Couch to 5K
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My first experience with the Stepping Stones podcast

This blog is in part a response to CouchtoKiltLegs' blog:

To start off with, in case you don't already know, I'm a very slow runner. By the end of the program my fastest 5K was 47:12 minutes (30 min running, the rest walking). For my first run after graduation I did the week 9 podcast again. But this afternoon when I was getting ready for my second run I decided I needed to move on, so I chose to do Stepping Stones from the C25K+ podcastsj.

It was actually a decent day for a run, so I had that in my favor; lower 70s, overcast, and not too windy. I don't know if the beat to the warmup walk is faster than previous warmups, but it felt that way to me. Laura doesn't mention the BPM for the walking, I'm curious to know what it is. Anyway, 5 minute walk done and on to the running.

10 minutes at 150 BPM - Didn't have any problems with this section. I was trying out a new breathing technique which I was finding very helpful.

15 minutes at 155 BPM - Harder, but still doable. I have a naturally short stride, but my feet were coming down in step with the beat. It wasn't long before I began breathing harder but, thanks to breathing in a new pattern, I didn't have any lung discomfort as I normally do within 10-15 minutes of running. However I did start to flag a bit (but still kept the beat) as the 15 minutes went on and on.

5 minutes at 160 BPM - I couldn't believe I was still going. Somehow I got my feet moving faster to match the higher BPM, but I don't think I gained much because I had to shorten my already short stride to be able to keep up with the beat. My breathing escalated to just short of panting. Still no lung discomfort though, so I kept going. At the end of the 5 minutes Laura said to slow down gradually to a walking pace. I gladly went into walk mode, but there was nothing gradual about it. My walking felt slow and stiff for the next minute or two until my breathing and heart rate calmed down.

I finished the cooldown and continued walking until I'd completed 5K. Here are some stats comparing my previous best 5K time with today's Stepping Stones run. Both times include the warmup walk, 30 minutes running, cooldown walk, and extra walking since I can't yet run a full 5K.

W9R2 - 5K in 47:42 minutes, averaged 15:21/minute mile

Splits: 1st mile/15:21, 2nd mile/14:40, 3rd mile/15:51, last .2 miles/17:14

W10R2 - 5K in 45:44 minues, averaged 14.43/minute mile

Splits: 1st mile/15:12, 2nd mile/13:45, 3rd mile/15:11, last .2 miles/15:56

As you can see today's run was 2 minutes faster than my previous best. I am, of course, very happy about that now that the run's over with. :) Maybe Stepping Stones is not for everyone as some find the BPM is too fast, while others find it too slow. I don't know why it worked for me, but I found it beneficial and I plan to do it again after I try out the other two C25K+ podcasts.

14 Replies

I did stepping stones on Friday and I absolutely loved it! I have always felt a compulsion to run to the beat and so struggled to settle into my stride with the C25k podcasts because I seemed to be slowing down and speeding up to the music. On Friday I just flew and was shocked when Laura said slow down to a walk...I'm usually begging for her to say that! Ran 4.3k as well, my longest run yet! One man's meat....


I thought it was a good podcast, too. I tried the Speed one today and really liked that podcast as well. Next run I'll try the Stamina podcast.

I'm hoping next time I try Stepping Stones I'm able to slow to a walk a little more gracefully than I did before. :D


One run left to go and then am going to give Stepping stones a go as like you TX I am very slow :)

Hope you don't mind me asking but how have you changed your breathing? Something I struggle with and have to force big gulps of breath into my body to stop that lung feeling.

You still haven't got your graduate badge ..hope you get ti soon :)


Just thought I'd mention an interesting blog that has been going on about improving your breathing. The simple answer is in the following link!


Will try blowing balloons ... thanks Paul :)


I blogged about the breathing here:

I STILL don't have my badge. What's up with that? :(


Yes, please let us know about your new breathing pattern...


I blogged about it here:


It just goes to show how different we all are :) Whilst the same 9 week programme seems to have worked for all of us, it feels a bit like we all need our own tailor made next step runs!

I maybe need to have a look at my gait and try stepping stones again with much shorter steps.

I have found that when Laura tells me how to run or how to breath and I alter what I am doing it just doesn;t work for me. Maybe I am just a running oddity but I do love it!

Thanks for taking the time to post this as I found it really interesting and I am glad that the stepping stone programme did work for someone else. Well done on getting a new PB!


Thank you. It really would be nice if there was a one-size-fits-all technique for everybody. I'd be curious to see how it goes for you if you decide to try it again with shorter strides. :)


> Whilst the same 9 week programme seems to have worked for all of us,

> it feels a bit like we all need our own tailor made next step runs!

Exactly. This is why I agree with the decision made by NHS/HealthUnlocked not to make 5K to 10k podcasts. I think everyone needs to make up or adapt their individual 5K+ training plan from the huge array of advice available.


But to those of us who are really bad at keeping things up having the structure and being told what to do would be fab ... i am obviously a sheep not a shepherd :)


Hello from another sheep who needs structure. :)


Must be because we are good girls and like to be told what to do :)

... downloaded stepping stones last night and also found a B210K that I have put on my ipod thingy. ... I hope to graduate tonight and then need someone to tell me where next ... so all ready :)


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