Couch to 5K and One Hour Runners


Is the Couch to 5k too aggressive? (Read 1457 times)

    Hi All, I am starting a running program on 3/3 and looking for a good program to start. In 1994 I started a half marathon training program and ran a 10k and the half marathon but injured my ITB by doing too much too quickly- I don't want to repeat. I currently do not exercise but do 4 separate sets of 5 minute brisk walks Monday thru Friday as part of my commute (Home to ferry, ferry to work in morning and reverse in evening) I am 37 and not overweight. I read in some programs that it is really important to build a foundation phase to strengthen legs and joints in order to avoid injuries which often happen 10-12 weeks after starting... This would entail more weeks' walking than C25K. I am pretty confident that I will be able to follow the C25k schedule as I am pretty determined but just want to ensure that this is just the start and that I am not doing any harm to myself after the 9 weeks when I am continuing to run. Bottom line- my question is: is there enough foundational upfront walking in C25K to minimize risk of injury when continuing to run later on? Would also appreciate other thoughts? Thanks in advance, MK
      Hi MK, and welcome! I did C25K last summer after many years of sedentary lifestyle and being overweight. While I was moderately fit (compared to someone else at my weight) I was no athlete, and it had been years since I'd really run. I did have a few minor injuries during C25K which turned out to be more of an issue of my body mechanics than overtraining. I think C25K is a great place for anyone to start, but the most important things to remember are these: 1. Listen to your body. If your knee hurts, don't run on it until it doesn't hurt anymore. If you feel places are tight, stretch stretch stretch. 2. Buy good shoes. Go to a running store, have them analyze your gait and buy the type of shoes that are recommended for that style. Cheap and/or incorrectly fitted shoes lead to injuries no matter how conditioned the runner is. 3. Stretch, stretch, stretch. Stretch before you run, and stretch after you run. 4. Run slower than you think you should. This was the toughest for me. I don't know if it was simple pride not allowing me to run slower than 5.0 mph on the TM or what but it took a long time for me to allow myself to slow down and once I did I was a lot more succesful. Take all this advice with a grain of salt though, cause I fell off the running wagon in November and am preparing to restart C25K next week Smile
      2009 Goals:
      PR 5K (Ha, current 43:10)
      Run a 10K
      Meet Seasonal Weight Loss Challenges
      Complete my first Sprint Tri
        I injured my knee during the C25k and had to take a month off in the middle of it. One thing my doctor told me was that the running wasn't strengthening my leg muscles, and I needed that to help prevent injuries. She told me to make sure I included weight workouts with my regular workouts.

        Chicago RnR 1/2 Marathon

          Welcome MK. I would use the program as a guide and really listen to your own body. You should be able to carry on a conversation while you are running. Go slower than you think you should - even when you know you can go faster. If you've had IT band issues in the past, I would google stretches for that and consider getting a foam roller or "The Stick" to use as massage on it. Don't think you have to finish in 9 weeks. Many of us took longer than that. Don't forget to have fun. Learn the difference between soreness and pain. Don't run through pain. Good luck!
            Good advice so far. Only thing I'd add is that I think the C25K program states you should be able to walk for 30 minutes three times per week before starting the program. If you've only walked for 5 minutes at a constant stretch so far and you're concerned about just jumping in there, why not take a few extra weeks at the beginning and work up to walking 30 minutes 3x/wk first? While you won't be running just yet, you'll be building the skills you need to successfully get through the program: patience, self-discipline, time-management, placing importance on getting your workout in, etc. Something else you'll hear on the main forums is the argument that having a strong walking background does not prevent running injuries. I think they're right - the stresses on your body are totally different. Walking's a great way to build up your cardio-vascular fitness, but it doesn't stress the body the same way running does. (Which is one good reason why C25K give you walk-breaks in the middle of your running as you're getting in to things.) Feel free to use this forum to chat/vent/share! It's a good group of people here. Smile

            Roads were made for journeys...

              Good advice so far. Only thing I'd add is that I think the C25K program states you should be able to walk for 30 minutes three times per week before starting the program.
              I agree that being comfortable walking for extended periods is key to getting ready. When I started this journey 3 years ago, my first work out was a three mile walk. Then I went home and took a nap. Over the next several months, I worked up to long distance walking and in the end walked the Portland Marathon in 7.5 hours. That marathon is very walker friendly and the person who came in last took almost 11 hours! Fast forward to now and I'm starting the C25K program. Currently in the 2nd or 3rd week of Week 1. That's mostly because of my work schedule however, since I won't go out to run/walk in the dark and I've been working loooong days and six days a week since mid January. I've also finished 7 marathons and 3 half marathons in the last three years and have knocked almost an hour off my marathon time. My advice is don't try to do too much too soon. Take it slow. You have the rest of your life to do this. And the older you get the easier it is to place in age group in races if that's important. I was first in AG in two of the four marathons I did in 2008. Of course I was also the only one in the age group and the oldest woman on the course, but I don't tell that to everybody. Smile

              Marathon Maniac #991 Half Fanatic #58 Double Agent #22  It's a perfect day and I feel great!


                Well, all the others have talked good sense but I would like to add something that I have just discovered (at least I think I have!). Four weeks back I had an ankle sprain, running in the snow and ice I reckon. Perhaps I struggled on with a nagging pain when I should have stopped. Anyway, it got so bad that I have had 4 weeks off after successfully completing the C25K and then doing 3 x 30 mins for several weeks. I took myself off to the GP and she prescribed Ibuprofen 3 x per day for one month (!). I am now in the second week of this treatment and had tried running again last week but found that after about 3 minutes it was still painful. However, (stay with me I am getting to the point Smile), it occurred to me that as the pavements round my training loop are very hard concrete, as hard as rock really, it could be a factor in my recovery. So today I tried running again but this time on a canal towpath and was amazed at how I could run without any pain. So, what I could add to this that the surfaces you run on matter a lot regarding joints and other anatomy aspects of the body. Stretching and strengthening of everything below the waist (and above as well!), will definitely help.
                Complete C25K Done on 11/16/08!
                Keep running regularly 3 times a week
                Weight loss
                Plan a 5k race Do a 10k
                Get weekly mileage up to 20

                  Is the Couch to 5k too aggressive ------------------------------------------------ Yes, it's too aggressive for me. I'm on my 9th Week of exercise for me and I still can't jog 60 seconds in a row. I am just still building up to Week 1 myself. So I'm sure it all depends..... Wink
                    Frances - a VERY common mistake when trying to get started running is assuming that we need to run at a specific pace. There was a time when the only running pace I could sustain was actually slower than my walking pace!!! My pride took a very big hit when I realized that, but my running improved dramatically when I stopped trying to go too fast! If you're continuing to get completely out of breath before a minute's up but can walk for 30 minutes, then chances are you're doing exactly that - trying to go too fast for where you are right now in your training. You say "week 9 of exercise" which to me implies that perhaps a 30 minute walk is a strain for you at this point? If so, hang in there - it DOES get better with time. Really. Another hit my pride had to take was me realizing that I needed to train the body I had... instead of the one I wished I had. When you train, you're an athlete. If you're working with your body and trying to improve it with exercise, you're an athlete no matter what your starting point. It's just that - a starting point. You can do this! Smile

                    Roads were made for journeys...


                      hang in there - it DOES get better with time. Really.
                      Thank you! I'm counting on it Wink

                      The young Mama Bear!

                        Thank you! I'm counting on it Wink
                        Hey, Frances! It really all depends on what "direction" you're coming from. I couldn't do W1 without wanting to stop, and that was while I was working out too. You're not going to be running 8 min. miles from the getgo...and the trick is to save enough energy for that last interval. If you don't think you'd be able to do that, you're going too quickly! Wingz already gave you wonderful advice (she always does - she really helped me in the later weeks last summer when I did the program!), so heed it. Wink Good luck, and if you need any further advice, we're here to help. Smile
                        Couch to 5K support group! Short-term goals: - Sub 35 5K - Complete my 16-week 10K training plan.
                        Long term goals: - Sub 30 5K. - Compete in a 5K. - Train for a triathlon. - Compete in a 10K.
                          I think it is a great program that can be used with success if you adapt it when you need to. Week 1 and 2 went by easily for me, but the jump to week 3 was not that easy. I have repeated week 3, and plan to do one or two more days on it. Week 4 I will start after that. I you have a problem, do slightly less, and try that for a few times, then move on. Woods Lady

                          Beginner all over again

                            perhaps a 30 minute walk is a strain for you at this point?
                            Hi! The walking is fine. I can walk for 70 minutes no problem. It's just that I can't sustain the running after 30 seconds. And I am still learning to "run slowly." My lower leg muscles must be totally underdeveloped because in order to run slow it seems I have to support my body weight more on one leg and then "launch" off on one leg in order to move into the next Run Step. It's just totally overtaxing my body at this point. Blush And then I"m sore for 48 hours. Surprised I'm trying to Galloway Walk/Jog my way up to 40 seconds of running right now, and it's just not happening yet. I also watch my heartRate so as that spikes, I do stop and walk. But I think the Couch to 5K will come to me eventually. I just have to build up to week one I guess. I'm also afraid of shin splints, etc., so I don't want to overdo it. Wink.


                     Make sure you play the video at the end of the story - it demonstrates a "shuffle" that you might want to try out. Instead of launching off and trying to get as much distance per stride as possible, he's just barely clearing the ground. Not what you see a lot of people doing, but it's a very efficient long-distance stride I imagine would be a lot easier on the lower legs. Might be worth a try - if it lets a 61 y/o sheep farmer win an ultra-marathon then maybe it's okay... Smile

                              Roads were made for journeys...

                              Beginner all over again


                                It's 14 months later and I'm still only at Week #5


                                But I've been enjoying my exercise doing Walk/Jog as my fitness increases


                                I was pretty out of shape, but I"m looking forward to bumping it up a notch during my Second Year of Exercise here and look forward to completing eventually OHR and C25K  HHR (half-hour-runner)