Couch to 5K

Hi, Can you be successful on the C25K if you are hard up?

I used to run about 20 years ago and would like to start again. However, although I work full time I am on a low income and get working and child tax credit. I don't own an MP3 player & I can't afford running shoes or a specialist bra. I don't want to be negative but these seem necessary. Can I still start and if so how? has anyone else been successful in these circumstances?

12 Replies

Hi, you don't need an ipod or an MP3 player, I downloaded them onto my laptop then put them on to the memory card on my phone, it's only a samsung touch screen phone. So you don't need any fancy gadgets.(Or you can ask someone to do it for you)

The most important thing you need are you're trainers..everyone has some right?? As long as there reasonable quality to get you started, if you get to W3 with out any aches & pains you'll be ok, then you'll be at the stage where you'll sell a child to buy some trainers (only joking ;) ) but you'll be hooked!

If you're large up-top like me get a sports bra, but you can get them the same price as normal bras in the big sports chain stores.

I know how hard it is, I was a single parent for many years, your children always come first...treat yourself. Good luck :)


I didn't use the pod cast when starting out, I just used my watch to time myself so you don't need a mp3 player, I did get confused and loosed track sometimes though and eneded usually doing an extra run here and there. If you have a phone that can play music you might be able to get the pod cast onto that.

The bra the start I made do by doubling by my really depends how much bounce you have or how much you can tolerate! I had a 'sports' bra although it was rubbish for running, but when I wore it over the top of one of my normal bras it helped keep things more stable!

My first pair of running shoes cost my £35 I think from Sports Direct, I bought them without any advice and just struck it lucky that they suited to flat feet, they also lasted me 8 months and could have gone longer if I didn't get a new pair for my birthday. They still do them! Sports Direct is great because it always has some sort of sale on! But when you go in store their staff are terrible at offering any sort of sporting advice I have found.

You can try running in shoes that aren't designed for running until you can save for a pair, you do risk injury in the mean time, although you could have expenisve trainers and still get an injury so you might just want to go for and see how you get on!


I have just bought a new MP3 player, you are welcome to my old one, just send me a message me if you would like it but I think you can download the podcasts to any smartphone. There are ones for sale on ebay for around £7 but watch out for the really cheap ones as you will need a micro sd card as well.

Shoes are a biggie as you can injure yourself if you run in fashion trainers, you can pick up a proper pair from sports direct from £9 upwards which should be fine to get you started.

Sports bra I guess depends on how well endowed you are in the first place, for me its essential but I wear a G cup so would end up with black eyes without one :) I wear an M&S one which was £22 but try Asda or Sainsburys for cheaper ones or try ebay seems to be quite a few under £5.

So you could kit yourself out and get started for less than £20. Its worth it even it it takes a couple of weeks to save up.

Good luck and you really don't need £100 trainers to do c25k.



MP3 arrived in the post. Looks brand new. many thanks again



I got a good sports bra from asda for less than a tenner and saved up for some "good " trainers that cost £30 (sports direct). Got a running top in uniglo for £8, lots of placed do cheaper wicking gear now..when you have got a basic kit it is the cheapest sport to do longer term. I now request any birthday presents/christmas seem to be running related now !...Good Luck!


I downloaded to my memory card on my phone too. Already had earphones with the phone. I went to JJB sports outlet. I got trainers and bra for 34.99. It was BOGOF across the whole store. There's always a way if you hunt around.


If you have teenage kids ask around their mates or maybe your workmates for cast off Ipods etc, there are plenty around if you ask because the teenagers always want things with more space, more gizmos etc so the older ones are no longer up to the mark.!

I use an IPod nano (2nd generation my son tells me) which was cast off by my husband to teenage son & then cast off to me. They both needed something new but the old nano does the job for me. The most important thing are the shoes, I've just got some for £25 , well known make, last years colours original price £85 in our local sports warehouse store. I go in from time to time and get all my stuff from the reduced rack. Leggings were £1.99- whizzy ones with mesh panels etc, crop top sports bra £4.99, running top £3.99 - not all at the same time but you can find stuff if you look from time to time.

Once you have the shoes running is really great, the cheapest sport to follow long term. Best of luck with this, look forward to seeing your blogs telling us how you get on.


Sports Direct is a fab shop for sports bras (£7) and other very reasonably priced accessories. I got my shoes from an outlet shop for around £30 and you can get basic MP3 players for less than £10.

I think the podcast is much better than timing yourself on a watch - there is a reason why this programme works so well and alot is how "easy" it is to follow and how Laura's voice motivates you at key points.

Hope this helps,



Hi, I don't think you need too much to get started on this programme, You have trainers right? and a good supportive bra will do fine, I only use a Primark sports bra or Matalan do a range for £4 :) You don't need an ipod, you can use your phone, Just get out there and run :)


Hi all thanks for the replies. I don't have any trainers and my phone is not a smart phone & does not have an mp3 player, memory card or anything like that. I will try Sports Direct and our local ASDA does not sell sports bras (the assistant looked at me as if I was mad:)) I think I will just have to try and save up. Thanks again


Try George online for the sports bras - you can order the items and have them delivered, for free, to an Asda store of your choice, and there's no minimum spend for this service. They have a two pack for £7 at the mo. Hope that helps.


Watch Lidl too- they do various promotions each week. Thats where i got my first trainers and 6 months later they are still lasting well. They do tops. bottoms and other accessories too.


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