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9347 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Nov 26, 2013 9:43 AM by ScheerVegas
rcollett52 Rookie 1 posts since
Nov 8, 2013
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 8, 2013 10:48 AM

Taking on "Couch to 5K" any advice

Well, I was reading a thread posted back in 2010 about over 50 and 5K.  Interesting, but most of the information related to people who already RUN.  I am a Newbie to running as an idea of sport.  Other than playing tennis, softball, working out with Jazzercise, Step Aerobics, Yoga and Hiking in my lifetime, I haven't been a runner per se.  I am looking for advice from those in my age range or there abouts and who started newly running during that time.  What can I expect?


I am fairly healthy, somewhat overweight, but strong physically.  My goal is to become dedicated to exercise that will drive me to be active because I desire to move and be in good physical health, at a good body weight and increase my stamina and heart health.


I am just over 60, but young at heart and will take on challenges with full gusto!  Again any advice welcomed!  Thanks everyone,

  • shipo Legend 499 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Nov 8, 2013 11:48 AM (in response to rcollett52)
    Taking on "Couch to 5K" any advice

    Congratulations on the C25K thing. 


    Regarding advice, given that you're already pretty physically fit, the best advice I can give is, "Don't embellish!"  Said another way, work the plan as it is designed; lots of folks who push it too fast and/or add other items to the workouts (sprints, hill-drills, stairs...) often get hurt.  The thing is, nothing prepares the body for the stresses associated with running except running.  Your muscles and cardiovascular systems may well be strong enough to run faster than your bones, ligaments, tendons and joints are ready for, so take it easy, work your way into becoming a runner, and enjoy the process.

    Fat old man PRs:

    • 1-mile (point to point, gravity assist): 5:50
    • 2-mile: 13:49
    • 5K (gravity assist last mile): 21:31
    • 5-Mile: 37:24
    • 10K (first 10K of my Half Marathon): 48:16
    • 10-Mile (first 10 miles of my Half Marathon): 1:17:40
    • Half Marathon: 1:42:13
  • Kelly1066 Pro 144 posts since
    Jul 12, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Nov 8, 2013 11:56 AM (in response to rcollett52)
    Taking on "Couch to 5K" any advice

    I have lots of advice!  This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart, because I tried to take up running several times before starting Couch to 5k and finally running my first 5k last September.


    I'm younger, but I think anyone new to running can kind of relate to some of the things I experienced as challenges when I first started.  I remember the biggest hurdle being that I lost my breath constantly while I was running - I had to learn to jog a little slower in order to make it through the recommended running portions of the Couch to 5k program.  I also had to have faith that as frustrating as it was to run for 60 seconds and lose my breath, that I WOULD get better if I stuck with it.  I did.  I never thought beginning the program that I'd be where I am now, and I'm running my second half marathon in two days.


    Starting slow, making gradual progress, and believing that it will get easier were all critical to my success.


    I repeated weeks of Couch 2 5k when I was having trouble progressing, and giving myself that flexibility prevented me from quitting.


    I think remembering every step forward is a step in the right direction helps - don't beat yourself up over missed workouts, or workouts that didn't go as well as you'd hoped.  Just remember that whatever you did still helped you improve your aerobic capacity, strengthen your muscles, and get you more ready for success the next time.


    I very much recommend using a walk/run program like the Couch 2 5k program from


    Good luck - running has changed my life so much for the better, I absolutely love it and am so glad I started!

    I write a running blog geared towards motivating runners of any pace or distance at!

    Couch to 5K graduate, September 2012

    First 10K, June 2nd, 2013

    First Half Marathon, September 2013

    Training for my 7th half marathon, May 2016 and first Triathlon, Tri for a Cure, July 2016.

    Twitter: @iamrunningthis

  • Mikey A Expert 46 posts since
    Jul 24, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Nov 9, 2013 2:00 PM (in response to rcollett52)
    Taking on "Couch to 5K" any advice

    First off... congrats for giving running a try!  Just stick with it, you will be amazed at how much progress you can make utilizing the coolrunning C25K program.  I, like you, was a new runner and this year decided to give running a try... although never in my life did I enjoy running as a sport.  I am an athletic 53 year old in good health and can now say... I like to run!  I hit a new personal best today by knocking down a 4 mile run, and finished fresh.  So good luck and try to keep with it... but stick to the program!  If you look at the thread "Tired Heavy Legs" you can see how I progressed using the C25K program, and also how I had to sideline myself because of trying to do more than the program called for... to much to soon can = injury and/or frustration.



  • Greenbelt9 Amateur 12 posts since
    Sep 19, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Nov 20, 2013 4:53 PM (in response to rcollett52)
    Taking on "Couch to 5K" any advice

    Great to hear you're taking on that challenge (setting a goal is one of the most important things)-  I would say the most valuable advice for starting out would be to start with very short distances.  It should seem ridiculously easy what ever workout/distance you choose to start doing.  The biggest mistake new runners (and old runners starting over) make is going too far on those first runs.  Then it's really hard to recover in any reasonable amount of time.  So around the block once or whatever seems very easy.


    As mentioned above mixing runing/walking can help to get going but from experience I would recommend running short until you can begin to lengthen the distance.  And don't be in a hurry, patience always pays off in running.


    Also a good pair of shoes- make sure they are not too narrow or restrict your feet in any way.


    And journal your runs/progress- it will help you see what works and what doesn't.

  • stplatt Rookie 2 posts since
    Mar 31, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Nov 20, 2013 7:38 PM (in response to rcollett52)
    Taking on "Couch to 5K" any advice

    Not personally a fan of C25k.  Don't get me is a GREAT program.  Just not for me.  I like running long distances.  I would much rather go out for a 4-5mile run/walk. When I do a 60/90 run/walk, I tend to sprint and run faster than I should.  I'm not a sprinter.


    My wife did the program and loved it.  My biggest criticism if the c25K is the implied idea that you will be able to run a 5K in 30 minutes.  You might be able to, but more than likely, it might be more in the 35-45 minute area.  If someone was extrememly overweight, it might take even longer.  Use some kind of phone ap when you do your runs and find out how much ground you are covering in 30 minutes.  If at the end of the program you are covering 2.5 miles or less, I would suggest simply adding 5 minutes to each of the 3 runs /week until you hit 3 miles.  This way you aren't running for 30 minutes one day, then on race day, you are running for 50-60 minutes.  That is not smart and can lead to injury. 


    Good luck with the program.  Hope it works for you.  It has for MANY people.  Just not for me.


    And as always, your mileage may vary.

  • Greenbelt9 Amateur 12 posts since
    Sep 19, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Nov 21, 2013 10:05 AM (in response to stplatt)
    Re: Taking on "Couch to 5K" any advice

    A good example of how doing the run/walk can get you in trouble (see my above post).  Most people will run too fast then walk which doesn't allow your body to focus on one thing.  It's better than nothing but I would suggest short complete runs and then do brisk walks on the days off.  I found it interesting you said 'the c25K is the implied idea that you will be able to run a 5K in 30 minutes'; you cannot attach any 'time' to any program across the board.  I'm sure the point is to finish comfortably and have fun.


    That being said, I see too many inexperienced runners get into trouble by training for a race when they should be more concerned with proper running form, preperation, diet, etc.  One shouldn't enter their first 5K race (or whatever distance) until they have done many on their own and beyond.  As you mentioned you shouldn't run for 50 min if you're not regularly doing it. 

  • ultimatehlth Pro 118 posts since
    Jul 13, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Nov 21, 2013 8:21 PM (in response to rcollett52)
    Taking on "Couch to 5K" any advice

    You have recieved great advice here already, I just wanted to add a couple of things. A good warm-up is key to prevent injuries also using a foam roller prior to your workout helps prepare your muscle and tendons for the stress of running. New properly fitted shoes that are correct for your foot strike are also very important to minimize impact stress and fatigue.



    Personal Trainer Los Angeles

  • Allans123 Rookie 4 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Nov 26, 2013 6:38 AM (in response to rcollett52)
    Taking on "Couch to 5K" any advice

    Congratulations on taking the first step and deciding to get out there. I'm 61 and routinely help coach our local running group's couch to 5K program. It has beem brought up before but it is worth repeating. Get to know your local running store people and pay particular attention on selecting the correct shoes. Selecting a shoe that is the wrong type can lead to injury. Only wear your running shoes for ... running. The support in the shoes will wear down. I change mine every 4 months, 400 miles, or knee pain which ever comes first. you pay good money for the shoes, don't wear them out by walking in them. Typically the soles of the shoes may show little wear at their end of life. I rotate mine at that point they become walking or gardening shoes. Can't remember when I was in a leather pair of shoes last.


    The second most important thing is to have fun. Some people enjoy getting out there and running by themselves at 4 in the morning, for others it is a big social event. You are more apt to keep up with the sport if you have to meet some freinds for a run at a certain time. Don't feel like you are going to be too slow for your running partners. No one can continuously run hard and fast. Even the fastest runners must run slow at times to let the muscles heal. Make freinds, join a local club. your running store can help here as well. While it is important for them to check out your gait, they will aslo have information about local running clubs.


    Plan on having some muscle pain. Personally I do not take ibprofen before exercising. I "may" take some before bed if I expect that I may get some muscle pain. Stretching "AFTER THE RUN" is important.  Your muscles are like rubber bands and stretching when they are warm will help with the pain.


    Cold water is your friend. By running, you create microscopic tears in your muscles. Ice and cold water will help with the microscopic bleeding that causes aches and pain later on. When I take a shower at the end, I usually just lean on the far wall letting the cold only water hit my legs for a few minutes. I know hot water feels better, but your legs will thank you for the cold water.


    Always try to walk the next day after a run. Never do 2 hard work outs in a row.


    The couch 2 5K can be a great springboard. Many of our C25K'ers are regulars in the club now. Just have fun and your body will do the rest.



  • ScheerVegas Rookie 2 posts since
    Apr 25, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Nov 26, 2013 9:43 AM (in response to rcollett52)
    Taking on "Couch to 5K" any advice

    I am 58 and was a couch potato two years ago.  My daughter, who did cross country in high school, encouraged me to try C25K.  I did each week twice, and on week 5, I ended up two weeks on day 1, 4 weeks on day 2, and am still to this day working on day 3.  I did my first 5K June, 2012 with a time of 50 minutes.


    Today I run 3-5 mornings a week for 10 minutes, walk a minute or two, and then run another 10 minutes (with a 5-minute warm-up and cool-down).  I have never had any pain or injuries, and I think that is because I went very slow.  I got a massage for my birthday, and the massuse asked me if I was a runner because I had strong runner's legs!  Woo Hoo!


    That said, a friend of mine (my age) runs marathons all around the world for the Children's Tumor Foundation - she is on the NF Endurance Team.  She has challenged me to a 10K in March.  So now I have to push myself to do more.  Today I tackled week 5, day 3 and hope to be able to run an entire 20 minutes soon!


    My advice is to take it easy and let your body get used to it before going on to the next level.  Over 50 you need to be more careful, but you can do it!

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