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Am newish to running and was hoping for a bit of insight into average times it has taken people to complete each stage of the Couch to 5K program and how strictly people generally follow the program.
I used to be incredibly fit approximately 10 years ago; competed at State and National level for a number of different sports. Even during that period however, I never managed to succeed with endurance running. Being fit I managed relatively well but really struggled to improve and push myself to go further or last longer and so gave up.
Over the years my fitness has really dwindled and the last 6 months I've hit rock bottom. I'm very outdoorsy but am now struggling to enjoy the things I love doing the most because of my incredibly poor fitness level. I have decided that to get to this stage is just ridiculous and if I want to enjoy life the way I like it I need to be much fitter again. I thought the best way to motivate me would be to tackle an old goal that I never reached, even at my peak, so that I can feel a real sense of achievement.
I completed my first run tonight and my Week 1 Day 1 results were 3.54km in 30 minutes, averaging 8.25 minutes per km. I suspect this may be quite slow and not a great distance covered but I'm glad that I've started and have a real goal. I really have no indicator though, so was hoping people can either share their results or point me in the direction of where people have already shared results.
My second question is how strictly people stick to the program. I'm content to stick to the exact walking & jogging times for each session, but only 3 times per week doesn't feel like enough. Does anyone have any feedback on whether they tried to do more and recommend against it or whether it was successful with them. I'm tossing up between repeating the same weekly routine more than 3 times in the one week, or whether I forget the 'weeks' and just focus on the workout number. I.e. If I do a fourth run this week, I move onto the fourth workout routine.
While I feel I didn't get an amazing result for my first run, I am extremely glad that it appears to be a very encouraging program and didn't once wish it were over and that has made me quite excited about run number 2!
Basic recommendation: DO NOT RUN ON CONSECUTIVE DAYS! Your body needs time to recover from the stresses running places on it. That's what the non-running days allow. Running on consecutive days can be an invitation to injury if your body is not ready for it. If you competed at a high level in any sport you must be familiar with the concept of recovery. The C25K runs are hard workouts at this point. The program is designed to give you a progressive introduction to steady running. The off days give you time to recover between workouts. Don't obsess about how far or how fast you're going - again, an invitation to injury. After you complete the program is the time to consider going farther or faster - usually not both at the same time. Running is always about progressive improvement if you want to avoid injury.
Good luck, and happy and injury-free running.
I recalculated your time in miles and came up with 2.2 miles in 30 minutes or 13:38 per mile. If you're including walking breaks, I'd call that pretty darn good!
I'm not familiar with the program other than to know you're gradually increasing your running time as you decrease walking, 'til you're running 3 miles non-stop.
Early on, don't be in a hurry, take the days off as Len has suggested. Your heart, your lungs, your legs and just about every other part of your body has to adapt to this new stress you're throwing at it.
What's so awesome about this though, is that it WILL adapt and you'll get stronger. Just take your time and let it happen.
Later, there are all sorts of programs that'll help you become a distance runner. Distances of 10k, 1/2 marathon and even marathon programs all take you through the same progession of starting easy and building as the program you're following now.
The last thing you need is an injury and right now you're very susceptible to one, so take it slow.
And good luck!
Enjoy life, this ain't a rehearsal...
Alright, thanks guys. I'll stick with the plan exactly as it is. I'll add some brisk walking in two of the 'recovery' days as I have a real motivation problem if I don't create a daily routine, but I won't do extra running.
I don't really feel like i'm obsessing about the speed or distance I was just hoping to get some kind of indication of what level I'm at. I might do a bit of googling to see what info is out there.
I've just started the same plan today. I used to run a lot before kids, about 8 yrs ago now and tried to get back into running several times since. The reason I have failed is because I tried to do too much too soon and get frustrated I can't run like I used to and get injured. This time I will follow the Cto5K plan by the book as I want to get back into it properly and for life.
Some things are worth waiting for and doing properly.
Ditto to what Len said. I didn't follow the plan and did days one and two back to back and I am SORE. I'm going back to power walking for a few days to give my legs a chance to recover before doing W1D3.
When I did C25K I followed the plan but I would do about a 30 minute walk on the my off days between runs. I preferred this because I wanted to make sure I was still getting out and moving on those off days, but for me it also helped by making sure I stuck to waking up and getting out at a set time every morning. For me it worked out fine, but I know others have said they would start getting some joint issues if they didn't take their days off.
I did the C25k plan starting last July and wrote a blog post on it after my first run in September that talks about how closely I did and didn't follow it and some of my general thoughts on the program -
Overall I TOTALLY agree with everyone who is saying not to run consecutive days, it affected my motivation and my endurance when I tried to do anything back to back, and I agree with jeb that it's helpful to walk some on days in between but especially in the beginning I found it better not to run more than three times a week.
I think it's great that you're trying the C25K program again - it's totally worth doing, just be flexible and have a good time, when I pushed too hard that's when I worried that I would quit.
I just ran a new year's run and wrote about some of my experiences running after the C25K program if you're interested in seeing a funny running photo that'll make anyone feel better you can access it here http://kellysnormal.blogspot.com/2013/01/its-time-to-start-running.html
Happy running and good luck!
Visit my motivational running blog geared towards other new runners at http://www.iamrunningthis.com!
Couch to 5K graduate, September 2012
First 10K, June 2nd, 2013
Training for my first half marathon on September 14, 2013!
I'm about the opposite to all the other advice here. I completed the 9 weeks of Couch to 5K in about 6 weeks. I did 5 runs a week most weeks, and some days ran 2-3 days in a row. I think as long as you listen to your body, stretch and eat well, it could be fine - but that's just what worked for me so YMMV.