Couch to 5K

Do I need this plan?

I started the plan 3 weeks ago after never being able to run for any length of time. In my previous post I asked why I found running so hard due to age and general health being on my side. Well, to cut a long story short after completing week 2 I decided to see how long I could run for and I managed a whole 15 mins! Since then I tried again but only managed 7 and it was much harder. Then yesterday I did 20 mins straight and found my breathing wasn't a struggle at all. The hardest part I find is overheating (I am using a treadmill in the gym and the fan is poor,) so, as stated above I am wondering if I really need to be following this at all? After completing 20 mins after just 3 weeks I am considering just practising. The sense of achievement I have from this is unbelievable, I feel like I have run a marathon!

8 Replies

Hey Becksta - ultimately of course it's up to you - but the fact that you've had mixed experiences suggests that there may be some value in sticking to a plan. But there are many different plans out there that do the same thing in different ways, so if you're consistently finding this really easy you might want to look for something more challenging. I would say two things though: one is that your muscles and joints need time to strengthen and the run/walk approach of the first few weeks is planned to allow for this. The other is that it's probably best to stick with one plan for a few weeks to really get the measure of it - if you keep chopping and changing your methods, then you may end up getting injured or frustrated or disheartened, all of which will cause your running odyssey to come to an abrupt halt! What have you got to lose? Why not give C25K another couple of weeks, following it to the letter - and have a go at running outside too; it's quite a different experience and some people find it more of a challenge than the treadmill.

Good luck and keep posting! :-)


Well its up to you what you think is best for you but personally I prefer taking it step by step slowly but surely. I've never been able to run (or so I thought) and at the age of 50 am now running 28 minutes without stopping thanks to this plan. I'm in no rush - after all its taken me all my life thinking I can't run and only eight weeks to realise I actually can!


There are a number of reasons the plan exists...whether or not you need it is maybe not as relevant and more or less a personal choice.

When you start a new exercise routine like running which can be tough on the body it is best to build things up gradually, this gives your body times to adapt and means you are hopefully going to be less prone to an injury.

It also helps build up your confidence in manageable steps, it has been tried and tested by people from all walks of life on this forum and most people complete the 9 weeks thinking, 'if I can do this anyone can!'

A lot of us of are pysically capable of going out a running for 20mins, but its mind over matter a lot of time or in my case lung capacity over legs :)

And lets face it if you are a COUCH potato after going out and running 20mins for the first time in god knows how long the affects the rest of the day or even the rest of the week mean you will never want to do it again!

Come week 5 I ran 40 mins with a 5 min break half way but decided to keep following the programme even though I knew I was capable of more because I wanted to avoid injury and had been suffering from shin splints in the early stages and didn't want to do something silly that might have brought them back on.

Purely to avoid injury and give your body time to adjust I would keep with the programme even though it is tempting to jump ahead.


I was in a similar position to you before starting the plan. I was getting disheartened though by the apparent lack of progress and decided to start this program. I did a couple of testers and decided it was best to start at week 3 and work my way up. By sticking to it, I am now capable to consistently run for over 25 mins and maintain a 7min km. Not a great pace but it is over a minute quicker over a further distance. I would definitely recommend the program, even if you start part way through.


'Not a great pace'? Mine is down to about 8.30 (3 weeks post-grad) and I would DIE for a 7 minute km!! (I probably would too if I tried it!!) It's all relative......


If you decide to do your own thing its up to you, however, the plan works for most people and I suppose thats why we follow it.

I am running 25 mins now, could do more but will wait till next week when its 28 mins. There is no rush to complete early, just achievement that we have done it


I personally would be careful about upping the distance too soon. all the books or magazines Ive read recommend only upping distance OR speed by a maximum of 10% per week, to prevent injury.

also, try & keep to running every other day. this will allow for your body to recover from any exercise & I have found running quite demanding on the joints :)

good luck.


Well guys, I'm afraid I lack patience so today I tried again and I managed the whole 5k in 36 mins 35 seconds! This is less than 4 weeks into the plan. I understand what everyone is saying about avoiding injury etc. I guess I'll just have to see how I get on. I found I dreaded following this plan more than just running and lack I said I am not good at all with being patient! I just hope I can keep this up and it doesn't cause me injury otherwise I'll be eating my words!


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