Week 1: How do people actually complete this?!

I went for W1R1/2 and both were pathetic. I could barely manage 5 runs and today (R2) had to take a break after each 2 runs. Am I just too out of shape? Or do I think this is not for me?

From what I have read on this board, it looks as if everyone managed to keep up with the weeks as specified in the C25K podcast.


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63 Replies

  • Congratulations on getting started! Week 1 is probably the hardest one of the lot! I certainly found it hard. I started just before Christmas, and 'graduated' in February - I can now run for an hour! I'm still slow, but that doesn't matter - slow and steady is the way to do it if you find those 60 second runs hard.

    And when I say slow, I mean really s - l - o - w! In fact it was slower than my walking, though I've got a little bit faster than that since I graduated - but dog walkers could still overtake me in week 9.

    Also, little steps, landing with your foot beneath your body-weight (not stretched out ahead - that tends to jar through your knees and give all sorts of pains in calves and shins).

    And if that's still too hard, do 30 min brisk walking a day for a week or two, then try again.

    Don't give up - it is really well worth it. I did a lovely 5k run this morning in the sunshine, with birds singing - I'm so glad I'm not the unfit thing I was before Christmas!

  • You graduated in about 1 month!! Wow!! But I like your tip about taking smaller steps. I think I lasted longer in run 1 as I did that but became too ambitious today and so needed more rest. If my third run also does not work out, I will try out the brisk walk like you have suggested. Thank you for your help. I really envy you your run. You make it sound so enjoyable.

  • Not a month! No, no, no! But just under 9 weeks as I did alternate days (rather than 3 runs a week, so some weeks had 4 runs). I had done a fair bit of walking before I started, and tend to be under- rather than overweight, so had those advantages, but I was always the least fit person in my class at school, and was used to getting left behind on walks with friends, because I couldn't keep up with them as my heart/lungs/legs had no stamina at all.

    I doubt I'll ever be able to run 5k in 30 minutes (it took me 47 min this morning) but to be honest, so what! The stamina builds gradually, with determination and effort, but my goodness it's wonderful! Keep going, and you'll find out for yourself! :)

  • I meant to say - I hadn't run at all since primary school (when I was put in the novelty dressing up race because I was too slow for real races) and I'm 54. No, I forgot - I did go in a mum's race once, with a friend who said she'd stay at the back with me - and she kicked off her shoes and left me and came first. I was last. Pah! Friends! :)

  • Greenlegs you've made me feel so much better. Thank you very much. I've been really worried about running slower than walking but I have taken much comfort from your comment...W1R3 tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to it :-)

  • You're welcome! My run today was one of my worst ever (I think a combination of the time of day, not having eaten much at lunch time, and being generally tired) - it was far slower than usual, and I had to force myself to keep going - it was hard to believe I've ever enjoyed running! Hopefully next time will be better again!

  • I agree 100% with greenlegs, slowly does it. On the days you are not running try some good fast walking that will help build up your stamina and get those lungs working better too.

    The 1st week was a killer for me, I was always surprised that I carried on in those days. Your never too old or unfit to better your life style so keep at it. If you feel you aren't ready to move onto the next week at any time then repeat a run once or twice. This is not a race, it has to be done at the speed of your ability and no one elses. Good luck

  • Oh, I thought I should give my legs and lungs a rest from heavy work on the day in between. Let me try the tips that greenlegs has given and then if I survive that, I will incorporate your tip as well.

    I think I got discouraged as everyone seems to have sailed through the weeks but then should be realistic about my own abilities considering how unfit I am

  • I couldn't do week 1 either. I struggled to complete it and decided to go on to W2 anyway. With every new week R1 was always a nightmare, but by R3 it was just about doable.

    Waht kept me going was telling everyone I was doing the programme, so I couldn't afford to lose face!

    And look - I've got a shiny green badge to prove that even an over 60 who has never run in her life can get through the programme and run for 30 mninutes by the end of it.

  • Here is an e-hug for you:-) Thank you for your encouraging words. I hope to be able to emulate you. I have told only one person that I am doing this programme and I know she will keep checking on me every week though I know she will not make fun of me whatever happens.

    I really hope I can settle into the programme and after 10-12 weeks proudly say I also got green badge like you.

  • Week 1 is hard, especially if you haven't done any exercise or running for a long time. But it is all worth it - and it is achievable for many. The programme is a one-size-fits-all, and a lot of people adapt it to suit their own particular circumstances. If you find one session too hard, then drop back to the previous one - or have an extra day's rest - or make the transition from one run to the next more gradually. Whatever you feel comfortable with. You're doing it for yourself after all.

    This board is very supportive and inspirational - but don't forget that for everyone who blogs or comments here there are probably dozens more who try the course with or without success.

    Starting the course and staying with it opens up a whole new way of life and, if you read through many of the blogs, one of the overwhelming emotions of many who complete the course is surprise and amazement that they managed to move from being barely able to run for a minute to being able to run for 30. It's very rewarding.

  • Thank you. Yes, I realise now that I should not focus on the 9 weeks but on moving to the next stage when I can comfortably finish each week's plan.

    And if I ever do finish the course, I will have to invent new words to describe my feelings. I am praying that day does come

  • my dear!! oh dear!! im sorry youve had a bad start. But dont you despair :-)

    not all of us have kept up with the program, me included.

    after a period of inactivity its going to be a shock for your body to suddenly run, so dont beat yourself up. each of us is different and will react differently to the program. so, like others have said - those that have also been there and done that - take it slow, dont beat yourself up that you're not keeping up. Its taken me a long time to "take it easy" on myself, and I still have to remind myself to, but its right.

    you're off the couch!! you've made a start and we're all here to give you support when you need it. please dont give up. keep going and let us all know how you're getting on.

    best of luck.

    ali :-)

  • Ali, thank you for your words. The 'take it easy' part is tough to absorb but you are right, I should do that. I am unnecessarily comparing myself to others and I should stop doing that.

    One good thing is that I still look forward to getting up and going for a run even though I have not had good progress

  • The first week was a reality check for me! I could not complete a few 1 minute runs and I was physically ill after some of my first runs of week 1 and 2. Just go slow, try to breathe steadily and have confidence to KNOW you CAN do this! We are all different shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels, so try not to compare yourself to others. I found once I tried to somewhat relax while running, and not concentrate on foot/arm placement, breathing, etc.things went better. Also, there is no such thing as too slow as you progress through C25K. Speed will eventually come as you build stamina. Remember how I could not finish a minute? I have went on to complete a 10K program, I can run well over an hour and I just signed up for the 5x50 challenge. A 5k everyday for 50 days. :-) I'm still slow, but I don't care. I never ran a day in my adult life before starting this program 7 months ago. Know we are here to support you along this journey! :-) Gayle

  • You made me feel so much better by sharing your story. Thank you! I am also having so much difficulty doing the multiple 1 minute runs and so it is truly inspirational to find someone who has been through that and has reached a stage that you now run 10K and daily 5K programmes. I will remember your advice to relax and not focus on the speed/distance covered (yes, I did that comparison in my head based on my 2 runs)

  • I started walking to work the few weeks before I started the programme as I hadn't exercised for years. I found week one hard especially when I realised that I was running up a very slight hill. Take it slowly and I'm sure you'll get there. Good luck!

  • Thank you for sharing your experience and your wishes. The path I take is also not flat and the slight uphill area comes during the first run and I do struggle a lot there. I hope to stick to the programme and improve my stamina otherwise as you and other members have mentioned, I will drop to brisk walks for a couple of weeks and pick up this programme after that

  • Dont get too down hearted, loads of us struggled with week one, and carried on struggling for most of it. But it is really well paced, and one day you just find it seems to be working !! I have just (yesterday) completed my W9R3, and amazed myself. I enjoyed it and I managed it, and so can you. But just remember, its not a race, you are doing this FOR YOU. If you need to repeat weeks, well so what, Please keep going, and good luck xx

  • Thank you. I am so glad I joined this online community and am getting so much good advice on how to approach this programme. You are right, I am being a bit too competitive and should tone down.

    It is always comforting to know that there are others who have gone through similar struggles and managed to reach levels they did not think possible. Thank you and congratulations on finishing the programme. You must be feeling on top of the world!

  • I have found practically ever run a struggle and like you thought on week one I am just too unfit now to get to 30 minutes of running but any improvement on my cardio health is a bonus. I am now about to start week 6 still struggling but when Laura tells you only 1 or 2 minutes left you actually think thank God I can do that!! so persevere it really is worth it. Good luck x

  • I found every single run a struggle as well! Even after Graduation, 30 minutes was a challenge for me. It will continue to get better for you! Gayle

  • Gayle, thank you for the encouragement. I hope to persevere like you and one day run for 30 mins.

  • Wow, week 6 !! That is really great. Yes, this is a struggle but I am going to give it more tries based on what you lovely people have told me.

    And to tell you the truth, I have not reached the stage where Laura tells me only 1 or 2 minutes are left :-) Maybe one day...

  • Bullseye7, may I join the others who have said GO SLOW! There is a bit in the programme ( can't remember when), when Laura says that someone looking at your head over a hedge shouldn't be able to tell if you are walking or running. I take this as an indication that perseverance is more important than speed. I found the first week hard, particularly keeping up the brisk pace when walking. All I really wanted to do was have a sneaky rest. However, by the third run it was a bit easier, and although I can't say that I find it easy now, I can run three minutes, which seemed a ludicrous idea only two weeks ago. Just keep at it, repeat runs if you need to, and use this community for support. It is a wonderful place and if you need help, people will always be there to give it.

  • Really? That slow? I will try that pace the day after and see if it makes a difference in being able to last the full 30 mins. I sneak in too many rests but it does give me energy to continue.

    You are right. This community is very welcoming and encouraging and I am so very glad to have found it and made a post. And seriously the 3mins you do seems a long way off for me and you have built up your running abilities quite a lot in 2 weeks!

  • Yes! That slow! Slower than brisk walking was how I started.

  • Can't be stressed enough to go slow, just take it at your own pace. Yes 7 weeks ago I struggled with the 60 second running, and I use the term running very loosely ;-). Before the minutes was up I was begging Laura to tell me to stop, I fighting for air and turned beet red by the end. As has already been said you have already done the hard part by getting out the door and giving it a go. Don't stop now and don't be so hard on yourself we have all been there. :-)

    Maybe try it again after your rest day and if you are still really struggling try listening to the podcast and walking really fast when Laura says run and slow it down when she says to walk, it might help to build up your stamina up a little. Please don't give in though you won't ever regret trying to get fitter. :-)

    Come back and let us know how you are getting one. There is so much support and encouragement on this page. :-)

  • I hope I also reach the day when I can tell about how I struggled during my week 1 programme and lived to reach stage 7 and so on:-)

    Yes, I will try once more the day after and if I am again not able to complete the 30 mins, I will move to doing brisk walks. I like your idea about using the podcast for that as well.

    Thank you for your support and kind words

  • Best of luck. :-) Just know we are all rooting for you. And if it helps, think about us cheering you on along the way. :-)

  • Thank you to all those who have commented and left words of encouragement, tips and shared your own stories. It means a lot to me and has given me hope that by tweaking things, I do still have a chance at finishing this programme and doing a 5K one day (and no, not in 9 weeks)

  • It doesn't matter how long it takes. It's taking me longer than 9 weeks. :-) At least you are out there doing it. Just believe in yourself and the programme and you will do fine.

  • I remember a few weeks in and a 3 min run was the shortest of the runs and I found myself thinking thank goodness this is only 3mins I know I can do that. 2 weeks earlier the thought of running for 3mins was a wild pipe dream. It does work but just take your time, spend 2 weeks doing each weeks run - it doesn't have to be 9 weeks. Hope that makes sense. Good Luck

  • Yes, that does make sense. I just was not thinking that way. And congratulations on now feeling that 3 mins is easy, I still dread multiple 1 minute runs

  • Just like to add a couple of thoughts to the good advice given by all above:

    1. You are not limited to taking just one day of rest between runs... take as many as you require, but always take at least one. Why? Read this (talks about rest halfway down): nhs.uk/Livewell/olympics/Pa...

    Rest helps you avoid this: nhs.uk/livewell/fitness/pag...

    2. Check your technique and gear: nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/...

    Enjoy yourself and take your time. Whatever you do, do not create any extra pressure for yourself. If that means walking sometimes and not running, who cares? :-)

    ...from an obese 50+ ex-smoker whose BMI is gradually dropping, week by week, thanks to this programme. 8-)

  • Thank you for the links. Some really useful tips in there. I have not been fitted for proper shoes and will do that if my feet start to hurt too much.

  • Don't worry - you can do this. I say this again and again on blogs and responses - it took me 50 runs to graduate not 27 because I kept repeating weeks and runs until I felt comfortable. I'm overweight and hadn't done any exercise for years, and the first few runs were a nightmare. I think I did week 3 for about 4 weeks :D There is no one checking up on you and you are dong this for yourself, no one else. The only other thing I'd say is, however slowly you are going, go slower if you start to struggle! Speed comes later (or not at all in my case :D )

    All the best - keep going, and you too can graduate and run for 30 minutes.

  • Thank you for the reassurance that I will not be wasting time. I will be repeating week 1 again and am going to take it slow now instead of thinking I have to keep up with the 'prescribed' number of weeks. Yes, the speed factor is something I did not consider and will do in my run tomorrow - hopefully that will make a difference in being able to complete the 30 mins.

  • Bullseye you've had lots of wonderful encouragement and advice from the members but thought I'd add my experience. Week 1 (last summer) I wondered what had hit me, I returned home lay on the sofa sweating, heart racing, shattered - but with a steely inner-determination that I would do this!

    I am now training for a half marathon in September, up to 9 miles on my long run.... Determination can do a lot, so have faith and patience and you will get there. Enjoy your journey! :-)

  • Not Bad, not bad ....infact pretty bloody impressive xxxx!!!!!

  • Thankyou Bertieboy! :-)

  • Just trust in the plan, it works! Don't allow any doubt to creep into your head! If you follow the plan it will work for you, you might feel you need to repeat a run or two, or even a week of runs which is fine! If you follow the plan you will succeed in the end, trust me.... :)

    You've cracked the hardest bit which is starting the plan.

    There'll be a little voice in the back of your head telling you that you can't do this, telling you that your puffing and panting more than anyone else ever did, telling you that you're sweating more than anyone else ever did, telling you those pains you're feeling in your hips, legs, knees are not suffered by others on the plan and that voice will give you the excuses you need to quit if you want. Don't listen to it, it's lies, a good majority of the people including myself have endured, some, all and more of these things, that's why we are here, following the plan because we could not have done it without it!

    Good Luck!

  • Thank you for the wishes!

    I am trying to convince myself that the plan works too, especially after hearing so much positive feedback. I must say I look forward to running even though I could not finish the 30mins. Yes, my mind does play the devil and tells me to stop and that is why I was planning to quit after the first couple of tries. But after hearing all the personal experiences, I know I just have to keep going and so far this programme is one that I am actually enjoying and everyone's stories is a key reason for this

  • It might encourage you to know that it took me something like six weeks to complete Week 1 (I forget how many times I listened to that podcast, it was something over 12)... but once Week 1 was in the bag I never had to repeat a session and mostly ran every other day.

    A strategy I used in those early days was that I would do my best and then once I had to walk when I should have been running, that was it, I kept walking for the rest of the session. That way there was always a clear progression. These days the key to keeping going is to drop the pace rather than actually stopping a running action.

  • That is really encouraging to hear. If I ever feel depressed for not graduating from a week for long, I will come back and read your story to pep myself up again. I keep hearing about dropping pace and I have to try that in my next run. Hoping for the weather to become warmer soon

  • Reading all your replies to this thread has really inspired me. I have downloaded the podcast, but haven't actually made the move off my sofa, as rather scared to start in case i "failed", but realised that for me the only failure is not starting!!!

    Good Luck Bullseye and to all of you all whichever stage you are at !

    Trainers will be on tonight for my first run !

  • I agree. Everyone has been so amazingly encouraging and inspiring. I have tried different forms of exercises including group exercises to build my stamina and improve fitness but never reached far. Never thought that an on-line forum like this would be able to keep my interest level so high and ensure that I don't quit. Good luck to you as well and let us know how you get along

  • If you don't already know this, sloths can be remarkably nippy when they so choose!

  • It does get easier, honestly. I have never classed myself as a runner and am overweight trying to get fit and lose some pounds along the way, but I have made it to week 8 and nearly ready to graduate. If I can do it then I'm sure you can so don't give up :)

  • Yes, I am sticking to this plan. Just hearing so many wonderful stories has helped enormously. Week 8 sounds really great and I also hope to lose weight as I go along. I will take quite some time to catch up with you

  • well I plugged myself in ready to do day one before pilates and pfff, it says my mp3 doesn't recognize the format! not very clued up - any ideas??

  • Oops.. I did not have any issues. Maybe someone else can help?

  • Ah it was me being a berk!! My son tut tut tutted me through how to do it, simples apparently!!!

  • LOL. Don't tell me. I manage to mute my mobile phone during calls and still have not figured out what I do!

  • Dear bullseye7, CONGRATS on starting C25K! Lots of people here have encouraged you so I am sure you decided to go on. I have to add my little bit too.

    The hardest is to start it. Once you started it, you are there and then all you got to do is to continue it. I am 44 years OLD, and was never ‘fit’! I simply could not run, did not have the stamina.

    Then 3 of my work colleagues + friends signed for Race for Life last year. I, with my Hubby and Son went there to give them some moral support. I was so emotional to see how many people ran/walked/jogged etc that day. I lost a very dear friend to lung cancer, so I did not think twice, I signed upto it this year, paid the money and came out of the little hut I went into. I came to my Hubby and said ‘what have I done?, how am I going to run or jog 5K?!’

    I spoke to a friend in Canada who does mountain running and she sent me a programme on paper, she said that it is a great programme, something similar to C25K but on paper. So one Saturday I went to our local park, jogged for a minute or a bit more but I could not do it anymore, it was too cold, my nose was running, I did not have gloves so my hands were too cold (I suffer from CTS!) and no music (it helps me a great deal-now!) so I walked back home defeated! Said I could not even run 2 minutes and how I am to do 5K!

    I spoke to a colleague of my sad experience at work the next day and she suggested C25K. Then one Wednesday I thought that I would give it a go, bought ear-phones and used my old MP3 and Laura by my side, I started the programme! I started and completed just like Laura said, but I was knackered! Believe me, I came home and just threw myself on the Sofa for maybe about 10-15 minutes!, and had an egg sandwich that my Hubby made for me! How pathetic was that?! BUT I did not give up, every day after the run I came tired until I started to do my 5th week (as far as I remember). Something happened then. Day before yesterday I did the R3W5 and ran for 20 minutes which was like eternity but completed it and was so excited and happy and proud.Believe me, when I went to sleep that day, I was thinking whether I really ran that distance without stopping, I just could not believe that I have done it!

    Believe me bullseye7, if I can do it, you can..few weeks ago I was a very unfit 44 year old (few kg over weight as well) and today I am fit enough to run 20 minutes without stopping. I have my BIG run tomorrow where I will be running for 25 minutes. I am going to give my best there. I have noticed, as greenlegs says, slow and steady is the key. You do not have to run fast, you can always build up your speed once you can run your 30 minutes at the end of the 9th week. All you got to do is what Laura says, one foot in front of the other..all the way..you can do this. Concentrate on the music, do not think that you are running..it helped me when I was so tired and wanting to stop. Please do not be disheartened for not being able to do the first 2 runs as the way you wanted, after few weeks you will turn back and wonder how you have done it and would be very proud of you, just like me today.

    Good luck!!!

  • Now that is really inspiring!! I am also very unfit (obvious from my cry for help) and few kgs overweight. I really really hope that I can also reach the stage that you have managed - it would be a really big achievement for me. And if I do reach that stage, I will make sure to blog again and get ideas from people on what all I can do next with my increased stamina and newly discovered superwoman powers:-)

  • Well done on starting. The thing about the programme is that I think it's fair to say that everyone struggled at some point, but take it slow and steady and I promise you will get there. The feeling you get when you hid your stride is unbeatable. You will make it to the end and you will be able to run for 30minutes! Enjoy the journey

  • I hope so. As you must have realised, slow and steady is not how I was looking at the programme but kind words from people like yourself has made me realise that I need to look at the programme in a different way and give myself more time. 30mins complete runs - hope that day comes!!

    And thank you for the encouragement!

  • I'm just back from completing my second run in Week 1. Before i started this I would have tried to go out walking most nights anyway but it still takes a lot out of me. I know I still have run 3 to complete yet but I'm already thinking that maybe I should repeat week 1 next week just to help me build up my stamina, or at least get one more week 1 run in before i start week 2, if you know what i mean.

    It isn't a race, it's a guide to help you gradually build up your fitness. It may say '9 weeks' but if it takes you 12, 15 or 20 even, who really cares? As long as you are constantly improving your fitness and you're healthy and happy, then just take it at your own pace and don't feel under pressure to complete a deadline. That's what I think anyway. It'll probably take me over the 9 weeks as well but i'm not too bothered by that!

  • Thank you for sharing your experience! You obviously have more sense than I do. I needed people on this forum to guide me and give a different perspective on how to view this programme. I am just thankful that I posted here instead of giving up quietly

  • Big thanks to all of you. Managed 30 mins today using some of the tips you wonderful people gave. Week 1, I will wrap you up soon. YIPEE!!!!

  • Week1 R2 done with just 1 break. **This is fun. One more and I get promoted to week 2. YAY

  • Congratulations bullseye7 you have done really well, how are you doing now? xx

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