4 Weeks off, how do I start again?: After... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

113,503 members145,764 posts

4 Weeks off, how do I start again?


After graduating in November, I was doing really well and was running regularly for 30 minutes 3 times a week. Then, the second week in January I got a humdinger of a cold and virus the first time in years I've been ill, it lasted a few weeks off and on and I just wasn't able to run. So it's been about 4 weeks since my last run I am fully recovered but I'm not sure if I should just get out and run for 30 mins or go back a few weeks on the C25K programme and do those runs. I had never run before I did C25K so any advice would be much appreciated.

13 Replies

Best advioce was given to a similar question the other day, I cannot think who said it though. Start lower than you expect to be able for, that way you can do more. If you set out to do too long a run, it may dishearten you.


I had a long break due to a sprain at w9r2. After two months I started at w5r1. For me, it felt like a good place to start as it has a gentle build during the week to help you find a comfortable distance/time/pace but without too much fear of being put off by a failure. I'm slower than I was but have jumped a few runs as the stamina (or is it mental strength) came back quicker than I expected. Best of luck


Thank you Fingalo and LucyB for answering my question. I think that I was worried that if I just went out and ran for 30 minutes this weekend I could risk doing myself some damage i.e. straining something and ending up not being able to run for another few weeks and also feel a bit like a failure not being able to keep up the pace for 30 mins. So I think that I will go back to W8 runs as they are around 20+ minutes and build up over the next couple of weeks.

FingaloGraduate in reply to leedsmum

That week is 28 minutes Leeders, maybe set out to do 20 or at a push, 25 minutes?

leedsmumGraduate in reply to Fingalo

Yes just gone back and checked on my iPhone, I thought that week was a 20 minutes week, will go back a bit further and do the 20 minute one instead.


Hi, it takes three weeks to lose you fitness level, but as Fingalo and LucyB say, I'd start off maybe running for 15 mins or little more.

Good luck


leedsmumGraduate in reply to runningwild

Thanks - I think somewhere between 15-20 mins will be good. Though it does mean going back to listening to "Me and Julie" :-))


Hmm this is helpful. I've had two weeks off due to the lergy and hoping to get out tomorrow I was going to aim for 30 minutes but perhaps that's too long for a recovery run?

leedsmumGraduate in reply to alliec

You might be OK - seeing as RunningWild says it takes 3 weeks to lose your fitness level. I seemed to have a cold for forever so it's been a bit longer for me.


I was out for 6 weeks over Christmas and into January due to man flu followed by a gout attack. I was really concerned that I would have to start from scratch and asked on here for advice. I shouldn't have been so worried. I just started gently and built up gradually over a couple of weeks, every other day. I'm now back to 10k.

I found that my breathing had not changed, but, as Fingalo says, your fitness will be down a little. I felt that I could have gone further when I started back but just take it easy as it is not difficult to push too hard and take yourself out with an injury.

leedsmumGraduate in reply to Jonny1

Thank you - I will take it steady and build up gradually. I think I was a little disheartened as I had come so far and was running 30 minutes regularly after being a real couch potato. Still as you and Fingalo says although my fitness will be diminished it won't be where I was on week one, where I found running for even a few seconds difficult.

I've had 3 spells out of about 3 weeks each since December and just a couple of runs (if that) between each one. I've now been running again for a week and done 4 runs. Each time I've gone back in with Stepping Stones (to stop me going too fast, which is important to me) and seen how long I could last. This time I did about 20 minutes I think. Then I tried Stamina a couple of days later and did it all with a couple of 5 min walking breaks. This week I've done Stepping Stone (all of it!) and then Speed - so I reckon close to being back to where I was in terms of staying power if not pace yet.

Tomorrow I'm planning to try Stamina and hopefully run the whole thing.

Take it easy and you'll find you recover quite quickly. Good luck and let us know how you do.

leedsmumGraduate in reply to thinnerandfitter

Thank you - that is very helpful information as I will be hitting the streets again on Monday and it's good to know that other people have incorporated walking into the 30 minute after some time off running.

You may also like...