Couch to 5K
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Oo-er! Done it! I've entered the Race for Life in Hyde Park on 14th July!

Is anyone else planning to be there? I'm really scared now! I know I can do 5k - okay, I'm slow, but that doesn't matter much. Perhaps I should aim for a Parkrun or two before July, just so I know how it feels to run in a group of people. I've only ever run a few times with a couple of other people.

Any advice from anyone? I've seen various blogs about how it feels to set off in a group, and how important it is to stick to your own pace and not be dragged along in the slipstream of the speedy. Anything else?

And now, of course, I have an extra set of things to worry about. What if I get injured or ill before July, and my training schedule goes to pot? What shall I take with me? Where shall I leave my stuff? What if the weather is really hot? What if there's a thunderstorm? What if aliens land on the course and we all have to stop? Okay, calm, breathe, .... right, better now :D

17 Replies

Nae need to worry; you'll do fine and have a blast. Even if you miss a few days or weeks due to illness, you'll be fine, Very many of the folks who do these charity races have never run before, but get dragged along/signed up by friends or family, so it is seen more as a fun event and not a race.

If it's anything like the two events I've done, you'll find it is very well organised. You can take your warm clothes in a holdall that is handed in/dumped in a pile in a gazebo or other shelter and is reclaimed simply by stating your race number. If it's cold after depositing your bag, 'wear' a bin bag or an old (charity shop buy) sweatshirt that you bin afterwards. Some races organise charity bins for the discarded clothes. That wasn't the case for the 10K race I did, but I was wearing my son's old 'logo-ed' sweatshirt from his previous employer, so doubt a charity shop would want it anyway.

If there is a thunderstorm, you get wet! ;-)

If the weather is hot, you'll get hot! :-) But drink plenty of water.

If aliens land on the course, maybe you'll be in the national news and we'll all look for you. Or maybe they'll distort time and you'll get a 5K PB... or...


Thanks, swanscot, that's all good to know. I wasn't entirely clear about the organisational arrangements - but they have done this before so I guess they know what they're doing :)

Thunderstorm, getting wet = okay.

Heat = okay (well, yuk actually, but okay)

Aliens + a 5k PB would be okay, I guess...? :D


Good for you for signing up. As swanscot said you'll have a blast. It really is an amazing, wonderful, emotional day for all sorts of reasons.

I'm thinking of doing the one in Hyde Park. Last year I did the one in Regents Park on a cold wet July day and it was great fun. It was the first time I'd ever run continuously for 5km and to me it felt like a major achievement. It was the reason I did the C25K program. My abiding memory is hearing complete strangers cheering us on especially at the end. There was just such a fantastic collective feel about the event. Truly great.

The entrants are divided into three : runners (their definition was those who can do 5k in 30 minutes or less); joggers and walkers. So if you're slow I suggest you go to the top half of the joggers. You can run 5k - most people there cant. If you can do it in 35 minutes I'd suggest you go to the bottom half of the running section. The twice I've done RFL I've gone in the middle of the jogging section but discovered those ahead of me were mainly walking it and it is quite hard trying to thread your way thru' groups of walkers. I reckon roughly 20% overall will actually run the 5k, so already you are much fitter than most people who do it.

I took a bin bag with me for after the race because it was quite wet; small bottle of water that I carried round with me. As for pace, there are so many people there, literally thousands at the London events, that you will be running much slower to begin with, which will give you time to settle down & establish your own pace.

As for parkruns - they are very different from RFL. I've done two (second one yesterday) and I love them. They are genuinely challenging - its you against yourself. Its a fantastic way to improve your running and meet like-minded people. Go for it!


That's all very helpful, jenniej, thank you. The website lays out some information but hearing it from someone who has taken part is so much more useful :) I'm currently around 35 mins for 5k, I think, and of course I might be faster by July :) so might take your advice about being in the top half of the joggers, or just possibly the bottom of the running section if I speed up a little.

I think I'll have to be brave and enter a Parkrun before then, just to get an idea of what it's like running in a group. Well done you for entering - it sounds like you had a great time. And thanks again for the support and advice!


You'll be absolutely fine, Annie! The two RFL's I've done as a walker took me just over 50 minutes, and there were loads of people (loads!) behind me.

jennie's pointers are very useful for me too (thanks!) - I hadn't thought about being in with joggers/runners, and whereabouts I'd start off. Mine's not until June, so quite a bit of time to speed up maybe! Perhaps I'll even manage to be amongst the runners!


Thanks, greenlegs - it's good to hear from people who've done it before.

Are you planning to run this one then? Fantastic if so :) We can do this - we can speed up a little and we can run the whole way round. I have a little more time to practice than you do, but we can plod on at our own pace and we will do it :)


Yes, I'm planning on running this one. It's a flat course, and I've done 5k four times now. Today I ran 3.8k in 30 minutes, which is my best pace so far, and with practice I should get even better by then - maybe I'll be able to keep it up for the whole distance (or even be faster :O - 3 months is loads of time, if we keep practising!).

When I did my first one, I went with a group, but we all went off at our own paces. One of the others who was intending to run most of it shot off ahead, but then had to walk, and only overtook me just before the finish line (I did think about doing a last minute sprint-jog to get ahead again, but though it would be mean, as I'd walked it all except for a minute or two!)

My main concern is that it might be hot - I don't cope with heat too well, and it was pretty warm last time I did it. Someone collapsed on the course just ahead of me (just before the finish line - bet they were annoyed with themselves afterwards), so I won't be pushing myself too hard - just hard enough to feel pleased with myself, is the plan!


Well, I'm hoping to run the whole thing, but I don't do heat either. I suppose that my fall-back plan will be to walk if I really have to, but I'm planning to put in quite a bit of work so I can consistently run 5k. I'm not that bothered about the time, and I note that several people here have said that it's bound to be a bit slower because of the sheer numbers of people, but surely we will improve a little by the time the date comes around? :O

Hey, 3.8k in 30 minutes - well done for your best yet! That must be a good feeling!


Oo-er - me too now - I've just signed up.

I need this to spur me on. Since I graduated two weeks ago I've had flu (and lost motivation) and so I haven't been out running at all for over a week - must get out there again tomorrow and get back on course!


Yay - fantastic! We can do this! I'm out there tomorrow as well :) Lots of positive vibes coming your way for motivation and feeling better!


M-i-L and I are planning on doing RfL in the town where she lives, so I've just checked the date and think it's ok. She'll be walking, I'll run, but hadn't thought of any of the practicalities so this was *very* helpful! :) It's nice and flat where she lives, so I'm hoping that I'll not find it too hard, but it'll be my first ever race/public outing-type-thing, so it's a bit of a scary thought and having a date in mind makes it rather too real!


Brilliant! I think that's why I was wondering about doing a Parkfun first, because I've never run in a group of people, and that's scary for me as well. And flat is good :)


Anniemurph your going to love it, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

once you get info about setting up your just giving pag eup you could put it on here for other c25kers to sponsor you. I did and some very kind people who I have never met boosted my funds.

It was one of the most rewarding things I did last year.


Oh, that's great to hear! And a very good idea too :) Thank you for the encouragement - I may well need more as the dread date approaches :D


Hi Annie

Just saw this and wanted to say I'm doing the same race! I'm only on week 4/5 so I've not hit the long runs yet but feeling confident that it will be ok. Seeing as you have a graduate badge (well done :-) ) I'm sure you'll be fine.

I think the parkruns are a good idea too - once I graduate I'm going to give it a go.

Perhaps if there are a few of us running the same RFL, we could even have a little meet up for moral support? We'd need to identify ourselves so maybe we could all have "I love Laura" badges or"Laura Says Relax" t shirts :-)


Hey, fantastic - you'll be a graduate too by then, I'm sure!

A meet-up of C25K-ers would be great, wouldn't it? Probably quite hard to organise, with the thousands of other people who'll be there, but there must be a way of working something out.

as for T-shirts, I have to confess that I hatehatehate the CR slogan this year so won't be wearing one of their t-shirts, but I do happen to have a pink C25K graduate t-shirt, which will do the job nicely! I do like the 'Laura Says Relax' idea, though :D


I totally agree with you re the t shirts - I didn't like the official one either but there were other options to choose from so I chose a navy blue one with "Race for Life" in pink.

Yes a meet up would be good but like you say could be tricky to organise.

Oh and I'm publicly stating my copyright to the "Laura Says Relax" t- shirts :-D


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