Couch to 5K
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C25K with international travel

Started writing this while delayed at an airport ..... and thought I would share my C25K experience for other road warriors out there.

Background: Male, age 47, weight 113kg, last ran for more than a bus in high school, I do a sedentary job with much international travel, do some cycling, occasional walking to the bus-stop when home, and have taken up skiing. Have a mix of business and leisure trips to Senegal, Italy (twice), UK (twice), Costa Rica, Florida and Ireland over the period I will be on this programme, so we’ll see how the lack of a steady routine plus jet lag impact things.

W1D1: just back from a business trip to Denver, USA, where I definitely overindulged. It’s 30 degrees outside, and I’m tired from the trip back to Europe, but determined to get going as my wife and kids have started the programme and I promised I would do it if they did. I jog and walk up and down the road behind our house, but can only manage 7 reps each of 50 seconds jogging. Lesson learned: jogging in the heat the day you get off a transatlantic flight is probably not the best beginning!

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W1D2: decide to walk to the local park which has a good track. It is 1km away, meaning a 10 minute warm up walk: once at the track I manage 8 reps of 50 seconds each, so a small step forwards. From now on everything is on this routine (10 minute walk to track, do the programme, 10 minute walk home) unless stated otherwise.

W1D3: went and bought some running shoes and … immediate results! Do the whole programme to the second, using a Gymboss I was given at work, and tracking myself with endomondo. Of course the shoes are only part of the reason for the progress. Lesson learned: it is amazing how fast you improve, which is very encouraging. There was another person at the track this morning, also seemingly doing intervals.


W1D3x3: Given I did not really do the whole routine the first two times, I decided to repeat the first week, and by the third run it is fairly routine, at least compared to my first outing. I am ready to move on. Have discovered via facebook that a good colleague elsewhere in my organization is 5 weeks into this same programme, so I call and have a chat to her, and that’s encouraging. One of my local colleagues is also doing C25K. So that’s 6 people I know including myself and family.


W2D1: Jogging for 90 seconds I take an average of 100 paces (I count each time my right foot hits the ground) … it is strangely therapeutic to count, and keeps me going for the last few paces. Have told a lot of people I am doing this … it helps with the accountability!

W2D2: at the track … it’s definitely getting easier. The local sports club is using the track on this occasion as I have gone out in the evening rather than first thing, and I keep getting overtaken by small kids! If they are thinking unkind thoughts they are polite enough not to show it, even when I am in the inside lane, which I later discover should be left free for the fastest runners.

W2D3: Another good session. My weight is down to 109kg, though I am also watching what I eat and drink a lot more closely too, and that probably has more to do with it than the running. My goal is to get to 99kg in 3 months … and is the subject of a bet with a colleague.


W2D3x2: Decide to repeat W2 as we are in Rome for a family holiday, staying at a colleague’s apartment in the suburbs. I walk and jog round the small block 6 times in the morning, eliciting funny looks and causing lots of dogs to bark. I am the only person out exercising!

W2D3: ditto, but with fewer barking dogs! The colleague whose apartment we are in has his marathon, half marathon and 5k medals and mementoes hanging together on a hook in the living room. It is encouraging to look through them.


W3D1: We are back at home, and I go out for this run (I count it as running now, rather than walking!) with my wife. I count the steps and try to guess when the gymboss will beep the next interval. Jogging 3 minutes is a bit of a challenge, but we both make it round 390 metres of track on both reps. So the obvious next goal is to do 400 in 3 minutes.

W3D2: I am in Dakar, Sengal on a short business trip. I go out in the early morning along the Corniche, with beautiful sea views, a few goats to dodge, but lots and lots of local people also out running.

W3D3: planned to do this run on Saturday when I got home, but the dear airline had other plans and left me stranded half-way for most of the day … which is when I started writing this blog. So I did it on Sunday with my wife. Lots of people were at the track today. Did not quite make 400m in 3 minutes, though.


Great start. Keep at it.

I travel quite a bit at work but mainly in the UK and finding routes in new places can be fun. Have sometimes had to resort to a hotel gym treadmill but not my preferred option and some of them seem to have a mind of their own!


I travel as well and it can be hard to find somewhere to run in a strange city. Also, coming from the UK, there was no way I was going to run in Hong Kong in 30 degrees of heat! I use hotel gyms if necessary, but I'd much rather be outside, where possible.

Great to hear that you are doing this - good luck!


Thanks both for your encouragement!


I'm long haul cabin crew and I find it difficult to time the runs to fit in with my schedule, in terms of rest days, and find myself having to run on consecutive days. I'm about to start W4 and my W3R3 was done running round Boston which was nice, and I found it a good way to get out and about, and maybe see parts of cites I wouldn't necessarily get to.


W3R3x2: am heading to UK today on a short business trip, and don’t want to be starting a new routine in the hotel gym or on unknown roads. So I decide on 2 more repeats of the week 3 routine, once at the track in the morning, before I fly, and next in London at the hotel gym. Finally made 400m in 3 minutes at the track … so, slow but measurable progress. Pleasantly surprised that the treadmill at the gym is quite easy to operate and the place is not full of buffed and bronzed health nuts, though I do note that it seems easier to run here than outside, even with a 1% incline set. My weight is down to 106.5 kg, so I have lost 6.5kg, or a stone in old money! I should add that I am cycling and/or walking on most of the days I don’t do the programme: I am trying to do something 6 days a week, so the weight loss is not fully attributable to the c25k programme. I am also being quite careful about what I eat, though not obsessive about it … it’s just things like choosing a salad or light meal instead of a burger or fish and chips; luckily I have never been a big dessert lover, so that piece comes easily. Have heard that one of my colleagues has to take a few weeks off running due to a fracture in the foot … not good for her, and a salutary warning about over-doing it.


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