Couch to 5K: The Bulletproof Guide + Custom Training Plans

Welcome to our comprehensive Couch To 5K program, where we answer every single question you've got and share our free Couch to 5K running plans.

Couch To 5K is a phenomenon: it’s turned countless regular people into runners, improving their fitness, health, and well-being.

Our expert coaches pulled apart the original C25K training plans and concepts to figure out exactly why they’re so effective and put together our own take on the running plans aimed at a variety of starting points.

Our most popular Couch to 5K running plans are the 8-week beginner and 4-week plans, but we’ve recently added more options depending on your ability level. Our plans come in printable versions, PDFs, and Google Sheets.

Alternatively, if 5K sounds a little too easy for you, check out our more ambitious Couch To 10K Training Plans.

Couch to 5K: The Bulletproof Guide + Custom Training Plans 1

Couch To 5K Training Plans

Choose the ideal plan for you based on your current level of fitness.

Scroll below the plans (or click here to jump) to read all our top tips for beginner runners as well as advice on injury prevention, running motivation, and more.

8 Week Couch To 5K Training Plan: For Beginner Runners

Our 8 Week Couch To 5K Training Plan is designed for people who don’t run at all. If you’ve got no running experience, or haven’t run for years and years, then this is the plan for you.


  • Start every workout with 5 minutes of brisk walking and preferably some dynamic stretching.
  • Don’t worry about your running speed. Even if you’re just shuffling forward, the important thing is to keep going for the assigned time interval – just keep going!
  • If you’re feeling burned out or feeling aches and pains, take a day off. You can also repeat a week of the plan instead of cranking up the intensity.
  • Try to get in 3 short cross training sessions per week: ideally weightlifting for runners, yoga, or some form of strength/mobility work.
printable image of the couch to 5k training plan 8 weeks for non runners

4 Week Couch To 5K Training Plan: For Active People Who Don’t Run

For many people, 8 weeks is frankly too much time to spend getting to 5K.

Perhaps you’ve got some underlying fitness from another sport or activity, or maybe you used to run, or, maybe you’ve got an active job where you’re on your feet all day.

If this sounds like you – and the 8-week plan looks a little too easy – then you may wish to try out this 4 Week Couch To 5K Training Plan.

It takes many of the elements of a classic C25K plan, but serves it up in 4 weeks in a format that borrows from a more traditional distance training plan.


  • The structure of this one is slightly different – instead of 3 similar runs per week, there are 2 interval training runs and one long run at the weekend (akin to a distance training plan like a half marathon plan).
  • The long runs should be done at a very slow and comfortable pace – your goal is to try and run for the whole time – although if you must, walking breaks are OK.
  • Kick off with 5 minutes of brisk walking and preferably some dynamic stretching.
  • Forget pace altogether. Just focus on running for time.
  • Taking a day off is often the wiser choice when you’re feeling burned out – and if you want to, repeat a week instead of cranking up the intensity.
  • Try to get in 3 short cross training sessions per week: ideally weightlifting for runners, yoga, or some form of strength/mobility work.

If you start this plan and you feel like it’s ramping up too quickly, head back to the 8 week plan above!

printable image of the Couch To 5k 4 weeks training plan

6 Week and 10 Week Couch To 5K Training Plans

We’ve also recently added two new C25K plans!:

  • 6-Week Couch To 5K Plan – perfect for those who don’t run regularly, but have some fitness from other pursuits or sports.

Couch To 5K App

We’ve partnered with TrainingPeaks to offer our two classic C25K plans over on their app store, where you can follow the plans in real-time and log your workouts and progress.

Check Out The 8 Week Couch To 5K Plan on the TrainingPeaks app

Check Out The 4 Week Couch To 5K Plan on the TrainingPeaks app

Couch To 5K: FAQs & Guidance

What Is Couch To 5K and Where Does It Come From?

How Long Does It Take To Complete Couch To 5K? 

How Does The Couch To 5K Plan Work?

How Many Times Do You Run A Week In The Couch To 5K Program?

Will I Lose Weight Doing Couch To 5K?

Am I Fit Enough To Start Couch To 5K?

How Do I Stay Motivated During My Couch To 5K Training?

My Thoughts On The Original Couch To 5K As A Running Coach (What I’d Change)

Can I Run Couch To 5K On A Treadmill?

Top 6 ‘Couch To 5K’ Training Tips From Our Coaches

What Should I Do After Couch To 5K?

What Is Couch To 5K and Why Is It So Popular?

“Couch To 5K” – often abbreviated to C25K – is a free running program that takes people from being a non-runner sitting on their sofa to their first-ever 5k run event, usually in 9 weeks.

5K is 5 kilometers, or 5000 meters, which is 3.1 miles.

It was developed way back in the day by a guy called Josh Clark for his website Kick! – now defunct – and got spread around the internet pretty quickly.1Clark, J. (2018, September 25). How Josh Clark Invented “Couch to 5K” and Helped Millions Start Running | Big Medium. Bigmedium.com. https://bigmedium.com/ideas/bbc-how-josh-clark-invented-couch-to-5k.html

It’s now estimated to have been used by over 5 million runners, and there are countless variations of the original 9-week plan online, whether through running apps or podcasts.

The Couch To 5K plan is so effective, that the National Health Service in the UK even endorsed it as an official exercise plan.2NHS Choices. (2019). Get running with Couch to 5K – Exercise. NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/get-running-with-couch-to-5k/

How Long Does It Take To Complete Couch To 5K? 

The original plan, as well as the NHS Couch to 5K, takes 9 weeks.3National Health Service. (2021). Exercise. NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/

But, it depends on the program you choose – once you start looking online you can find plans to suit a variety of timelines and abilities.

Later in this post, I share our two recommended Couch to 5K Plans: 4 weeks and 8 weeks.

a runner running in the rain

How Does The Couch To 5K Plan Work?

At its heart, every Couch To 5K plan is about interval training.

In other words, workouts are not done at a constant pace – they involve a mixture of walking and running intervals.

Interval training is awesome for this type of plan because:

  • The variety in effort forces your lungs and heart to adapt quicker, training them better than a constant-pace run would,
  • By adopting a run/walk method approach, you can go for longer than if the plan expected you to run constantly. Those walking breaks give beginner runners time to recover a little.

As the running plan progresses, the running intervals get longer, and the walking intervals get shorter until race day when the goal is to run a 5k without stopping till the finish line!

4 runners running next to the sea

How Many Times Do You Run A Week In The Couch To 5K Program?

The C25K program involves 3 days of running (or run/walking) per week.

Our plans also recommend 1 to 3 days of cross-training per week for injury prevention.

Why Is The Couch To 5K Plan So Popular?

“Couch to 5K” has basically become a household brand. Why is this?

  • It’s simple – just print out the plan and stick to it. It’s easy to understand and it does what it says on the tin.
  • It’s approachable – even if you’ve never run before, the plan starts with tiny, bite-sized running intervals that anyone can at least attempt. Run for 60 seconds? Sure, you can try that.
  • It’s got a solid goal at the end of it – after just a few weeks, you’re capable of running a 5K for the first time. It’s almost foolproof. Who wouldn’t want to have a 5K medal on their wall?
runner's legs as they complete a race

Will I Lose Weight Doing Couch To 5K?

Loads of people start the Couch To 5K plan thinking that it’ll help them shed a few pounds.

What are my thoughts about Couch To 5K and weight loss?

Doing Couch to 5K . . .

  • WILL help you run a 5K and get running,
  • WILL improve your general fitness (cardiovascular and muscular endurance),
  • MIGHT help you lose some weight,
  • MIGHT lead to longer-term weight loss and a healthier lifestyle,
  • WON’T be a silver bullet that cures all ills and gives you a six-pack.

Doesn’t running burn fat?

Yes, it does – but running on its own isn’t enough.

If you’re a couch potato and want to lose excess weight, you should pair the Couch To 5K plan with lifestyle and diet changes.

Exercise alone is sometimes not enough to lose weight.4Davis, R. (2022, January 12). Why You Shouldn’t Exercise to Lose Weight. Time. https://time.com/6138809/should-you-exercise-to-lose-weight/

To shed the pounds, you’ve got to combine exercise with fixing your diet.

If you run for 30 minutes then get home and stuff your face with extra calories “because you’ve earned them”, you’re not going to lose much of that weight.

Instead, revisiting how you think about food can make all the difference.

Cut out sugar and overly-processed foods, and stick to high-quality whole foods.

runners finishing a race

Am I fit enough to start Couch To 5K?

A common roadblock for people is that they start to talk themselves out of beginning the training schedule by convincing themselves that they’re not fit enough to begin with.

The Couch To 5K plan is designed for people like this – it’s for absolute beginners.

The first workouts have you running for just little 60-second bites!

And when we say “run”, it doesn’t have to be graceful!

A jog or even a powerwalk is fine – anything that gets you moving quicker and more vigorously than your regular walking pace!

The caveat I’ll share here is for very overweight and obese readers – the extra weight you’re carrying could lead to injury when you start the running intervals.

For that reason, I generally advise that you follow the plan but replace ‘running’ with a fast march or powerwalk – you’ll still get 80% of the benefits of the plan and make huge inroads into your overall health!

Then, after you’ve dropped some of the extra weight, you can introduce running properly.

How Do I Stay Motivated During My Couch To 5K Training?

If you find yourself losing motivation, try to pinpoint the reason you’re struggling.

Check out our guide on what to do when your running motivation drops.

If you’ve missed a run or two, there’s no need to give up!

Even if you feel you’ve completely lost track of your progress, it is perfectly acceptable to restart from a slightly earlier point in the program rather than scrapping your C25K ambitions completely.

If you’re still stuck, we’ve got heaps of other resources on how to stay motivated during training to help you out.

a lady walking in red running shoes

My thoughts on The Original Couch To 5K as a running coach (And what I’d change)

As a running coach – albeit one that typically specializes in marathon and ultramarathon distances – I’m a huge fan of anything that gets more people into running, and Couch To 5K certainly does that.

One element of most C25K plans that I really like is that the workouts are time-based, not distance-based.

In other words, the plan tells you to run for a certain amount of time, without dictating how far or how fast you should cover.

This is great because everyone has their own pace when starting out, and new runners should just focus on being able to keep running without thinking about speed or distance.

Here are a few elements that aren’t included in other Couch To 5K plans that I recommend you’re at least aware of:

runners legs as they warm up prior to running a race

1. There’s No Mobility or Strength Training

Any long-term runner will tell you that the key to avoiding injury and keeping your performance up over several years is mobility and strength work.

Even for beginners, doing simple lower body strength exercises like squats, lunges, and mobility stretching will give them that edge to both avoid injury and be a stronger runner.

Cross-training with exercises like yoga, cycling, and even golf can be beneficial – but for the best bang-for-your-buck, strength train.

2. 9 Weeks Is Too Long For Many People

The original C25K plan is 9 weeks long, and the truth is many people simply don’t need that long.

If you’ve been completely sedentary then it’s a reasonable timeframe, but many non-runners have a good level of general fitness and cardiovascular health from other activities – whether it’s other sports they partake in, or they just have a healthy lifestyle (maybe they’re on their feet all day at work).

For that reason, a few of the C25K plans floating around the web are shorter than the original 9-week length.

This is why I’ve developed two plans – an 8-week plan and a 4-week plan – that you can check out above (I also discuss how to choose the right plan for you!).

By the way, I’ve also written about the Top 7 Couch to 5k Mistakes to Avoid!

runners legs as they run on an asphalt road

Can I Run Couch To 5K On a Treadmill?

Yep! It’s a great option!

We’ve put together a full Couch To 5K Treadmill Guide here, detailing the best way to do it!

Top 6 ‘Couch To 5K’ Training Tips From Our Coaches

The energy and anticipation of a group of people lining up at the start line. The fast course and the potential to set new PRs. The camaraderie of tired but happy runners at the end of the course.

There’s a lot to love about running a 5K!

Here are our top tips for nailing your Couch To 5K training!

Check out 8 more practical Couch To 5K Tips here!

1. To-do list for your Couch to 5K program

Before you can begin your Couch to 5K program, you’ll need to do a few things first:

  • Buy some good running shoes: it’s okay to spend a little extra here, especially if you plan on running regularly after your training plan is completed.

    Here’s our guide on how to pick the right running shoe to help you out! If you have a running shop in your town or city, consider visiting in person to get a gait assessment and personalized shoe recommendations.
  • Buy some running clothing items (you don’t have to get crazy here, buy some shorts or leggings, a running bra, socks, and a running top). We have tips on how to pick the right clothes a bit later in this post!
  • Schedule time for your running workouts in your calendar
  • Ask a friend or accountability partner to join you: things are more fun when you can do them with a friend!
  • Put your training program on the fridge or somewhere it’s visible so you can see it daily
  • Create a reward for reaching your goal! It’s always great to set a reward for reaching your goals, it could be something as small as a new water bottle or something as nice as a spa day. You pick!
runners legs as they train

2. How to begin and end your running workouts

Every running workout should begin with a good warm-up that includes some gentle jogging and ideally takes you through active stretches for the muscles you’ll use most during your running workout.

We share in another post how to set up your running warm-up and the best exercises to include.

After your run, make sure to take time for cooling down, stretching, and foam rolling if you are familiar with myofascial release (I highly recommend it!).5Parker, S. J. (2019, May 24). Ready to roll: complete guide to foam rolling and rolling routine. The Fit Cookie. https://thefitcookie.com/complete-guide-to-foam-rolling/

Cooling down is important since it helps to gradually reduce your heart rate. So instead of suddenly stopping your run and sitting down and stretching, ease into your post-workout routine by walking for a few minutes first.

Follow your lower-intensity running cool down with foam rolling (if you don’t already do this before your workout) and static stretching to keep your muscles lengthened, reduce muscle adhesions, and improve flexibility and mobility.

Here are a few other things you can add to your recovery program to ease muscle soreness and improve recovery:

  • Epsom salt baths
  • Percussion massagers
  • Cupping

3. What if I hurt when I run (or after I run)?

If you are following a good warm-up, stretching, and recovery routine but as a new runner you’re noticing some chronic aches and pains popping up, stop running for a few days to assess your pain.

If it’s just sore muscles, that may take a few days to go away, but any joint aches or pain that won’t go away when the muscle soreness goes away should be treated with ice, compression, elevation, and a trip to the doctor or physical therapist if it persists.

Remember not to push through pain when you’re exercising. It’s important to note that muscle fatigue is normal, but pain is not and if you experience pain with running, stop and assess it.

Often new runners who are carrying extra weight suffer from pain in the joints (hips, knees, and ankles) due to the impact stress of running.

If you’re in this camp, then don’t worry – your Couch to 5K dreams aren’t necessarily over! Instead of running, adopt a quick walk strategy – basically power walking – which is slightly slower (but not much) and much less impactful on your joints!

You should see the weight begin to fall off, and once you’ve lost some excess pounds you can try running again!

a runner crossing a race finish line

4. What kind of clothing should I wear for running?

When you are first starting Couch to 5K as a newbie, you don’t need to wear anything fancy for running.

But, if you start to commit more time to running, you’ll definitely want to add more running-specific clothing items to your wardrobe.

Don’t worry about breaking the bank on running clothing. Places like Walmart, Marshall’s, or Target have affordable clothing made for fitness and running.

However, be aware that more expensive fitness clothing often performs better, so if you’re planning on getting into longer races and spending more time running, consider investing in some high-quality running pieces.

Here are some things to look for when you buy clothing for running:

  • Flat, smooth, and non-chafing seams
  • Breathable fabric
  • Soft, non-chafing fabric
  • 4-way stretch
  • Good hem lengths in shorts (and shirts!) so they don’t ride up or bunch while you’re running. If you struggle with thigh chafing, consider changing the length of your shorts or pick lightweight capris or leggings.
a man and woman out running on a trail next to a lake

5. Make time for cross-training

Running is a wonderful workout, but it’s also great to add other types of workouts into your running routine as well, especially when you’re new to running and just starting a couch to 5K program.

The principle of training specificity means that if you want to get good at running, running should be your primary workout, but cross-training is essential to prevent running injuries and strengthen your body to run better.

‘Cross training’ means training or working out in multiple ways or disciplines, so if you are primarily a runner, you might cross-train with workouts like cycling, yoga, strength training, etc.

Doing something like cycling will give your body a break from high-impact running while still training your cardiovascular and neurological systems for endurance exercise.

Strength training is a must in any well-rounded running program, so don’t skip it! Even if you don’t do other types of cross-training workouts, don’t skip strength training.

Strengthening your muscles throughout your entire body (especially your glutes, core, and calf muscles) can help prevent injuries and helps to prevent muscle imbalances from doing one activity, like running, for the majority of your workouts.

Here’s our full guide to cross-training for runners!

older runner in a blue shirt smiling during a run in a park

6. What to eat after your run

Just like with your fitness clothing, what to eat after your run doesn’t have to get complicated and you don’t have to spend much on expensive recovery drinks.

Just follow a few simple guidelines to make the most of your post-run recovery snacks and meals.

Try to eat something within 3 hours of your workout.

The old rule of thumb was to eat a snack within 30 minutes of your workout, then follow it up with your normal meal.

Following this doesn’t hurt at all, however, the research isn’t definitive for this “window of opportunity” rule, and refuel timing is actually more flexible.

A study in the International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends not giving more than 3-4 hours between pre and post-workout meals.6Aragon, A. A., & Schoenfeld, B. J. (2013). Nutrient timing revisited: Is there a post-exercise anabolic window? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition10(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-10-5

Of course, this is geared more towards anabolic/muscle-building athletes, but the concept of muscle rebuilding and repair still applies to runners, too.

I still recommend to people that they eat something soon after their workouts if they are hungry and they don’t want to wait till their next meal. If you’re not very hungry, eat a snack and then your regularly scheduled meal.

As long as it’s not unhealthy food, there is nothing wrong with refueling immediately after your workout as long as it doesn’t bother your stomach!

group of middle aged runners out running on a trail and smiling

What to eat after your running workout

After your workout, you’ll want to make sure that you rehydrate, replenish any electrolytes you may have lost (especially if it’s hot or humid), and have a snack or meal that is balanced with protein and carbohydrates.

There are recommendations of how many grams of protein and carbohydrates per kilogram of bodyweight you are, but I don’t usually worry too much about that and just focus on finding a snack or meal that is a good mix of healthy protein and carbohydrates.

Look for a recovery meal or snack that isn’t very high in fat or fiber since this can slow gastric emptying. You want your post-workout nutrition to be delivered to your muscles sooner rather than later.

Plus, depending on how hard your workout was, high-fat and high-fiber meals right after heavy workouts can cause an upset stomach.

Here are some ideas for post-workout snacks and meals:

  • Low fat cheese and whole grain crackers
  • Banana with 1 serving of peanut butter (not too much PB or the fat content gets pretty high)
  • Wrap with veggies, lunchmeat or chicken, and a whole grain tortilla
  • Salmon, brown rice, and vegetables

Now that you know how to fuel up, check out our blog post about what to eat before you run!

runner's shoes as a runner runs down the middle of a road with nice light

What Should I Do After Couch To 5K?

Completing Couch To 5K is an awesome achievement – the feeling of crossing that finishing line is unbeatable (and WARNING – can be addictive).

Once you’ve completed the plan, you’ve got a few options in front of you in terms of where you can move things.

#1: Get Faster

Now you’ve bagged your first 5K, why not see if you can step on the gas a little?

By doing some more running training sessions – and perhaps including some HIIT-style work like running intervals, fartleks, or hill running – you can make big inroads in your running speed, and chase down a faster 5K time.

If you’re looking to get faster, an excellent way to do this is to join a running club. The club setting will give your running some structure and motivate you to push yourself.

Weightlifting for runners is actually a pretty effective way of getting faster. After all, stronger equals faster (and more injury-proof).

Here are some guides to getting faster at the 5K distance:

How To Run 5K in 30 Minutes (or Faster)

How To Run 5K in 25 Minutes

How To Run 5K in 20 Minutes

average 5k times for intermediate runners - a table

#2: Go Longer

It feels awesome to cover 5 kilometers in running, right?

Suddenly it opens up a world of possibilities – the area around where you live becomes your running playground!

If you’re interested in going longer, then the Couch to 5K is a great foundation.

Here are some of our resources for going longer after your 5K:

runner checking his GPS watch on an autumnal trail

#3: Change Focus

Once you’ve nailed a 5K, you’ve shown yourself that you can set a fitness goal, work hard, and achieve it.

Perhaps you want to take a rest day from running and pursue something else – why not try yoga, or bodyweight training?

I’m a big believer in mixing up your training every few months, and being multi-disciplinary. Running is a cornerstone of my own fitness journey, but it’s not the only type of training I do.

#4: 5k To Couch

Finally, many people complete Couch to 5K . . . then go on the reverse journey, letting their training slide, losing their fitness, and ending up back on the couch.

Don’t let this be you!

Set a new path and begin moving towards it!!!


Photo of author
Thomas Watson is an ultra-runner, UESCA-certified running coach, and the founder of MarathonHandbook.com. His work has been featured in Runner's World, Livestrong.com, MapMyRun, and many other running publications. He likes running interesting races and playing with his two tiny kids. More at his bio.

5 thoughts on “Couch to 5K: The Bulletproof Guide + Custom Training Plans”

  1. Hi Thomas,

    I am writing this as a letter of thanks. Using your plan I have managed to jog 5k for the first time in my life. I am going to use this letter as an excuse to “key down” my story🙂, so bear with me. ( and if at some time you doze off, then, no offence taken🙂.

    Anyway, my interest in fitness started in 2018. I am 45 now, an Asian male, a father of 4 kids, who some years ago had never played any sports in his life, let alone run a 5k. I had been hamstrung by a sad misgiving in Asian upbringing which condemns sports. Good children study, the truants play. So yes, I was overweight, physically unfit, and academically successful. Thankfully my job since my graduation has been quite active, involving multiple 32-hour workdays sometimes twice every 8 days along with the 8-3 work schedule. This hectic schedule probably contributed to saving my health somewhat.

    I had squandered my youth. Although I had studied, knowing what I know now, I could have incorporated (learned, understood, and assimilated my knowledge as opposed to memorization). Discipline and time management could have made me cognizant of the various aspects of my personality.

    So as a remedy, I enrolled in an online master’s and signed up for the local half iron man. A trip to the local bike shop equipped me with my current bike ( Trek alpha 1.5 series). I wish I had a picture of the day I first showed up at the local bike group. Amidst the multicolored lycra draped toned groups of cyclists, there I stood in a sweatshirt, beach shorts, and sneakers. Thankfully, I heeded the advice of the lead cyclist to sort out my ambition on the nearby 10km track. I managed to complete it. Actually, on Nov 17, I managed to bike 73km although in a not very fast 3 hours and 54 minutes🙂. Simultaneously I had started swimming and running and walking. My swimming efforts helped me to swim about 800 meters in 40 minutes and my walks were limited to fast walks. My legs just could not handle the pace of running. I had a pace of 8:55 min/km for 10 k.

    My nutrition also increased as my body experienced the hunger pangs of exertion, especially during cycling. A bar of snickers was always at hand. Although my body tone improved my weight increased from 104 to107 kg. This was quite surprising.

    I need to highlight an important issue. In order to lose weight, I consulted the dietician in my work facility. She prescribed a diet of 1700 cal. However that failed to decrease my weight, and my HbA1c rose from 5.7 to 6.
    The Half iron man was scheduled for December. However, my first open water swim in cold open water in a full-length diving wet suit ( which had been mistakenly purchased as a triathlon wet suit) gave me a taste of the surreal sensation of vertigo. Thankfully I pulled out of the Iron man at the last moment but did take part as a support volunteer.

    This continued on through 2019 along with my Master’s. This year my father ( who had suffered from obesity and subsequently diabetes, although being a physician) fell ill multiple times. Thank God, I had the support of the local health system in looking after him. During this period, I had started taking my eldest son to the pool. The combination of my masters, my intent for physical health, and my father’s illness helped me to understand the importance of discipline. Now, after visiting my father in the hospital daily after my work, I would take my son to the pool and return home to put in some time ( from 30 to 90 minutes ) towards my studies. I wanted to demonstrate the possibility and importance of desire, intent, and discipline to my kids as well as the value of academics along with physical health.

    My father passed away in 2019 and perhaps one of the most valuable times of my life was the tie I had been able to spend with him in the final months.

    I stopped training in between for no reason. Then I used a 24-hour glucose monitor twice, each time for 2 weeks. I normally fast a day weekly ( from sunrise to sunset). The use of the monitor revealed the effects of carbohydrates (especially processed foods, white flour, and their combination with fried foods) on the body even after a 14-16 hour fast. A carbohydrate-rich meal would elevate my postprandial blood sugar to the prediabetic range. Realizing this, not only did I ration my carbohydrates but reduced my caloric intake to 1400 cal daily. This helped me to drop my weight to 97.

    After a few months, I resumed exercise in the form of cycling on an indoor trainer following the GCN ( Global Cycling Network videos). They have been produced with considerable effort, focusing on different aspects and durations of training.

    The drop in weight significantly improved my performance. My cycling speed increased from 20 km/hr ( inspire of my best efforts) to 30km/hour. My swimming pace increased as well now reaching 900m/30 minutes. Another contributing factor was the swimming lessons I was giving to my second son now. Due to limited time, my elder son and I would look after the younger one alternatively and I would put in a hard session in my allotted time. Unknowingly, my glutei and thighs increased in tone and I lost fat from my pectoral regions as well as my feet. However, I was still unable to run.

    And this is where your plan made a difference. I found it while surfing the net. My heart rate would jump to 170 in the first minute and would stay there and my legs would feel heavy as lead. I adopted your 5k plan designed for people with some fitness ( although I doubted my fitness). I did modify it. The plan started on the second week of October. The interval-based training sessions really prepared me for the weekend run. The incremental weekend runs increased ability, were surmountable and unassociated with anxiety. I ran 21 minutes on the third weekend instead of the suggested 24 minutes. I repeated the week 3 training runs in the fourth week and then ran 28 minutes at the end of the 5th week. On 28th Oct., I ran the whole 5k in 7-minute intervals with breaks of 30-35 secs ( during which I kept walking and these contributed to the total distance). My cadence has reached 152 steps/minute. I never crossed 130 steps/minute before. My heart rate does rise to 160 after 6 minutes and then stays between 160-170, hitting 173 at the end. Prior to my jug, I do eat equivalent to a banana. I have two bottles of 330 ml each, one holding plain water and diet coke with 2.5gm of oral rehydration salts in the other. I do plan to limit the 5k run to plain diet coke or water only.

    For someone, who has never run before, your plan helped me to cross this hurdle physically and mentally. I have written this long tale just to thank you 🙂, and perhaps it may help others with similar situations.

    My heart rate still peaks. I plan to start heart rate-based training ( suggested by Phil Maffetone) once I have developed the habit of running 5K a couple of times weekly. I still plan to keep a weight training session the day prior to the run. My weight seems to be stuck at 97 kg in spite of restricting calories and my training. Any pointers from anyone would be appreciated.

    Thank you Tom again.

    • Hey Zee Dee,

      Thanks so much for writing me this letter, it was great to read!

      Congratulations on your progress too !

      On the weight loss front, it’s not my area of expertise but quite a few people I talk to have had a lot of success by reducing their carb intake (especially processed carbs) – you’ll just have to be careful to still take carbs for fuel!



  2. I’m not sure I understand your charts. I’m interpreting them as 1 min. running or 1.5 min. walking for 20 mins.? If this is correct, then why not just say 20 min. or walking or running? Or are you stating one can do 20 1 min. runs throughout the day (not contiguous) or 20 1.5 min. walks throughout the day, and it’ll accomplish same thing?
    Finally, maybe you’re trying to say to alternate between 1 min. of running and then 1.5 mins. of walking for 20 minutes?

    Clarification would be really nice. “/” marks typically mean division or “or”- not “alternate”, or “alternating”, or “then”.

    Look forward to hearing back. I’m really wanting to implement something like this. Do you have one for half-marathon?


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