Couch to 5K
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Brisk walking in between runs

I have just started the couch to 5k plan after years and years of not being very active at all, in an attempt to lose weight and generally get more healthy. I've done 3 runs so far, but I had nearly a weeks gap between the first two and the last one, so I think I will redo 2 more week 1 runs until I move on. My problem is that I know I am supposed to be walking briskly between runs, just like I walk briskly to warm up. I just cannot do it, I have to catch my breathe again and this usually results in me walking pretty slowly until the next run. Should I be repeating the week 1 runs over and over until I can briskly walk in between?

Although at this stage I cannot imagine myself at all running for 30 minutes without stopping on a weekly basis, I totally believe that it's possible after seeing what some have you have been saying. I look forward to completing the course!

7 Replies

Well done on doing those runs.

Is it possible you are doing the running intervals a bit too fast?

Its a while since I did the podcasts but Laura says at some point that a light jog is enough - and I took her at her word!

But other than that, don't worry too much. Your suggestion of redoing week 1 again or even twice is a good one, the great thing about this is that you go through the programme at your pace. And I promise you will get to the point of being able to run for 30 mins!


Take it from someone who couldn't finish some 1 minute runs, if you work the program, you will be running 30 minutes! I haven't tried more then 40 minutes, but I think I could do it..if you need to go slower, feel free to. Try to keep the walking part fairly brisk and maybe slow down a bit on the running sections? Now is the time to build stamina and speed will come as strength increases. Just listen to Laura and she will guide you as well as you have all of us here for support. Gayle


I think you are both right, I am going a little too fast so I will try to slow down instead and build stamina before trying to go faster. I am excited to be doing something active and hopefully achieve running for 30 minutes, which I'll be very pleased with.



I did week 1 twice for the exact same reason you've got. I read some posts here and slowed down and I've been fine since - now at wk 4 and have run for a full 5 minutes in one hit - who would have ever thought I'd be doing that!

My run is very slow, probably not much more than a walk but its a different physical motion so I know its a run. I've been lapped my mums pushing prams - blogged about that one! - and its all ok as the person I need to prove this to is myself and its not how fast I go that matters, its sticking with it and slowly but surely upping the amount of time I can run.

I doubt I'll ever be a fast runner, or one of those people who make it look easy and seem to glide along. I'm the red faced sweaty woman huffing and puffing along at a slow pace. But I'm doing it. And you can too!!

Good luck


As said in the posts above, you are probably trying to run too fast. It's easily done - I found myself doing it during a fartlek session last night and the temptation is always to run as fast as you can but then, as you've found, the recovery interval isn't sufficient to get your breath back.

Try to run at a pace where you could respond (with a few words, not just a grunt!;-)) if someone was talking to you. You don't need to try to run quickly - if you stick to the program you will learn to run at a sustainable pace so that you can run for longer every week.


Provided that you have run, however slowly, maybe not faster than you walk through every run section and kept walking (even if not 'brisk') the rest of the time and you've done it three times, you are ready to move on to Week 2. Week 1 is quite hard to pace yourself on - believe it or not, you may very well find it gets easier to do that. And don't worry about the week's gap.


It is a bit of a cliche, but the first step is always the hardest and you have taken that step.

Like you I really struggled with week 1 and I did repeat it (and I didn't have a gap) but after that I only ever had the odd bad run and never had to repeat another week again.

To be honest with you I still can't believe I actually got to 30 minutes but I did and you will too. Laura always says have faith in yourself and the programme - it is true, follow the plan and you will get to the 30 minutes too :-)

As for pace, well I graduated by running at 3 mph, and my brisk walk was at 2.5 mph so I was only actually achieving half the pace that I needed to achieve to get to 5k. To be honest, by about W7 it was starting to feel too slow but I didn't want to jeopardise getting to the end of the programme because I knew I could work on my pace later.

I have now gone back a few weeks in the programme and am walking at 3 mph and running at 4 so I plan to work back up towards the 30 minutes and see what happens. It might not be the best way to do it but it is working for me :-)


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