Couch to 5K

When to hit the pavement?

I have just completed my Week one and have now started week 2 run 1. I have so far been running at the gym on the running machine as I haven't had any running experience before and thought it was the best place to start! When should I start running outside??? To be honest I find the tought a bit embarrasing and a bit scary! I know it will be harder on the tarmac and you aren't running on one level. not sure if I should stick with the treadmill for now or brave the pavement. :)

15 Replies

I would just give it a go. It is a bit public but almost all of us can share disguise tips and hints on running in the dark!


Just think of yourself as a secret agent undercover running ninja!



Greg - love this!!! :-)


Why not check your local area for suitable footpaths that might be less busy. Following on from Greg's comment I started on tracks in a local wood in very cold weather so was able to wear a woolly hat and a muffler thing over my chin so I'm not sure anyone would have recognise me anyway. :)


I've always run outside - never on a treadmill. Why not take yourself to yoou'reur local park/open space and run there ? I agree with Blueboots - wear a woolly hat if you're worried about being recognised, but don't worry about being seen - you are out there becoming a runner - be proud !


I think it must be harder to start running outside later on in the programme. I found the ever increasing loops of runs at the start really satisfying and getting to the next lampost /tree/street each week was such a kick!

There is no substitute for seeing trees/blossom, all the outdoor smells and air of running outdoors! It is life affirming..This time of year big sunglasses and a baseball hat are good camoflage, though maybe the wooly hat..its just started snowing, oops!


I've run on the treadmill for about 3 years now but always wanted to run outside. I found the treadmill so boring (we have it in our spare room). When I attempted to run outside previously I too felt self conscious and my breathing was all wrong; my throat used to burn - I think I just started too fast.

So I decided to try the C25K to see if it would work for me. I started off ok and am now just about to finish week 6. I haven't run on the treadmill since and yes it is much harder but so much more invigorating.

I don't even botherabout other people. I run around the local estates and did 4.1km the other day. It's also a good chance to look at peoples gardens lol



how about running at least 1 run a week outside, just til you overcome your "I might be seen" fear :)

take it slow though as without the buttons on the treadmill you may go too fast & burn up all your energy before the end.

if on a treadmill set the incline to 1 or 2 as this is supposed to help mimic the effort of outside. doesnt allow for pavements or hills downwards :)

good luck X


I too would encourage you to 'get out there' especially now the weather is looking up (well, in some places!). I really do sympathise as I started running in January in the evenings, so it was always dark and I always had to rug up so had plenty of camouflage. I'm still the same size as I was then but frankly don't give a s**t what people think now, cos I know I can run 5k without stopping and they probably can't! I did do a few runs on the treadmill when we had very snowy/icy weather, but running for 20 mins towards the window of the local hardware store was frankly mind-numbing. (your gym may be more upmarket but you get the picture!).

The pavement wil certainly give you other challenges, but it won't be horrendous or impossible and you will definitely feel the achievement!


I agree totally with all the comments- I started the programme on the streets and it is very satisfying as you progress as your distance travelled does get faster. People are no really interested nor looking at runners, if they are they are probably thinking- must give that a whirl, at least you have the satisfaction of knowing that you are out there giving it a go. I always wear a baseball cap find it helps me keep my head up and if it is sunny I wear shades- my own mother probably wouldn't recognise me!


A few years ago I used to do all my running on a treadmill and to me I now do it all outside, it feels so much better outside!!

Fresh air, changing scenery a greater feeling of accomplishment.

Don't worry what others may be thinking, you are out there, you are running, you are bettering yourself!

I vary my route and some times I'm even doing laps around the football pitch up the park.

You know what is great? When a runner says hi, that feeling is amazing :)

Try it, do a few sessions outside and see how you feel.


Before I went travelling I went to the gym, but since I got back I can't afford it so run outside. It's definately harder but it's way more interesting. I was worried about people looking too, but I usually go early in the morning so not many people about and those that are, are usually half a sleep or running themselves!

Like 7-of-us I like saying hello to other runners makes me feel like a proper runner!


I did up to week 8 run 1 in the gym,, with the treadmill on 1.5 incline, as I was so lacking in confidence. But I wouldn't go back to the gym now unless it gets really bad weatherwise!

By that time I felt I knew my pace so I knew I could keep going as long as I resisted the temptation to run too fast.

This morning, I ran at 6.30 am and the sun was just coming up. It was just a great experience. I didnt use my ipod because the birdsong was so impressive, and at one point a grey heron flew alongside me.

The real plus for me is that I can now also give the dog his run at the same time as mine! (That poncey gym just refused to let me tie him up on the treadmill next to mine!)

The only down side is that in the gym I used to have a nice cushioned mat to do my stretches on after the run.

Good luck on getting out there.


Thank you for all the advice, hints and tips. Thinking about it, I don't think I am too bothered about being spotted as I will just zone out. I think I am more worried about failing. When I am on the treadmill you can't really stop as people will see, but if I am running outside I might be tempted to stop if I am struggerling. I am going to give it a go today for my W2R2 and take it slow and steady and just hope for the best. I have also taken the above advise and will do at least one run a week outside. thanks Guys!


It's so lovely to run outside. Find somewhere inspiring - the bluebells are just emerging in the woods and its so beautiful. If you have a look on google maps and plan your run, you can find markers that you have to reach before you allow yourself to rest. Give it a go xx


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