Run / walk exercise: COUCH-2-5k

Autumn is a nice time to run, so I thought I’d start a new thread for people considering a new walk / run hobby.

The basic idea is to do intervals of short (1 or 2 min) of walk/run. (Honesty I was so out of shape that I started with 30 second intervals). You don’t need to use this exact program. It is easily adaptable. Here is a link.

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My story: I started myself 3.5 years ago, at age 54. I saw a community class at my local lake trail for “COUCH-2-5k” - ish training for 8 weeks with a capstone of 5k race at same location. It’s been great, so I thought it would be fun to encourage others. I mainly started for improved health, but when I added better eating habits I very slowly lost about 20 pounds over the first 18 months.

I used an app on my phone to DING me at interval change time. I also started listening to podcasts on my phone. The first podcast was Serial (crime mystery series), which gave me some incentive to run longer and more often because I wanted to hear the next installment.

Others should feel free to add their story.

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C25K and C210K are the best. Highly recommend. I was not athletic growing up and could not run a mile, even as a kid. I started and stuck with C25K so I could join my friends who liked to do 5Ks. Then I kept going. Ended up able to comfortably run half marathons within a year. C25K will make a runner out of anyone who sticks with it.

I did not do C2 5K, but a local running club has a walking and running training program for women. I started in 2016 in the walk/run interval group which is very similar to C2 5K. I am a great fan of walk/run intervals for both beginners and more experienced runners.

If you are interested in fitness, the C2 5K program is a great way to get started.

What types of surfaces are you all running on? How do you protect your knees?

My H and I started taking longer walks during Covid and now walk or hike 5-7 miles 6 days a week. We are able to do many walks in our area to the beach and all of these have decent size hills so we get our cardio too during our walks. We have also started eating small healthy dinners after our nightly walks… We have both lost weight and feel much healthier.

I started running using the Couch to 5K program in 2006. I am seriously not cut out for running (I have had physical therapists look at my form and say, “Well, some people’s bodies just aren’t meant for running…”). But I persevered and ended up running a total of 5 half marathons, in addition to quite a few 5Ks and 10Ks.

I have never had knee issues. Ankles are my Achilles heel (pun intended).

I’ve fallen into terrible shape and am determined to start over. My previous running partner wants to try, too. :slight_smile:

I run only outdoors, both pavement and trail (using different running shoes - trail or regular) The treadmill, besides being terribly boring, always messes with my knees. Get good running shoes and a good fitting. Helps prevent knee issues.

I’d like to give this a try once our air quality improves. I tried it a few years back but didn’t persist. I really need to step up the exercise, what with no walking commute or classes at the gym.

I started C25K almost exactly 8 years ago at age 53. Not an athletic person, no history of running. Always admired people that could. I did follow the exact program - but at my own pace. Sometimes I did a certain day over if I wasn’t satisfied with my completion of the assigned task. The C25k app made it easy and took the guesswork out of anything. I remember being SO intimidated when I got to the day (quite far into the 9 week program) when I would have to run 20 minutes straight!

I have continued running recreationally ever since. Outside on pavement 90% of the time. I’m a 3-4 mile runner. 3-4 times a week. I am not competitive and don’t need races - I prefer running on my own time, by myself. No huge aspirations except to enjoy it and keep healthy.

If you have any inclination to start my first word of advice would be to invest in a good pair of running shoes. They are not cheap but IMO necessary - especially to avoid injury. All sneakers are not equal! Go to a running store and get properly fitted for the first pair. Once you know what works for you you can go other places to purchase.

Second piece of advice - it’s your own game to play! Do it for you, do it at your own pace. Just keep doing it!

It’s one of the biggest challenges and accomplishments of my adult life. :slight_smile:

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“What types of surfaces are you all running on? How do you protect your knees?” - @austinmshauri - The lake trail where I do my 5k runs is about half pavement / half hardpack dirt with a bit of gravel. It’s in CO, so the dirt part is almost always dry and sometimes very hard.

When I started in 2017, I skewed my running to the dirt section as much as possible to make things easier on my newbie runner knees. Still in the beginning sometimes my knees had small pains - not enough to be annoying, but it was a concern. I actually bought a new, not pricey pair of sneakers that allowed extra thick socks. After a few months, my two kids gave me Mother’s Day money to buy a pair of good pair running shoes… they joked one shoe from each of them. I joked back that a running bra would have been a cheaper way to split a left/right gift.

I am really leery of injury, and I always erred toward cation. Once in a while I do get a left knee pain (which moves around to different places, so probably muscular?). I take a few extra days off. Oh, and mostly I avoid running 2 days in a row to minimize impact to my aging body.

Note - My “running” speed if fairly slow, very weather dependent. Although I try to improve my time, the main goal is to just DO IT. No matter how slow (even if walking) I figure “it’s better that sitting on the couch eating cheetos”. (I actually don’t eat cheetos, but it’s a phrase I once heard and like).

I run on streets, paved paths and sidewalks. I have a treadmill I run on in bad weather. At 63 I have been running for 4 1/2 years with no knee problems (knock on wood). I love the idea of trail running but I don’t have great balance and do have proprioception issues so it’s not the activity for me.

I second (third?) buying good running shoes and getting them properly fitted. Also stretching. I practice yoga which is a great compliment to running (many of the suggested stretches for running are yoga poses with different names).

Good luck! Stick with it!

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You guys are very helpful. I appreciate all the suggestions.

@abasket, How do I find a good running store? I need one that carries an actual size 11, not the poor excuse for shoes that many brands call 11.

@austinmshauri i would google running stores near me. If you gave us an idea of where you live, we can hopefully give you an idea where to go.

I like to give my business to my LRS (local running store) but if it’s not convenient for you, I suggest road runner sports. That’s once I know what size and type of shoe I need. A good shoe fitting is very important imo

Road runner sports customer service reps are very helpful. They can recommend a shoe if you have some idea of what you need. The most important thing is getting the correct size

For instance I wear a street size 6, a 7 in athletic shoes but a 7.5 in my preferred running shoe Brooks Ghost.

@deb922, I would be happy to travel anywhere in the NY/NJ/CT area for a good pair of shoes that actually fit.

I just started walking 3 miles/day, last week. No running. COVID had made me so much more sedentary. I have never heard of couch25k but I have decided on getting off the couch! Pretty soon it will be cold and slippery so trying to take advantage of fall.

I second the the suggestion to get a professional fit for the first pair of shoes, especially to know whether you need a neutral or stability shoe. Like @deb922 I am also a fan of Brooks Ghost shoes. Running with good shoes will build up/strengthen your knees if you don’t push yourself too fast.

@austinmshauri, any running shoe store should do a good job of fitting you properly. You can tell they’re good if they spend a lot of time with you, try a bunch of different shoes on you, and watch you as you walk/run around the store. You might also ask if they think shoe inserts would help you. They are expensive but I have found they help me a lot (I pronate severely).

Good luck to you newbies! I wish you could fully understand how unathletic I am. In the 8th grade, we all had to run a mile. There were over 200 kids in my class. The PE teacher put our names and times on a list in the gym, from fastest to slowest. I was the on the list. So if I can do this, anyone without severe physical limitations can do it, too. (I’m talking to myself here, also, since I’ve gotten so out of shape.)

@austinmshauri I also definitely recommend going to an actual running store for your first shoe fitting. But, if they don’t have a size 11 in what you need, they can order it for you. They might even be able to ship it to you. I used to order from RNJ sports - a LRS in the DC area. However, I am 5 hours away. They never had what I needed, so they would have Mizuno ship it directly to my house at no cost. Our LRS never has my 10.5s in stock (I also wear Brooks Ghost now), but they will order them for me and call me to pick up when ready.

I try to throw our LRS some business once/year, send my kids there, as well as any newbies. However, I need shoes so often, I need something cheaper. I recommend over road runner sports, though I will sometimes go to the latter if they have a sale. Running warehouse tends to have better clearance/sales, though even they are becoming harder to find. They do have free shipping though, which is fantastic.

Yes, don’t be surprised if they recommend shoes bigger than your usual size. You need the toe space for the natural moving forward of your actual foot in the shoe while running. I normally wear a 9 but wear a 10.5 in running shoes!

Running stores will have a wide range of sizes. Just google “running store” and a city near you or zip code or state name and I’m sure ones will pop up. My opinion is that a store like Dicks is NOT the place to start. The running store will likely have staff that are all runners/walkers themselves. They may look at your gait. Don’t be afraid to say you’re a beginner - that makes them happy that someone is trying running/walking!!!

I can’t underestimate the advice to go in person for your first pair. You can do or whatever later.

Also if you’re a walker you can still do C25K!!! During the run parts just walk faster. During the walk parts, slow down. It really is a fun and encouraging app - you’ll get addicted!

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