Couch to 5K
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Advice needed : on W8, but have signed up for a 5K run on Sunday

I would be really grateful if anyone could advise me what to do. I've just done W8 run 1 - and like the rest of the Couch to 5k prog, it went fine. I'm certainly not fast, but I'm pleased to find that so far I've always been able to go along at a steady slow jog for whatever number of minutes Laura asks for. When I checked tonight just how far I'd gone, though, using Mapmyrun, I found out it was only 3.5 km in 28 minutes. I was really depressed!

I have signed up for a 5 k run (my first) at the weekend, and I'm now feeing a bit anxious about not making the full distance and wondering how best to prepare for it in the two practice runs I have left this week.

Should I a) promote myself to W9 so as to try to get used to running for longer? b) keep to the Week 8 podcasts but try to run faster (not too sure I can) c) plot myself a 5k route and try that on for size even if the podcast runs out first d) just carry on as normal and treat the 5k as my first run of W9, hoping for the best.

As you can see, I'm a bit confused about how to give myself the best chance of completing the course, which is what I really want to do. Any advice would be most welcome!

7 Replies

I am at the same stage, but sadly do not think I will be completing my 5k on Saturday due to injury. All that I had mentioned it to, have said that the other runners will help you along. It will give you something else to take your mind off what is going on. However, stick to a pace that you are comfortable at, and don't over do it at the start. I wish I was doing the 5K on saturday, but not even sure at this time when I will get to run again. :( Good luck, and however you decide to train for it, enjoy.


My advice would be to carry on with week 8, and just take the 5K as your next run. You'll be surprised at how you'll just keep running, when there are so many people running all around you. But keep it slow, don't start too fast.

I did my first Parkrun at the beginning of week 8, thinking that it wouldn't be the end of the world if I had to walk some, but I actually ran the whole 5K.


I just did a charity 5K on Saturday night and I treated it as W8R3 (plus a bit). I've just recovered from a heavy cough/cold and a broken toe, so my strategy was to treat it as my normal podcast run, to assume I would run a little faster due to the presence of other runners (which I actually did). I decided that I would try to push past 28 minutes on the day, but that if I couldn't I would walk for 3 minutes and then see if I could run some more to finish.

In the end I didn't need to walk, but everyone is different. I did shock myself by running considerably faster than usual overall, and I properly ran the last 30-40 seconds (I'm normally just a steady and slightly slow jogger).

If it's a charity run, lots of people will walk. There will be faster and slower runners than you. I'd treat it as your normal run but see if you can squeeze some extra time or speed (time is probably slightly easier, as speed isn't sustainable, at least not for me).

Good luck with the run and most of all, don't worry about it. Just have fun and treat it as a way of seeing what you can do beyond your normal run.


As another 3.5km in 28 minute W8R2 person with a 5k looming (last weekend in November) I agree with everything everyone else has said.

This isn't particularly applicable to you now, but I found these sensible training plans at the weekend, which I'm hoping will get me from my probable 4k in W9's 30 minutes next week, to 5k by the end of November.


Just do it! Treat it as a week 8 run + a bit. You will be surprised what you can actually do when there are so many other people around you doing the same. Also nobody will bat an eyelid if you walk a little and then start running again when you feel up to it. There will be lots of walkers, always are at 5k events. I guess you'll be running all the way! Most important though is to have fun.

I ran a 10k this weekend (with a little bit of walking) for the first time at an event after only managing 8k during training. The energy of the crowd is amazing....Please report back on how it went.


Thank you so much everyone for the advice - it's really helpful to know that I shouldn't panic and indeed can probably expect the energy of the other runners to lift my own performance rather than intimidate me! I'll stick to the programme and maybe try to tuck in an extra street or two onto the end of my W8 runs this week and then just take things as they come on Sunday. The run is around the harbour of the Greek island of Spetses, and hopefully so beautiful that I won't notice how far or fast i'm going. Caro8642, I'm sorry you've been injured ahead of your run, but I think you're right to wait until you're feeling optimal. I hope it's successful - and fun - when you do get to do it.


When I graduated I was only up to about 4.2-4.5km per run, roughly, and really annoyed about it. But I think you have to remember that you are starting all this from scratch and first of all it's about building up your fitness and stamina. Once you can run for 30 mins straight without exhausting yourself you can work on speed. For now just focus on completing the programme and don't worry too much about distance and timings! I think they have released the C25K+ podcasts to help you improve your speed now so you can always try those after you graduate, or redo the programme as interval training so you jog on the "walks" and run a bit faster on the runs. Good luck x


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