Couch to 5K
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Speed Podcast Review

Previously I posted that the stepping stones podcast was not the best experience for me. I didn't want to give up on the 5k+ podcasts so today I gave the speed podcast a go. Since my leg isn't quite where it was I hoped that a shorter run would be better so it was worth a go.

It starts with the usual 5 minute warm up walk and Laura counting off how fast I should go. It wasn't far off my walking pace so that was fine. She keeps giving me handy running advice which I never seem to remember or manage to take heed of but I still like to hear it.

The 5 minute starting jog was fairly straight forward. The step count seemed not bad and reasonably gentle. After the 5 minutes gentle jog you alternate 1 minute fast then 1 minute gentle. The minute at faster pace was slightly quicker than my normal pace I think but seemed fine. I couldn't run a full 5k at that but it wasn't overly challenging.

The real surprise was that when dropping back to the gentle jog it genuinely felt like a rest. I could recover my breathing in the same way that I used to when doing walking intervals. A nice surprise although it was quite hard to slow down to the gentle jog pace as it felt really slow after the faster bits.

The 6th sprint is the last and by my count and my running app it is 16 minutes of running although others have posted 17 minutes. The end invites you to slow down but doesn't tell you to walk so you can keep going if you so wish.

According to my run stats I ran marginally slower overall than my 5k runs which isn't surprising when I ran 10 minutes slowly and 6 minutes quickly. It did feel like cheating when I stopped after 16 minutes running though.

All in all it was a nice change but I think next time I will up my pace to over the Laura recommended speed for a real challenge. I like the idea of interval training and it fits in really well for the run I try and squeeze in after dropping my son off at playgroup for an hour and a half. Would I recommend it? Yup, it was a good change and not too much of a challenge. Soon I will return to face my stepping stone nemesis!

6 Replies


Good summary of Speed. I haven't done that one in a while now but it's also quite handy when you don't have a lot of time available. I would definitely suggest trying Stepping Stones more than once. I had problems with it first time round (as did others who were doing it at the same time), but did better on my second attempt. In fact it became my "comeback run" after three enforced breaks earlier this year. Stamina (in my experience) is quite a bit harder.

If you're looking for more intervals choices then have a look at Podrunner. That website has a huge list of different paces and times of intervals and you're bound to find something that works. Swanscot (of this board) suggested it to me and now I rarely use anything else. Many of the Podrunner runs are longer 50 mins so my long-term challenge is to get to the end of one. Typically I just do 35 mins which gets me to 5k but stopping early really isn't a problem - just gives you a target for next time.

Hope that helps and good luck - let us know how you do!


ha, I read this after I posted my reply. Swanscot's the guru huh?! ;)


I really like interval training too! Also it really works! I graduated doing 5K in 35 mins and within a couple of months got my time under 30 minutes, doing a combination of this podcast, a 5K, and a longer slower run over a week.

I like what you said about the recovery slower jogs. I totally agree with that! It's such a good feeling to be able to recover so well, while still jogging! Who would've thought? Now I find it much harder if I have to stop to a walk than a jog, crazy huh?

I also agree about going faster than Laura's timings (partly as I'm rubbish at keeping time!), so I sprint as fast as I can for the fast intervals and it's totally exhausting, but really invigorating. It's great fun to let go in a way you can't do in a 5k as you're concentrating on pacing yourself to get through it.

If you're looking for other challenging interval training sessions, I recently wrote a blog about one of the Audiofuel training sessions:

I think you'll like the familiarity you have with this, though it does cost money. On my blog, swanscot also links to another Audiofuel interval training session.


Thanks for all this info! Glad there are things to do after c25k, I definitely need something to motivate me and to follow. After 3 or 4 runs just 'pottering' about, I've realised that this is not going to work long term for me.


I love interval training and Speed was brilliant I call it my short & sweet workout. I was running the faster section at a sprint speed last summer (sprint for me would be a faster run for most!!) But it really helped me to reduce my 5K times by 3 minutes over a few months.


I've been doing Speed recently, on the treadmill, so much easier doing it outside, just set it to faster and slower. I've started doing the warm up and cool down on a slow jog, the slow ones on a medium and the fast on a fast, just because 16 minutes seems like cheating, but adding the extra 10 minutes sort of doesn't.


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