Couch to 5K

How to keep motivated after week 9

Hi everyone

Forgive the wordy post but I had a message from one of you which shared the common problem of feeling a bit lost after week 9.

I think it's a common issue. We all get so caught up in the rhythm of the Couch to 5k plan and then when it finishes - you're left missing the structure or the goal to aim for.

Anyway, I've had a think and wrote a list of tips that I found helpful. Perhaps you can all chip in, with your advice too?

- Starting earlier weeks of the plan can be a good strategy - espeially if you're feeling 'afraid' of the 30 minute run. I know in the past when I've slipped up and missed a few runs, I can feel nervous about whether or not I can still do the full 30 minutes. Of course you can - this is just your brain playing tricks on you, but it's much better to give yourself the permission to do a 20 minute run and build up from there - than to keep putting off your run because you can't face a full 30 minutes.

- If you did Couch to 5k runs on certain days - stick to them. I used to religiously run on tuesday, thursday and sunday, and after week 9 had ended, I stuck to those days. It helped tell my brain that this was part of my routine now - and I was less likely to start slipping out of the habit of running.

- During the plan, I had stuck to the same route each time so when I graduated, it felt like a bit of a treat to plan and explore a new route. It also helped to have a change of scenery.

- For me, music is a vital part of my running and when I finished Couch to 5k, I really enjoyed creating my own running playlists. Everyone is different but I have always needed something fast and energetic to run to. And a newly created playlist always feels like a treat. Not everyone is the same though - maybe you'd prefer to listen to the radio, talking books, or maybe - you just want silence!

- I started to use 'mapmyrun' to see exactly how far I was running. As most of you will discover - the name 'Couch to 5k' is slightly misleading since you focus on running for a set amount of time rather than a set distance. I quite enjoyed the nerdiness of keeping a log and seeing if I could beat my last time.

- I found that I had absolutely no idea of my own pace. Even now - I can do a run and have absolutely no idea how quickly I've done it. I did some work on trying to improve my pace by including pockets of faster running in my run. Our new podcast series (launching in May) will really help with this.

- Is there someone you could run with? Once I had 'learned' to run and finished Couch to 5k, I used to run with my boyfriend (who was already a keen runner). I found this useful because if one of us couldn't be bothered - chances are, the other one could - and would drag us both out! You also get to have that nice chat afterwards about which bits you found hard or even just the things you saw along the way.

- This may not apply but if you run in a gym - I really recommend breaking out and trying the outdoors. I find it waaaaay more interesting. In fact, I just can't have a good run on a treadmill.

13 Replies

I'm just going into week 5, but am delighted that I should be just in time to enjoy the new podcasts in May!


Thanks Laura! very useful to hear, I am just about to finish the plan so really helpful.

I agree with the nerdiness factor, I am going to make my own pla after c25k, 1 extra week of week 9, I week of 32 mins, 1 week of 5k...then see where I am.

What's in store for the new podcasts? - can't wait!


I think the nerdiness can really help! especially in your first few weeks and months after finishing. You can feel a bit lost and can crave the structure that Couch to 5k gave us all. I know lots of people will train themselves to run faster and for longer (I also try this from time to time if I'm in a running rut) but most of the time, I just appreciate those 30 minutes of loud music, fresh air and all-day-smugness that my runs give me.

As for the podcasts - they are being designed to help you improve your pace - by getting you to run to the beat of the music. I think it's a great thing to move on to because not many of us will be running a 5k distance in half an hour when we finish Couch to 5k. I know I wasn't...


p.s. just spotted a great tip in another Couch to 5k-ers post that I thought I'd share:

"I have also discovered that I derive great satisfaction from ticking off my runs - I have a chart on the fridge (very sad I know) and I just love the feeling of coming in after a run and physically ticking it off. Very rewarding indeed. "


I am on week 5, second time around, definitely looking forward to the new podcasts as I want something to help up the pace as I found last year I was very slow although I built up to 45 minutes on my runs after c25k. Luckily I will finish at the end of April so just in time for new podcasts


thanks for that Laura.. looking forward to new podcast in may.. graduated last wk but doin wk 9 again this wk, as need your motivating voice!! have done up a play list with motivating music so really need to give that a go now..

doing my first ever official 5k run on mon next..and strangely looking forward to it :)


I must be very nerdy! I have kept a log of each run on the C25K, nothing complicated, just noting how I felt both physicaly and mentally, routes I took, aches I felt, weather etc. I am so glad that I did as I can see how my running has developed and this gives me confidence to believe that I can go that little bit further now I have graduated.

I am continuing with my log and I start week 11 tomorrow. I too wondered what to do once the C25K was finished. I am going to try to keep running on the same days and downloaded some 'running' songs onto my ipod as I too have to listen to music now when I run.

I also think it is good to aim for something in the future - I've signed up for the Race for Life in July. My daughter is encouraging me to sign up for a 10K in September, last year I would never have believed it, but after coming this far I really believe it is possible.


Thanks Laura, I have kind of lost my way a little bit since finishing the plan, I haven't given up, just not been as hard on myself and if I didn't feel like going I wouldn't :( Naughty I know but since trying out the new podcast it has re-ignited my running passion:) so thanks again for the tips, very useful , I'll keep going :) x


How can I get this new podcast. Going into week 9 and am worried I will not be motivated without some other challenge after that


thank you this is really useful - I will try some of your advice


Exactly what i needed to hear laura. Did 30 mins last friday so thats a full week of not running. Ready to go now and I m still on the treadmill . Cant find a proper path outside yet!!!!The motivation is harder for sure. When is the podcast out


I'm still running but it's getting harder. Is there any new of the new podcasts ?


I used the week 9 podcast but ran for the 5 minute warm up and the last 5 minute warm down so that took me to 40minutes and I still could listen to Laura's encouragement. I now play the start the week 9 podcast again for another 10 minutes which has taken me to 50 minutes. I find the familiar music and Laura's voice very helpful. I run the same route I have run since week 1 but extend it every week so now it's over 6 km. I can really experience how much I've improved and it spurs me on.


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