Life after Couch to 5K

If you’ve taken on the challenge of the Couch to 5K plan and completed it, well done!

You must be feeling a great sense of achievement, not to mention being fitter and healthier.

Now that C25K has got you into regular runs, the challenge is not to lose this life-enhancing habit. One way of staying motivated beyond C25K is to find a new focus.

Keep on running

Running podcasts
Keep on running with the 5K+ podcast series, designed for Couch to 5K graduates. Each 5K+ podcast provides a structured run with running music and coaching to develop your running technique, speed and stamina.

Work on technique
How about fine tuning your running style? Working on your running technique will help make your runs feel less tiring, reduce your risk of injury and ultimately be more enjoyable. Read our 10 tips on how to run correctly.

Make it a social event
A running club is the perfect way to commit to running regularly. Most clubs have running groups for different levels, including beginners. Clubs are also a great way to find running partners to run with outside of club sessions. Find a running group near you using Run England or UK Athletic's club search.

Read the stories of three Couch to 5K graduates – Julia Dallyn, Aftab Sarwar and Lorraine Beavis – who have gone to join parkrun, which organises free, weekly, timed 5km runs around the country.

Plan your next challenge
Why not sign up for a running event to stay motivated for your weekly runs? Setting yourself fitness challenges such as a 5K or 10K run is one way to keep going. Find a running event near you.

A change of scenery
You could try a different environment – if you’ve been running in the streets, for example, try to find a green space, such as a park, to run in. You could also try varying the terrain. Look for some hills in your local area and give yourself a bit of a challenge.

Try something new

Now you’ve tackled running, why not think about other sports you could try? You don’t have the excuse of being unfit anymore, and you’ve proved to yourself that you can train your body to do something different.

As Robin Gargrave of Central YMCA points out, there are all kinds of fitness: "Running is very good for the muscular endurance of your legs and your cardiovascular fitness, but you could try, for instance, some resistance training for your upper body strength.

"You could join a gym or get some equipment for use at home, so that you begin to develop a much more all-round type of fitness."

You could try Strength and Flex a five-week plan to improve your strength and flexibility, which can also benefit your running.

Check out the video workouts in the NHS Fitness Studio. Take your pick from among 20 instructor-led classes in our aerobics, strength and resistance, pilates and yoga categories.

Our Fitness section is brimming with practical ideas to help you fit more activity into your day, such as our 10-minute workouts and gym-free routines.

Or you could roll the dice and try What's Your Sport?, a fun quiz to help you find the sport you're best suited to.

Page last reviewed: 15/09/2014

Next review due: 15/09/2016


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The 2 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

vendredimanche said on 22 September 2014

Couch to 5k is a fabulous programme. Like many others here, I went from no exercise at all to running regularly! The benefits have been incredible: I lost 2 dress sizes through regular running and watching my diet. Friends, family - but also colleagues have been commenting on how well I look. To anyone thinking about doing it: please do!!
I am still running on the week 9 podcast I don't want to leave Laura just yet! I am about to download the stamina / speed/ stepping stone podcasts - but what about a 5k to 10k podcast? Ideally with Laura's friendly and encouraging voice and some fun music as the couch to 5k programme. Does this exist already?

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Rich P said on 20 January 2014

I completed the couch to 5k programme getting on for 2 years ago now. This was from doing absolutely no physical exercise apart from the occasional long walk since I left school 10 years ago. I decided to start running after putting on some weight and was generally feeling quite lousy. To begin with it was quite tough, but I pushed through it to completion. Having signed up for a 5k race that year also helped keep the interest there.
After completing the C25K programme I went straight into a 10k training programme as I had effectively become addicted to running. I managed to lose 10kg as a result of running and this has also lead to a healthier diet. After my 5k race in which I came 11th place (a surprise to me) I signed up for a Half-Marathon which I completed within a year of doing the C25K programme and I am now training for a Marathon.
I am so pleased to have got into running through the C25K programme and would encourage you to continue training. Find a training plan that suits your lifestyle and set new goals each time one has been completed.

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