel safe and comfy starting it.

We can only give our opinion on here, but equally want you to be safe and moreso not injure yourself before you start.

It's fab news that you want to run,😃 I've just done my first run in 3 years, so I'm very chuffed, hard going, but I'm definitely going back to C25K.

I'm sure others will give their opinions and positive feedback too, plus definitely do the C25K, that's the best programme ever to commence with.

Good luck and let us know what you decide to do 👍😊

IannodaTruffe profile image

Welcome to the forum and well done being silly enough to think about it.........we are all silly here.

It is wise to be able to walk briskly for 30 minutes on a regular basis before attempting to run. In the guide you will find a link to the Active 10 walking programme which might be a good place to start for you.

As others have said, running does cause impact stresses on the joints of approximately two and a half times your body weight......... so any extra you can lose before you start will be beneficial.

We are happy to have you posting here as you condition yourself in preparation for running and if you visit the forum regularly to tell us how you are getting on then you may be inspired by the stories of others on here.

You certainly wouldn't be the first person in your position to start and we will cheer you on as you change your life for the better.

Honestly C25k really does change lives.

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.

Any time you move more than usual is good for you, take the advice others have posted and enjoy getting fitter and post your progress so we can all cheer you on

chunkypie profile image

Look up slow running 🙂

Poppdog profile image

It’s brave and wonderful not silly, listen to the advice and go for it

Hi Blanche29 I was three stone overweight and in the obese range when I started the programme in June. I was already walking miles every day with the dogs, but I couldn't run if my life depended on it, so I was relatively well prepared even though I am carrying a lot of excess baggage. I wold recommend that you use a 30 minute brisk walk as a becmnhmark starting point before attempting a run.

I graduated at the end of August after 12 weeks rather than 9. I did repeat some of the earlier runs due to being so unfit in terms of running. However, I now run 30+ minutes 3-4 times a week and although I haven't reached the magic 5k in 30 minutes yet (even tortoises overtake me!) I am now a regular runner and I do't have that much further to go before I do.

I'm 15lbs lighter (largely to diet rather than running mind) and still slowly reducing my poundage, I'm not longer diabetic nor hypertensive (which were the main two reasons for me to start C25K) and I feel like a totally different person.

I would agree with amny other posters - you are not silly....indeed this may well be one of the most sensible decisions you have made in a long time. Take it slowly, pace yourself and be realistic in your expectations. Come here regularly to let us know your progress so we can support you and cheer you on and we will be waiting for you to celebrate at that graduation finish line.

gems44 profile image

Hi Blanche, I'm a fat, middle aged woman....I did C25K a couple of years ago and I've kept running. Despite many efforts, I've not lost the weight, but I am fitter and healthier from the running. On Sunday....I ran the marathon. If I can - anyone can.

My advice is take it slow, really slow! It doesn't matter at all how fast you run, you are faster than those still on the sofa.

Secondly, listen to your body, if it hurts, rest.

You may decide to do some of the weeks twice or three times, only move on when you are ready.

It is not a race!

Enjoy it and be proud of yourself.


No! I had no running experience and started the programme six weeks ago.At first I struggled to run for 3 minutes.

I can now do 20, something I thought impossible. It’s so well thought out you can achieve what once you thought would be beyond you. I’m the big 70 next year, if I can do it anyone can!

GoldenGirly profile image

Hi B! You are not silly at all! I was also obese when I started although I did a lot of walking as have 2 dogs. Like others have said, I’d focus on walking a bit more first before you start running. The plan took me 29 weeks to complete as I picked up a couple of minor injuries plus I was just too unfit to do it in 9. I did it though and lost 32lbs to boot! I still run regularly (I graduated back in February) and have lost 60lbs total taking me out the obese category of the BMI range. Absolutely go for it but take it slow and do things at your own pace. Good luck!!!

Dozydora61 profile image

Not silly, I started obese and 61, I started by using the plan to walk and walk faster in the running bits. When I got to week 9, I went back to the beginning and ran. I had never run before and now run 3 times a week. I am still slow and run to enjoy it, not to lose weight, that is a bonus. If I ran to lose weight I may give up if I had a reversal. There are far more benefits than weight loss in learning to run.

LesleyLiv profile image

Blanche, go for it! So am I! Obese and 58…. And I did it! You just follow the instructions, walk a bit more if you need to.Week one, walk one was a hard but felt great at the end. Just take your time.


I am very overweight and started the Cto5K. I got to week 5 feeling very good and proud of my self. The only problem is I now have a bad knee injury so just have take a break for a while☹️I’m gutted but hope to pick things up again one day soon. I may start back with just fast walks and see how my knee holds up! Just listen to your body and don’t ignore any pains. Good luck on your journey 🤞😃

Benben21 profile image

No, not silly at all.

This time last year I had a BMI of 43. But I was relatively fit in spite of that because I was walking the dog for at least 90 mins a day, often longer. One of the pleasant surprises when I first acquired my Fitbit was to see that my cardiovascular condition was "very good for a woman my age"; I put that down to walking the dog.

I've lost coming up to 6 stone over the last year, through revising my diet and gradually increasing my activity. When I started on C25K in June I was probably about a stone heavier than I am now, and the weight is going down mainly because I'm still being very careful about diet (and will always be): BMI is now 33, according to my Fitbit and electronic scales, and that makes me still officially obese (although by Christmas I hope I'll just be overweight!). I would say that exercise alone won't allow you to lose weight, and I think most "experts" agree on that.

For me, the electronic gizmos have been really motivating: the Fitbit encourages me to get up and out and it's rare now that I don't register 10,000 steps in a day, and always get my "zone minutes" in, even on running rest days. My cardiovascular score is now "excellent" and I've watched that notch upwards throughout my C25K endeavours. I'm marching up hills which before completely defeated me: visiting friends remarked on how puffed they were feeling going up one of the steeper hills whereas I was chatting away as we went.

I did take the advice of the excellent people here and splash out on some expensive running shoes around Week 4 of the programme. I am acutely aware that my elderly body needed all the help it could get, and by being careful and following the programme to the letter I graduated six weeks ago. The shoes (£150 - gulp) are very bouncy and insulate your body against the impact of running. I steeled myself to go into a specialist running shop and relied on their advice, and it's really paid off. I'm now out running (slowly) for 30' every other day and the health benefits are palpable.

So the gamechangers for me were a good set of electronic scales and a fitness tracker (for me it was Fitbit but there are others). I upgraded a few weeks ago to a Charge 4 and I love it.

If you can walk fast without being breathless for 30' then I'd say give it a go. If that's a struggle then I'd follow the advice here and not start C25K until you can. If you're at all worried, get in touch with your GP and have a health check - they'll do blood pressure, blood tests and review your lifestyle. They might even prescribe joining a leisure centre/gym to help you on your fitness journey. They absolutely will not be dismissive of your efforts, so don't be shy.

It's changed my life: I can say that now. I've taken up squash again, which I LOVE. I love the physical changes - better sleep, no aches and pains, marching up our fearsome hills (I live in a town on the South Downs and we have serious hills) - and for the first time since I was very young I am taking pleasure in being fit and well and improving every day.

Shandy1 profile image

You’ve already started by thinking about it!! Positive thoughts you’ve got - this good luck!!

You can do it! I started the couch to 5k during the first lockdown - 60lbs overweight and menopausal. 18 months later I’m now leaner, fitter and run 3 times a week with distances up to 15k . It’s definitely not a miracle weight loss cure but you will tone up, lose inches and the sense of achievement does help with self confidence and the doubts that can plague us when we reach that certain age! I’m not qualified to give any kind of professional advice but speaking as someone who has been in a similar position I would say the key is take it slow - really slow, be kind to yourself but also be firm . If you don’t fancy the run, tell yourself you’ll walk it instead but still commit to going . Half the battle is getting yourself to the start and you’ll most likely run once you’re there. Some runs are harder than others, don’t be afraid to repeat them until your happy to move on and the lovely people on here are so supportive and full of useful advice - they really helped me keep going when I struggled. Happy running !

Go for it. I’m fat and I do it ok 🙂 have seen larger people at parkrun too AND in the marathon. It’s not about BMI it’s about cardio

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