Couch to 5K
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When one size doesn't fit

So this might be the wrong place to ask but is there anybody else out there who found that C25K wasn't going to work for them?

I had a couple of not quite completed sessions before managing week 1 but went on pretty well after that. Towards the end of week 3 we went on holiday but I packed my running gear and managed to make use of it. Did W3R3 and despite twisting my ankle managed to move on after a few days. The first attempt at week 4 I didn't quite manage but on the morning we were setting off home I was up early and did W4R1.

Back home things moved on and even managed the infamous W5R3 though I had to enlist the support of a handy lamp post before continuing on my warm down walk.

Onwards and upward to week 6 where I came unstuck on run 2 and about 3 minutes from completion of the second run I was attracting attention by having to lay down on a convenient grass verge to recover.

Since then I've moved on to 'free' runs and my limit (carefully monitored now) is around 12 -13 minutes continuous run which I can manage to follow with another 5 minutes or so after a short recovery walk. After that I'm done. Having logged how far I run in 12-13 minutes it's possible than my natural pace is a little too fast to sustain for longer at this point in my training.

I'm not quitting but am having to find my own pace now and have taken out gym membership for advice and complementary exercise to help me along the way. The initial aim is 2 gym sessions and 1 outside run a week.

A bit tough that having followed the plan I'm some way from being able to keep up now....sorry Laura, but for me you were wrong about me being ready.

7 Replies

I truly believe you are ready, just like Laura states. :-) The plan is an awesome plan and will work for everyone no matter what fitness level. Some people have to start out brisk walking even in the running segments, others repeat runs/weeks but its my opinion if you are struggling so much with the extra time, you probably need to slow down your pace to make it through. I am not a fast runner, but at this point after graduation, I know if I need to, I can run 40 minutes if not more. I know if I were pushing myself to run faster, there is no way I am physically able to run the 40 min. plus. It truly sounds like you have done fantastic up to this point! Gayle


I'd have to look back to be 100% sure but I think I struggled too just at the point you are struggling and like Gayle I suspect you are going too fast right now, and having come this far it would be a pity to quit. I just completed graduation run but its taken me two weeks and a few bad attempts to get through it. I also wonder if boredom might be hitting you and let me explain that better. I got so bored running my same route and I sometimes found myself saying OK, if I stop its not the end of the world, I'll go again in a few days. So I changed my route. You will know what speed you can do 1k in. I was doing about 6.5mins per k, so I slowed it down and planned out a distance based on the run time, but at 7mins per k. Yes I know its slow but i got faster later:-)

I then used to plot out a circular route from my home and knew some mental markers that would get me running at the slower pace, but mentally I tried to focus 100% on getting round that circuit rather than necessarliy the time. It's fiddly to set up but it created a wee bit of a change and got me through.

We're all different and so varied approaches work for us, but you've done so much already and I doubt very much that there is an unconquerable physical barrier to you continuing the fantastic progress you've already made. But it has to be your call - so I'm not preaching, just sharing and hoping maybe some of my ideas help. But go for what works for you.


I tend to be more aware of distance than time. I'm doing about 1,5k in abound 12 minutes (sometimes a little faster or slower) and that's when I'm trying to slow my pace.

It's a long way when you see where you've come from and got to.....

I do circular routes and have a couple of variations. Circular works for me since I have to get back home again under my own steam.

I'm not stopping having got that far but I am being more wary about pushing it too hard 'because someone else can do it...' after managing to run myself into a state of collapse.

I suppose the good thing was that even from that state I was able to walk the 3/4 mile uphill home after about 5 minutes.


sbhoa, I have to chime in with Gayle and chusan. You have come too far to stop now. I firmly believe that this program can be done by ANYONE!

My thoughts are, like they have said, you are running too fast. I completely understand about having a natural pace that is faster than what the time allows for. If I had not found this site and the very sound advice offered here, I would have quit. I would have tried to run at my natural pace and I would have failed miserable. I had to continuously tell myself, "It is more important to is more important to finish." Gayle and I have just completed our first two organized 5Ks. I found in both of them, that I went right back to running at my "natural" pace and paid dearly for it after each run. I was able to complete them, but it hurt!!

Please, don't stop now. You are doing wonderfully and you can and WILL complete this program if YOU BELIEVE IN YOU!!

Keep Running!! YOU CAN DO IT!! :-)



Still going with the gym twice a week and one outside run though trying to make that two.

Longest continuous run so far 1.75k in 13 minutes.

Went out Wednesday morning and was totally done in after 9 minutes but managed to do another 2 short runs (less than 2 minutes) after some walking.

Hope to get out for another go tomorrow.


Still at the 13 minutes 'please may I lie down before I fall down' stage.

The total exhaustion just after I decide it's time to move down to a walk passes with a couple of minutes walking and I manage the rest of the mile (mostly uphill) home well enough.


A month or so after having to have a lie down in the street I decided to give W6R2 another go today. I put the intervals into Runkeeper so I only had the start of each phase announced in my ear.

I concentrated on trying to keep a not too fast pace and though I was beginning to wonder whether I'd judged pace and distance right I made it without any of the usual feeling of having done a little too much that I've become accustomed to having when I finish running and start to walk. Even managed a more than respectable pace on the 3/4 mile uphill walk home.

Looks like the gym and 'free' run sessions have helped to make the breakthrough. :)


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