Couch to 5K: week by week

A week-by-week description of the nine-week set of Couch to 5K podcasts.

Week one

Begin with a brisk five-minute walk, then alternate 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking, for a total of 20 minutes.

Week two

Begin with a brisk five-minute walk, then alternate 90 seconds of running with two minutes of walking, for a total of 20 minutes.

Week three

Begin with a brisk five-minute walk, then two repetitions of 90 seconds of running, 90 seconds of walking, three minutes of running and three minutes of walking.

Week four

Begin with a brisk five-minute walk, then three minutes of running, 90 seconds of walking, five minutes of running, two-and-a-half minutes of walking, three minutes of running, 90 seconds of walking and five minutes of running.

Week five

There are three different workouts for this week, which are:

Workout one: a brisk five-minute walk, then five minutes of running, three minutes of walking, five minutes of running, three minutes of walking and five minutes of running.

Workout two: a brisk five-minute walk, then eight minutes of running, five minutes of walking and eight minutes of running.

Workout three: a brisk five-minute walk, then 20 minutes of running, with no walking.

Week six

There are three different workouts for this week, which are:

Workout one: a brisk five-minute walk, then five minutes of running, three minutes of walking, eight minutes of running, three minutes of walking and five minutes of running.

Workout two: a brisk five-minute walk, then 10 minutes of running, three minutes of walking and 10 minutes of running.

Workout three: a brisk five-minute walk, then 25 minutes of running with no walking.

Week seven

Begin with a brisk five-minute walk, then 25 minutes running.

Week eight

Begin with a brisk five-minute walk, then 28 minutes of running.

Week nine

Begin with a brisk five-minute walk, then 30 minutes of running.

Tips on progression

The programme is designed for beginners to gradually build up their running ability, so that they can run 5K without stopping.

The pace of the nine-week running plan has been tried and tested by thousands of new runners, so you can trust the programme.

You can, however, repeat any one of the weeks until you feel physically ready to move on to the next podcast.

Structure is important for motivation, so try to allocate specific days of the week for your runs, and stick to them.

Rest days are critical. A rest day inbetween each run will reduce your chance of injury and also make you a stronger, better runner.

Resting allows your joints to recover from what is a high-impact exercise and your running muscles to repair and strengthen.

Alternatively, you could do Strength and Flex on your rest days. This is a five-week plan designed to improve your strength and flexibility, which will help your running. 

Some new runners starting the programme experience calf pain or sore shins (sometimes known as shin splints).

Such aches can be caused by running on hard surfaces or by running in shoes that do not have enough foot and ankle support.

Always do the the five-minute warm-up walks as instructed in the podcasts before each run, and check that your running shoes are offering good support.

For more information on preventing and treating injuries, read our page on sports injuries.

You will have good runs and bad runs. Accept it and don’t spend too much time analysing the how and why. Even a bad run is good for you.

Couch to 5K

Regular running can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke, boost your mood and keep your weight under control. In this video, watch how Laura went from fitness phobe to keen runner with the Couch to 5K programme.

Media last reviewed: 06/06/2014

Next review due: 06/06/2016

Page last reviewed: 15/09/2014

Next review due: 15/09/2016


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The 115 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

SouthseaNow said on 02 November 2015

Just wanted to mention to all those people who find this hard. I can just about manage week 4 and still running regularly after a year. I have given up trying to run non-stop for more than 5 mins. 50 years old and never done any running before. Couch 2 5k has got me moving but I am never going to finish the course :-)

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Coops63 said on 02 November 2015

I started the plan on 1 September and on Saturday 31 October I ran 5K at a parkrun (my third run of week 9). When I ran that first 60 seconds nine weeks ago I didn't believe that I would ever be able to run for 30 minutes in such a short amount of time but the plan is brilliant. My target was to complete a parkrun before I turned 52 and I succeeded. I even ran a 5K as my third run of week 8 as a test. Both took me over 30 minutes but that doesn't matter. What is important is that I did them and I ran all the way, no walking. Thank you NHS Couch to 5k for getting me off the sofa and out running.

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runSaiderun said on 27 August 2015

I completed the 9 weeks- NHS Couch to 5K program with Laura and became an official runner who can run 50 minutes non stop for now. Many thanks to NHS and especially Laura who is a great and lovely couch! Even while running on my own I hear her voice saying "dont give up now - keep your legs moving" :)

Saide from Turkey

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rutson said on 09 July 2015

On New Year's Day 2012 I was not a runner. I blame my friend Karen for tweeting an unfamiliar hashtag - ?#?C25k?. I'm intrigued by anything I don't understand, so failed to resist Googling it. I read about how it was 'possible' to learn to run a little at a time and achieve 5k in a matter of nine weeks. I was carrying a *cough* little extra luggage around the waistline so however sceptical I was, I thought I'd give it a go.

With the unerring support of Laura on the podcasts, Karen and I set a goal of a 5k in March. Progression went well and I was confident that I could achieve my goal. The day came and I completed but was kicking myself for a short walk up the last hill. That evening I set about finding the next 5k I could possibly enter and once again, Google helped. In a mere six days I could attempt to slay the dragon that was running 5k at Pontefract parkrun. As an adopted Yorkshireman, the price appealed, it seemed friendly and having checked the results, I was unlikely to be last.

I don't recall much of that first parkrun except the elation of running every single, solitary step of the 3.1 miles around the racecourse. I'd done it. I could run 5k and that, as they say, was that...

Except it wasn't. Something about parkrun made me go back. Something about the wonderful people, the friendly atmosphere, the amazing support and encouragement whether you achieved that magical PB or barely made it over the line. I was soon volunteering regularly in every role. I think it's fair to say that in those first few weeks parkrun got under my skin.

Three years, 144 parkruns later I am proud to have made the progression from parkrunner through volunteer to Run Director and Event Director and onwards to parkrun UK ambassador whilst still being 'all of the above'. Outside parkrun I have completed dozens of races from 5k up to and including three marathons.

Thank you to Karen and Laura for starting me out on the amazing journey that running has taken me on.

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WindWhisperer said on 01 July 2015

I’ve read the comments and inspiring stories so many times that I thought I’d finally post! I’m a 27 year old female who noticed that after finding love I also found an appetite I’d never had before in my life and managed to put on nearly a stone in 8 months. Whilst I’ve never been overweight and also never really been too happy with my appearance I suddenly noticed clothes not fitting, needing to go up a size in shops and a jelly belly emerging… time for action.

I started C25K at the end of January this year. Whilst I’ve always walked dogs for several miles a day and enjoy walking everywhere rather than driving I knew in my head that this level of ability would not transfer to running; boy was I right. I take no shame now in saying that the first run where you only have to run for 1 minute at a time felt like a full-body assault. However with the support of my partner, a close friend and the dog I found that I went from seriously struggling on day 1 to completing run 2 of week 7 without any breaks or repeating any weeks. I felt a genuine improvement in my fitness for the first time in years and also felt that the dreaded jelly belly had started to recede. I was also actually *enjoying* running for the first time in my life – win!

However between March-May I was getting recurrent chest infections and felt utterly rubbish. After blood tests my GP said they had no idea what was wrong with me but to stop exercising until I was back to usual health. A few weeks later I was feeling better but felt scared that if I exerted myself I’d become ill again. The fear lasted a couple of weeks which allowed my usual excuse of “it’s all too much effort” to creep back into my life... where it has stayed until now.

Now I’m determined to start up again and cannot recommend C25K enough – it’s a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to challenge themselves – you will be amazed by what you can achieve.

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HangingOn said on 30 June 2015

The problem with the C25k program is that it is based on a lie. The proposition is that everyone is capable of running 5k – all they have to do is overcome a psychological barrier which is holding them back. The truth is that many people are physiologically unable to do this. They are exercise non-responders or poor responders. It is fantastic from the anecdotes posted that some people have had their inner runner unlocked, but the reality is that the majority who start the program quit and the reason for many is that it is quite impossible for them biologically.

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Deb0208 said on 09 May 2015

Just finished the C25K! 50, bit overweight, like the couch, but this was brilliant! I wouldn't let Laura beat me so never gave up. It is achievable; just repeat a few days if you need, but don't be frightened of moving on.

I now set a stop watch to 30 minutes, use Strava to log everything and motivate me and have a running playlist. Love it!

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hazey101 said on 05 March 2015

I'm 19 and I'm a day away from doing Wk5 Run 3 and I'm honestly convinced that I'll fail and have to stop halfway through. But reading these success stories has got me a lot more motivated! I feel loads better in myself since I started the C25K plan, as somebody who has struggled with confidence my whole life. Good luck to anyone on this plan or preparing to start it! It's tough but stick it out :)

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Stevet170 said on 04 March 2015

Thank you!!! I've just completed my first run of week 9. 30 mins which at the beginning I thought would never happen.

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Kitkit64 said on 02 March 2015

Can you clarify for me please ... how often should I run in the weeks with one session? Same for weeks with three runs - run three times or more?

Thanks :)

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K9 runner said on 02 February 2015

Started week 3 this morning, 3 minutes doesn't sound a lot but very happy to have run it, slowly but surely! Thank goodness for my virtual running buddy Laura!

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SJChallenge said on 13 January 2015

Starting this tonight, very nervous, can't wait to be able to run 5K non-stop, aiming to do 10K by the end of May.

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Repton Runner said on 04 December 2014

I've just completed run 3 of week 5 and I feel absolutely amazing!!!!!!!! I must admit I felt a bit nervous before I started it but as ever Laura got me through it. Really looking forward to starting week 6.

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Expensive female said on 22 November 2014

Today I have just completed day 3 of week 1. I am 57 years old and 4 stone+ overweight... I broke my ankle 3 years ago and still feel the pain.

However, as I did not manage to complete all the runs on day one I thought I'd read some of these comments to see how others got on and thanks to you writing about your experiences I went out on day 2 and day 3, both of which I completed successfully.

I've hoped this week would inspire me to stick to a food plan, but no... on my 2 rest days I managed to put away nuts, crisps, chocolate and had the cheek to have balanced meals in between.

I work late shifts, finishing at 2.00 am; this morning I thought about going out but it was raining, I didn't sleep well so went out at 6.30 am - I should have gone out at 2am. I've been running in the park but it was too dark so I opted for the street today, not wishing to be deterred I took an umbrella (I need to find a suitable jacket) - I was also interested to find out just how far my 30 mins would take me.

I will look forward to the start of week 2, I will use a splint for my ankle when running and aim to get a grip on the unnecessary calories. After day 1, despite not completing the 'programme' properly (a walk here and there instead of a run) I felt better than I have done for ages... this inspired me to take on day 2 & 3 and here I am week 1 completed and looking forward to week 2. I'm thinking about week 9 already ha ha My next immediate challenge will be to work out how to use the podcast... hey nothing can stop me now!

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samian said on 01 November 2014

I've just completed run 3 week 5. As Laura says, at this point she was panicking as it was a big jump. I too was a bit worried but thought I could walk a bit if need be. However I didn't, I jogged the whole 20 minutes and still felt like I could have done another minute.
Following the plan to the letter has built me up gradually and improved my physical well being as well as my mental health. At this time of year with the dark nights, I usually feel a bit grumpy, but I don't this year! I've been out in the rain, the wind and the sun and I can honestly say I've loved it and gained a great deal of satisfaction from my achievements.
I'm a couple of stone over weight, 43 and have a desk job. So, if like me you thought you wouldn't get past week 1. Give it a go. You'll ache sometimes but it feels good.

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Joh2020 said on 11 October 2014

Hi newenglandjules, I really hope you decided to go for it. In my experience you don't lose weight solely by doing C25k but it does help you to tone up.
I go to a slimming club as well as doing C25k and doing regular exercise seems to speed up my weight loss. I too am on anti depressants but since beginning a healthy diet and exercise I have felt less and less like I need them. I think my depression was linked to my weight and my self image. (I had 4 stone to lose.)
I feel a lot less tired after work and if I ever feel like I don't want to exercise, I remind myself it's only 30 mins!
This is just my experience, I'm not a doctor but I really feel that C25k has improved both my physical and mental health.
You're not alone, it was hard for me to get started but now I wish I'd started sooner. Good luck and best wishes!

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Cathy D said on 08 September 2014

Well myself and 2 friends started the C25K today. Interesting as we used an old railway line to do this run on. It felt pretty ok on day one of week one, finding my calfs ache a little so im goinv for another walk to ease them off.

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fmdq03 said on 29 August 2014

I started trying to run about 3 years ago and I managed to get my runs up to about 10 minutes long but then couldn't go on any further. I was running on and off for 3 years until I completely stopped because I could never improve or increase my time/length of run. This lead to frustration and I wasn't enjoying going out for a run.

This summer I signed up for the Race for Life because I knew it would give me the motivation to get into running regularly. Luckily, I signed up exactly 9 weeks before the running date which gave me just enough time to complete the NHS couch to 5k plan.

Week 1 I found really tough to run for 60 seconds, but I managed to pull through and decided to try week 2 to see how I got on.
Week 2 was a tough one too because mentally I just really wanted to give up. As I progressed through the weeks I found that I was improving each week and by week 4 I was actually able to run for a whole 5 minutes without any trouble. Week 5 (run 3) was the hardest by far, both mentally and physically but it was the most wonderful feeling knowing that I had ran for a full 20 minutes without stopping.

I felt that after week 5 I could definitely keep going until the end. Weeks 6-9 were brilliant and I was really starting to enjoy running and being outside. I improved every week and now I can run for the full 30 minutes and go for a run 2-3, if not more, times a week to keep my fitness levels up. I will, in the future, go onto completing the next NHS running plan when I feel ready.

I would 100% recommend this plan if you want to start running as a total beginner. It helped me to keep on track and not push myself too far, too early. I have already recommended it to many friends, most of whom agree with me and really enjoy seeing their progress.

Go for it!

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sazzlepop said on 21 August 2014

Hi newenglandjules - I think you might want to try the forum for more support over this.

My answer to your question "is it possible for me to do this?" - If you can walk your dog then yes. It's all about managing expectation and pace. Perhaps you don't get the knack of it in the first week, maybe you need to increase at a slower rate than 1 podcast a week, but you can definitely do it! (And the endorphins from the workout might help your mood and sleeping, but that doesn't happen overnight)

I'd recommend getting some good shoes too -0lots of running shops have people working there to help you choose the right trainer for you - I was a bit apprehensive but I'm really glad I did. This will help prevent injuries caused by incorrect footwear.

I'd also recommend swimming as an alternative form of exercise that does not impact your knees and legs as strongly :-)

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determinedflump said on 19 August 2014

I finally got round to downloading the podcasts and let them sit on my mp3 until got the courage to go and try it and of course it being dark enough. I haven't ran in 30 years and boy I have to say this podcast makes it so easy (manageable). I had visions of my partner finding me slumped up against the a car and at one point I wanted to quit running and start walking but knowing that I only had to go 60 seconds really pushed me on to finish the run and get to the walking stage again. , But I have to say for me, as the session continued the easier I found it. Thank you for making it manageable. knowing you have run that first 8 minutes gives you a feeling of elation, I am just kicking myself for not doing it sooner.

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newenglandjules said on 19 August 2014

Hi, I am hoping someone can give me advice please. I am 52 and apart from dog walking, I don't do a lot else. ( I work full time ) I am taking anti depressants, the doctor has just changed my prescription as I was on sleeping tablets.
Basically I am a mess, I need to lose two stone. I am only 5'4" and my weight is mainly around my middle.
I have tried Atkins but it is no good long term. So is it possible for me to do this? Would I lose weight and tone up or should I join a gym. I have tried this before but cannot stick to it. Feeling a bit like a lost cause.
I would be grateful for any advice.
Thank you

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sazzlepop said on 18 August 2014

Hi User888653. It's not useless to anyone without an MP3 player (and a very large proportion of the population do have smartphones, or at least some kind of device - yes, even my 85 year-old grandma). If you're an old fashioned stopwatch and paper type, you can write the routine down and do it yourself. If you do want audio, you can either burn a CD of the podcasts and listen on a portable CD player or record it to tape and use a walkman if you are so inclined. As far as I'm aware, a portable record player or gramophone would be an inappropriate tool for running with.

It's great that you swim, but how about toning down the negativity? Basically NHS choices have offered something very useful for free, that a lot of people -rich and poor have, young AND old - have the capacity to utilise, and it's ruddy brilliant. You can also get an MP3 player for less than £20 - much cheaper than signing up at the gym. Even if you can only run 50m, the way this is set out is such that you are eased into running more :-)

Thanks Laura and the NHS choices team!

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lizc25k said on 18 June 2014

I completed c25k today, and just wanted to say to anyone thinking about giving this a try - go for it. I honestly thought I wasn't cut out for running, having had some failed attempts at taking it up in the past, but these podcasts have been fantastic at building fitness and gradually increasing my running. I look forward to every run, and hopefully this is a habit for life now.

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Josephine49 said on 17 June 2014

So, I made it to week 3, very pleased with myself. Reading through what comes next though is a bit scary. There seems to be a big increase in running time from week 3 to week 4. I wonder if anyone else feels the same??
I'll give it a go and hope that Laura can get me through it.

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Determination said on 04 June 2014

I did run 2 of week 8 yesterday, seem long but just managed to make it. to continue from my story.

I started running from the beginning of April this year. I haven’t lost any weight but the shape of my body has changed, I feel quite firm and have also developed muscles. Everyone tells me “you have changed your face glows”. I must admit the psychological challenge was far too much for me. I was always worried something might happen to me while I run. I decided to invest and buy myself a very good heart monitor that would at least give me an indication on how much my heart was doing. The heart monitor also gave me the number of steps, distance, time taken and calories burnt. This gave me a little sense of relief.

Run 3 of WK5 was the toughest for me as the jump was too big. My best run was run two of WK6. I found this was just right at that time. However, I remained focused and just followed Laura guidance. I was so lucky, I never had to repeat any of the runs so far. I was getting too tired during the first few weeks. Then I realised that I was walking in the days between instead of resting. Rest days are critical. A rest day in between each run allows your joints to recover from what is a high-impact exercise and reduce your chance of injury. This made my runs much more effective. I am excited and looking forward to completing the program next week. Please wish me luck.

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Josephine49 said on 02 June 2014

Today is first day of Couch to 5K.
5 minute brisk problem. Running for 60 problem. Walking for 90 problem. But doing it again and again.......dear god, hadn't realised I was so unfit!!
But I've done it.....yay for me. And I'm actually looking forward to weds what I do day 2. Hope this is the fitness regime that works for me.

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Determination said on 02 June 2014

I’m 54 male 5'8" tall and weigh about 70kgs, I’m living in Oman. I have coronary health problem and had cardiac arrest twice in London back in 2010.The story before and after my cardiac incident will be too long to share here. One thing I can say that I was reasonably fit and was always doing light occasional exercise before 2010 and the attack was not only a shock to me but to everyone who knew me. I’m extremely lucky to be alive today.

I was following all the instructions given to me and was very careful with my medications and the food I take. I gradually started walking until I managed to do brisk walking for about half an hour daily but was never satisfied and felt my body needed more. Since a couple years or so there was this urge to make a change in my lifestyle but I couldn't find the right thing to do.

Early this year I reluctantly started light hiking with a group of friends. I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed it and it is doing me very good. Plenty of fresh air and oxygen make you feel your lungs are functioning. I now do normal hiking with a professional group for two hours once a week. I always brows on the web to find out information about anything before I make any attempt.

One day browsing on the web I came across NHS couch to 5k program. I was like this is it! This was probably the thing I was looking for. A well guided program from a known and reliable website. This should boost my confidence when needed and set goals for me. I got myself mp3 and downloaded the program from the net. I was always too frightened to start running after the incident in 2010. I have been doing C25K and have completed WK7 last week and started first run of WK8 yesterday. I just can’t believe I ran for 28 minutes straight through. I’m so proud of myself and so grateful.

I encourage anyone who is reading this to start running. No words can explain the benefits, Thank you so much, NHS and Laura!

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56marg said on 17 May 2014

17th May started my couch to 5k 6.15am nice time to be out there .

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Runnergirl96 said on 07 May 2014

Hi cwills62,

There isn't really a set pace that you should be running at - it's just a light jog. For me, (being a 5'2" girl), a comfortable running pace is around 7km/hour which really isn't very fast at all.

So, basically just do whatever's comfortable while still pushing yourself to improve.

Hope this helps!

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cwills62 said on 05 May 2014

Hi all
New to the couch to 5k..I may have overlooked it but what kind of speed should you be running at?
Thanks :-)

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petite limace said on 06 April 2014

i am a novice runner too. Three years ago I decided to get fit and go to gym classes several times a week. Last Summer a friend suggested I run in our local country show 5k with him and his girlfriend, they gave me two days notice! I thought as my fitness had improved dramatically that I should be able to run most of - how wrong I was! I ran for 1k and walked most of the other 4k. This year I am determined to run the whole 5k and have just completed W5R1, it is slow progress as I am still doing my gym classes so manage to run about once a week. I had shin splints early on but have slowed my pace and think that helped. I think it is a great programme, I wouldn't have had a clue how to build up towards 5k without it.

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RFLRae said on 05 April 2014

I'm loving the C25K plan. There is a great sense of achievement with each week that you complete and then a new challenge! I'm 39 and have not done any exercise since I was at school but have been inspired by family members who have completed the plan and enjoyed it. A friend and I are running together, she is also a beginner, and I find this really helpful as we keep each other going. We have signed up for a local Race for Life event in June and we plan to run the whole way. Honestly, if I can do this, so can anyone.

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gingerach said on 03 March 2014

59sunflower - I'm really impressed with your positive attitude. I'm obese myself and have a chronic heart condition but I'm starting my coach to 5K this evening! I did 3 years ago so I know it's possible. Good luck with your Race for Life in July :-)

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Linkinfiles said on 01 March 2014

I would heartily recommend the couch to 5k plan to anyone. I've not jogged since high school, so was a little unsure whether I could achieve this, with the encouragement of Laura, I've just run 5k in 30 minutes 45 seconds. Can't believe it! I feel great. I'm not going to push myself above this for a few weeks, but will do a few more 5ks, then a timed run with Parkrun at my local park. I planned my first run on the free site I chose a route that was uphill at the start, then downhill for the last half. I made sure to keep a steady pace so as not to tire, and slowed down when I had a bit of a stitch. I was blessed that I didn't have to stop at all for road crossings, and am now proud to say I can run 5k! Thanks Laura! Here's the route I ran, and the site where you can plan your own distances. Good luck everyone! You can do it!

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59sunflower said on 01 February 2014

Ok, I am getting on a bit (59) overweight (morbidly obese) according to the healthy people, have osteoarthritis in my knees, ankles, fingers and so unfit its unreal.
I am determined to run the 5K race for life in July. So lets start on Monday morning. I have nothing to loose and everything to gain.

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paulkish said on 14 January 2014

Thank you very much for this program, am going into the last week of the program, very very happy with the progress

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mrsjalfrezi said on 13 December 2013

I just cannot sing the praises highly enough about this excellent program. I'm a 52 year old, overweight woman who has always hated exercise and running in particular - and I've just successfully completed the Couch to 5k. I'm not quite managing 5k (I'm just a little too slow) but I can do the full 30 minutes, and am now running about 0.5k per hour faster than when I started. And another bonus is that I've lost 10 lbs! Go on - do it - if I can anyone can!

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a140clare said on 31 October 2013

Tried my first run about 5 months ago and it didn't go too well as I hadn't really planned my route and found it very difficult. However a few of my workmates have completed the programme and they are running a 10k on sunday - they only started this at beginning of summer !!!! I am 52 and have not done much exercise for a long time. Spurred on by my colleagues I decided to try again and had my first "run" again yesterday and managed to do it all without stopping or cheating really chuffed with myself - really sore and stiff today but really motivated for my run tomorrow = I know its not the best time of year to start running but fed up making excuses - hopefully in a few months time i also will be running 5k without stopping - Brilliant podcast

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vickijane1978 said on 25 October 2013

This might be a stupid question but I'll ask it anyway. I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone. Can I download the podcast to this? I've downloaded a free app from Google Play (called RunDouble) but it doesn't have any music. I'm hoping to being my 5k journey this weekend but would like some background music to keep me going.
Any advice appreciated! Thanks

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Daniel Ev said on 23 October 2013

I started C25K at the beginning of august, I've always had a balanced diet however I've not done any proper exercise on a regular basis since I finished school. I'm 20, 6ft tall and weighed around 12st 6lbs so not overweight but by no means fit. If you'd had said back then I'd be able to run for 30mins i'd have outright laughed at you. But as of today week 9 run 3 is complete. I now weigh around 11st8lbs Have lost probably 2 inches off of my waist and I feel fantastic.

You have days where runs don't go well, or if you're clumsy like me you sprain your ankle and have to take 2 weeks off. But always carry on!

After a few weeks you start looking forward to the next run as you want to push yourself further. Running can be done anytime, i'm not a morning person so mine tend to be afternoon to late evening. I've seen some beautiful sunsets had funny looks as i'm running while it's pouring it down regardless it's always been worth it.

I'm now setting my sights on 10K as my next goal. The weather is getting chilly so remember to wrap yourself up if you're planning on starting over winter.

I cannot recommend this enough. No matter what age you are what you think might hold you back (I myself have a plethora of medical conditions) You can do it! the plan is well structured and Laura becomes your motivational guide giving you tips and support along the way.

This programme should be rolled out in schools It's not going to scare anybody off by chucking them in at the deep end!

Good luck and Keep running everyone!

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Maddypeas said on 16 October 2013

I began the Couch to 5k programme in August this year, and have just completed my third 30 minute run this morning. When I started week 1 I was struggling to run for 60 seconds, and running for 30 minutes without stopping seemed like an impossible dream. I can’t believe I have reached my goal in such a relatively short space of time, and it is entirely down to the brilliance of the Couch to 5k podcasts. The way they are structured works perfectly, building you up slowly and then pushing you on longer runs towards the end. Laura – the voice on the podcasts – seems to have a magical ability to know exactly when you are tired and need some motivational words. She even predicted accurately when I would get a stitch, and gave me some tips on how to avoid them! I am not quite running 5k in half an hour, more like 4.5k, but the podcasts have given me the confidence to keep pushing myself towards my goal. This programme can turn anyone into a runner – it is truly brilliant.

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User297576 said on 22 September 2013

I'm 32....always avoided the gym. Hated exercise, hated feeling hot, sweaty and uncomfortable. I have managed my weight well through diet alone, but was very unfit. I have just completed the first session on week 4 and I'm amazed at how far my fitness levels have improved in the space of a few weeks. The first week I struggled to run 60 seconds and now the runs in week 4 are comfortable....still a challenge because I was so unfit but I totally smashed it today ;-) i would highly recommend this programme; previously when I attempted running, I did too much at once and abandoned it, feeling very defeated. But this programme gradually builds you up to do longer runs each week, comfortably. Weeks one an two I hid away, too embarrassed to be seen and now I'm so much more confident and quite proud to be seen running. Well done us lot! :)))

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Cambridgegirl said on 21 September 2013

I am 48 and a breast cancer survivor. I did the couch to 5k over the summer and found it a great program. I didn't like the music so just used the timings, but it worked brilliantly for me. Just did my first parkrun 5k today and feeling great. My only regret is that I didn't do it years ago.

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Clumsy girl said on 14 September 2013

Having just completed week 7 I cannot say how good this plan is. Just turned 49, bit chubby, but I have always wanted to get into running. Previously I have tried to do too much too soon and put myself off altogether.
This plan has changed that totally, I planned a 5k route using the walk jog run web site and then simply popped on the headphones and began. Week 1 I could barely run for 60seconds!

I just kept going and made a pact to myself that I would never stop running before Laura said I could no matter how hard it felt!

All I can say is keep going, it's not easy, bit it's amazing how much more you can do each week.

I am getting more and more comfortable with running if that makes sense.

Try it, keep at it, it's just so worth it, just to prove to yourself you can push yourself a little bit more each time and feel so good by doing it!

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Ellie57 said on 06 September 2013

Due to holidays and a bout of sciatica, although I had reached week 4, I had a gap of three weeks. So I started back at week 2 and have just completed week five run 1. I'm 55 years old and have never run before in my life and can't believe I can run 5 minutes at a time! My advice though is not to read about the next session. Just put on the headphones and go for it. Also, try to avoid hills for a new session.

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mamabee said on 02 September 2013

I was very excited to find this program as I'm really out of shape. I've found a friend that wants to do it with me and I'm excited to get started. I'm just wondering if the audio tells you when you're half way through or if you all just walk all the way back home once you're done the podcast? Thanks in advance.

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RosieCambs said on 21 August 2013

I'm 19 years old and have just completed my first year of uni, as expected I gained at lot of weight and my fitness became poor. I used to struggle to walk up the stairs to my accommodation. However today I completed my first 20 minute run, I'm ecstatic and shocked that I've achieved this. I have recommended the program to everyone wanted to get fit again. Although I'm only on week 5 I can't wait to complete the program and boast about my ability to run 5k. Good luck to all you other beginner runners!

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BlueBeyond said on 21 August 2013

Speaking as someone who has not done any running for about 30 years, hates breaking a sweat, needs to lose about 4 stone, nearing 50 years old, considers themselves nowhere near fit, and has various on-going medical issues, I have to say that this programme is quite simply one of the best things I have ever done!

I have just completed Week 5 which means that I have just run for 20 minutes non-stop - if anybody had said to me 5 weeks ago that I would be able to do that I would have thrown back my head and hooted with laughter! And yet, I have just done it and I feel great!

Week 1 I honestly thought I was going to keel over and had to have a little lie down for about half an hour afterwards, I could hardly breathe and that was running in just 60 second bursts!

Week 2 was running for longer but I managed ok. Weeks 3 and 4 were running for longer still and I still managed to do it. Week 5 has been challenging but oh my goodness so so worth it! I can't believe I have got this far and am so looking forward to completing the whole 9 weeks.

I actually look forward to my 'run' days, something I would never have done before! I used to hate exercise, now I am embracing each run and looking forward to it! What has happened to me!!!!! I'll tell you what has happened, I've got fitter, I've trimmed down a bit, and I've got more energy than I used to have.

To anyone considering this programme but who is unsure if they could do can...seriously...if I can do it anyone can! Don't hesitate a moment longer or waste another second, just get your running shoes on and get on with it, you won't regret it for a second! :)

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lapland laura said on 03 August 2013

I completed week 6 today and can't believe I, as an overweight asthmatic, ran consecutively for 25 minutes!!! Can't say enough how great I have found this podcast.

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mollusc said on 29 July 2013

Am really enjoying the C25K programme. Although I walk my dogs every day, I was getting fatter and out of breath as a result. Now my dogs come with me on the run in the mornings and we get some good exercise. The podcasts are excellent - the music helps to keep me going. The only advice I would say is to get proper running shoes. I did week 1 in an old pair of trainers and my ankle was sore, went to a running shop and god some advice on a decent pair of shoes as one of my feet was rolling inwards and haven't looked back since. Really hope I can keep going with this and it changes my outlook on exercise.

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psp2000 said on 21 July 2013

hello guys.i found this program very i am on week anybody know the name of the last music that is played in the week 2 podcast?please please if anyone know the name of that, it begins with this:you've got to hold your head up high keep finding....
thank you.

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Bearcay said on 29 June 2013

I always thought running sounded awful but knew I needed to somehow fit some exercise in. As non-local friends started talking about this plan on facebook I googled it assuming it was a book or something and was inspired when I saw it came with podcasts to help you. It's brilliant! If you'd told me a few months ago that I would be running 25 minutes non-stop starting out by 7am on a Saturday morning I'd have laughed at you but have today completed run 2 of week 7. I had a knee at the end of January last year removing cartilage and had been to the doc's earlier this year with a long varicose vein. It was then I asked if it would be a good/possible thing to run and was reassured that with good shoes it was as would get my circulation going as well as obviously increase my fitness. I don't always do 3 runs a week as my knee started aching, but have never had more than 4 days between runs and not felt the need to repeat any of the programme. I have felt so much fitter, more confident, and trimmer -it's fantastic! After downloading all the podcasts onto my MP3 player I made didn't actually ever check before each run, when the podcast for the next run was to be a different one, what I was due to be doing which I think I found psychologically helpful. The first 25min run at the end of week 7 came as a surprise on a day I ran after getting home from work knowing I had a huge pile of at least 3 hours marking but wanted to get a run in first - I'm glad I didn't expect it or I might not have felt up to it but actually it was brilliant to do before sitting down so long! I have a 3 year old and a 5 year old, teach 3 long days a week but have a very supportive husband. If I get 3 runs in a week one is between getting home from school at putting the kids to bed and dinner- the other two are early one weekend morning and thursday after school and morning nursery drop off. You can fit it in and will be able to do it - thank you Laura and NHS - You're wonderful!

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sheemas said on 18 June 2013

how many calories will i burn in 1st week ..then 2nd and after whole 9 weeks?

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chuck71 said on 18 June 2013

really enjoying the running and as a total novice im very pleased with my progress, just finished week 6 but although my stamina has improved enough for me to do the 25 minute runs im getting a lot of pain in one of my knees, so im worried im doing more harm than good.

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Jill DP said on 14 June 2013

I am a 56 year old female cancer survivor. When I got the cancer I was very unfit and decided I had to change my life aged 51. I started off going for quite slow walks whilst recovering from my operation. I gradually built up so I could cycle 14 miles by the time I went back to work after all the treatment. I found running almost impossible at first, but I went to the local sports centre and got on the treadmill and gradually got fitter, but had reached a sort of plateau. Then I found the couch to 5K plan and decided that I wanted to do the Race for Life without any walking. I did some of the weeks for more than one week - until I felt ready for the next level - but now I can run 5K quite comfortably. I feel great and am very proud of myself. The biggest surprise about getting fit has been the really positive impact it has had on my stress levels and mental health. I may wobble and not look great but I am happy, healthy and hope to live a longer life than I would have done!
You don't have to be a young person to do this programme successfully.

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BGF24 said on 13 May 2013

Age: 24

C25K has given me such a boost. I'm regular gym goer, who used to avoid the treadmill like a plague. I just couldn't run; mentally I couldn't bare running for more than 30 seconds; mental barriers would trigger physical reaction causing aches and pains. But thanks to this fabulous programme I've overcame my fear of jogging/running, now I embrace the treadmill.

However, I noticed I enjoy my jogs better outdoors than indoors, so whenever possible I try to embrace the outdoors, much fun and easier mentally. Plus I love the feeling of jogging down hill after running uphill, it's a great feeling coming down. I've also become one with nature hahaha.

I have just completed week 5 Day 3; let me tell you it feels amazing. That 20 mins run was probably thee most easiest and enjoyable run I have yet completed, I even managed to jog for extra 5 mins at the end. 5 weeks ago if you had told me that I'd be running for 20 mins plus extra 5, with ease I would have not believed it at all. I have kept a diary of my progress and thoughts; absolutely astonished by how much my stamina has grown. I'm recovering quicker, breathing and pacing accurately all thanks to the instructions.

Major mistake I made when I first stated was going jogging with inappropriate trainers; I struggled a lot, had pains and aches. Thankfully, I've invested in specialist running shoes, managed to get them for £30 (sale) , the sales assistant at the store was very helpful , they gave me a great pair of Trainers. Since I've started wearing them I'm jogging better, no more aches and pains; my posture has also improved along with the duration of my runs.

Still have quite few weeks to go, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it and very thankful to NHS C25K for building my confidence. I highly recommend this programme, if you keep at it you can do it, we can do it.. More importantly begin to enjoy running.

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NothingISImpossibleIfYouTryHardEnough said on 05 May 2013

I've just completed my 3rd run of week 3 and feeling unsure of what lies ahead with my performance in week 4. I have to say I feel ready to move on though. That surprises me to say that. At the beginning of the programme I couldnt see how I could even run for 3 minutes...... but I have. Im not your average runner....Im 5 ft 4 and weigh 117kg..........but my dream has always been to run. And I am!!!! I'm veyr slow.... my enitre workout time only averages 3.6mph (that includes the walking phases too)... but so what.....I'm running. Not sure how I will manage over the next few weeks, gonna need some wise words of encouragment but I really wanna do this.....I want to do this for me. Im not doing it for anyone else, and I dont worry what people think who see me out there, cos yes, I run outside.... where everyone can see me!!! I just stick my headphones in and run, so I cant hear what they say anyway. I have a 2 year old border collie who had a total hip replacement when he was just 12 months old, and he runs with me. Hes been through a tough time and if hes able to run then so can I!!! Anyone who thinks they can't.... well you can, just go for it.

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lizfish said on 28 April 2013

Just done my 3rd run of week 3 and feel completely wiped out. The final minute all I wanted to do is stop. I'm hoping I've done some good for the future because 5 mins straight in week 4 is looking quite unlikely right now! I'm 30 ish, and because I'm tall and quite slim people assume I'm also fit. Errr no. Bendy yes, cardio fit? No. Nope. Not even slightly. Training for a 3k fun run in 4 weeks so fingers crossed I will be able to do enough to be able to run the whole thing. It's only 3k I tell myself. I can do it right?

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fatbird45 said on 26 April 2013

I started c25k back in February but i have only reached week 5. I had to repeat week 4 because of missed sessions due to the snow and have repeated week 5 day 1 about 5 times as it doesn't come easy. I finally finished week 5 day 1 last week and felt very proud of myself but then had a holiday so missed a couple of runs so decided to repeat it again today. I have just had the worst run ever. I couldn't complete the first 5 min run at all and ended up walking for much of the second too. Is this because i haven't run for a week? The route i run is quite hilly, but as i always do the same run, thought it would get easier. I have increased the 5 min walk warm up to 10 mins so that i don't start the first run on the steepest hill. Please tell me it will get better as i am losing motivation. I struggle to fit in the 3 runs per week as it is, and i can see myself making excuses not to go now that i have had a bad day. I am putting off starting week 5 day 2 because i know that i won't be able to jump from 5 minute runs to an 8 minute run. Has anyone else struggled like this as all the comments are so positive and every one seems to be able to progress quickly.

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PremierChris said on 20 March 2013

Well I am back after working my way through the struggle of keeping going. It has taken me a bit longer as I had to have two weeks off running because I came down with the flu bug. Anyway I am stil on the treadmill but I did my first 25 minute run last night. Was it hard? - Yes. Did I manage it? YES!!! I was dreading it all day at work yesterday - I just think I over-think it before doing it - 25 minutes seemed such a long time. I have never felt like I have achieved so much as I did last night. When I think that in week one I struggled to do the one and half minutes.
To all of you that are struggling keep going - it is hard but keep going. I still have a long way to go to the finish but at least I am getting there and really proud that I didn't give up even though I felt like doing so - often!
I am really beginning to notice the difference in my shape. I haven't weighed myself but I can tell by my clothes that I am getting into shape - and not before time.
I am doing my runs relatively slowly but I am sticking with it and am really looking forward to the day when I do the full 30 minutes and feel confident about it.

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Happy Running said on 21 February 2013

I have finished the C2-5k plan 6 weeks ago and have been repeating week 9 since build up courage to start the 5+ Stepping Stone program. I could not have imagined myself doing all this. I have never really exercised in my live. Yes, Judo when I was 13....I am 41 now. I am so grateful for this wonderful program. It works! It really works. And yes, it took me longer then 9 weeks to get to this point, but that is really irrelevant. This works so well for me as I go running at the end of the day when the kids are in bed and my husband is babysitting. I use this time to reflect on my day (I work fulltime) and just to have some "me" time. Don't be fooled though, it is not an easy ride! I still struggle, but the feeling I get after completing a run is all the reward I need. Please, have a will be surprised how adaptable your body is. Just trust Laura!!! Thank you NHS!

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Boston til I diet said on 12 February 2013

My brother introduced me to this programme. I am an overweight 49 year old doctor who works far too hard and exercises (past tense) far too little. Like many others I had gone from mountain marathon runner in my late 20s to mid 30s to my present state through injuries, work pressures, childcare, and generally getting older. This programme is one of the best things offered by the NHS. I started in early Jan 2013 and am now into week 4; proving that at 49 you do have to repeat weeks and that work can still get in the way a bit. But I am amazingly finding my old fitness again and feel great - mood so much better than usual for Jan/Feb. Don't be fooled though, the aim of C25K is to get you active; if you want to lose weight dramatically then you do have to cut back on the chips and wine too :-( I have also lost 6kg by doing this in parallel. Fully intend to keep going and encourage others to give it a go.

To the NHS (Laura) I would say that there are lots of couch potatoes ranging in age from those in their 20s to those in their 50s. Really I think there should be about 4 x C25K programmes, graded by age so that you pick the one most appropriate for your age. I am finding in Week 4 that I have had to reduce my running speed from Week 3 to be able to finish the full 35 minutes. Maybe that will come back with time; but maybe it would be better to have programmes targeted by age band??

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TG41 said on 31 January 2013

I too am enjoying the programme and feeling the benefits of getting out into the fresh air. Having completed the first run of week 5, without too many troubles, I still can't imagine I'll be running for a full twenty minutes in a few days! But I trust in the Laura's advance and am looking forward to completing it.

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petal51 said on 30 January 2013

I will be 52 this year, and have just started week 2. Am finding it brilliant, really look forward to the next run. Yes, the hardest bit is getting out of the door, but I say 'just do it' to myself and off we go (me and the dog). I still worry about what peolple think, but being cold weather I wear a hat and go to places where there aren't many people.
Can't believe I will be able to do a 20 minute run in week 5, but Laura says 'trust me' so I am. Will let you know how things go.
Good luck to all and keep going!

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SallyAW said on 28 January 2013

Started C25K on 2nd January, did week 1 twice as I struggled so much the first week (but then, I am almost 58 years old, 5'2" tall and weigh about 19stone) and then it snowed, so I didn't run for more than a week. Went out this morning and thought I'd be back at square one so repeated week 1. I was dreading it, thinking it would be as hard as it was the first time, when I couldn't complete all of the 8 one minute runs. Well, I was wrong, I did them all, and it was easier than the last time I did them. So, plan to do the complete week one again this week and move on to week 2 next.

I, too, am worried about people seeing me lumbering around - but as I am now beginning to feel the difference, oddly enough I think I may be rather more confident - so that when the mornings get lighter (currently running at 5.15am with the dogs) I won't mind people seeing me. And I am actually looking forward to running in the Spring!!

C25K - I really believe you can add life to my years and years to my life!

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manchester80 said on 25 January 2013

After 3 years of no exercise i decided to go for a run around the block... i was nearly sick! Someone at work pointed me to this workout.

Im on week 3 now and really enjoying the progress. I feel i could go further but im still sticking to the programme. The first week was the worse for me, i had excruciating lower back pain which could have easily stopped me running but i continued and dont get any pain anymore!

I agree with last comment - you dont have to do this in 9 weeks, repeat weeks should you need to! And to Premierchris... out doors in my opinion is 100% better than treadmill. If you dont like street running try a large field. My wife has started too and she hasnt excercised in the 8 years we have been married and she is finding this really useful. Each week she says she doesnt know how she will get to the next step but she does!

Good Luck all... remember the first couple of weeks just getting out the house is the hardest!! :D

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Ren124 said on 23 January 2013

@premierchris.... I know you must feel like everyone would be watching you if you tried this programme in the great outdoors and whilst they do glance over sometimes, it's nothing you can't look beyond. People really aren't that interested in you running. You can't let that fear of the unknown ruin the chance you have to make a change in this new year! Sure, the treadmill is great 'all from the comfort of your own home' and all but getting out there really helps and is will help build up your confidence. You don't have to be running really fast in the "run" sections... In week one I was asking it very slowly, baby steps and it still helped build up my stamina! And if your struggling on week 3 go back to previous podcasts- nothing wrong with repeating week 1 even until you feel comfortable to moves on. I did 'week 1' for about 3 weeks!! You just have to release your inhibitions and just go for it! Best of luck, I really hope you are your running journey outside:)

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PremierChris said on 15 January 2013

I am just about to go into week 3 and am finding this really hard. I am doing it on a treadmill as don't have the confidence to venture outside of the house running - or trying to. My problem is that I don't feel safe on the treadmill and find the only way I can complete my runs is to hold on the the treadmill but I have read that this is not ideal. I am going to try and keep going and will come back with an update. Any advice would be great.

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caj62 said on 06 January 2013

I completed the plan about 4 weeks ago, and am thrilled to bits. From hardly being able to run for one minute, to running to 30 minutes and covering 5k, unbelieveable. I never believed I could do it, until I got to about week 6, and after completing the final run of that week, I began to believe it might be possible. To anyone just starting, stick with it. Take your time, don't put yourself under unrealistic pressure and understand that you will have days when it is easier to run than others and you will be fine. Listen to Laura! Good luck!

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ghostboy said on 01 January 2013

Tomorrow, 2/01/2013, i am going to complete the C25K programme. If you'd have asked me 9 weeks ago, while running the 60 second stints out of breath and with snot streaming down my face, that i'd be able to run solidly for 30 minutes, i'd have laughed in your face.
Now i'm about to go for my 27th run of the programme and i'm loving it. I've done this through christmas and don't regret it, although it was always harder after nights out, or a few sherbets.
I created my own playslist as i thought the music provided was awful, but the idea of the plan is still there.
For all you Newbies out there, please stick with the plan, it does work. The last time i ran proper was at school, 18 years ago, well i did run for that bus once :)
Twitter is a good place for support, this is global now and people are tweeting from the tree tops. I wish you all the best, and if you don't have a new years resolution, try the plan, and if you are doing it already, stick with it.

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Tascha86 said on 26 October 2012

Hi, I am about to start week 2 this evening & love it. I have been running with my greyhound, which has helped keep me motivated.

I just wanted to check - I have been doing alternate days, i.e. Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun, Tues, Thurs, etc. Is this the right thing to do?

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Tascha86 said on 26 October 2012

I have completed week 1 & am about to go onto week to this afternoon. I am loving it!

Thanks! I have been taking my greyhound on the runs with me & he loves it too :)

Just wondering - I am doing it every other day, ie. Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun, Tues, Thurs, Sat, etc. Is this the riight way to do it?

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24hoursisneverenough said on 18 October 2012

Where have the couchto5k podcasts gone from the itunes website? Half of them have suddenly vanished. What has happened? I have been recommneding this programme but now if you search itunes you only get the couch25k+....

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bbeatle said on 06 August 2012

I am now on Wk 5 and finding it easier as i progress, wks 1 and 2 i found to be the most difficult, im now 51 and not done any type of exercise for well over 10 years.
This exercise coupled with a more balanced diet i have already lost a stone and i wasnt massively overweight either, i think i need to lose another 1/2 stone to be within my desired BMI range.
really getting a buzz from the running.

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geribeliever said on 31 July 2012

I have just got onto week 9 and i have to say a huge thank you ! i never ever thought that i could run for that distance - i have been doing mine on a treadmill at home and have been out once on my own and was a bit out of breath on my return but over all the whole process has been very addictive - i now love it and have lost half a stone and feel so much better for this i have started i am not giving up - i did buy proper running shoes which are amazing and is like running on air .....Thank you Laura for all your support on the podcasts - what a amazing podcast it has been and what a great experience - i am sad that you will no longer be with me on my runs laura but thank you for this brand new door that you have opened to me .....

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Katiedid said on 13 July 2012

I want to say thank you. I had looked at a few C25K podcasts and then came accross this one. It was calmer and less 'pumped' but still with lots of self belief in it. Laura was a wonderful influence (the music was not my choice but that was only for 9 weeks). I started in February and now 5 months later a do a 1 hour run a week and 2 shorter runs of 30-45 min. I couldn't run for a minute when I started. I have lost 3 stone, my bloodressure (which was borderline high) and pulse are back to normal and I feel great. My cholesterol has also come down to fantastically low too.

I now know what a runners high is.


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Little Betty said on 05 July 2012

I completed C25K the first time in early December 2011 then January this year had to stop jogging as I was struck down by Sciatica which crippled me for 2 months. I gradually got the pain under control and my mobility back but missed my jogging. After checking with my doctor I started C25K all over again. I only did 2 runs of weeks 1, 2 & 3 as I felt good and able to move onto the next week, I had after all done it before. I completed C25K for the second time in May but during the programme I discovered the wonderful website called while on week 7. I now have hundreds of like minded friends, all of us exchange tips, encouragement stories and experiences of our runs etc. Its a truely wonderful site and I have gone from being a lone runner to a runner with many friends from all over the world who I can share my thoughts, words, experiences and hopefully some knowledge too.

Thank you to all the team at NHS C25K for making this possible and thank you too to all the people who post on the web site. We are all looking forward to the new Podcasts being released hopefully later this month. I;m 62 next birthday and fitter now than I was in my 30's.
Here are a few words that sum up my feelings for this wonderful programme.

I'm just like a greyhound, fast and sleek!!
I jog all the time but have to dig real deep
To find the strength to decrease my time
I'm proud of my achievements as I'm in my prime

I did it with the help of my friends at NHS
Without them I'd now be a terrible mess
I love to run, I can even travel quite far
I just use my feet now and not the car

Couch to 5K you have changed my life
Its been a journey without too much strife
So those who are struggling I say to you
If I can do it so can all of you too.

Little Betty a.k.a. Old Girl

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Paul Dixon said on 04 July 2012

Just completed the plan and feel great!

I enjoyed hiking, but never thought of myself as a runner. The early runs were tougher than I thought, but the step changes in running time help to train your mind as well as your body.

Two things helped me deal with pain early on: I went to a proper running shop and had my gait analysed. Shop owner had lots of advice and I was able to try out lots of suitable shoes on a treadmill. You will pay a bit more in a shop like that than online, but it's well worth it. Once you know what shoes work for you, you can replace them more cheaply online, but go an support a local small business if you can :)

Second thing was I switched to running offroad - bridleways and fields are much softer than the pavement!

I am now noticeably fitter, and it seems to have given my metabolism a kick - I'm losing around 1lb a week. I'm still overweight at 15st but things are heading steadily in the right direction!

So I'd highly recommend the training programme, and I'd defintely recommend the NHS podcasts. I think I'm going to miss Laura's encouraging words....but I will continue and work up to 10k now!

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Jerry Hall said on 29 June 2012

Just finished the whole plan and really enjoyed it. Feel a lot fitter, lost some weight and enjoying doing some regular exercise again. Combined the plan with some cycling which seemed to help stiffness in my joints. Am looking to do a local 5k run soon. I am 51 and although I did a lot of sport when I was younger - I haven't done much for a number of years. Was anxious about starting the plan - but it really works and it's worth sticking to it.

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Ed Jones said on 19 June 2012

NHS Couch to 5k, Session 1, Week 1, done - belying if I said it didn't hurt, coz it did.
Some may say however, that the first one is one of the toughest to get out of the way, so I'm pleased to have got through it.
It's been a while !!!!

Thanks to my eldest brother Will for bringing this plan to my attention as a help to try and get fit and lose wait. I know he means well and is only trying to look out for his brother.

Thanks also to the NHS for this brilliant podcast.

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cdjl said on 13 June 2012

I done my first Week 9 run last night - and I made it . 30 mins and 5k. This programme is fantastic. 9 weeks ago I could not make more than 1 minute without being out of breath. I have recently lost 5.5 stone and this was on my programme to getting fit and well - and it definitely works. Thank you Laura for supporting me over the 9 weeks. Just wish there was a 5k to 10k programme on this site to keep me going.

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Jossykate said on 12 June 2012

The last time I ran was about 10 years ago with my PE teacher shouting at me!
The first run I couldn't even do 60 seconds without dying. I did a 20 minute run yesterday without stopping!!
Seriously if I can do this anyone can!! Just keep on with it.

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sheffmark said on 18 May 2012

I'm new to the c25k programme and have completed week one!
I start on week 2 / Day 1 tomorrow!
Loving it so far though!

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withanee67 said on 15 May 2012

I wanted to encourage everybody to give this a go. I'm 44, obese (size 20), never run before, not previously sporty in any way and very joyful and delighted to have just completed week 1. I've a goal to run a 3 or 5k fun run in September as a surprise for my very fit, whippet-like, half-marathon runner partner.

Day 1 was hard - I did it on my own with rubbish shoes and an even more rubbish bra. Struggled to run for 1 minute and gasped my way through the walking sections
Day 2 with proper shoes, brand new sports bra and my 10 yr old son to encourage me was great fun and infinitely easier.
Day 3 and we're old hands at it already!

My advice, get some proper gear and give it a go!

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emmamcc said on 06 May 2012

ive just completed week 1 of this!! i am in the "obese" category despite being sporty, and have taken the decision to sort my diet out and improve my fitness and lose weight. day 1 really surprised me how hard it was, but by the end of today (day 3) i really pushed myself to go that bit faster. bring on week 2!! for anyone really embarassed about starting- i too was the same!! but once i got out on my first run, i put my earphones in and zoned in to the run! you will too!! you can do it!! everyone give it a go!

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ewhillis said on 02 May 2012

Many thanks for this program! Can you tell me the name of the last song played on the week 4 podcast, or the name of the artist?

The song begins with lyrics like these:
"see the world is yours now,
see the sun in the sky,
see the open window through which you fly".


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SarahPO said on 18 April 2012

Hi, I just wanted to comment to say well done everyone who has started the couch to 5k plan!!

I started the plan about a year and I half ago with some friends and we loved it. It eased us into running gently and we had a lot of fun.

Since finishing the plan we ran the sheffield 10K run last october and I am in training for the sheffield half marathon this May.

I would never have imagined I could run 5k, never mind be preparing for a half marathon but the couch to 5k plan really got me motivated. Unlike other times I tried to start running I really felt like I was achieving something. I could see my progress and the running went up in manageable chunks.

I have never been fitter. I cannot recommend these podcasts enough. Good luck everyone!!

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imofftowalkthedog said on 11 April 2012

Yesterday I completed week 5 of the plan and I feel fantastic. I used to run years ago before I had 3 children and a lateral release on my right knee (ouch!) but I never really enjoyed it. The longest I ever ran for was 20 boring-as-hell minutes on a treadmill.
I'm so glad I decided to give this a go, armed with my ipod and a good knee support, at my local park with a path around which is just 1mile. I was so proud of myself yesterday when I completed almost 2 laps without stopping! That is something I never thought I would do considering my first week I was panting at doing 60 seconds running!
I'm looking forward to completing the plan and am hoping to do a 5k event in the near future.
If you're considering doing this but are unsure, all I would say to you is give it a go, you just might surprise yourself!

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fizzibeth said on 10 April 2012

I've just completed week 5 of the podcasts and can't believe that after only 5 weeks I'm able to run for 20 minutes!!! I've signed up for a race for life 5k at the end of May and am feeling really positive about being able to run (well jog really ) the whole distance. Although I cannot say that I am yet enjoying running I am enjoying the sence of achievement it is giving me, and would recomend this programme to anyone who like me says I'm not a runner or I havent run since I was 15 I cant do really makes it possible and you do notice an improvement in your ability and stamina and recovery times. Try it what have you got to lose? :)

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boyoracer said on 04 April 2012

Just finished week 3 of Podcast. Can't believe the change in how I feel. I am having a big problem with where I am running as there is not alot of flat surfaces.(only 1in1 hills 80m elevations) It is making it harder for me to complete each week,but I am just more determined to do it.
This is one of the best ways to get out and get running. Only getting encouragement from all my friends(who have just done some half marathons).
I have been looking locally to do some 5k park runs as a goal after completing this. Who knows where I'll go from there.
If your not doing this then why not? The only obstacle is in your own mind. You can do it.

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chimpychamps said on 03 April 2012

Just completed my week one! Whoop!
I done the 1st session on tarmac, 2nd on treadmill and 3rd on tarmac. Really am chuffed with myself as always had issues with not being able to run and now i can (well a little at present) Have been up and out on the roads at 5.45am in the morning before work which is really nice to have the roads to myself and listen to the birds singing. I take note on what I have seen along my route to amuse my mind as I am running/walking and find this helps with involving my partner as he asks what I have seen and improves my motivation. Also good for neighbour hood watching!
Looking forward to my week 2 - The pod cast is a great help, thank you NHS for this.

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MrsBristow said on 19 March 2012

I have just completed Week 2 Run 1 and am feeling very proud of myself. I really stuggled with Week 1 Run 1 but perservered and was so pleased to have completed the 3 runs on Week 1. I really look forward to going out each time now and hopefully by the end of the plan, i will be running 5k! I haven't done any exercise in years and am desperate to lose weight...will leave another comment after i have completed Week 9!

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NKH71 said on 19 March 2012

Completed the C25K last August & again last month. Just ran in my first 5k race yesterday & completed it in 34 mins 24 secs! V proud of myself! Thank you!

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Flickstar said on 13 March 2012

Thank you for such a great program. I was honestly a "couch potato" and am currently on Week 8 and I'm still astonished at what I have achieved so far. It is a fabulous way to easily and gradually increase fitness. The first time I had to run for 5 minutes I must admit I thought I wouldn't make it, but I surprised myself! This morning I ran for 28 minutes (a light jog really), but the great sense of achievement at the end of the workout is like no other. Laura is a fantastic coach and it was great to have her encourage me through the podcast - it really is motivating.
Thank you for giving me my fitness back. :)
From Australia.

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Trabbs Boy said on 13 March 2012

I'm only on week 3, but I had to write to say I LOVE this program! Thank you so much, NHS and Laura!

I am 50 and way fat, and I have bad feet and knees and I've never really liked exercise since I used to run back when I was half my age and half my weight. But I got my doctor's okay, and decided to give it a try. I bought good shoes, I do more of a fast shuffle than a real jog, and I ice my knees after each session, and I feel like a GOD! The only pain I feel is the pain of building muscle. My knees and feet are actually feeling better than before I started.

I love Laura's positive encouragement -- such a great change from the drill-sergeant style of so many fitness instructors! Every time I finish a session, I feel like I'm being rewarded with the opportunity to do it again in a couple of days!

And J3nesis, what I did to avoid embarrassment was to find the nearest upper middle class neighbourhood, where I don't know anybody, and I run the side streets. There aren't a lot of people, and they're all too busy or too well bred for catcalls. I also ran in the evenings after it got dark, but the gods suddenly cursed us with daylight savings time, so no more luck there. Of course, the best thing to do would be to hold head proud and remember that you are, in fact, perfection already. If large numbers of morons have a different sense of ideal beauty, one can only pity them their ignorance.

All the best to you fellow C25Kers!

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J3nesis said on 07 March 2012

I would really like to try this, given all the positive comments, as I've managed to gain 3 dress sizes and put on 2 stone in 1 year from starting an office job. However the thought of going outside and running, with everyone staring at me, with my fat bits all wobbling, makes me feel physically sick. I can't afford to join a gym. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to exercise where people can't see me? I'm in London.

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angelamittal said on 07 March 2012

I started today C25K, I'm based in The Netherlands, after being in a stressful job i became a type 2 diabetic. A vicious circle to say the least never enough time to eat properly stress level too high and piling on the pounds. After hearing about this challenge from a friend of mine doing it thought I would try this out.

Today was my first day and had real issues completing it. my shins are hurting like mad, stretching was painful afterwards.... but i am going back out there with my puppy tomorrow morning. Lets hope he doesn't get bored again like he did this morning.

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camdenguy said on 05 March 2012

I started the couch to 5K programme back in August 11 and I am now running 25-30K a week and regually do 10K runs. It does work! It is a great way of loosing weight. My advice though is to run with a heart rate monitor and read up on how to use it. It is very easy to over train and that can be counter productive.

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B3any_boy said on 10 February 2012

i started the programme 2 weeks ago, first day out I developed a cold which sat on my chest and being asthmatic kind of killed me.

However, as soon as I was fit, I went out and did a second week 1 run. While still tight, completed the run easily.

I've skipped the last week and gone to week 2 as it was ok. I seem to have a reasonable level of endurance, but is doing this ok? I finished the run ok, and going out tomorrow morning.

Alternate running and Zumba, again is this ok?

Feeling brilliant at the moment. My other running chums are very encouraging and impressed with me.

I have a 5k endurance race in about 6 weeks, have I left it too late, or is there a way of accelerating the programme?

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Carole C said on 29 January 2012

Hi all, I just want to say that I started the C25K last September, got through it and started the B210K immediately after. I'm now on a 10mile training plan and am entered into a five mile run in Exmouth next week. I just want to say to all you people who have just started that you can do this...I have never been a runner in my life and am now running 4 times a week.

Stick with the plan, trust in Laura, and even the Wk5R3 will not be beyond you. Have faith.

My best tips are:

1) Get the right shoes, go to a specialist running shop and get your gait analysed. I can't stress enough that the right shoes are very important. You will thank me - honest.
2) Pace yourself, it's better to finish the run than kill yourself trying to keep the speed up.
3) Observe at least one rest day between runs, no matter how keen you are. Running every day leads to injury.

And above all, don't give up - keep running!

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ausencia47 said on 20 January 2012

Hiya - I would like to encourage all those who are finding the programme difficult at the moment - to dig in and stick with it. I took up the Couch 2 5K programme just before Christmas and I've gone from not being able to run for more than 1 minute to running for 25mins. Its hard and there will be days when you just won't feel like getting on that treadmill or running outside - but keep going. It will be well worth it in the end. I've set myself two goals this year. One is to run a 3K in May and then the 5K Race for Life.

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Buckslady said on 08 January 2012

Just finished week 1 but will be repeating until I get more comfortable with it. At the moment it I have found it so hard it is embarrassing! But I keep telling myself it will never be this hard again. Using very old trainers so I am going to buy a pair of running shoes tomorrow so maybe my calves won't feel so bad! Any feedback, support or advice warmly welcomed!

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User177661 said on 07 October 2011

Ive just completed week 5 run 3 - when i first started the plan running for 60 seconds was almost impossible - today i ran for 20 minutes! Massive achievement for me. I am hoping to be running 5km 3 times a week easily and in the new year look at doing a 5km - 10km training plan, can anyone recommend any good podcasts like Lauras for 5km - 10km, im struggling to find one and have caught the running bug - oh and ive lost 5lbs this week, i can only assume down to running alone due to lack of biscuits in the tin! Good luck eveyone, you can do it keep it up

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horseman55 said on 20 September 2011

I started this programme in mid July and am now running three times a week for 30 minutes each time. I'm 55 and had never done any structured exercise before, so this does work. I use software on my phone to track distance and times and am doing over 5k each time within 30 minutes. Still using the week 9 podcast but am now looking for a programme to get me up to 10k. I also feel and look much better for the running!

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JaneEyre said on 08 September 2011

You exercise then have a rest day. I have been running 3 times a week so miss two days once a week.

I am in the middle of week 8. Running for 28 minutes. I found the jump from running then walking to all running a bit of a challenge but quite quickly it has begun to feel fine once I get going at a steady, slow jog. I find the treadmill easier than outdoors but its more interesting in the park. Really felt good last twice I ran and not tiring at all. I can even speed up at the end.

I feel very proud of myself. I am 50 and had not done any excerised for a couple of years so was delighted that I could keep up with the training. I think it is a fantastic programme because I have never felt exhausted like I have done when I tried to get myself to run in the past. Thanks to the designers of this programme and to NHS for making it available.

I just hope I can keep it up now and gradually speed up a bit. Half an hour is a manageable time commitment for me.

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pdjd1970 said on 04 September 2011

I have now completed this and feel very good. Up to 35 minutes and 4 miles (6k). Have to say, being 41 now, I did feel it necessary to leave 2 days in between all runs and I think that helps me recover better for the next run. I also stretch after every run which is so important for recovery. Good luck to all...

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Capt Mom said on 04 September 2011

Started this program back in June, but quit after the first week. My body hurt all over. I had surgergy on my neck a year ago March (had to have two discs removed and replaced) and haven't really done any physical activity in almost 2 years. Still have lower back problems as well.

Well I decided to try again. I completed the last run of week one today (again). I feel better this time, so I went out today and bought me a new pair of running shoes. Hopefully these shoes will provide more cushion and cause less strain on the body. (Asics Nibmus gel 12) Has anyone tried these shoes?

I really don't like running. Never have. It has never been easy for me, even when I was 18. (I love to swim) I am 45 now and have a few extra pounds on me (5'5" at 135). Unfortunately running is not an option for me. I am in the military and have a fitness test I have to pass in October. My have to run 1.5 miles in 18 minutes or less. Sorry, I don't know the conversions. Is that 2.5K? (Live in the USA)

Trying to keep myself motivated. I asked my husband to go running with me, but I'm a morning person and he's not. I live in the heartland of the US and it is very hot an humid right now. It was 102 degrees today, so you have to run before the sun comes up or after it goes down. My daughters boyfried said he would go with me and he did this morning. I was nice having someone else to run with me, even though he is 23 and could run circles around me. He's a nice young man and stayed with me at my pace.

I'm glad I found this program and I really like this web site. Laura sounds very encouraging or at least it sounds like Laura. Love the music. I find myself trying to run or really jog to the beat. I am just concerned that I am not jogging fast enough to reach my goal for my military fitness test. Which week do I need to get to by mid to late October to reach my goal of 1.5 miles in 18 minutes? Week 2 here I come!

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bookworm35 said on 24 August 2011

this program is perfect for me, i have just started it an tomorrow i do the third run on week one. i never thought i would be able to complete the first run but i did and cried at the end! i take my dog with me so i look like im there running after the dog makes me feel less self conscious. just this week i have lost 5 pound and i am now feeling muscles i havent felt for years. on the days off from running i swim to try an help the aching leg muscles to relax.

keep up the good work all my fellow fatty runners :-)

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NKH71 said on 21 August 2011

I just reached week 9 of the couch to 5k program - this is quite an achievement for a 40 year old couch potato! Very proud of myself - thank you!

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kaylala said on 15 August 2011

"morbidly obese". according to the doctors that's my weight band. after initially laughing at my sister who is fit and healthy when she suggested this programme to me i got quite addicted to the website. i figured the worst thing that could happen is that i wasted 30 quid on a pair of trainers i will only use once... however, although i was not fit enough to take each week as a new week, i have just completed my first "week three" run ( after 5 weeks of doing the programme) im over the moon! looking forward to attempting week four, but think i will do week three for two weeks first. i know its not the conventional way of doing it, however just wanted to say how well i feel i am doing, considering i have never ran for a bus, forget for fun and fitness, i am a 17 stone something, 20 something 5 foot 5 girl, and managed what i thought was the impossible, so even you fatties out there like me, have no excuses, if i can do it, so can you, good luck!! hopefully it wont take me till christmas to get to week nine!

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noonoo76 said on 23 July 2011

I am on week 5 and have completed the first run. I didn't think 5 weeks ago I would get to this stage as could only run for about 40 seconds before collapsing so every run I complete I feel proud of myself and can't wait to complete the rest of the runs. I have lost a small amount of weight but poeple have commented on my body shapes change and also I feel more healthy and would recommend this podcast to every1. Good luck and keep motivated its worth it!

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Kaymark said on 15 July 2011

I have just finished week2, this is my second attempt at C25K as I had to stop at week2 a couple of months ago due to swollen ankles and sore knees - I rested well and invested in some correct running shoes and feel great about to start week3. I worried i'm going to struggle at week5!

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val445ncl said on 08 July 2011

@ vegas999 I was a vegetable before starting the programme. Am now on week 5. I exercise whenever I feel like it. I do aim to run twice every day but I always end up running only in the evening. I guess that's good too. Better than nothing.

I guess everyone should run when they think it's best and raise the bar when they're sure it's safe to do so.
Have you tried browsing through the forum? There's plenty of advice there from fellow runners. I found it useful whenever I felt like giving up :D

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rbow0603 said on 06 June 2011

Hi, I was never into running either, however have followed the plan and now running 25 mins without stopping!!! 1st run was very hot and sweaty and I worried I would never be able to do it but I can!!! A nd believe me if I can anybody can!!!
It is recommended to allow your body a days rest inbetween runs.
Good luck!!

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vegas999 said on 02 June 2011

I have never really been into running but since getting a desk job I have put on a lot of weight (aiming to lose 3 stones) and my fitness is non existent.

stupid question but do I exercise every other day or every day during the week ?

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