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Couch to 5K
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Cycling instead of running C25K

I've just started, but I'm actually reluctant to do much running for a couple of reasons:

* I'm a little self conscious about running outdoors, with my rubbish fitness levels.

* The weather is still pretty rubbish.

* The main problem for me, though is the intense boredom with nothing to occupy my mind. Music isn't really an answer for me, it's still just background noise and not enough to distract.

As such, I decided that my compromise would be to use my stationary bike whilst listening to radio plays or watching a film (using a c25k podcast with no music)... and follow c25k by transposing the walking for brisk cycling and the running for vigorous cycling.

I think I might venture out by week 4... hopefully by then, I will be less embarrassingly unfit, and the weather will have had time to mellow out a little. (Still doesn't solve my boredom issue though.)

Do you think that's ok? I believe I end up exerting the same amount of effort ... At any rate, I finish off all hot, sweaty and out of breath!

Or would everyone insist that I get out there and do the running?

Having said that, if I were more competent on the bike, I'd be tempted to continue using the bike outdoors :P (I only just started learning last year so I'm still pretty shaky).

18 Replies

Perhaps if running isn't for you you'd be better of finding a cycling equivalent to C25k, rather than adapting this for a bike? There must be one out there.


The main thing that I like about c25k is the structured progression from practically zero to 5k... I like the way that it gently eases you into it with the short bursts and intervals... not to mention the wealth of resources such as the podcasts.

I've had a little look around and haven't found anything similar for cycling.


You're dead right!

I just had a look, confident as anything that I'd find one too!

In which case I think you set your own programme as I reckon the thing about cycling is to increase distance rather than pace and it seems to me that following the C25k as you are doing would be like the C25k+ for runners.

Perhaps try doing two regular rides then on a third, push your distance by 10% a week?


I think Audiofuel do something, but not sure if it builds up from scratch: audiofuel.co.uk/turbo-train...

(If you've read my most recent blog, I would just like to reiterate I have no affiliation with Audiofuel ;) , just I've been looking at their sessions a lot recently!)


I forgot to mention that it was the *free* podcasts (with no music) that I like :P


I cycle quite a lot and I would say you can't really substitute one for another, ie you can't start the programme indoors on a bike and then carry on outside running.

You may well develop a better level of cardio fitness from the bike giving you the confidence to venture out and start running, but each activity uses a different set of muscles so you would need to start C25K from scratch again for the running to build up those muscles. It is desgned to build you up slowly so you shouldn't just pick it up mid programme. You would likely not be able to complete the run, or risk injuring yourself.

Go on, take the plunge and venture out to run! You'll be amazed at how quickly your body adapts and you'll feel your confidence growing run by run!


The thing is, Wibbley seems to be saying they do not like running (and God knows, I understand that) so I think it best they stick to cycling.


I think you need to work out what it is you want to achieve. Do you want to run or are you only interested in getting fitter? If its the latter then use your bike but use a cycling program such as rollertoaster suggests. That still leaves you with the boredom factor of cycling on a stationery bike.

Alternatively, you could try walking initially. For example go for a brisk 40 minute walk 3 or 4 times a week for 2 weeks. That would improve your fitness levels and you can choose routes that are interesting. Then have a go at C25k outside, possibly using your walking routes. By then the weather will be better and I think on your walks you'll spot runners that are just starting as well or are not particularly fit. At the end of the day, anyone that sees you is going to be impressed that you're out there exercising no matter how unfit you are. You will rapidly build up fitness.

The main thing is to take some exercise that you enjoy and that you will want to keep doing for a long time.


>I believe I end up exerting the same amount of effort ...

Yes, you'll be undergoing an intense cardio workout, but as Rollertoaster says, cycling and running use some different muscles,and use some of the same muscle differently. Take it from me, someone who could cycle for 30-40 miles before starting this programme, but struggled to run for 60 seconds in week 1. In fact, I went out to try to run before discovering C25K and I strained my hip adductor muscles, because they are not used in cycling!

Cycling is certainly good exercise for cross-training, ie exercise to do on the non-running (rest) days. When you venture out, you may find the muscles you use for running are not used to the exercise, even though your heart and lungs are.

I'm wondering why you wish to start running if you think you'll be bored by it? If it is to be able to run for another sport, well fair enough!


Ahh... that's interesting... I guess I assumed that mostly the same muscles would be used since both are leg-related.

I don't especially want to run, it's mainly the step-by-step prescribed programme of C25k that attracted me.

Hmm.... I'm not sure if I phrased that correctly, because I don't particularly *want* to cycle either... but I feel like I have to choose something to kick-start my general fitness.


Thanks for the suggestions.

My main motivation is just to improve general fitness (losing a few inches wouldn't go amiss either)... I'm not particularly enamoured of either running or cycling, but I suppose outdoor cycling seems more fun because I'm still learning how to handle a bike so my mind is occupied as I have to consciously work out what to do all the time.

If I had a treadmill at home, I suppose that would solve the dilemma, but financially and space-wise that's not really an option right now.

I think I will keep going with doing the routine on the stationary bike, and then venture out at week 3 or 4 but start at week 1 running... and then maybe mix it up a bit with the stationary bike/outdoor running?


This sounds like a more positive and 'do-able' plan. :-)

Many of us graduates use cycling or swimming or other exercise as cross-training sessions on non-running days.


I just had a look at some treadmills online, and those prices are jaw-dropping!


I spoke to some friends about doing C25k the other day and I think I might have accidentally agreed to join them for this year's Race for life, a 5k run!

Surprisingly, I somehow feel quite pleased... I think having a specific target to aim for, should help to motivate me. If I follow the C25K programme strictly, I might have enough time to get up to 5k by then.

On the other hand... I'm beginning to quake in my boots!


When is it?


Don't quake in your boots Wibbley, just put your trainers on, your headphones in your ears, open the door and get going on week 1 run 1. You'll soon be posting your achievements like the rest of us and feeling very smug and proud of yourself. Good luck.


I've done Race for Life twice - walking - loads of people do, but this time I'll be running it. You can build up your fitness for it by cycling or running, though if you want to run it, it's best to build up leg strength gradually rather than jumping in from no distance at all. You can do a mix of run/jog if you want too.


Hi just download some audio books I find them great. :-) pat


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