Couch to 5K
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If you can't fully complete a week do you repeat it ??

Hi folks,

Just wondering what a lot of you do if you can't fully complete a week ?

Do you repeat the whole week, just extra days until you can complete, or move on tot he next week anyway ?

I'm currently on Week 3 at the minute and can't complete the second 3 minute run/jog due to being totally out of breath.

I've slowed my pace but yesterday i fell short of about 10 seconds, today a whole minute.

Yesterdays was pretty flat mind but today was a hill for the second 90 minute run which I completed, then a slight incline for the last 3 minutes.

5 minutes of Week 4 feels impossible right now :(

12 Replies

Don't worry, you'll get there! It sounds like you have to run even more slowly, really pace yourself to make sure you have enough puff to get to the end of the run. Also, you should have a full day's 'rest' between runs to help your body recover. On your rest day you shouldn't run but you can do things like swimming if you want to.

To complete week 3 you have to successfully get through the podcast 3 times. You can repeat the runs as you need to, your three times don't have to be consecutive - or nobody would ever get finished :-)

Once you've completed your three successful runs, move on to week 4.

Good luck and let us know how you get on!


Cheers for that but I couldn't possibly run any slower, I've pulled it as far back as I can, in fact i can power walk quicker.

I always have the rest day but with work missed out last week so thought I'd give it a go LOL still enjoyed it apart from soaking feet as my road was flooded :(

We'll see what Tuesday brings, cheers though Mitts :)


I am sure yiu can go slowere, it doesn't matter that it's slower than a walk as you are still using the running motion. As I was stuck in a rut for a while treated myself to a coaching session (amazing what I picked up in one hour that's helped soooo much) but the coach encouraged me to run very slwoly (for the warm up) and believeme it is possible to run very very slowly :). Good luck with your next run


I think you are very brave to be attempt hills so early in the program I avoided them like the plague until about week 7. Try and find a flatter route and see if that helps at all. Also don't worry about your speed that will come later too. I'm sure once you get your breathing under control you will do fine. If you manage 2 out of the 3 runs just repeat one more then move on to the next week. Its better to be comfortable with your own abilities than to move on too soon and then not manage that could be a recipe for disaster. Good luck.


As Mitts said, you need to complete the podcast 3 times (although this isn't a strict rule; following how you feel is more important). In some weeks I repeated some runs until I'd managed three, but sometimes (if it felt right) I moved onto the next week. Do what feels 'best' to you, as only you know. If you get shin pains then you might want to repeat runs to give your shin muscles a chance to catch up with your calves, which develop faster than the muscles down the shins.

Following on from Oldgirl's advice, although running on the flat is easier (especially early on in c25k - I avoided hills like the plague!), that doesn't mean you shouldn't run up them. Be prepared to find it harder though and/or take a little longer to complete the program. I live somewhere where going on longer runs means that hills are inevitable, and although I mostly avoided hills when I started c25k, I later wished I had included some so that I gradually got used to them as I progressed. Getting on with hills became a graduation goal (and they do get easier, I promise), but if I'd been willing to tackle them earlier I would have given myself a better choice of places to run.

Best of luck on your c25k journey. Remember it is a journey, so enjoy the 'ride' and don't rush to get to the end too soon. ;)


First of all don't be too down on yourself. And maybe take a couple of days rest to really recover before having another go at the week. It's sticking with it in the long term that will help.

I've done some weeks 2 or 3 times, even when I have managed them first time round but just found them hard. That's partly because I haven't run since I was at school decades ago and I can tell my leg muscles are in shock!

I'm currently repeating week 6 and think by the time I've finished it I'll have taken more like 16 weeks but that doesn't matter. Hope that makes you feel better. Not everyone does it in 9 weeks. :)

I think what this programme is really good at is building confidence. Once you can manage to complete a week, you will be ready to move on. And if you repeat a week - well you're still getting out there doing 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week and that is a major achievement in its own right.

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Yes wise words, not down on myself as such just looking for more advice and tips and this place is fantastic for it.

I'm in no hurry, all i want to do is get fitter, more active and lose a bit of weight, if it takes 9 weeks or 9 months i'll get there ;)

Thanks for all the great advice folks, appreciated :)


It took me 50 runs to graduate instead of the usual 27, but it doesn't matter - I still did it! I felt more comfortable repeatiing weeks until I was happy to move on, but there are lots of people who push on because the programme works and is designed to build you up.

Just do what feels best for you at the time, and enjoy your running :)

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I was just thinking about this some more today and I think it's the second 90 second run that is up the hill that is leaving me breathless for the final 3 minute one :( I'm sure if it was flat I could complete it BUT I think I'll just keep going at this hill ;)

Just realised I said 90 'minutes' in my original question PMSL hahaha I wish ;)


Well I think I'm the world expert on running slowly as I graduated by running at 3mph (about half of what I need to be achieving to hit the 5k).

It might have been incredibly slow, but it got me to the end of the programme and to the point where I graduated by running for 30 minutes - which I would never have thought was possible when I started (and at several other points during the programme).

The only time I repeated a week was W1, after that I just moved on once I have completed the 3 run which was usually run 4 or 5.

I am now going back through part of the programme again at a faster pace and even though it might take me a while (current calculations are about 4 - 5 months) I am determined to crack that 5k in 30 minutes :-)

As others have said, be guided by what feels comfortable and achievable for you. By the end of the programmed I started to feel that I could have run quicker, but I didn't want to jeopardise my progress by pushing too hard.


Well i went out today, tried to slow down a bit more (not sure if I did) and chose a different route. No hills but a couple of gentle incline and I finished that final 3 minute run.

So just have to complete it another two times and I'll move onto week 4 :)


Well done BigGinger, slight ups and downs are OK, serious hills can be tackled later once you are more ready for them. Good luck for the rest of the program.


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